Sunday, February 19, 2012

What Medical Condition Made Susana (Garbrand) Hooker an invalid?

Susana Garbrand was born in 1593 in England. Her parents were Richard and Anne (Ferrar) Garbrand. On 7 Jul 1621, she married the Puritan minister Rev. Thomas Hooker, son of Thomas and Susanna (Pym) Hooker. They moved a number of times keeping ahead of arrest by Archbishop Laud.

More Moves

Finally, they fled, with their four young children, to Holland in 1631. They returned to England to board the ship Griffin to come to New England. They set up a home in what is now Cambridge but before long, Rev. Hooker and many of his congregation became disenfranchised with the Massachusetts Bay Colony leadership.

Once again, Susana had to pack up her household belonging and move. On the other hand, did she? Some reports say that by this time Susana was incapacitated when, in 1636, over 100 people set out on a trek of 100 miles to the Connecticut River.

Susana Carried to Hartford on a Litter

This had to be the most difficult move Susana had to make with her children. Joanna, at 15 and Mary at 13, would have been given a lot of responsibility in watching the smaller children and helping their mother. There are at least two sites that say that Susana was carried the whole way on a litter. There is no indication what her infirmary was.

According to Caroline Gaylord Newton, in her 1912 book concerning Rev. Roger Newton, who married Mary Hooker, daughter of Susana and Thomas Hooker, Susana was an invalid for years.  She describes Susana, “Susana Hooker was a lady of culture, and worthy to be the companion of such a man as Thomas Hooker.”

Daughter Mary Took Care of Susana and Household

According to this report, Mary Hooker, being the eldest at home after Joanna married had the care of her father’s household. Caroline Newton said of Mary, “The one upon whose young shoulders had come many of the burdens of the family life.” She went on to describe Mary walking from Massachusetts to Hartford next to the litter of her invalid mother.

Yet, Susana married a second time, to William Goodwin, after the death of Thomas Hooker and moved two more times before she died in Farmington, CT in 1676 at the age of 83.

The big question is what medical condition caused Susana to be an invalid.

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