Sunday, May 1, 2011

Susannah Wimmer 1834-1918

John P. Wimmer________________Elizabeth Hendricks 1808-1879

Susannah Wimmer was bonr December 20, 1834, on a small farm at Jim Town (near New Castle), Henry, Indiana. Her parents were John P. Wimmer and Elizabeth Hendricks. She was the fourth child from a family of eight, her siblings being: Margaret, Elizabeth, Martha Ellen, William, Peter, Julietta, and Rebecca.

Susannah was raised in a strict religious home, her mother had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tow years after Susannah was born. She was punished once for skipping rope on the sabbath.

Because of religious persecution, the family eventually moved to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1843. Susannah remembered the prophet Joseph Smith, Carthage Jail where he was martyred, and the sorrow that was felt at the time. Susannah was baptized on March 7, 1845.

The family stayed at Winter Quarters until the summer of 1850. While traveling across the plains, her mother, Elizabeth, asked the children to gather berries for supper. Susannah was very excited for the adventure. She removed her shoes before she set out. She made up a game of jumping from log to log, landed on what she thought was another log. It began to wiggle under her bare feet and she realized it was a big snake. Needless to say, the berry hunt came to a sudden halt, as they ran screaming back to camp.

Susannah met a young man, who had joined the company, and they were married on the plains. She soon realized that there was something mysterious and frightening about her husband. He carried a concealed vicious-looking knife with him at all times. When she asked about it, he threatened her life. It wasn't long before it was found out that he had killed a man and was trying to escape from the law. He left the company and the marriage was annulled. She continued her journey across the plains with her family, walking most of the way.

The Wimmer family arrived in Salt Lake Valley in November of 1850 and settled in Springville.

Susannah took out her endowments on August 9, 1851. Susannah married Myron Nathan Crandall on December 9, 1854, in Springville, Utah; she was a second wife.

Their first child, William Nathan, was born on December 11, 1855; he died the same day. A daughter, Josephine, was born on January 28, 1857. Myron and Susannah were sealed on April 22, 1857. A son, John Wimmer, was born on January 24, 1860. That same year, in August, Susannah's husband died of pneumonia.

Susannah married Spicer Wells Crandall on June 13, 1861, in Springville, Utah; as a fifth wife. He was Myron Nathan's brother. After their marriage, Susannah lived in a house with Mary Brannigan, Spicer's fourth wife. At the time, they each had two children. The two women learned to love each other and they got along fine.

Even though her husband was a hard working man, his wives had to help in many different ways. Mary taught school and Susannah took charge of the household duties and the children. Susannah spun the thread that Spicer used to make shoes. She gathered straw from the fields to braid and make hats. Susannah also took wool from the sheep, and would wash, dye, card, spin, and weave it into cloth. Susannah was an excellent seamstress and tailoress. She would work the button holes on dresses, coats and men's suits. She also wove homemade carpets. What was not needed at home, was traded for many things that the family could use. She also learned to make shoes and made all of the shoes that her children wore for many years.

Susannah's first five children by Spicer were: Tryphena Elizabeth, November 19, 1862; Myron Newton, November 29, 1864; Anna Marie, November 23, 1866; Peter Wells, August 16, 1868; and Martha Lillian, November 6, 1872.

During this same time, Mary had four children die; two in October of 1864; one in September of 1867; and one in September of 1870. We bring up the deaths of Mary's children because of the fact that Susannah and Mary were living together and one of Susannah's responsibilities was to care for the children. The death of these young ones mus have had an immense impact on Susannah.

In 1874, two of Susannah's children died, Anna Marie in July and Martha Lillian in August. Susannah then had her last two children; Margaret Amanda, October 24, 1874; and George Alma, January 11, 1878.

Susannah's husband, Spicer, died on May 4, 1879, in Springville. A short time after his death, Susannah and Mary decided it would be best to live in separate houses, as some of the older children could help with the responsibilities. Susannah took in boarders , who were mostly school teachers, to help support her family.

In May of 1883, her youngest son George, died at the age of five.

Susannah was a good church worker, and worked in the primary for years. She loved singing and telling stories to the children, including her own children and grandchildren.

She served as a practical nurse. If anyone was unable to pay, she still never hesitated to help them out. Her children remembered many times when she would just get started to do a big wash and someone would come after her to help them out with a sick member of their family. She would wash her hands and face, put on a clean dress and white apron, and was ready to go. Sometimes she would not be back until night. She also helped prepare the dead for burial and sometimes she would be sent for in the middle of the night. Most of this work was done free of charge.

Susannah's daughter, Josephine, died in January of 1890 in Sevier County, where she lived. Josephine left seven children and Susannah helped them out all she could, even though the lived far away.

In 1895, her sons, Myron and John, bought a home for Susannah. Myron and his wife, Agnes, lived there with her for the first four years they were married.

Susannah's daughter, Margaret, died in June of 1901; she had never married and had lived at home with her mother. After Margaret's death, Susannah sold her home and lived with each of her four remaining children: John, Tryphena, Myron, and Peter. She would take turns and live with each one for three months every year.

Her son, Myron, died in August of 1903, leaving five young children. His widow, Agnes, still took her turn having Susannah come and stay with them.

Susannah's granddaughter, Camille Crandall, Bennion, wrote of the experience, "As soon as school was out in the spring we had to hurry and the the house cleaning done, so we would be ready to have Grandma Crandall come to stay with us. There were times when I resented this arrangement but, as I look back now, I realized it was a blessing to our family, because we had the opportunity to get to know, and learn to love a grandmother that we might not have known very well, because of the early death of my father.

"I remember Grandma as a tall (5'10"), slender, stately, elderly woman in her long dark skirts and tight basques (a front-lacing, above the waist, decorative piece of clothing). She always wore a starched, long white apron, trimmed with tucks and hand-knit lace on the hem. I remember the salt-rising bread she made for us, and her knitting needles flying as she knit the long black stockings, which I refused to wear, but that my brothers could wear because their pants would hide them. I remember the bag of wool she would bring, and then she would sit and card the wool and twist it by hand into yarn, to make her warm clothing.

"She didn't like cats and we always had a cat. We knew that when Grandma was at our house, the cat was kept outside. My brother resented this, and he got even by hiding behind the door and meowing. We all had a lot of fun seeing Grandma get very excited about the cat being in the house."

Susannah Wimmer Crandall died January 23, 1918, in Provo, Utah, Utah. She is buried in the Springville Cemetary near her son, Myron and his wife, Agnes.

This record was compiled from the Daughters of the Pioneers Archives in June 2001 by Louise Crandall Huefner and Rebecca Huefner Chapman.

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