Susan Dillwyn PHYSICK (My 5th cousin 10x removed)on September 10th, 2011 at 12:53 AM
- Birth: 22 June 1803 in Philadelphia, PA.
- Death: 30 November 1856 in Torquay, Devon, England.
- Burial: South Laurel Hill, Philadelphia, Pa
The Conner Family Papers consist primarily of 23 journals kept bySusan Dillwyn Physick Conner from 1832 to 1856. The collection also includes herunfinished autobiography with amendments by her son, a scrapbook she kept in heryouth, two notebooks, two journals by her son, Philip Syng Physick Conner, one journalby Philip Conner’s wife, Mary D. Lewis Conner, two letters (one by Mary Lewis, one byPhilip Conner), three account books, two published books owned by Susan PhysickConner, and notes and drafts by Arthur Hale, Philip Conner’s son-in-law.Susan Conner’s journal entries span from one year after her marriage to David Conneruntil her final entry ten days before her death at age 53. From 1832 to 1835, she made ajournal entry nearly every day. In later years, she wrote more sporadically, but usuallyupdated what had happened in the intervening period. Her lengthy entries discuss herfamily, including her husband David (first a naval captain, then commodore), her siblingsSarah (Sally) Physick Randolph and Philip Physick, her children Philip and Edward, andhousehold matters, daily and social activities, and significant conversations. She mostoften wrote from her various homes in Philadelphia, at the family’s summer estateOctorara, near Conowingo, Md., or at their winter retreat in St. Augustine, Fla.Her journals from 1834-35 (v. 10-12) are notably different from the others, almost takingthe form of a travelogue. During that time, she was sailing through the Mediterraneanwith her husband on his ship, the USS JOHN ADAMS. Her entries, therefore, were oftenless personal and more descriptive. Her 1843-48 journal (v. 15) is also noteworthy for itsmentions of her husband’s role as commander of the Gulf Squadron in the Mexican American War. Susan writes about the evils of slavery and her interactions withslaveholders in Georgia in her journal from 1853 (v. 19). Her final journal (v. 23)includes an Addendum written by her son Philip about her death and burial, as well asa general description about her physical appearance and personality.Conner wrote a partial autobiography (v. 24) for her children, and described for them herolder relatives and childhood memories. Among other things, she wrote about herparents unusual separation in 1815 (My parents were not divorced but separated bymutual consent), her sister’s elopement with Dr. Jacob Randolph in 1821, her firstinteractions with her own future husband David Conner in 1824, and her growingreligious faith in 1826. Here her autobiography ends, but her son Philip includes anAddendum presenting a summary of the rest of her life. At the end of the volume aresilhouettes of Philip Syng Physick, Elizabeth Emlen Physick, and Sarah PhysickRandolph, and photographs of Samuel Emlen’s and Philip Syng Physick’s houses inPhiladelphia (Samuel Emlen was the maternal grandfather of Susan Physick Conner).Her scrapbook (v. 25) from her teenage years is the earliest item in the collection, and isfilled primarily with newspaper clippings of poems, stories, anecdotes, and puns, datingfrom 1816 to 1823. Other pages have calculations, arithmetic, and problem-solvingquestions, presumably from Susan’s tutoring.In her Writing Book (v. 27), Conner kept track of accounts and addresses. The bookalso has a few directions and Bible study notes. In her Common-place Book (Poetry)(v. 26), she composed several poems and hymns, mainly about her faith, between 1826and 1827. The book also includes later poems written by her niece Elizabeth Randolphfrom 1834 to 1850.Also included in the collection is an account book (v. 28) of Susan’s income after herhusband’s death. Most of this book is unused, as Susan died in November of the sameyear as David.David Conner’s account book (v. 35) kept track of his bank account in the Bank of NorthAmerica, 1855-56. Most of the book is empty, as David died in March 1856.Susan’s brother Philip kept an account book (v. 34) from 1831-35 for his farm nearGermantown. His nephew Philip Conner eventually received the book and the farm,adding a list of fruit trees in 1861.Philip Conner’s journals date from 1866 (v. 31) and 1868 (v. 32). He, like his parents,lived in Philadelphia and the estate at Octorara. He wrote about his social engagements,and the activities and health of his wife, Mary, and their children, Camilla and Edward. Inv. mercedes . 32, he also wrote about his brother Edward Conner’s 1868 lawsuit against theAmerican Life Insurance Co. Philip’s letter (folder 2) is undated and unaddressed, butmight have been written to son-in-law Arthur Hale around 1903. It describes his mother’sexperiences on board the JOHN ADAMS, which Susan Physick Conner wrote about in her 1834-35 journal (v. 10). In 1903, he apparently sent that journal to Hale, attaching adated note inside about the high quality of his mother’s writing.Mary Lewis Conner, Philip Conner’s wife, kept a journal from July to September 1860(v. 33) about their wedding trip to Europe. Mary’s letter of May 31, 1860 to Mrs. JamesSmith expresses hope that Smith will be able to attend their wedding in June.Arthur Hale, the son-in-law of Philip Conner and husband of Camilla, hoped to turnexcerpts from Susan Physick Conner’s journals (v. 10-12) and autobiography (v. 24) intoa book for publication. He took reference notes on his grandmother-in-law’s work, typedexcerpts under various titles, made photographs of the silhouettes and other relevantdocuments, and even drew or had drawn two detailed maps illustrating the JOHNADAMS voyage (folder 3).Also included in the collection are the books Hints to the Charitable and The Shadow ofthe Cross: An Allegory, originally owned by Susan Conner.Biographical note:Susan Dillwyn Physick was born on June 22, 1803, in Philadelphia, the second of fourchildren. Her parents were Elizabeth Emlen, whose family was one of the wealthiest inPhiladelphia, and Philip Syng Physick, the prominent physician. When Susan was 12, herparents separated and she moved into her father’s new home, the still-extant PhysickHouse at 321 S. 4th Street. In 1824 she met naval Master-Commandant David Conner,and the two began a courtship.In her early twenties, Susan took great interest in her religious faith and in poetry, twothings that continued to reappear in her journals throughout the rest of her life. In 1826she was confirmed into the Episcopal Church, and that same year began filling acommonplace book with her own poems and hymns.Susan and David Conner married on June 25, 1828 and set up home in Philadelphia. InOctober 1829, Conner, now a captain, left to serve for 12 months in the Gulf of Mexico.Her earliest journal entries (actually loose sheets of paper) come from this time ofsorrow (folder 1). After he returned, she described what for them was a normal day:Capt. C[onner] works in his workshop – planes and saws – writes reads & draws – andtakes long walks – and talks to me – I sew and read and keep house, and play on theguitar and take my Italian lesson (v. 3). In a normal year, she and her husband spentmuch of the summer at the Physick country estate of Octorara, in Maryland, and the restof the time at their home in Philadelphia.In January 1833, Susan and David traveled south for the winter, stopping in Charleston,S.C., but spending most of their time in the early resort town of St. Augustine, Fla. Theyenjoyed themselves and returned the following winter, 1833-34. In May 1834, David requested that the Department of the Navy allow his wife to travelwith him on his next assignment, the JOHN ADAMS. casino online aams . The Navy consented, and theysailed for the Mediterranean in August. Susan recorded the ship’s stops at many ports insouthern Spain, France and Italy. The possibility of war with France at this time createdsome concern, but once the threat subsided, David left the service in September 1835,and he and Susan visited France and England before returning to Philadelphia inDecember.Susan gave birth to her first child, Philip Syng Physick Conner, on May 14, 1837. Herjournals reveal that for the rest of the year she worried about Philly, who had colic, andher father, who had been ill for some time and finally died on December 15, at the age of70.In 1839, the family again traveled to England. However, Philly fell ill on the voyage, anddoctors recommended he be taken to the sun shine (v. 14), so the Conners moved on toFrance, spending a month there, then heading for home in August. By March 1840, theyhad returned to Philadelphia, where Susan gave birth to her second child, Edward( Eddy) on March 29.In July 1841, David was appointed a Navy Commissioner and bought a house inWashington. Susan and her sons spent most of their time at Octorara until November1843, when David received orders to command the Home Squadron in the Gulf ofMexico. He bought a new house in Philadelphia, at 4th and Walnut Streets, where Susan,Philly, and Eddy lived by August 1844.By 1845, David Conner was promoted to commodore, and was called for duty when theUnited States declared war on Mexico the following year. Susan kept track of herhusband’s action in the newspapers (see clippings included in v. 15). David returnedhome in 1847 after the victory at Vera Cruz. In the winter of 1847-48, the family againwent to St. Augustine, Fla., where Susan received word of her brother Philip Physick’sand her brother-in-law Jacob Randolph’s deaths, both in February 1848. She includedPhilip’s obituary at the end of her 1848 journal (v. 15).In 1850, the family again traveled to Europe, primarily touring England and Scotland. refinance nashville . InDecember 1851, back in Philadelphia, Eddy fell deathly ill with scarlet fever, butsurvived. Susan wrote of a great deal (v. 19) of small pox and scarlet fever in the citythat winter. The following winter, the family went back to St. Augustine, this time viaSavannah. In the summer of 1854, the family vacationed in Ephrata, Pa. They planned tocontinue on to the Alleghenies, but David was too exhausted from the journey to Ephratato go further.David was apparently sick during much of his remaining life, especially in the winters of1854-55 and 1855-56. In March 1856, already described by his wife as thin and feeble,David contracted pneumonia and died on March 20. Susan was devastated by his death,and clung to hope in a prediction that the second Advent of Christ would occur at Pentecost that year. When it did not, she became very sick and disappointed (v. 23).Though always described by her son as a frail person, by July she grew extremely so,weighing only 78 pounds. Her doctors advised that she sail for Europe to recuperate,which she did in September, accompanied by her sons. The journey did not have itsintended effect, however, and Susan Conner died on November 30, 1856, in Torquay,Devon, England. She was buried at South Laurel Hill in Philadelphia.Philip Syng Physick Conner, her son, took possession of her journals and other books,many of which he would annotate between 1875-1903. He married Mary D. Lewis inJune 1860, and in July they embarked on a long wedding trip to Europe. In 1861, Marygave birth to their first child, Camilla (Milly), and on October 21, 1864, Edward(Neddy) was born. Philip apparently inherited Octorara, where his family lived. Theyoften spent their winters with Mary’s parents at 526 Walnut St. in Philadelphia. Philip didnot appear to have a vocation, but spent most of his time with his children or with Maryat parties, shows, and other social events in the city. He took lessons in Latin and in vocalmusic, and enjoyed hunting. He also supported the popular movement for Irishindependence.Camilla Conner married Arthur Hale in 1889. Hale later took a great interest in SusanPhysick Conner’s journals, and attempted to publish excerpts from her 1834-35 journalsand autobiography in book form under the title, A Lady on a Man of War (folder 3).Hale died in 1939, without success in his efforts.