Susannah Isherwood

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About Susannah Isherwood

Susanna Tanner was born in Wales in 1846, the daughter of Aaron Tanner, a collier. She married John Isherwood at the age of 21, in the parish church of Llangywyd in the county of Glamorgan.

As a child Susanna Tanner had her right arm amputated, but despite this remained a very capable and rather formidable woman. Family stories of how she lost the arm differ: one story is that it was amputated after a fall down stairs; another is that the arm was crushed when a big lump of coal fell on it.

Susanna sang in a choir in her home town and on the ship to New Zealand organised activities for the other passengers. John and Susanna and two children arrived in New Zealand in December 1876 and took up farming in the Springfield district. Here Susanna raised a large family of eight children, managing to accomplish all the usual household tasks, including mending and embroidery, with her one arm.

With Clara Alley she represented the Malvern Women's Institute at the first meeting of the National Council of Women (NCW) in April 1896. Susanna also attended the second meeting of the NCW in 1897, and in 1898 she read a paper, urging equal pay and trade unions for women, at a meeting of the Canterbury Women's Institute in Christchurch. At another meeting in the same year she read a paper on gambling.

Three of Susanna's daughters became teachers. The eldest daughter Kate was an early graduate of Canterbury College, while Eleanor Isherwood taught at Purau for twenty years.

Susanna died in 1915. Information gathered from :

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Susannah Isherwood's Timeline

December 2, 1846
Llangynwyd, Bridgend, Wales, United Kingdom
December 27, 1871
January 18, 1873
Scranton, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, United States
August 24, 1875