Susanna Wright was born in Warrington, England, on August 4, 1697, one of eight children born to Patience Gibson and John Wright. Wright's family settled in America in 1714, and she joined them shortly thereafter, having stayed behind long enough to complete her education. When her mother died in 1722, Wright began a twenty-year career of running Hempfield, the family homestead in the Susquehanna Valley region (now Columbia) of Pennsylvania, where the family ran a ferry business. Later in her life she settled in a large house left to her by Samuel Blunston. Like the Wrights, Blunston was a pioneer settler; he and Wright were rumored to have been in love for many years, but they never married.
In spite of the hardships of a frontier life, Wright was recognized throughout the region for her intellectual and artistic abilities. She was a talented manufacturer, raising thousands of silkworms at Wright's Ferry and producing silk that she spun into fancy dresses; she was called upon by neighbors and travelers for her talents as a scrivener; she was recognized as a talented arbitrator in land disputes; and she acted as both physician and apothecary for the region. Only the silk production was a paying enterprise, but her contributions to the community were many. An ardent bibliophile, Wright was fluent in four languages and learned in science as well as being a prolific correspondent with many women and men in the intellectual circles of Philadelphia. She was also an accomplished poet. It is little wonder that this extraordinary woman came to be known as "the celebrated Susanna Wright." She died on December 1, 1784, at the age of eighty-eight.
Works: Correspondence, poetry. Bibliography: Biddle and Lowrie; Cowell; Lopez and Herbert; McElroy.