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John Wesley’s sister Susana (“Sukey”)

May 04, 2020

John Wesley’s sister Susanna was eight years older than John.

She was a good-natured young woman, happy and vivacious, with a delightful sense of humor. When a “ghost” seemed to haunt the Wesley parsonage, Sukey emphasized the humorous aspects of his “visitations.”

Susanna lived for a while in London with her Uncle Annesley, her mother’s brother. He liked Sukie and promised her a generous gift. However, her hopes were dashed when he went off to India and disappeared, leaving her nothing.

In 1719, at the age of 24, she married Richard Ellison, a wealthy land owner of the community. The marriage turned out to be a disaster. He was abusive. They had four children together, but the relationship became so sour that John considered taking her with him to Georgia in 1735. A disastrous fire destroyed their home and everything in it. Susanna left Ellison and never returned to him. He missed her so much that he announced his own death in an attempt to draw her back when she came to pay her last respects. She led to London and hid among her family and friends.

Not much is known of her remaining years. She lived with her four children and died in her sister Ann’s home.

The Rev. Dave Hanson is a retired pastor and John Wesley scholar.  

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