Susannah Garlick          -- mini bio


Susannah Garlick Wakefield

Susannah was born on 14 June 1820 in Providence, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.  She was the second daughter of David Garlick and Elizabeth Buck.  The family consisted of six daughters and one son.  Her father’s family was relatively new to this area of south-central Pennsylvania, but on her mother’s (Buck) side of the family Susannah was the fourth generation to reside in what was still something of a small frontier area.  Providence was more of a farming community than an actual town.  David logged timber from the surrounding forests, which he then hauled to his own sawmill, where he made lumber for houses.

Susannah’s birth occurred just a few weeks after a young fourteen year old boy, by the name of Joseph Smith, received his “First Vision” which resulted in the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This eventually had a huge impact on the Garlick family.

The children grew up in a family with great love and happiness, and living close to their uncles, aunts and cousins.  That changed somewhat when, in about 1837, the mother, Elizabeth Buck Garlick, had a profound dream.  The family had always been religious and followed the Campbelite faith.  In her dream Elizabeth saw two strangers come to visit their family.  Over their heads was a large motto bearing the words, “Truth will prevail”.  This image was accompanied by a voice that said, “These are true messengers of God.  Hear and obey.”  The next morning she shared this dream with her family which caused some serious contemplation for all of them.

About a week later, the family was visited by two young men, and Elizabeth recognized them immediately from her dream.  They introduced themselves as Mormon missionaries.  Their names were William Howard Bosley and John Fleming Wakefield.  The latter of these was himself a recent convert to the church from Indiana County, PA, not far to the NW of Bedford Co.  He was just beginning his service as a missionary and was instrumental in the conversion of the Garlicks.

After hearing their message Elizabeth and her three oldest daughters all joined the Church, along with about sixteen others from the Campbelite congregation.  They were baptized on 5 Oct. 1837.

John F. Wakefield, the young missionary who taught and baptized them, returned to Bedford County the following year, after completing his mission, where he married 18 years-old Susannah Garlick on 5 Aug. 1838. 

As soon as it was known that the Garlick women had joined the LDS Church, their family became ostracized and persecuted by former friends.   Although David had not yet joined, he could not bear to see his wife and daughters treated this way and he decided to sell his property and move to Nauvoo, where they would feel welcomed.  He figured his land, sawmill, sheds, home, and goods were worth $15,000, but he had to auction them off for just $500 when the towns people knew he was leaving.  At this time David also joined the church.  The mob’s anger ran so high that as the Garlick family departed, on 11 Oct. 1839, they could look back and see their home being burned to the ground behind them. 

They made their way to Nauvoo, where the saints were settling after being driven from Missouri.  While living there, two more daughters of this family were baptized.  One of these, Talitha  Cumi, was baptized in the Mississippi River by the Prophet Joseph Smith on 7 April, 1840 (on the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Church—by the way, this young girl was the Great grandmother of a later US Vice President, Richard “Dick” Cheney.)

While the family was living in Nauvoo, the father, David (age 63) died—as did the youngest daughter, six year old Elizabeth Grace.  Both were buried in the Old Nauvoo City cemetery in the southeast corner of town.

Susannah and her husband, John Fleming Wakefield, had their first child, Erastus Snow Wakefield, while still living in Bedford County, PA.  He was named after a close friend and missionary companion of John’s, Erastus Snow, who later became an apostle.  After moving to Nauvoo, Susannah and John had two more children.  As persecution mounted, this family, like so many other Mormons, had to flee Nauvoo and make their way across Iowa to Council Bluffs.  Here, four more children were born between the years 1847-1854, including their sixth child, Joseph Buck Wakefield, born on12 June 1852 (Grandfather of Maxine Wakefield Nebeker). 

Each spring the family prepared to go west, but as John made his wagon, he always found someone else who seemed to need it more, and he ended up giving his outfit to some other immigrant. In time, John became ill and passed away on 13 Jan. 1854.  Susannah was pregnant with her seventh child, a little girl, Sarah Ellen, who was born on 8 July 1854.  The following year she packed up her young family and made the difficult trek west to Springville, Utah where her mother and siblings were already living.  

Pioneer life in the desert was very difficult and demanding.  Eventually, Susannah met and married a man by the name of Rees Davis on 11 April 1860.  By him, she had another son, James David Davis on24 April 1861.  Shortly thereafter her second husband also passed away.  Forty-two year old Susannah never married again but stayed near her growing children in Springville for the remainder of her life. 

On 11 Oct. 1868, Susannah accompanied her mother, her brother and a sister and spent two days in the Endowment House in Salt Lake where together they completed a great deal of temple sealings for their ancestors and extended family.  The information they left behind has been extremely helpful to us in researching our ancestry for this family. 

Susannah was always close to her mother, and she lived near her in their old age.  Her mother, Elizabeth Buck, passed away in Spanish Fork, at the age of 93, on 5 Sep. 1888.  Susannah survived her by only a year and a half, passing away in Springville on 17 April 1890.  Both were buried in the Springville cemetery. Shortly before her passing she had the opportunity to meet her grandson, Lansing. Ira Wakefield, who was born and raised in Arizona, but who traveled north to Utah to meet his Grandmother when he was just a young boy less than twelve years old.