Susan was born in 1789. She is the wife of David Wheelock. She was the daughter of Ralph Packard.
The death records of David's last two children (Evaline and Benjamin) give their mother's name as Susan Russell. Online trees have resolved this by assuming Russell was actually her middle name rather than maiden name, but more research is needed to be sure that David didn't have two different wives named Susan. This would mean that Susan Packard died before 1825, and as not the Susan buried in 1876.
The insightful observation that David Wheelock might have had two wives motivated me to take a closer look at the family of David and his wife Susan. Having taken such a closer look, it still seems more likely that Susan Packard was the one and only mother of his children. Summary of the evidence below.
As mentioned above, the death records of David's children suggest he may have had two wives. The death records of the children born before 1824 identify the mother as Susan Packard, born in Milton, Massachusetts, whereas the death records of the children born after 1824 identify the mother as Susan Russell, born in Newton, Massachusetts.
This is summarized in the table below:
|Name||Birth Date||Mother||Birth Place|
|Mary Sturtevant||born 1816||Susan V. Packard||Milton, MA|
|Elizabeth Wing||born 1820||Susan Packard||Milton, MA|
|Evelyn Wheelock||born 1825||Susan Russell||Newton, MA|
|Frederick B. Wheelock||born 1830||Susan Russell||Newton, MA|
Yet other records argue for a single wife, summarized below:
1) Susan's age at death closely matches her birthdate as recorded in the Readfield town records. She died on 12 Apr 1876, age 87 years and 2 months. This gives a birth date of Feb 1789, matching her actual birth date of 7 Feb 1789. Assuming she was aged 87 years, 2 months, and 0 days, then the calculated birth date is 12 Feb 1789, which is within a reasonable range of error.
2) The Readfield town records list the births of the children of David and Sukey (Packard) Wheelock. No mention is made of a second wife. Each birth in the record was entered shortly after it occured, so it is likely to be accurate. (See FamilySearch.org: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS3J-K3RR-D)
3) Polly (Converse) Wheelock, cousin of David Wheelock (Susan's husband), kept a record of births of David and Susan's children. The record matches the Readfield town records - it makes no mention of a second wife. (This record can be found at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society, in Boston, MSS 1280, Wheelock Family.)
4) There is no break in the sequence of births for David's children. Most are born at three year intervals. Only two and a half years separate the birth of Horace (the last child of David's supposed first wife) and Evelyn (the first child by David's supposed second wife). This does not rule out a second wife, but a larger gap might be expected.
5) No other record of a second wife has been found - no headstone in the cemetery, no death or marriage records. No record of a Susan Russell is found in the Readfield Town Records at FamilySearch.org (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS3J-K3TM-Q), and no record of birth of a Susan Russell is found in Newton, Massachusetts. There is a man named Isaac Russell enumerated in the 1820 census, living in Fayette, Kennebec Co, Maine, near Kents Hill in Readfield, where David and Susan lived. But online genealogies (FamilySearch.org, https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/2WNV-G26) show no one in the family named Susan. If there was a Susan Russell, she did not leave much of an imprint in the record.
What could explain the discrepancies in the death records for Susan's children?
Most likely these discrepancies are errors, or misinterpretations of the records. Though there is no record of her birth in Milton, Massachusetts, Susan Packard probably was born there. Her parents both lived there, and married there. According to the Readfield town records, Susan was born a month after her parents married. Unless her parents made a quick move to Readfield during advanced pregancy, it is likely Susan was born in Milton, consistent with two of her children's death records. Newton is not far from Milton, and the names sound similar.
It is plausible that Russell was Susan's middle name. This might explain the use of 'Russell' in the death records of David's last two children. She had a great-aunt, Mary Vose (sister of her grandfather, Samuel Vose), b. 15 Oct 1732, who married a man with surname Russell, so it is entirely plausible that the name Russell was used in the family. (Ref: Robert Vose and His Descendant, p. 59 and 107, see https://archive.org/details/robertvosehisdes00vose/page/n71/mode/2up). Polly (Converse) Wheelock lists her middle initial as 'R' in her record of the family, supporting this idea.
However, one of her daughters death record lists her middle initial as V., which conflicts with a middle name of Russell. Most likely this was an error. Another document confirming her middle name might shed further light on the question.
With this information, it is impossible to rule out a second wife or partner for David Wheelock, but most of the evidence points toward a single wife. If he had two wives (or a second partner), one would expect a death for his first wife, before he married or had children with the second. But such a death record hasn't been found. The birth date of the Susan R. Wheelock buried in Kents Hill Cemetery in Readfield closely matches the birth date of Susan Packard. And the two family records that list the births in her family show all eight children born to a single woman.
Finaly, the lack of any corroborating records for the existence of Susan Russell makes it difficult to conclude that he married (or had children) with her.
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Susan is 16 degrees from Charles Grey, 19 degrees from Henry Herbert, 22 degrees from William Cobbett, 18 degrees from William Lamb, 26 degrees from James Lush, 25 degrees from David Heath, 20 degrees from Mary Ann Withers, 21 degrees from Robert Blake, 39 degrees from William Dove, 27 degrees from Richard Venfield, 28 degrees from James House and 17 degrees from Karen Stewart on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.