Susannah Daby

A Short Biography:   Susannah Daby, Harvard Shaker  (1717-1806)

by Roben Campbell, Shaker researcher


Susannah Worster married Nahum Daby in 1767. They had one child before her husband died in 1771[1]. She thereby suffered the difficulty of raising and supporting her child unassisted.  Her natural mother Mary Worster had also lost her husband at age thirty-two leaving her with five children under twelve years of age to raise.[2] Mother Ann, having lost all four of her own children at a young age, was particularly sympathetic to widows and orphans.

[Mother Ann] spoke much to [heads of families, and people of property] of their duty in giving alms, and being kind and charitable to the poor, particularly to such widows and fatherless children who were among them[3].

Details of Susannah Daby’s life as a Shaker are few, and document her moves from one building to another. She had joined by 1791, and in that year lived with a family outside the village for several months before coming into the village[4], as was frequently done in the early decades of the village. In 1806, she moved to the Square House.[5] Her natural brother, Abijah Worster, served as a leader and was instrumental in shaping the community in the early years.




[1] Vital Statistics for the Town of Harvard before 1850, p. 258., and Norse, p. 258.

[2] Norse, p. 576.

[3] Testimonies of the Life, Character, Revelations and Doctrines of Mother Ann, and the Elders with Her, through the word of Eternal Life was open in this day, of Christ’s Second Appearing, Collected from Living Witness, in Union with Church, by the Shakers, Second edition, Weed, Parsons & co. Albany, N.Y. 1888.. p. 213.

[4] Harvard Shaker Record Book, Manuscript Collection at Fruitlands Museum, pp. 58-59.

[5] November 26 1806, Harvard Shaker Record Book, Shaker Manuscript Collection, Old Chatham, New York.



All rights reserved. © Roben Campbell, 2016.