Women’s History Month: Susannah Stanford
While Argall Thorowgood II was the architect and builder of the Thoroughgood House (circa 1719) in present day Virginia Beach, he was unable to see his home finished. His wife Susannah not only finished construction of the house, but lived and raised their children there until her death in 1741.
Susannah Sanford and Argall Thorowgood II married on May 1, 1704. For Susannah, being the daughter of John and Sarah Sanford, the marriage was of great importance to developing further familial wealth, since she was a descendant of the prominent Woodhouse and Keeling families. Susannah, similarly to Sarah (Offley) Thorowgood, was the key to procuring the prosperity of the lives of her children. Argall II suddenly passed away in 1719 without a will, but this did not halt progress for Susannah. She not only petitioned the courts to finish the construction of the house, but also keep the family ferry business running, for which she received thousands of pounds of tobacco in return. The ferry would have run along the Lynnhaven River.
Susannah married again to Captain Richard Cheshire for the benefit of her three children; John, Mary Anne and Pembroke. Her son, John Thorowgood, would later become the owner of the Thorowgood House, to which he would make numerous architectural and aesthetically pleasing changes both inside and out to reflect the mideighteenth century styles. John lived in the home that was built on the original land patent (about 5,000 acres) given to his great-great-grandfather, Adam Thorowgood. John Thorowgood was able to build on these foundations of decades of familial connections/marriages to become the prominent plantation businessman that he was, but, until then, his mother, Susannah, was the head of the household in the Thorowgood House.