Susanna Wilkerson was born in Tennessee around 1814. On May 24, 1829, Susanna married Almaron Dickinson in Bolivar, Tennessee. The couple migrated to Texas in 1830, arriving in Gonzales on February 20, 1831. The couple’s only child, Angelina Elizabeth Dickinson, was born in Gonzales on December 14, 1834.
Almaron was one of the “Old Gonzales Eighteen,” the small group of Gonzales citizens who began the face-off with the Mexican army over possession of a small cannon that resulted in the Battle of Gonzales. Following the battle Almaron departed Gonzales for San Antonio de Bexar with the Texian Volunteer Army leaving Susanna and Angelina behind.
In early November 1835, a group of volunteer Texas militia members passed through Gonzales breaking into houses and stealing property. The Dickinson house was one of the houses vandalized and Susanna’s safety was threatened. This prompted Almaron to move his family to San Antonio sometime in December 1835 following the Battle of Bexar. While in San Antonio the family resided in the home of Ramón Músquiz and Susanna took on boarders, including David Crockett, and did laundry for the Texas volunteers. On February 23, 1836, when General Santa Anna and the Mexican army arrived in San Antonio, Susanna and Angelina joined several other women taking refuge in the Alamo with the Texian troops.
Following the March 6th battle in which Almaron and the rest of the Texian defenders were killed, Susanna was sent by Santa Anna with a note to General Sam Houston, whom she met with in Gonzales around March 12th. Susanna’s whereabouts for the rest of the revolution are unknown, but she most likely fled east as part of the Runaway Scrape. In October 1836 she petitioned the Texas Government for a $500 pension. Her request was denied. This left the twenty-two year old widow virtually penniless and without any support or family except her young daughter.