Susan Frances Pemberton
Lady Principal, Angela College, Victoria 1856-1868
Sister to Joseph Pemberton, Surveyor General 1859 to 1864.

Susan came to Vancouver Island from England in 1855,  at the invitation of her brother Joseph, and in the company of their uncle, August Frederick Pemberton.

Lady Principal, Angela College, Victoria

Returned to England in 1868 due to ill health.

The following is an excerpt from a book written by one of Pemberton's daughters, H. S. Sampson, entitled My Father, Joseph Despard Pemberton: 1821-93.

April 1844

In 1856 Pemberton was joined by his sister, Susan Frances Pemberton, who came out in the same vessel as Miss Emmeline Todd (afterwards Mrs. Newton and later still Mrs. Mohun).  Miss Pemberton lived in the fort for a time, and then moved to the Gonzales estate, where, with true Irish hospitality, she and her brother welcomed all and sundry.  Dances were given in the old log-house, the rooms being lighted by candles with potatoes serving as sconces, and in every available corner would be a shake-down for those coming from a distance.  At other times a picnic would be decided upon, the farm-horses commandeered, a hearty meal prepared, and a day of merriment spent in one of the beautiful glades or seaside spots surrounding Victoria, at which archery was the favourite pastime.  Private theatricals and concerts made the winter evenings pass pleasantly.  Good plays were produced, amongst them The Rivals, in which my father took the part of Sir Lucius O'Trigger.

Joseph Despard Pemberton home "Gonzales" in Victoria,
taken in the 1860s
Photograph Courtesy of BC Archives; Call Number A-07779

After twelve years in Victoria, Miss Pemberton returned to Europe in 1868.  She had been for some years Lady Principal of Angela College, and the following testimonial evidences the esteem in which she was held in the little city of those days:--

Dear Madam:

We cannot allow the occasion of our resigning the position of Lady Principal of Angela College to pass without expressing our very sincere regret that in consequence of failing health the most valuable and important of our local institutions is about to be deprived of a headship that has been so watchfully and efficiently exercised.

The present condition of the Ladies College in point of numbers is an evident and satisfactory proof, not only that the educational privileges of that establishment are of a character to evoke the grateful support of the parents in this Colony, but also, of the high esteem in which you have been deservedly held and the perfect confidence that has been felt with the healthy tone imparted by our superintendent.

Accept our grateful thanks for the able and conscientious manner in which you have fulfilled your many and serious responsibilities our repeated expressions of sincere regret for the cause which has led to your resignation and our earnest prayer that Almighty God who has hitherto strengthened you in the past may still have you in his holy keeping and bless you with what degree of health and spiritual blessing as many best enable you to fulfill. . . .

This is, unfortunately, where our photocopy of the original ends.  Should you have the rest of this letter, or more info on Susan Pemberton, or both, please drop us a line.

Footnotes from H. S. Sampson's My Father, Joseph Despard Pemberton: 1821-93.

(13) An official copy of this agreement in the Provincial Archives.

(14) For a brief report on this expedition, dated December 15, 1856, see Pemberton, Vancouver Island and British Columbia, pp 147-8

(15) For a brief report on this expedition, dated November 12, 1857, see ibid., pp 148-50.

(16) Ibid., pp 51-2.

(17) See John T. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names, Ottawa, 1909, pp. 179, 412.

(18) W. F. Tolmie to Thomas Fraser, Secretary of the Hudson's Bay Company, November 13, 1861.  Transcript in the Provincial Archives.