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
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.
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
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:--
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
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
(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