Susan Freeman

Susan “Sunie” A. Emery Freeman was born October 12, 1864, in Limington, Maine to Osgood and Elizabeth Emery. She received her education at Limington Academy. In 1881 she married Charles Freeman in Limington, Maine. The young couple soon relocated to New Hampshire, where Susan gave birth to the couple’s two daughters, Harriett Rowell on November 8, 1884 and Mary Seargent on December 25, 1887.

Throughout Charles’ consular career, Susan and the children traveled with him to all his posts. In addition to socializing with the local ladies of her class, she often acted as hostess when Charles received visitors. In an article written in 1930, she indicated that her time in Durango, Mexico gave her enough excitement to last her the rest of her life. Posted there with husband from 1907-11, she witnessed first-hand the start of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1921).  

In 1911, she relocated with her family to Sydney, Nova Scotia. Here, she earned a reputation as one of the city’s leading hostesses and was very popular among her circle of friends. During her Husband’s time in the consular service, she entertained many celebrities, most notably a member of English nobility, the famous “Princess Pat.” Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria Patricia Helena Elizabeth of Connaught was the daughter of the Duke of Connaught, the Governor General of Canada from 1911-1916. “Princess Pat” as she was known, often traveled with her father on official duties and became a very popular public figure in Canada. On August 3r, 1912, “Princess Pat” visited Sydney and it was the talk of the town.

Susan Freeman was an active member of the community, especially to the Homefront war effort during the First World War. During this time she was in charge of the American Red Cross chapter in Sydney.

After her husband’s retirement in 1924, the Freemans relocated to Portland, Maine. She maintained her ties with Sydney and its inhabitants, often visiting her daughters, who remained in Sydney.  In November 1925, a local newspaper said this of her visit:

“The arrival in the city from the United States of Mrs. C.M. Freeman to visit her daughter, Mrs. C.S. Jamieson, Charlotte Street, has naturally been followed by a great deal of gaiety, for Mrs. Freeman was always such a favourite socially during the years of her residence in Sydney, and her friends are glad to welcome her back even though it only be for a visit. There have been a number of bridges and teas given in her honor and there are still a number of other affairs to take place.”

It was the same every time Mrs. Freeman came to town; the papers were filled with mentions of teas, luncheons and bridge parties held in her honor. Often, there were events happening every day. One such occasion was hosted by Katharine McLennan (Petersfield), who gave an “informal, but none the less delightful, luncheon” in Mrs. Freeman’s honor.

Although many of these affairs were informal in nature, close attention was paid to every detail of the affair, including what the women were wearing. In an era before social media, this was how the ladies of the town learned of the goings-on of the city’s social elite.

After her husband’s death in 1936, Susan Freeman remained in Portland. It did not take long for her daughters Mary and Harriet, and son-in-law Charles Jamieson to join her in Maine. At the end of her life she suffered a lengthy illness before her death on March 30, 1943, at the age of 79.

Although she spent her last twenty years in Maine, she maintained close ties to the city of Sydney and the friends she made there.