Susan Anna Power


Born in 1813 to Nicholas and Anna Power, Susan would be described as “eccentric” throughout her whole life. Inflicted with an unspecified mental illness, Susan remained under the care of her mother and sister Sarah until her death in 1877. Susan never really knew her father, since she was born shortly after his departure at sea to the West Indies in 1813. He was presumed dead after being captured by a British fleet and held as a prisoner of war for nearly two years before being freed. However, Nicholas Power didn’t inform his family of his survival and wouldn’t return home for nineteen years. His return surely affected Susan’s already fragile state of mind, and she would express her impression of the ordeal by writing this little couplet:

Mr. Nicholas Power left home in a sailing vessel bound
       for St. Kitts,
When he returned, he frightened his family out of their

Although not much has been documented about Susan Anna Power, we know she shared in the same poetical prowess, to some degree, as her sister Sarah. She assisted in writing numerous pieces that would be published in two volumes of Sarah’s poetry. It wasn’t easy living with Susan since guests would often be turned away due to her moods and behaviors. The times when company were able to enter the house, Susan would usually be hiding in a closet. After the death of their mother in 1858, Sarah took sole responsibility for Susan. They moved into the house at 37 Benevolent Street where they lived for the next seventeen years. Susan passed away in 1877, which came as quite a surprise to Sarah as she was certain that Susan would outlive her. Sarah took every precaution necessary to set her sister up financially in that event. Susan was buried at The North Burial Ground, where her sister would join her side in less than a year. It’s as if Sarah finally allowed herself to lose strength, since she was no longer fighting  to stay well for her sister. The two are buried side by side in their family’s plot and don matching stones.