My Contribution: I was an active member of Harrisburg’s Eighth Ward. As director of the Martha Washington Association, I organized important social gatherings, including a concert and performance for the Fifth Annual Reunion of Colored People in Harrisburg. As Vice President of the Zion Workers, I hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner to fundraise for Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church.

My Legacy: I served my community as a noble governor of the Miriam Household of Ruth, No. 1, one of the most successful lodges of the organization in the country. I donated my time, energy, and financial resources to strengthen Harrisburg institutions, including several schools and Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church, a congregation that still thrives today.

About Me: At “the fifth annual reunion of the colored people of Carlisle, Mechanicsburg, Middletown, and this city… The Martha Washington Society, directed by Mrs. Susan Sophes, was present in costume.” — Harrisburg Daily Patriot, April 21, 1881.

“A Christmas entertainment will be given at Sible & Clark’s hall by the Zion Workers of Wesley Union Church. Mrs. Sophes will have charge of the entertainment, which is for the benefit of the church.”

Harrisburg Telegraph, December 21, 1887.

Full Name: Susan Sophes; Susan Spence (after 1905)

Birth Date: February 8 in 1840-1848 (estimates based on census records and obituary

Death Date: March 22, 1926

Place of Birth: Clear Spring, Maryland

Sex: Female

Race: Mulatto” (1870 and 1880 Federal Censuses) and Black (1900 Federal Census)

Places of Residence: Harrisburg,  Pennsylvania:  239  Cranberry  Avenue  (1877-1884),  412  South  Street (1900-1901), 217 N. River Avenue (1904-1905), 416 South Street (1908), 702 State Street (1910), 638 Walnut (1911-1912), 816 James Street (1913-1921), 814 Cowden Street (1924), and 817 James (1926).

Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Resident; work; church; social events

Family Members: Husband: M1: William Henry So- phes. Husband: M2: Marshall Spence, m. September 1905, d. by 1908. Son: William “Willie” Sophes (adopted), d. March 12, 1889. • Education: Unknown

Education: Unknown

Occupations: Keeping House. Janitor (DeWitt Building). Mother. Organizer. Church Woman

Church Membership: Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church (stewardess).

Activism: Martha Washington Association (director), Zion Workers (vice president), Altar Club (president), Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church (stewardess), and Miriam Household of Ruth No. 1 Grand United Order of Oddfellows (Noble Governor); donated to Colored Day Nursery

Connections: William Howard Day, Josephine Bibb, Hannah Jones, Joseph L. Thomas, James Auter, Matilda Stewart, Joseph Popel, John Q. Adams, and Frisby Battis.