Huang Su’e was a woman of great kindness of heart, intellectual power, and practical wisdom. She came from a well-known Christian family, being the eldest daughter of The Rev. Huang Guangcai (Wong Kong-chai ???), the first Chinese clergyman of the American Episcopal Church Mission as well as its first baptized convert, and the sister of Mr. Huang Ding (Theodore T. Wong ??), [Commissioner of Education in charge of the Chinese students in America] and Miss A. M. Wong, M. D., both of Shanghai.
Huang Su’e was early on identified with the education of girls. Shortly after the Emma Jones’ Girls’ School was opened in Hongkou, Shanghai, in 1876, she was called to be a teacher and to help in the management of the school. In 1881, when St. Mary’s Hall was founded at Jessfield, a suburb of Shanghai, Huang [not married yet] was appointed its first headmistress by Bishop Schereschewsky. She held this position until 1891 when she resigned upon marriage. During those early years, Huang’s wisdom and administrative ability helped greatly in building up the new institution.
On August 23rd, 1888, Huang Su’e married *Francis Lister Hawks Pott (1864-1947), an Episcopal missionary in China from 1886 to 1941, president of St. John’s College/University from 1888 to 1941 and a leading figure of the Chinese Anglican Church (????? Zhonghua Shenggong Hui). The wedding was held in the chapel of St. John’s College.
As the wife of the President and also a teacher herself at St. John’s, Huang Su’e [Mrs. Pott] shared a keen interest in the welfare of the institution and contributed greatly to its development. An old St. John’s alumnus, Dr. Z. T. K. Woo, Director of the Hanyang Iron and Steel Works, wrote of her:
To all the boys she was ever ready to give her kindly advice and a helping hand, and to the young boys she was most motherly, taking a lively interest in their aims as well as their games. All boys who had been sick could tell how carefully she always looked after their comfort and soothed them with cheerful words, as she made it her duty to visit the boys on their sick list. Mrs. Pott was also a most skillful and sympathetic teacher. Those boys who had the privilege of studying under her were impressed with her resourceful and genial way of conducting the class, for she was full of wit and kindness and the boys were unknowingly kept in good behavior and obedience. Her kindly nature promoted a healthy spirit throughout the student body, and for commencement day preparations and for other social function, she was ever the leading spirit; the boys vied with each other in offering their service.
Mrs. Pott also carried on evangelistic work in the nearby villages. For the shelter of girl-babies neglected by their ignorant mothers, Mrs. Pott founded St. Mary’s Orphanage with the money she raised among her friends. She also started the “Gate Sunday School” for the village children and mill workers. She was one of the pioneers of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Mission, which was established in Shanghai in 1893 during the visit of Mrs. Mary Abbot Emery Twing (1843-1901), Founder and Honorary Secretary of the American Episcopal Woman’s Auxiliary. One other result of her visit to Shanghai was the increased interest in the work among the women of China, which she aroused in the hearts of the church women of America by her letters written from the field and by personal talks after reaching home. For a number of years Mrs. Pott was the President of the Jiangsu Branch of the Women’s Auxiliary and in that capacity directed its work for the evangelization of the women of the province. Mrs. Pott was an impressive and resourceful speaker and a thorough scholar of the Bible.
In both public and private life, Mrs. Pott was a model Christian, devoted to her husband and her children, helpful to the needy, kind to her friends, cheerful and self-denying, untiring in all good work. Mrs. Pott died on May 11, 1918.
Adapted from the Chinese Recorder.
- Chinese Recorder 49 (July 1918), 474-75.