Project Home

List of Names

Rollins Archives

Olin Library

Rollins College

 Susan Wesley (c. 1887 - ?):

 

Maid of Cloverleaf and Decoration of Honor Recipient

Born in Thomasville, Georgia, Susan Wesley (ca. 1887-?) traveled further South to Winter Park, Florida where she lived the remainder of her life.  There she became active in the community, working in the Baptist Church and other various organizations.  In 1924 Wesley joined Rollins College, where she became a housemaid in Cloverleaf Cottage.  Built in 1891, the Cottage was then described by the Winter Park Advocate as one of the largest and prettiest buildings in town.  The 56-room building included a cylindrical tower and three wings, each three-story high and in the shape of a cloverleaf. [1]  Over the next twenty-five years , Wesley served nearly fifteen-hundred freshman girls at the College, treating them “through sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow.”[2]

 

Wesley displayed further faithfulness towards her post during the 1944 hurricane, where she remained at the College despite the dangerous winds and heavy rain.  According to an interview done with Ms. Wesley, many urged her to return home, but she refused, claiming she would rather be in Cloverleaf.[3]  The morning of the hurricane, a strong gust of wind forced a store window in, causing a piece of glass to fly up and hit her.  An even stronger gust lifted her up and carried her back down the street.  “Nothing really disturbed her though until she reached the campus where the girls were yelling ‘hurry up Suzy, run.”[4]

 

During the 1948 commencement ceremony, President Hamilton Holt remarked: "Susie Wesley, for your many years of faithful service to Rollins, during which you and I have both worked for the college that we love; for your help to many hundreds of Rollins freshman girls; for your influence in Winter Park through church and club; for your generous service far beyond the call of duty; for your life as a Christian woman and a loving follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, Rollins College is honored in conferring on you the Decoration of Honor and admits you to all its rights and privileges."[5]

- Alia Alli

[1] Zhang, Wenxian, Eneid Bano, and Charles Stevens, Rollins Architecture: A Pictorial Profile of Current and Historical Buildings, Winter Park: Rollins College, 2009.

[2] Dean Cleveland, “Decoration of Honor,” June 2, 1948. Department of Archives and Special Collections, Box 43C, Olin Library, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.

[3] “Let’s Sing a Song About Suzy,” Rollins Sandspur, November 1, 1944.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Hamilton Holt, “Decoration of Honor,” June 2, 1948. Department of Archives and Special Collections, Box 43C, Olin Library, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.

Project Home

List of Names

Rollins Archives

Olin Library

Rollins College