Printer-friendly page

Kitchin, Sue Musette Satterfield

William Walton Kitchin with his wife, Musette Satterfield Kitchin, 1912. Image from the Library of Marie Sharpe Ham, Debra A. Blake, and C. Edward Morris. Excerpted from North Carolina's First Ladies, 1891-2001, copyright 2001. Reprinted with permission from North Carolina Historical Publications, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

10 Mar 1874 - 4 Nov 1956

See Also: William Kitchin - Dictionary of North Carolina Biography; Governor William Kitchin - Research Branch, NC Office of Archives and History;  First Ladies and Gentlemen of North Carolina NCpedia collection.

Charming and charismatic, Musette Kitchin, wife of Governor William Walton Kitchin, was comfortable with the entertaining necessary to a governor's wife. During her husband's administration, the Executive Mansion was often full of family and friends and was the residence of a large number of people. In addition to the family of seven, two of her sisters lived with them, and, during one winter, two of Governor Kitchin's brothers did likewise. Musetts Kitchin also hosted "at home" days during which many people visited the mansion. As an obituary in the Scotland Neck Commonwealth (November 9, 1956) declared, she will be remembered "for her personal charm, friendliness, and quality of character. ... " An editorial in the same issue noted that she "graced the Executive Mansion and charmed all who visited. But she never let this great prestige affect her outlook on life or her attitude toward others." She had  an innate ability to remember names and always made people feel at ease by calling their name whenever she met them.

In spite of a decline in her husband's income (the governor's salary was $4,000 plus $500 for entertaining, and William Kitchin had earned more than $7,500 as a congressman), Musette Kitchin hosted numerous parties and stayed within the budget. Because the governor ran on a platform of cutting the budget, no renovations or redecoration occurred during his tenure in the Executive Mansion. In a much later newspaper article (Raleigh News and Observer, February 6, 1938), Musette Kitchin commented on the plain (even ugly in spots) comfort of the house while she and her husband had resided there. She did, however, purchase a piano and some flat silver for the mansion.
Born in Roxboro to William Clement Satterfield and Sue Temesia Norwood Satterfield on March 10, 1874, Sue Musette Satterfield graduated from Greensboro Female College (now Greensboro College) in 1891 and married William Walton Kitchin on December 22, 1892. They had six children: Sue Arrington was born October 22, 1893 , and later married William Thomas Joyner; William Walton Jr. was born in 1895 and died when he was ten years old; Anne Maria was born October 23, 1897, and later married Edward Llewellyn Travis; Elizabeth Gertrude was born December 19, 1899, and subsequently married Germaine Simpson Brown; Clement Satterfield was born June 19, 1902, and never married; and Musette Satterfield was born August 10, 1906, and later married Sam Arrington Dunn Jr.

Musette Kitchin was concerned about the education of her children and took them to opera per­formances. It was important to her that the children learned to appreciate music. She also took time at night to read Bible stories to them and give each one some personal attention . Even though she was a Methodist and the governor was a Baptist, the family alternated between churches of both faiths, and each child eventually made his or her own decision about which denomination to choose.

In Scotland Neck, their hometown, Musette Kitchin belonged to numer­ous civic organizations. She was also active in the Scotland Neck Methodist Church, where she served on the board of stewards, and was a director of the Methodist Orphanage. At the end of Governor Kitchin's term in office, the family remained in Raleigh as he entered a law practice with Judge James S. Manning. William Kitchin suffered a stroke in 1919, and the family retired to Scotland Neck. Musette Kitchin resumed her social and civic activities in that town and again became involved in church activities.

Musette Satterfield Kitchin died November 4, 1956, of a brief illness after suffering a heart attack. She died in the hospital in Tarboro and was buried in the Baptist Cemetery in Scotland Neck.


Ham, Marie Sharpe, Debra A. Blake, and C. Edward Morris. 2001. North Carolina's First Ladies, 1891-2001. Raleigh, N.C.: Executive Mansion Fine Arts Committee and Executive Mansion Fund.

Image Credits:

Harris & Ewing. "Kitchin, William Walton. Rep. from North Carolina, 1897-1909; Governor, 1909-1913. with Mrs. Kitchin." Photograph. 1912. Harris & Ewing Collection. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. (accessed April 12, 2013).

Chappell, R. L. [Kitchin Family photo, early 1906]. N_2000_6_32. Photograph. State Archives of North Carolina.

1874 - 1956