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Crawford, Matilda Maranda

Main entryCrawford, Matilda Maranda
Birth placeClay, Onondaga, New York, USA
Birth date21 July 1844
Death placeToronto, Ontario
Death date24 December 1920
Birth nameMatilda Maranda Quackenbush
Alternate namesMaude Moore, M. M., Mrs. John Crawford
Married nameCrawford
Marital statusmarried
Religious affiliationBaptist; Methodist; Presbyterian
Paid workteacher (school); "neck ties" (seamstress?)
BiographyBorn in Clay, near Syracuse, New York of Germanic ancestry, Matilda Maranda Quackenbush (1844-1905) moved in 1851 with her mother, Sarah Reese (c1805-1885), and five older siblings to Prince Edward County, Ontario where she attended the nearby grammar school in Consecon Village. Sarah and the three eldest daughters were at the time employed as tailoresses, suggesting that father Garret (1792-) had died just prior to the move. That some of the Quackenbush children were born in Ontario, and the others in New York, indicates that the family frequently traversed the border, a pattern that Matilda would follow as well. Upon completing her education, Matilda went with her mother and brother to live with Quackenbush relatives in Michigan, where Matilda taught and also began to write. By her 1871 marriage to John Crawford (1840-1912), she had been an Ontario resident for three years. One of the couple's children was born in the province, in Clinton, and another in Michigan, suggesting that Matilda must have returned for a visit in the late 1870s. It is possible that a third child died young. Although child-rearing and a brief illness halted her writing, she became a steady contributor to the press after 1887, usually under the pseudonym "Maude Moore"—a name evidently bearing significance, as "Maude" was also her daughter's name. She published one volume of verse as "Mrs. John Crawford." At least a few of her poems were about temperance, seemingly a strange topic for a woman who, alongside her husband, owned a block of Newcastle buildings including a liquor store. Matilda died of a stroke in 1920, and was buried at Port Hope Union Cemetery, where both of her children were later interred as well.
Other notesNickname: Mattie or Maty (mis-transcribed as Maltie and Matta). Surname occasionally recorded as Quackenboss. Another, slightly older "Matilda Quackenbush" appears in the census records, often in the same neighbouring communities as M.M. Quackenbush; it's not known whether the two were related. The other Matilda was Canadian-born and seems to have died in 1905.
ResidencesClay, New York (1844-1850); Hillier (near Consecon), Ontario (1851); Reading, Michigan (1860); Newtonville, Ontario (1868); Clarke, Ontario (1868-1871); Clinton, Ontario (1873-1874); Armada, Michigan (1877); Clarke, Ontario (1881); Newcastle, Ontario (1891); Toronto, Ontario (1901-1905)
Primary genrespoetry
Father's nameGarret Quackenbush
Life dates of father24 December 1792, Ulster County, New York - c late 1850s; m. 1826
Father's notelabourer
Mother's nameSarah Reese
Life dates of motherc1805, New York - 30 August 1885, Newcastle, Durham, Ontario
Mother's notetailoress
Spouse 1John Crawford
Life dates of spouse 14 April 1840, Clarke, Ontario - 25 August 1912, Toronto, Ontario
Spouse 1 notefarmer; canvasser; liquor store manager; hotel proprietor (as was son John Blake Crawford)
Marriage 1 date25 October 1871
Marriage 1 placeBowmanville, Clarington, Durham, Ontario
Children number2
Children's names and datesJohn Blake (5 August 1873 - 1942), m. to Mary Selena ("Lena") Wilson; Maude Mary (25 July 1877 - after 1926), m. to Charles N. Weiss, to Anthony Cummings
Biographical referencesMoulton, THE MAGAZINE OF POETRY, VOL. 2 (1890), p. 224; 1850 United States Federal Census; 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia; 1860 United States Census; 1881 Census of Canada; 1891 Census of Canada; 1901 Census of Canada; Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928; Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947; special thanks to Paul A. Wilson for contributed research
Bibliographic referencesWatters, CHECKLIST OF CANADIAN LITERATURE...1620-1960 (1970), p. 51
Research referencescomplete
Image creditsImage from Matilda M. Crawford, SONGS OF ALL SEASONS, CLIMES AND TIMES, A MOTLEY JINGLE OF JUMBLED RHYMES (Toronto: Rose, 1890).
CopyrightThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) at Please cite Canada's Early Women Writers. SFU Library Digital Collections. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada. 1980-2014.