Biography of Hon. George Crawford
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The Late George Crawford, who was in the Parliament of Upper Canada, a member of the Legislative Council of Canada, and of the Senate of the Dominion, was born about 1795 in the county of Leitrim, Ireland, his father being Patrick Crawford, a farmer. His mother was Miss Jane Manse, of the county of Sligo, same country. He received only an ordinary English education; was in business for himself as a cloth merchant until 1820, when he left the “Emerald Isle,” came to Canada and halted at Trafalgar, county of Halton, Ontario. After farming there a few seasons, he removed to the township of York, continuing the same calling a short time; then sold out and became a contractor on the Rideau canal. He subsequently had contracts on the Cornwall and Beauharnois canals, being quite successful in these ventures and accumulating a competency. He settled in Brockville about 1845, and lived thereafter a comparatively easy life, aiding, however, as already intimated, in legislation for the interests of his adopted country. He first represented Brockville riding in. the parliament of Upper Canada; after the union of the two Provinces in 1841, he was in the Legislative Council; and when the several Provinces were formed into the Dominion in 1867, he was appointed Senator, a life office. In the several legislative bodies of which he was a member, he did but very little talking, being known as a worker. He had solid sense, a practical turn of mind, and made a valuable member. His politics were Conservative. He had command of a company in the rebellion (1837-38), and was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel of the incorporated militia.
Mr. Crawford held his religious connection with the Church of England, and for many years he was warden of St. Peter’s church, Brockville.
Senator Crawford was twice married, first to Margaret Brown, of Killishandra, county of Cavan, Ireland, about 1816, she dying after being the mother of six children. His second wife was Caroline Sherwood, daughter of Adiel Sherwood, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. She had fourteen children, eight of them dying young, and only five now living. Of five children by his first wife that lived to grow up (two sons and three daughters), all are dead. The two sons were very prominent men, one of them, John Crawford, being not long ago Lieut.-Governor of Ontario, and at an earlier date a member of the Dominion Parliament, and the other, James Crawford, was also at one time a member of the same legislative body, and likewise a Colonel of volunteers. He had command at Cornwall during one of the Fenian raids. The three daughters all died after being married.
Of the living sons by the second wife, the most prominent is Edward Patrick Crawford, who was educated at the University of Toronto, graduating in 1866, and has been rector of Trinity church, Brockville, for the last four or five years.
When Senator Crawford came to this country, he was accompanied by a younger brother, John Crawford, who had clerked for him in the cloth shop, and who was born in 1800. After spending one year in Canada, he went to New York city; traded there in dry goods twenty-one years; in 1843 returned to Canada, and was contractor on the St. Lawrence canals three or four years, in company with his nephew, James Crawford, mentioned above, and afterwards settled in Brockville. He was a member of the town council about a dozen years; was afterwards mayor, three times, and has been postmaster since 1858, serving the people in that capacity with great acceptance. He was for some time warden of St. Peter’s church, and is a man of unblemished life.
In May 1825, he was united in marriage with Euphemia Eliza McClean, of Ireland, and they have had eleven children, only three of them now living. One of these, Frances Augusta, is the wife of A. F. McLean, of Toronto. The other two, Euphemia Eliza and Charles Albert are single.