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Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.

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Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History


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Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History

A traveling researcher engages people and places from Britain's past and present, drawing comparisons and contrasts between past and present for today's reader.

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Crow/Crowe Family History from Canada

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 15, 2014

 Well, we always knew that the Crow/Crowe family settled in Peterborough, Ontario, when they emigrated from County Monaghan, Ireland, and then, a generation later hired a train along with the McCracken family and migrated to St. Paul, Nebraska, near Grand Island.  

And Stan had long said that when he had a chance he wanted to get to Peterborough to see what he could find about his ancestors. That chance finally came and today we learned fascinating information about the Crow(e) family history.
Our first stop was the Peterborough Museum and Archives where an archivist gave us the background narrative of the early settlement of the area and pointed out other places to visit. Key to the story is Peter Robinson, a Yorkshire man whose family first emigrated to Virginia in the 1600's. Being Loyal to the Crown they moved to Peterborough in 1776. 
Robinson saw the need for more settlers in his new home and, being an excellent communicator, convinced Parliament back in Westminster to support his plan to bring 2000 settlers over under his brother's care. The plan proved almost too successful. Robinson recorded that "To choose 2000 individuals out of 50,000 who were anxious to emigrate was a very difficult task."
In 1825 handbills detailing the terms of the English government's offer were posted throughout southern Ireland promising the settlers would be conveyed at public charge with provision furnished during the voyage and for one year after location upon their respective lots. Farming utensils would also be furnished "as absolutely necessary". Those selected were to be male, above 18 years of age, not exceeding 45 years old. They would receive lands in Upper Canada of 70 acres, to which they could add 30 acres later.
Christopher Crowe, who came to Canada about 1831, under similar terms just made the cut as he was in his early 40's. He settled in County Dummer northeast of Peterborough near Stoney Lake.
Indeed, there is a Crowe's landing on Stoney Lake and McCarcken's Landing nearby. Little wonder that Christopher's grandson  Christopher Wellington married Susanna McCracken, as their lands were close to each other. We also spotted a Crow River and Crowe Valley, but haven't verified their connection to the family.
The next goal was to locate grave sites. The archivist explained that bodies had been moved from the old Confederation Cemetery to make room for the building of the Armory and War Memorial. (At least, they were suppose to have been moved.) So she recommended we inquire at the Lakeside Cemetery.
We were exceedingly fortunate that that cemetery maintains an office with all their files on a computer. In a matter of minutes we had a map marking the location of what is apparently a memorial, not an actual tombstone, for several generations of Crowes.
Stan found his great, great grandfather on the front side of the memorial:
 In memory of Charles Crowe
Born at Scotts House, Co. Monaghan, Ireland
Dec. 18th 1832  Died Sept 2nd 1888
Margaret Jane Hall, his wife,
Born at Latta-opple, Co. Cavan Ireland
In the year 1838, died Dec. 1st 1890.
Blessed are the dead who died in the Lord.
Then one last stop at the Hutchinson House Historical Society to buy books of the county history. It turned out that Erin, our most helpful hostess, had Crowes in her family tree— a somewhat cousin still living in Peterborough. 

Donna Fletcher Crow, Novelist of British History, has written more than 50 books specializing in British Christianity. These books include: The Monastery Murders, clerical mysteries; Lord Danvers Investigates, Victorian true-crime; The Elizabeth and Richard series, literary suspense; and Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England. She loves research and sharing you-are-there experiences with her readers.

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Reader Comments:

My great grandparents in Peterborough, ON were Ida and Sid Crow. They had two daughters, Eva and Helen. Eva married a white. Helen married a Branson.
-cbranson, May 17, 2017

What a neat read! My 5X great-grandfather was Christopher Crowe. Thanks for sharing. :)
-tarface, December 9, 2018

My grandfather was E.J. Crowe, Windsor, Ontario CA, from a very large Crowe family in Canada. I know that E.J. and my grandmother made numerous trips back and forth to the UK in the 1920's. I have only recently confirmed that we are Crowes and wonder how we all might be connected. I have found any number of DNA cousins on ancestral sites.
-PCrowe, September 13, 2020

The Crow's in my family are spelled without an 'E' at the end.
-cbranson, September 27, 2020

Sorry, it was Phy.llis and Helen Crow
-catherine Branson, October 9, 2020

In our family the Crow and Crowe spellings have been used indiscriminately through the line. I think that's typical of the language--spellings simply were not standardized (even for names) until early in the 20th century.
-Donna Fletcher Crow, October 14, 2020

Thank you for this wonderful information! I would like to find out more about the Crowes in Canada, and where my grandfather Edwin or Edway James Crowe was born. As well as who is parents were. Thank you again, so very much. P(Crowe) Fearheller
-pfearheller, October 14, 2020

The books we purchased in Peterborough, Canada, when researching my husband's family are:

Peterborough Historical Atlas, 1825-1875, ed. A.O.C. Cold, Corporation of the County of Peterborough, l988

Through the Years in Douro 1822-1967, ed. J. Alex. Edmison, A. D. Newson Co., Peterborough, Ontario, 1978

The Early Settlement of Peterborough County, T. W. Poole, John Deyell Co., Lindsay, Ontario, 1982

Origins: The History of Dummer Township, Jean Murray Cole, Township of Dummer, 1983

We purchased them at the historical society museum in Peterborough, Ontario. This is what I found online: although, it doesn't look like the place we visited. Perhaps they have a new location.

I checked the indexes in Origins and Through the Years (the others don't have indexes, but do offer some extensive lists which I didn't have time to go through). Unfortunately, I didn't find an Edwin or Edway James Crowe. listed in the Robinson Plantation. J. J. Crowe was the closest I found.

These books deal only with a very small area--the Robertson Plantation and Dummer Township.

I'm sorry I didn't find anything more specific for you. All the best in your search!

-Donna Fletcher Crow, October 15, 2020

Hello Donna,
I just read about your visit and research. You might be interested to know that one of Stan's relatives, Les Crowe, was an impressive paddler in "marathon canoeing" events and was inducted into the Peterborough Sports Hall of Fame. He lived at the farm next to Crowe's Landing, and I remember seeing him paddle on Stoney Lake. He was a marvel of smooth, powerful movement. He was a talented builder and was involved with the building of several cottages on Stoney Lake. Les Crowe also built his own canoes out of wood, epoxy, and fibreglass. I was lucky enough, while growing up, to spend my summers paddling one of them. It has left me with a lifelong enjoyment of gliding efficiently over water.
-Dave, July 8, 2021

Here is a link I meant to add earlier:

-Dave, July 8, 2021

Dear Dave,
My husband and I were both delighted with this account of his relative--maybe some sort of great uncle once or twice removed?? We were especially delighted to note that his middle name was Christopher--the Irish second (?) greatgrandfather from whom the family is all descended. I had such fun telling our 3 grandsons who live locally about their relative because next week they are going to Boy Scout camp and hope to win their canoeing merit badge. Let's hope the talent runs in the family!
Thank you so much for sharing!!

-Donna, July 10, 2021

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