Benjamin Benedict Crawford (21 August 1777-26 Jan. 1859) was a farmer, justice of the peace for Kings County, and an officer with the Kings County Militia (c. 1811-1833).
Benjamin’s grandparents, John (c. 1705- c. 1770) and Jane (Henderson) Crawford, emigrated from Ireland in 1733, first settling in Connecticut, then Pound Ridge, Westchester County, New York in 1743. John and Jane had six children - Robert (1731-1777), Archibald (1733- d. 1806 at Saratoga Springs, NY), Margaret (b. 1735), Ann (b. 1737), John (1738-1818), and James (1743-1830). The sons were bequeathed their father’s property. Three sons were living at the end of the American Revolution; two emigrated to Canada. John (1738-1818) described in his claims to British agents after the war that he had been persecuted as a loyalist during the war, and his property confiscated. During the war he went to Long Island until the end, when he left New York and received a lot at Parr Town (Saint John, New Brunswick) in 1784. His claim indicates he was settled at Cumberland as of 1786.
Benjamin’s father, James (1743-1830), married Rachel Benedict (died 1817) in 1754 and farmed in the same area of Pound Ridge. During the American Revolution James joined the British at New York in 1777, serving in the corps of Guides and Pioneers. With his family needing him, he retired to Long Island at Lloyd’s Neck and did duty with other refugees. At the end of the war, he settled at Long Reach, Kings County, New Brunswick, on the Belleisle Bay, receiving a land grant for lot number 10. His neighbours on either side were Ruth Nichols and John White. James and his wife had 8 children who lived to adulthood: Agnes (1767-1794, James (1771-1854), Joel (1775-1827), Benjamin (1777-1859), Daniel (1781-1863) married 1811 to Clarissa Bostwick (1790-1816), Rachel (1783-1867) married Hamlin Bradley (son of Easter Bradley), Robert (1785-1862), and Stephen (1787-1828) married 1813 to Mary Ann Raymond (1793-1876). Many were buried at Trinity Anglican Church in Kingston, New Brunswick.
Benjamin married Jane Catherine Lyon (1790-1866) on Dec. 15, 1805, daughter of loyalist Joseph Lyon, and had the following children together: Ann (b. 20 March 1807), Benjamin Wallace (b. 7 Dec. 1808), Joseph Benedict (b. 28 Oct. 1810), Eliza Jane (b. 17 Jan. 1814), Clarissa (b. 21 Aug. 1816), James Augustus (b. 19 Oct. 1818), George and Charles (b. 11th? Sept. 1821), Mary Caroline (b. 5 July 1824), Charlotte Catharine (b. 25 Aug. 1826?), Daniel Nathan (b. 4 Feb. 1829), and Emily Augusta (b. 1834). In 1796 Benjamin’s father petitioned the government asking for land for his sons who were “anxious to become farmers.” In 1818 land was granted to Benjamin and his brothers, called the middle lands between the Kennebecasis River and Belleisle Bay– Robert (lot 1), Daniel (lot 2), Benjamin B. (300 acres on lot 3), Joel (lot 4), Hamlin Bradley (lot 5), James (lot 6), and Stephen (lot 7). From his diary he appears to have farmed fruits, vegetables, grains, cattle and sheep in the then known Parish of Kingston. He recorded that this family set off the 6th of June 1836 for Canada. He took up land in North Oxford Township, Upper Canada (now Zorra, Ontario), settling on lot 14 of the Second Concession. He mentions some of his sons were already there. He had, in 1799, claimed 200 acres in the same township, First Concession, which his eldest son Benjamin Wallace took up previous to his arriving. He is buried at Ingersoll Rural Cemetery.
Benjamin’s wife’s father, Joseph Lyon, farmer, was a neighbour of his father’s on lot number 8 in Long Reach, and had previously been an American loyalist from Fairfield, Connecticut. He served in the Associated Loyalists Regiment during the war and removed to New Brunswick thereafter with his wife Jane (d. 1833) and 3 children on the vessel the Union.
The Diaries follow the life of Benjamin Benedict Crawford, and include a trip to Oxford, Ontario, 1800; and yearly diaries, 1810-1859 (excluding 1849) as a farmer in Kings County, New Brunswick until the end of 1835, and in Oxford County, Ontario thereafter. After Benjamin’s death in 1859, his son Daniel continued the diary until the end of the year. The 1800 diary shows places and their associated distances, with some expenditures. The diaries show the work and rhythms of the agricultural seasons. Daily entries concern the weather; farm routines; community social and work activities; comings and goings of family and neighbours; vital statistics and health matters pertaining to family and neighbourhood members; inventories and accounts; and to a much lesser extent, Kings County court sessions; the Rebellion of 1837; elections; services in the Anglican church; and recipes for cures to ailments. Main subjects for 19th century Ontario and New Brunswick include climate; farmers, farm life and agriculture; autobiographies and diaries; social life and customs (social and local history); Upper Canada settlement and immigration– 1830s; and family history.
At the start or end of many of the years, various data is tabulated to show the performance of the farm in relation to production and sales. Using 1812 in New Brunswick to illustrate, data is provided for sheep, butter, geese, cattle, fowl, hogs, hay, cattle, horses and sheep for different years; as well as, a tally of the amount of road work done by various individuals, instructions for the dance “The Jeles [Jealous] Husband”, and a list of his children’s birth dates and times. Using 1843 at Ontario, data is provided at the start – 1842 data for peas, barley, cattle, horses and sheep, and for 1843 – eggs and butter, as well as amount of cows to calve in 1844; and at the end of 1843 – data for apple trees grafted and seeded – where on the farm placed, from whom gotten, names of the different varieties; barley, fowl, oats, wheat, and corn; and for cloth his wife Jane had woven. At the start of 1836 is a copy of a letter written to his brother James back in New Brunswick explaining briefly how they are doing in Ontario and why he will not be returning.
Reel 1 - 1800, 1810-1830
Reel 2 - 1831-1853
Reel 3 - 1854-1859
**See Electronic Finding Aid section for a content description for the years 1800, 1810-1811.