by Lucy Maud Montgomery, 1874-1942, Prince Edward Island. Come, rest awhile, and let us idly strayIn glimmering valleys, cool and far away. Come from the …
One of Canada’s most cherished authors, Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on November 30, 1874 in Clifton, Prince Edward Island. She was the daughter of Hugh John Montgomery and Clara Woolner Macneill Montgomery.
Shortly after giving birth Maud’s mother was stricken with tuberculosis. As her condition worsened Hugh John moved the family back to Cavendish, to the home of his in-laws where his mother-in-law could help tend his wife and child. The Macneill’s ran the local post office out of their house and helped care for their sick daughter and infant child. Clara succumbed to the illness on September 14, 1876 at the age of twenty-three, Maud was not yet two years old. Year’s later Maud would speak of remembering her mother’s wake and how she reached down and felt the coldness of her mother’s cheek.
After his wife died, Hugh John sold his business and spent most of his time traveling. In 1884 he moved to Saskatchewan, leaving ten year old Maud in the care of her grandparents, Lucy and Alexander Macneill. Hugh John married Mary Anne McCrae in 1887 when Maud was thirteen. Growing up under an atmosphere of strict rules and discipline by her elderly grandparents, Maud became an avid reader and began to write.
In 1889, at the age of fifteen Maud went to live with her father, stepmother and their two small children. It was a hard time for Maud, a new home, unable to get along with her new stepmother and giving up her schooling in order to care for her new siblings. It was during this time in Saskatchewan that she sent a poem to the Daily Patriot, a local newspaper. Her first published piece was On Cape Le Force. After a year with her father, homesickness caused Maud to return to Prince Edward Island and her grandparents.