Susannah Maxwell

Fifteen Minutes

Review the details of your Case Study’s life together. Did the class find anything surprising? Did they make any assumptions that were later challenged? Is there anything specific about their Case Study that they want to know?

  • Susannah Maxwell was born 10 March 1805 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States of America
  • Maxwell was born to free Black parents, but had to flee to New York State in 1851 after slavecatchers tried to kidnap her and other free people who lived in her town
  • In 1858 Maxwell came with her family, which included her daughter Matilda (Tillie), to Toronto. In 1871, after having difficulties finding work, her family moved to Richmond Hill
  • Maxwell was married to a man named Henry, but he died, leaving her to raise their children
  • Maxwell attended the Presbyterian church in Richmond Hill on Yonge Street
  • Towards the end of her life, Susannah was a notable local figure, and her milestone birthdays were reported on in newspapers across Canada and the United States 
  • When Susannah died, she was 117. Her funeral service was conducted by Richard Amos Ball of the British Methodist Episcopal Church from ‘the Ward’ currently being excavated in downtown Toronto