For those who have been looking to read David Cragg’s amazing diaries, here they are! David Cragg’s Diaries.
David Cragg would claim no spectacular accomplishment in his life. Just an ordinary man, he carried out his life in England’s countryside, like the humanity around him. He took a wife, had eight children, and worked to feed his family. He experienced profound joy and suffered great sorrow – things that all mankind encounters and endures.
What makes David Cragg’s story so incredible lays in three simple, yet jaw-dropping facts. Firstly, David was born in April 1769, four months before Napoleon Bonaparte made his entrance into the world. Secondly, David, well-schooled in the Quaker faith, faithfully wrote about his daily life from the tender age of eighteen until just before his death forty years later. Thirdly, I have a copy of his diaries.
From the minutiae that made up daily life to sweeping world events, David recorded it all. He chronicled day-to-day weather reports, and his growing displeasure in the pettiness of his church. He wrote about the impact of the Napoleonic Wars to the tragic consequences of the Industrial Revolution. He recounted the devastation in his family borne by a grand consumption, scarlet fever, and the dreaded lake fever.
Widowed and penniless, David sailed from his beloved England with his children, enduring a harrowing trip across the Atlantic, and emigrating to Upper Canada in 1833.
David’s humble diary entries offer an unbelievable opportunity, to not only read about his life, but to sneak an intimate glimpse into the world as it was over 230 years ago.
I started out stating David was an ordinary man.
I take it back.
David Cragg was extraordinary.
The Life of David Cragg: His Diaries
Read about David Cragg’s life as told through his descendant Georgina Fandrey who transcribed his diaries, adding her own reflections.
David Cragg’s Harrowing Adventure up the St. Lawrence Rapids, 1833
David Cragg climbed aboard a decrepit Durham boat at Montreal with his exhausted family in June, 1833. While they already had survived the perilous journey across the North Atlantic in a storm-battered sailing ship, their trip was far from over. The treacherous La Chine and Cascade Rapids west of Montreal awaited…
A Rare Snapshot in Time: Toronto in 1833
David Cragg landed at the docks of York (Toronto) at ten o’clock in the evening of June 17, 1833. He piled their meagre but treasured belongings on the wharf, and his oldest son, Isaac guarded the boxes while David and his younger children sought shelter at a public house for the night. David was about to discover if leaving England for the New World had been a wise decision. Did the streets of Muddy York offer hope for the Cragg family, or more despair?
David’s Great Grandfather, Timothy Cragg (1657 – 1724) Speaks Up
Timothy Cragg was born the second day of the tenth month, 1657 in Wyersdale, England. Remarkably, he was not only literate but he took the time to write his life story before he died. He wrote about his conscription into the military and being forced to fight for a King and Monarch he didn’t believe in. He wrote about his personal joys and sorrows including the birth of his 11 children. Three little ones died.
Sadly, infant mortality and war were not uncommon during the era in which he lived…