Lucy Maud Montgomery
L.M. Montgomery (Lucy Maud Montgomery) was born in Clifton (now New London), Prince Edward Island, on November 30, 1874, to Hugh John Montgomery and Clara Woolner Macneill. When Montgomery was 21 months old, her mother died of tuberculosis. Her father left her in the care of her mother’s parents, Alexander and Lucy Woolner Macneill of Cavendish, and moved to western Canada, where he eventually settled in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and remarried. (from the L.M. Montgomery Institute, University of P.E.I.)
Such a simple statement of facts can yield so much information…
Maud was Anne
As an only child living with an elderly couple, Montgomery found companionship in her imagination, nature, books, and writing. When she was nine, she began writing poetry and keeping a journal.
Anne of Green Gables was written when Maud was about 31 years of age. In Anne, Maud must have seen her ‘kindred spirit’. That would have allowed her to express her childhood in a way that others could understand. It took her quite a few attempts to get the book published, finally succeeding in 1908, two years after she was secretly engaged to her future husband, Rev. Ewan Macdonald. Between then and her death in 1942, Maud wrote 19 more books, setting all but one of them on Prince Edward island.
That plain Jane, little red-haired orphan grew up before the reading public’s eyes to be a powerful literary woman in her own right.
You would have thought that, with the literary success Maud achieved, she would have been a happy person. But there were a few bumps in the road, along the way.
She gave birth to three boys, but one was stillborn. That speaks volumes.
Her husband suffered from ‘religious melancholy‘. Most ministers did in those days.
(In 2010) [Montgomery’s granddaughter, Kate Macdonald] Butler wrote that reading a series on mental health in The Globe and Mail during the summer inspired her to reflect upon her own family’s history with depression. She said despite her grandmother’s great success, it is known that Montgomery suffered from depression, that she was isolated, sad and filled with worry and dread for much of her life. (Journal Pioneer)
In fact, Butler revealed, Maud Montgomery Macdonald took her own life at 67 through an overdose.