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THE STORY AS I KNOW IT
Elizabeth Foe was born in London not christened on June 19, 1659 at St. Giles, Cripplegate in London England. Her father was James Foe. Her mother was Alice, last name unknown. Elizabeth's brother was Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe. He changed his name to Defoe, stating it was a return to the Flemish version of the family name. St. Giles was just beyond the walls of northern London.
In 1705 when Daniel Defoe on account of his persistent writing upon the exciting subjects of the times was compelled to seek asylum under the roof of this widowed sister, Elizabeth Maxwell, in the city of London. This was in a chapter titled The Defoe Family written by Mrs. Mary E Ireland for the History of Cecil County by George Johnston. This further confirms that Elisabeth married Mr. Maxwell, whose first name is unknown, about 1685. She was widowed by 1705.
They had at least one child, Elizabeth Maxwell. She was five years old when Daniel Defoe came to live with them. The daughter left London suddenly in 1718/9. It is reported in the April 1933 issue of the General Magazine and Historical chronicle, an article Survival of Penn's Original Forest by Edward E. Wildman that Elizabeth Maxwell was despondent because her mother did not approve of the young man to whom she had become engaged. When she heard of a ship that was leaving for America she ran abroad without a word from anyone. Eight years later when she wrote from her new home in Calvert Maryland, she was told that her mother had died years before, probably about 1720-22.
Elizabeth Foe Maxwell left a will leaving her daughter some good pieces of furniture. Daniel Defoe sent them to America asking that she preserve them carefully, because it had come from their Flemish ancestors who had sought refuge under the banner of Queen Elizabeth from the tyranny of Phillipe.
It seems very likely that Mr. Maxwell had died before 1718 because he plays no part in the story.
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Date Last Edited: 1/1/1998