Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Lillian Brown Crawford, 1865-1937

By Skye Roberson, graduate student at the University of Memphis, Memphis, TN

Lillian Brown Crawford was born in 1865 in Madison County, Mississippi to James H. and Sophronia Perdue Brown. She married James Martin Heathman in 1882. They had two children, Anna A. and James M. Heathman Jr. Her husband died in 1885. She then married James A. Crawford in 1889. They had five children: Mastin D., Julia P., James A. Jr., Lilly M., and Francis W. Crawford. The 1910 census indicates that the Crawfords had a large household in Memphis. Besides the couple and their children, Anna Brown, Oron Zibbs, and Lee Ella Zibbs were listed as residents of the Crawford home. Anna Brown was Lilly's unmarried sister. Oron Zibbs was a coachman and Lee Ella Zibbs, a cook.

In 1906, the conference of Southern Women Suffragists was held December 19th and 20th in Memphis. The opening session convened at the Peabody Hotel and the afternoon session was hosted by Lillian Crawford at her residence on Linden Street. This conference marked the revival of suffrage activity in Memphis. It was at this conference that the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association was re-organized with Lide Meriwether elected president.

Lillian was a homemaker throughout her life. Little is known about her work in the suffrage movement outside the 1906 conference. Later in life, she spent time traveling across the US and Canada.


1910 United States Federal Census. Ancestry,

Bond, Beverly, and Sarah Wilkerson-Freeman. Tennessee Women: Their Lives and Times Volume 2. University of Georgia Press: 2015, 232.

"Lillian (Brown) Crawford." Ancestry,

"Lillie Brown Crawford." Find A Grave,

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Susan Brownell Anthony, Ida Husted Harper, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, eds., History of Women's Suffrage Volume 6. Ayer Company: 1985, 596. [LINK to TN state report]

Tennessee Deaths and Burials Index, 1874-1955. Ancestry,

Poole, Lou. Find A Grave,

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