Crawford, Emmaretta Cara Kimball (1829–1906)

By: Nancy Baker Jones

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: December 1, 1994

Emmaretta (Emaretta) Crawford [pseud. Cara Cardelle], compiler and possible author of Letters from an Early Settler of Texas, was born on April 13, 1829, in Wallingford, Connecticut, one of three children of Isaac and Abigail (Stevens) Kimball. Her parents died when she was a child, and Emmaretta was educated by an aunt in Massachusetts. In 1851 she traveled to Columbus, Texas, to join her brother, J. A. Kimball, a Baptist minister who operated a school. There she taught music and met William B. DeWees, an early settler. Together they collaborated on a book, first published in 1852, entitled Letters from an Early Settler of Texas; it was purportedly correspondence by DeWees that had been discovered, compiled, and published by his niece, Cara Cardelle. Doubt exists that DeWees himself wrote the letters, although his presence in Texas during the time the letters were said to have been written, 1819 to 1852, has been confirmed. Emma Crawford's son claimed she wrote the entire manuscript from DeWees's reminiscences. A written agreement between Emmaretta Kimball and DeWees, dated October 7, 1852, states that the two "have by mutual assistance written and produced" the manuscript and that Emmaretta "compiled" it. The introduction to a reprint (1968) of the book left the controversy unresolved. An earlier manuscript by the pair, "Life on a Frontier or Adventures of Will Dewey by Cara Cardelle," was apparently destroyed in a house fire in Killeen. Emmaretta Kimball married Marquis Lafayette Crawford on June 11, 1855. The couple had six children. They moved from Columbus to Salado, where Crawford died in 1903. Emmaretta died on her birthday in 1906 and was buried at Brady, Texas.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Nancy Baker Jones, “Crawford, Emmaretta Cara Kimball,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994

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