Maud Jeffries

Maud Evelyn Craven Jeffries was born December 14, 1869 at Willow Farm, near present day Lula.  She was the daughter of James Kenilworth Jeffries and his wife Elizabeth Field. James Jeffries grew up in Coahoma County and first made an appearance on a U.S. Census there in 1850.  He was with his mother and brother.  Jeffries was living at Mound Place, Mississippi on the plantation of Berryman Weathers and was living as a laborer.  By 1869, he was married.  James K. Jeffries next appears on the 1880 U.S. Census living in Beat 1, Coahoma County.  James K. is listed with his wife and four children.  One of them was Maud.  The enterprising Jeffries was listed as postmaster in several places in Tunica County starting at Crews on Feb. 10, 1889, State Levee in 1900, and then in Tunica County.  A small community grew up around his farm called Jeffries in Southern Tunica County.  It was on the county line.  He moved his family to Memphis by 1900 and was listed as a planter in Shelby County.  He passes away in 1914 and his will goes into probate.

Maud attended obtained an education at Miss Higbee’s School in Nashville, TN where she too part in a number of theatrical productions.  In 1889, she moved to New York to further her acting career.  On December 4, 1890, she made her London debut in Wilson Barrett’s production of “The People’s Idol.”  Maud Jeffries soon became the leading lady of that show and, after returning home, created the part of Mercia in Barrett’s play “The Sign of the Cross” at St. Louis on March 288,1895.  By the next year, she was headlining it in London.

Maud in a play

Jeffries became known for her grace, beaut, and air of innocence.  She would play tow more seasons in a series of roles in different plays until joining the Herbert Beerbohm Tree Company.  Maud then visited Australia from 1903 to 1906.  She opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne on September 12, 1903 in a production of Tolstoy’s novel “Resurrection.”  The papers noted her for for an excellent combination of realism and restraint.

Maud Jeffries 1905

On October 25, 1904, Maud Jeffries married James Bunbury Nott.  He was a fellow actor.  They retired after her last show ended.  She visited the United States once before settling on her husband’s property in Australia.  Her life in New South Wales was a secluded one with her family.  They had a son born in 1908 and a daughter who died in infancy.  Maud performed one last time for charity in 1910 in a play called “Pygmalion and Galatea.”  She died September 26, 1946 of cancer and is buried at the Anglican Section of Waverly cemetery in Australia.

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