Suffragist, Club Woman, Lecturer, Musician and Poet: Ola Maude (Gordon) Roby of Bristol, New Hampshire (1868-1927)

Photograph of Maude (Gordon) Roby from the “History of the town of Bristol, Grafton County, Vol 2, printed by R.W. Musgrove, 1904. Colorized by the blog editor. photo page 360

She was born Ola Maude Gordon on 22 January 1868 in Bristol NH, to Frank Augustus & Ellen Marantha (Simonds) Gordon. Her father was a carpenter and builder, and manufacturer of mill supplies. She married 28 July 1888 in Bristol, Grafton Co. NH to Austin H. Roby, son of Gustavus & Mary M. (Haywood) Roby.

She was a dynamic and talented woman who used her soprano singing voice, and her charismatic charm to educate and entertain. The newspapers were full of notices of her performances and that she was pro-suffrage

She had a particularly unusual understanding of music that she shared in an interview with the Daily News, New York, NY on 26 May 1925, published on page 106.  Music, we have always believed is an appeal to the imagination and emotions. If it does not succeed in doing that, it does not fulfill its purpose. Maude Gordon-Roby, a psychologist of Malden, Mass., presents another interpretation of the art. She says: “We believe in music as medicine. We believe that man, being vibration, and music being vibration, there is medicinal value in the correlation of the two. Therefore, when the vibration is slow and mournful and the listener tunes in to a dirge or a funeral hymn, his vibrations are lowered; he is made sad, his spirit is dejected, his health is impaired. Life is growth, energy, enthusiasm. Music, to be of medicinal value, should bring the listener these qualities. How nice it would be if you could educate all the other broadcasters to eliminate, as far as possible, low vibratory forces, and thus increase the health of your radio audiences the country over.”

A fairly complete biography of her life can be found in Whos Who in America, Vol 1, John W. Leonard. 1914, page. 696, as follows: “ROBY, Maude Gordon (Mrs. Austin H. Roby), 104 Washington St., Malden Mass. Musician, lecturer, writer; b. Bristol NH dau Francis Augustus and Ellen M. (Simonds) Gordon (a direct descendant of Alexander Gordon of Scotland, who served in Gen. Monk’s Army, and upon his release sailed for America; also of Sherburn Sanborn of Revolutionary fame); ed. by private teachers and at the New

Postcard photograph of the Minot Sleeper Library in Bristol NH. Colorized by the blog editor.

England Conservatory of Music, Boston, diploma 1909; at seventeen years of age was elected librarian of Minot Sleeper Library, Bristol N.H. (youngest librarian in the State); m. Bristol N.H. July 28, 1888, Austin H. Roby; one son, Donald Gordon Roby, b. Oct 22, 1889 (now studying at Boston Univ. Medical School). Sang and recited at public events from childhood; age 21 removed with the family to Boston and continue to study music, piano, harmony, voice, and also to lecture on music before clubs and schools. Favors woman suffrage. New Thought religion. Mem. Irish Folk-Song Soc. of London, Eng. Recreation: The drama. Charter mem. Professional Woman’s Club of Boston; mem. New England Woman’s Press Ass’n Boston.”

Maude (Gordon) Roby’s creativity spilled over into poetry.  In the midst of the “Great War” (now called World War One), she composed this poem that was reprinted in The Times Dispatch (Richmond Virginia) 16 Sep 1917, Sun Page 16 (the original from the New York Sun newspaper).

To My Soldier.
 by Maude (Gordon) Roby

Dear Love, I wanted you to know
That ever in my heart I go
And stand beside you there!

Amid the noise, the fling shell;
Amid the smoke; amid the Hell;
I stand beside you there!

My quiv’ring soul knows but one prayer–
“O, keep my soldier in thy care–
God stand beside him there!”

Circa 1910 postcard of Central Square in Bristol NH.

Upon her death, The Boston Globe, Boston MA, 1 Oct 1927 page 3 published the following obituary. “MRS. MAUDE GORDON ROBY. DEAD AT MALDEN, AGED 58.
MALDEN, Sept. 30–Mrs. Maude Gordon Roby, wife of Ex-Alderman Austin H. Roby, died today at her home, 105 Washington st. She was 58 years old, a native of Bristol, N.H. and had served as librarian of the public library in that town. She had lived here 25 years and was a member of the Old and New, the Professional Women’s Club, D.A.R., New England Press Club, the W.C.T.U. and Trinitarian Congregational Church. She leaves her husband and one son, Donald G. Roby, now on the Pacific Coast.


Alexander Gordon, b. 4 Aug 1635 Aberdeen Scotland, d. 1697 Exeter NH
Military service 1651, England, the Scottish army of Charles II, captured and deported to the American Colonies in 1651. Resided at first Boston MA.  He married 1659 to Margaret Mary “Hannah” Lissen/Lysson. She b 1640.  She m2d) John Bean. Alexander Gordon’s Military Service: 1675 enlisted colonists to help defend in Prince Phillips War. In 1695 (aged 60) again enlisted in Capt. Kingsley Hall’s Company in King William’s War.
Children of Alexander & Mary (Lissen) Gordon:
1. Elizabeth Gordon b 23 Feb 1664
2. Nicholas Gordon b 23 March 1666
3. Mary Gordon b 22 May 1668
4. John Gordon b 26 Oct 1670
5. James Gordon b 22 July 1673
6. Alexander Gordon b 1 Dec 1675
7. +Thomas Gordon, b 20 Nov 1678
8. Daniel Gordon b 1682

———-Next Generation———–

Thomas Gordon b 20 November 1678 in Exeter NH; died 27 May 1762 in Exeter NH;  He m 22 Nov 1699 in Exeter NH to Elizabeth Harriman. She was born in 1675, and d. after 1728.  Thomas designated part of his land on Gordon Hill as a burying ground to the Town of Exeter NH per his Dec. 2 1757 will.
SEE History of Exeter New Hampshire, by Charles Henry Bell, Boston, 1888.
Children of Thomas & Elizabeth (Harriman) Gordon:
1. Timothy Gordon, b 19 Aug 1700; d. in infancy.
2. Thomas Gordon b 24 Aug 1701 Exeter NH
3. Diana Gordon, born 26 Jan 1703 Exeter NH
4. Daniel Gordon b 1 Dec 1704
5. Abigail, b 28 May 1707
6. +Benoni Gordon, b 1709 Exeter NH
7. Timothy Gordon b 22 March 1716
8. James Gordon
9. Hannah Gordon born after 1722 Exeter NH
10. Nathaniel Gordon, b 25 March 1728 Exeter NH; married Elizabeth Smith of Kingston NH.
11. Benjamin Gordon

———-Next Generation———–

Benoni Gordon Sr., born 1709 Exeter NH, d 1769; he m. to Abigail Smith, daughter of Ithiel & Mary (Clark) Smith. She was born in 1711 in Exeter NH and died 30 April 1788 in NH.
Children of Benoni & Abigail (Smith) Gordon:
1. Alexander Gordon b 1734 in New Hampton NH
2. Mary Gordon, b 1738 New Hampton NH; d. 1822
3. Abigail Gordon, b 1738 in New Hampton NH, and died 1784 in Candia, NH. She married Edward Crichett and had 3 children, Benoni, Mehitable and Sarah.
4. Tabitha Gordon, b 1742
5. +Enoch Gordon b. 12 April 1745 in Poplin NH (now called Fremont).
6. Josiah Gordon b 1748
7. Benoni Gordon b 1751, d. 1823
8. Elizabeth Gordon b 1761, d. 1857

———-Next Generation———–

Enoch Gordon born 12 April 1745, d. 1829; m. 1st) 1766 to Abigail Ladd; He married 2d) 1778 to Sarah “Polly” Carter. She was b 12 April 1745 and d. 1829
Children of Enoch & Abigail (Ladd) Gordon:
1. +William Gordon, b 27 March 1768 NH
2. Sarah Gordon, b 10 Aug 1770 NH
3. Eliphalet Gordon b 6 Nov 1772 NH
4. Stephen Ladd Gordon, b 25 Sep 1779
Children of Enoch & Sarah “Polly” (Carter) Gordon:
5. Benoni Gordon, b 20 January 1781
6. Enoch Gordon b 25 Aug 1785
7. Abigail Gordon b after 1785 New Hampton NH
8. Clark Whittier Gordon b 21 May 1788 New Hampton NH
9. Nathaniel S. Gordon b 25 Dec 1791 New Hampton NH
10. Alexander Gordon, b 15 January 1793 New Hampton NH
11. Daniel Gordon b after 1794, New Hampton NH
12. Elizabeth Gordon, b after 1795 New Hampton NH

———-Next Generation———–

William Gordon born 27 March 1768. He married 27 March 1788 in Kingston NH to Joannah “Hannah” Ladd, they reportedly being “of Brentwood.” She was born 7 Feb 1768, daughter of Daniel & Susannah (Dow) Ladd.  William Gordon, of Exeter, was a Revolutionary soldier, and is credited with eight years of service in the Continental Army, from which service he received a pension.  In 1820 & 1830 US Census he is living in New Hampton, Strafford Co. NH.
Children of William & Joannah (Ladd) Gordon: [may be more]
1. William Gordon, born 17 April 1791 New Hampton NH; died 1 April 1852 New Hampton NH. He married 2 Nov 1812 in New Hampton NH to Esther Merrill. She was born 27 Jan 1791 in Orange NH and d. 9 Jan 1857 in New Hampton NH. Children: Laurana, Mary, Sally, Sylvira Ann (dy), Betsey, Joanna L. and Eliza Jane.
2. +Stephen Ladd Gordon, b 8 March 1806 New Hampton NH.

———-Next Generation———–

Stephen Ladd Gordon b 8 March 1806 in New Hampton NH and d. 5 Dec 1880 in Alexandria NH. He married April 1841 to Betsy Ann Sanborn. He was a farmer opposite Pleasant Street Cemetery in Bristol NH, and later in South Alexandria NH. The death certificate of Stephen L. Gordon who died age 74 in Alexandria NH, shows father is William Gorden.
Children of Stephen Ladd & Betsey Ann (Sanborn) Gordon:
1. +Frank Augustus Gordon, b 9 Aug 1843 Bristol NH
2. Martha Bartlett Gordon, b 2 Jan 1849 Bristol NH; d. 24 June 1865 in Bristol NH.

———-Next Generation———–

Frank Augustus “Francis A.” Gordon born 9 Aug 1843 in Bristol NH, and died 26 July 1918 in Pulaski Co Arkansas. He is buried in Homeland Cemetery, Bristol NH. He m. 10 Dec 1863 in Bristol NH to Ellen Marantha Simonds, daughter of Sanders & Susan Corliss (Gordon) Simonds. She was b 1 Apr 1845 in Alexandria NH and d. 17 May 1924.
He was a Civil War veteran, enlisting 1862, discharged 1863, Private during the American Civil War, in the 6th MA Vol Infantry. He was a carpenter and builder, and manufacturer of mill supplies.
SEE History of the Town of Bristol, Grafton Co. NH, Vol. 2
Child of Frank A. & Ellen M. (Simonds) Gordon:
1. Ola Maude “Daisy” Gordon, born 22 January 1868 in Bristol NH. This story is about her, see above. [called “Daisy” in the 1880 U.S. Census, must be a nickname].


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4 Responses to Suffragist, Club Woman, Lecturer, Musician and Poet: Ola Maude (Gordon) Roby of Bristol, New Hampshire (1868-1927)

  1. Pingback: August 2020: Celebrating a Women’s Suffrage Anniversary in New Hampshire | Cow Hampshire

  2. Amy says:

    I like her theory about music and health. I bet there are scientific studies that support some of what she believed.

  3. Jennifer Day says:

    Once again, you list one of my 8th great-grandfathers, today -Alexander Gordon, and I must figure out how I’m related to the individual in the current week’s spotlight. Now that I’ve mapped her out, Ola Maude Gordon Roby is my 6th cousin 3x removed. Thank you for once again flushing out my family tree. I have cited this blog page as a source for the new individuals on my tree. Thank you.

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