Entertainer and PhilanthropistLotta Crabtree began her career as a singer, dancer and actress at a very young age. She would go on to become one of the wealthiest and most beloved American entertainers of the late 19th century. From her beginnings as a 6-year-old until her retirement at the age of 45, she was called The Nation's Darling.
Image: Lotta Crabtree in 1868
She was born Charlotte Mignon Crabtree on November 7, 1847 in New York City to British immigrants Mary Ann Livesey Crabtree, an upholsterer, and John Ashworth Crabtree, a book seller. Her father left for San Francisco in 1851, seeking his fortune in the California Gold Rush.
A year later Mary Ann sold the book shop, and she and Lotta took a ship to the Isthmus of Panama in those pre-canal days and crossed by land before picking up a second ship for the journey to Northern California, where they would meet John at the town of Grass Valley. John, however, was not at the docks to meet them.