Margaret Eleanor Rhodes Crocker (1822-1901)
Margaret, the youngest of twelve children, was born shortly after the death of her father. When her mother also passed away, Margaret went to live with a married sister, Anne Bender, in South Bend, Indiana. Here she sang in the local choral group, which is where she met Edwin and Mary Crocker. Following Mary's death, Margaret accepted Edwin's marriage proposal and joined him in the treacherous voyage to California.
During most of her married years, Margaret's activities were devoted to family, church and the community. Like her husband, she was an ardent abolitionist and devoted time and money to charitable causes. After her husband's death in 1875, Margaret emerged as a social and civic leader. Her most significant philanthropic act was to present the
"Crocker Art Gallery" and the bulk of its collections to the City of Sacramento and the newly formed California Museum Association in May 1885. She maintained an active interest in the Gallery through membership on the CMA Board, and she provided scholarships to students attending art school in the Crocker galleries.
During the next several years, Margaret maintained residences in Sacramento, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles and New York. In 1900, she donated her Sacramento home to the Peniel Rescue Mission, her last public gift to charity. She died on December 1, 1901 in New York, and her ashes were returned to Sacramento to be placed in the family plot at the City Cemetery.