Born in Edinburgh on the 18th of May, 1836, her father, James Banks Tod, was an Edinburgh merchant; her mother, Maria Isabella Waddell, was originally from Co. Monaghan and, apparently, a very strong and independently minded woman in her own right, for it was Maria Isabella who educated her daughter at home in Edinburgh.
By the 1860s both women were living in Belfast, though sadly Maria Isabella passed away in 1877.
For a time Isabella earned her living by writing for several popular newspapers of the time, most notably the Belfast based Northern Whig, although she was also a leading contributor to the Dublin University Magazine and The Banner of Ulster.
Isabella was an intelligent, diligent and articulate lady. A fiercely proud Ulster-Scot.
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