Those that came before me suffered hardships that I’ll never face, but their stories can still inspire me. This is a story of unimaginable fortitude, perseverance, and survival, this is the story of Jane Wilson.
Jane Adeline Smith was born in Allston, Illinois on June 12, 1837. She was one of ten children of William and Jane Cox Smith. In 1846, the Smith family moved to northeast Texas, near Paris. One of the first tragedies of Jane’s life occurred there when both of her parents died within one day of each other.
Now, orphans, the children were left in the care of various neighbors. Jane lived with neighbors until she married a young bachelor, James Wilson. James and Jane were married on February 1, 1853. She was 16 he was approximately 20. In a newspaper interview, Jane remarked they were crazy to marry so young.
The newlyweds decided to head west to try their luck in the gold mines of California. After much preparation and planning, on April 6, 1853 Jane and her husband, her father-in-law George Wilson, three of her brothers-in-law headed west in a wagon train that consisted of 52 men, 12 women, several children and twenty two wagons.
The adventure west would take them on a tragic journey and best told by Jane herself. Click on the article below to read Jane’s incredible story. Reprinted in 1972 from an original interview of Jane in 1854.