|Jane OTWELL, Detroit circa 1935|
Photo courtesy Herb OTWELL
Edna OTWELL > Edwin OTWELL > Jane ASH
Jane was born on 13 November 1847 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her parents were William ASH and Anna Maria MARKS. William had died prior to Jane’s birth. When Jane was 1 years old, Anna Maria married John ATWELL and the blended family moved to a farm near St. Mary’s, West Nissouri, Ontario. Jane appears on the 1851 census under the surname ATWELL. She did not appear on the 1861 census.
At age 17, Jane married her neighbor, 19 year old Maurice OTWELL (1845-1915), on 15 July 1865 in Perth, Ontario. After marriage, they lived with Maurice's parents on the OTWELL Farm near St. Mary's and had at least 7 children (John Franklin, William, Edwin (our ancestor), Mary Ellen HALEY, Edith PAGE, Ila May MCLEOD-YOUNIE and Victoria Jane FREISLEBEN).
After Maurice was committed in 1889 (see previous post), Jane and her children remained in the OTWELL household. Several of the older children married and moved away that year. In 1890, Jane’s mother-in-law, Mary TAYLOR-OTWELL, passed away and the OTWELLs sold the farm and moved to London, Ontario by 1891.
Maurice's father, John Franklin OTWELL, was still patriarch of the family. By 1903 John had senile dementia. He was caught stealing and sent to prison. (You'll have to wait for his upcoming post for the full story.) Just imagine what Jane and the family went through in such a short period of time - Maurice's insanity, Mary's death, loss of the farm, John Franklin's dementia and imprisonment.
Jane must have wanted a fresh start. She moved the remaining family to Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan. (One of her daughters had previously moved there.) She first appears in the 1903 Detroit directory offering furnished rooms for rent. In the 1910 census, her occupation is keeper at a rooming house. Her daughters Ila May MCLEOD and Edith PAGE were also renting there.
Jane never remarried. Maurice died in 1915. In the 1920 census, Jane was a retired widow living in her daughter’s, Mary Ellen HALEY’s, household. By 1921, she appears in the Detroit directory living at another location.
Jane died of pneumonia at home on 18 January, 1935 at age 87 years. Her son John OTWELL was the informant on her death certificate. She was laid to rest at Oakview Cemetery, Oakland County, Michigan.
Visit her on-line memorial: