Wednesday, March 04, 2020

#52Ancestors - Strong Women

This week's post is about my great-grandmother Nancy Jane Wiley Hill Hacker Hill.  She has always been an inspiration to me because she didn't take any "crap" from anyone.

"Jane" was born in Casey, Clark, Illinois on 8 August 1875.  She was the sixth of ten children of George Wiley and Susan Mumford. 

Jane married Charles Taylor "C.T." Hill on 21 July 1895 in Clark Co, IL.  They lived in Casey where their 3 children were born. 

I grew up hearing family stories about their disagreements, especially political.  One was democrat, the other republican, and in the days before air conditioning their heated discussions could be heard through their open windows.

C.T. had quite the adventurous streak and he headed to Alaska in 1898 to seek his fortune mining for gold.  That didn't work out but in 1913 he moved to Arkansas to work in the Zinc mines.

Jane tired of raising her children by herself so she sued him for divorce because of desertion.

A few years later, she married William P. "Stanley" Hacker but that marriage lasted only a few years.

Since Jane was essentially a single mother, she worked as a laundress and a cook.  After her children were grown, she moved to St. Louis and worked as a cook at the Jefferson Barracks.  Later she moved to Toledo, Ohio where she ran a boarding house.  She died in Toledo on 31 October 1960.

A few of my favorite tidbits about my great-grandmother are:

She was one of the first in line at her precinct to vote in the 1920 Presidential election - remember, she had strong political opinions!

To help make ends meet during prohibition, she made her own bathtub gin which she sold from her back porch.  Allegedly one of her frequent customers was the local police chief!

And, finally, just a photo that I think demonstrates her independence - that's my great-grandmother in the middle with 2 of her friends.

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