Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Potentially-infamous Jane Green and her mysterious gravestone

If ye rabbits hop south along Boggy Creek Road behind the Orlando International Airport, you will find a quiet little cemetery established in the long ago by the Locke family just past Wetherbee Road.

I discovered the place myself several years ago while attempting to locate the final resting place of my ancestor William H. Macy who lived in this neck of the woods.

I had no luck in that endeavor, but did stumble--quite literally--upon the gravestone of one Jane Green:

A rather plain name, to be sure. An even plainer stone. So you may be asking why it caught my attention beyond the fact that it had already caught the toe of my boot.

Well, at the time, I had just finished reading Mary Ida Shearhart's gripping account of the local feud between the Barber and Mizell families. ("The Way Hit Wuz," ISBN 1-866104-15-8.) Unlike many earlier writers of local history, she didn't sugar-coat things in her work. People were people even back in the 1800s, and she made it clear that some of our Central Florida pioneers did things their descendants might not necessarily consider a source of pride. One of the more notorious individuals mentioned was one Jane Green.

It seems Jane was a widow who engaged in some unsavory business practices to pay the bills. Back in the summer of 1868, she was caught luring two cowboys named Moses Barber and Ed Summerlin into the woods near Holopaw to engage in said business. For reasons I have yet to discover, Jane wasn't prosecuted for this incident. But, both Barber and Summerlin were found guilty of adultery and fined $6,000. (Sin was expensive in those days, no?!)

The genealogist in me had to follow-up on the tidbit from Shearhart, especially after stumbling across Jane's very own grave. And, once again, I uncovered a discrepancy between what was carved into stone and the surviving US census records for Orange County:
  • 1880 found Jane, age 45, a widow with three daughters aged 16, 18, and 20. [Page 457a.]
  • 1900 found her, age 66, living with her daughter and son-in-law Emma and Simeon Tiner. [Page 126b.]
  • 1910 indices didn't include her, though I didn't try to look up the Tiners.
  • 1920 found her again, this time age 95!! She was still living with her daughter and son-in-law, though their names were given as S. & Emily Tyner. [Page 197a.]

Did you spot the discrepancy?

It's not just the obvious fudging of the year of birth. 1819 on the stone. Ca 1835 according to the 1880 record. April 1834 according to the 1900 record. And, ca 1825 according to the 1920 record.

The bigger question is this: How could she be listed in the 1920 census if her gravestone says she died in 1918?!



travels wright said...

Great story!! I wonder how many other stories there are to be uncovered? Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I would like to comment on the lock cemetary an jane greens headstone. I have been researching jane for a long time an she is one of my biggest brick walls. She is deffenitly a mysterious lady and also my wifes 5th great grandmother. For a long time my wifes uncle spencer took care of the lock cemetary. One time when they went to clean an mow they discovered jane greens headstone was missing. There is so many stories about jane green they figured someone probally stole it at holloween or something of that nature. spencer wanted to replace it with a new one but he wasnt sure what the dates were so from my research i am guessing that he call the court house to get her dates and they told him they only had a death date of 1918. So he guessed at the birth date an used the 1918 death date. Now, during that same time there was another jane green living in orange county and she was born in 1848 in columbia county but she died in orange county in 1918 so i believe they gave him the wrong info. That jane was married to burt l. mott and was 69 years old and they took her back to columbia county to be buried. I have a copy of our jane greens death certificate and it says she died 21 jul 1920 and was buried 22 jul 1920 by the citizens of boggy creek in the lock cemetary. the connection to the locks came from janes middle daughter roxie she was born in 1858 an died in 1945 but she is buried in the rosehill cemetary in kissimmee with her husband john david tyson. One of there daughters was lucine josephine tyson, they called her cinnie and she married david n. lock and they lived in boggy creek-taft area. the cemetary was actually part of there 58 acre farm. I have a picture of roxie green tyson with cennie an others. there was told of a tin type picture of jane but i havent been able to locate it. If you check the 1870 census you will find jane an the girls under the name jane hendricks (hendrix). The death cert. says she was a widow an then had the name hendricks but there is marriage info any where. I have a lot of info on jane green,locks,tysons if anyone is interested. I do love to talk about jane.