Texas Women’s History Month: Jane Long
Two women and two children, alone in the dead of winter. The year is 1821. The place is Bolivar Peninsula, near Galveston. The women are Jane Long, her two young daughters, and her slave, Kian.
One of 10 children, Jane Long was orphaned at 15, married at 17, and quickly began having children herself. She was among the earliest Anglo-Americans in Texas, a place both United States and Spain wanted. In 1820, to be with her husband, James, who was leading an expedition to claim Texas for the U.S., Jane, one daughter, and Kian came to a military post on the peninsula to be with him. After he left in 1821, the three stayed there to await his return, even after other families had left for safer ground. On a bitter December day, with Kian’s help, Jane gave birth to another daughter. The women and children were alone in the cold for weeks: the hunted game, fished through ice, gathered oysters, fought illness and faced starvation.
Early in 1822, Jane, Kian and the children gave up their vigil and joined other immigrants heading into Texas, where she learned that James had been killed. She was a widow at 24. Kian was later sold, but Jane redeemed her and allowed Kian to marry and have children. Jane Long became a prosperous plantation owner and never remarried. She died in 1880.