Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Beautiful Jane Ann Wilson McMillan

Yesterday I wrote a post here about the woman in this portrait. My newly-found cousin Doreen sent it to me digitally, indicating that it could be our great, great grandmother Jane Ann Wilson, wife of Samuel McMillan. The chart below shows my ancestry to her.
Notice that Jane McMillan was born in 1823. My research of the photographer Ferris Beals indicated his studio was open in Elgin, Illinois only from 1890-1908. I realized Jane Ann would have been 67 years old the first year the studio was open. This portrait certainly is not of a 67 year old woman, and I KNOW, because I'm currently 67 years old.

When I posted a link to this story on Facebook, it caught the attention of my friend Candice Buchanan, Senior Project Manager at She studied the portrait closely and advised that, in her expert opinion, it very well could be that of Jane Ann Wilson and was most likely a copy of an earlier photo. That would explain how it could have the Ferris Beals information on it. After evaluating the clothing and hair style, she puts the photography date at about 1860-1865, at which time Jane Ann would have been between the ages of 37 and 42, which is reasonable. I might add that Jane Ann married Samuel McMillan, my great, great grandfather in 1843 at the age of 20 and by the age of 37 was the mother of four sons and two daughters, the youngest of whom was my great grandmother Sarah Jane, born in 1853. As a mother of six at age 37, Jane Ann McMillan looks beautiful!

Today more confirmation of her identity came from my cousin Doreen. This is a scan of the reverse side of the portrait.  

It says "Papas Grandmother, his mother's mother". Later someone added "Gpa Flanders grandmother. Her name would have been McMillan but I don't know given name." My grandfather Milo Flanders had a brother Clarence, who was the "Papa" in this case. And as you can see in the chart above, his mother's mother would have been Jane Ann Wilson and her married name was indeed McMillan. 

I'll close by saying again that I'm certainly blessed to have a digital copy of this portrait and am grateful to Doreen for sharing it with all of us! So happy to know you, Jane Ann Wilson McMillan. I think you're beautiful!

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