The Story of Ann Jeanette Hinckley: 52 Ancestors Week 32

This week’s 52 Ancestors challenge by Amy Crow Johnson is 32- Write about one of the 32 3rd great grandparents. So far, I have been able to identify 12 of the 32 3rd great grandparents. The one I would like to share about is my 3rd great grandmother, Jeanette Ann Hinckley. According to a source who researched the Hinckley family, Jeanette Ann was born October 30, 1836 in Great Valley, New York to Rodger G Hinckley and Jane Johnson. She is the youngest of two children born to Jane, her older brother being Felton born in 1834. Her father was married previously and his first wife Roxlana, had three children, Walter Rodger 1827, Minerva 1830-1831, and Roxlana 1832-1832 (lived only 4 months). Their mother Roxlana, died 18 days after giving birth to her daughter Roxlana.

Jeanette Ann’s half brother, Walter married in New York in 1849 and he and his wife are listed on the 1850 census in Racine, Wisconsin. The reason this is significant is that Jeanette Ann and her family are not listed in a  census there but they must have moved there as her mother, Jane and her brother Felton are buried in Racine. They both died in 1848. Her father Rodger Hinckley is listed on a wagon train in 1849 that was going to Oregon. She must have stayed with her half brother and traveled down the Mississippi River to get to Texas because they are all in Texas by no later than 1855. That is when Jeanette Ann married Howard Bledsoe on March 28, 1855 in Lavaca, TX. Why were they in Texas? Rodger Hinckley, her father, had a brother named Walter Hinckley and he was living in Texas. He died in 1854 and in his will, he left land in Texas to his nephew, Walter and niece Jeanette Ann. While in Texas, Jeanette Ann had a daughter named Ella born circa 1856. At some point this family moved to Pajaro, Santa Cruz County, California because on the 1860 census, Jeanette Ann is now married to John Lafayette Shelby and has 2 more children plus her daughter Ella in addition, her father, Rodger is also living in the same home. She must have divorced Howard Bledsoe because he died in 1915 in California. Her second husband is a business partner of her father Rodger. The family is found on the 1870 census with the addition of two more children and living in Soquel, CA.

The 1880 census shows Jeanette Ann with her youngest child and no one else. This census also shows that she is divorced and living in Soquel, CA. She can be found again in the 1900 census living in Redlands, CA with her oldest daughter Ella who is widowed and a grandson Samuel. She can also be found in the 1910 and 1920 censuses living alone in San Jose, CA.

I wanted to devote a paragraph to her children. In the 1910 census, one of the questions was number of children and number still living.  For Jeanette Ann, she answered 8 children and 2 living. So I spent some time looking for the children. I have only been able to find six children: Ella Bledsoe 1856, Isaac 1858, Ida 1859, Evan 1861, John 1868, and Janette 1872. Her oldest son, Isaac, died after an illness of six days, when he was 16 in 1874. An announcement of his death was in the newspaper and he is buried in the Shelby section of the Oakwood Memorial Park cemetery. The following year, Janette died in 1875 at the age of three and she is also buried in the Shelby section in the cemetery. Her daughter Ida (my 2nd great grandmother) died in 1879 of puerperal fever and her story can be read here. She is also buried in the same area after her father, J L Shelby, had her moved. In 1905, Jeanette Ann’s son Evan, died at the age of 43, following complications from appendicitis and is buried in the Santa Cruz Memorial Cemetery. Her son John, at the age of 47, died in 1915 and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Watsonville, CA. So all of her children fathered by J L Shelby died before she did. Her oldest daughter Ella, fathered by Howard Bledsoe, died in a car accident, 1 year after Ann Jeanette and is buried in Hillside Memorial Park, Redlands, CA.

Places Jeanette Ann Hinckley lived

Jeanette Ann Hinckley, born in New York, had quite the adventure in the 1800s having lived in Wisconsin and Texas before settling in California. Traveling the distances she covered in that time period must have been challenging. She was met with tragedy many times, first with the death of her mother and brother when she was just 11 years old. Her father moved to California shortly after and she must have stayed with her half brother Walter and moved on to Texas with him to be near their uncle, who upon his death left land to them. Soon after, she moved to California with her husband and daughter to be near her father. She was twice divorced and all but one of her children preceded her in death.  Jeanette Ann died on March 5, 1920 at the age of 83 and is buried in the Shelby section in Oakwood Memorial Park, Soquel, CA. There is no marker for her grave.

Santa Cruz Evening News March 5, 1920, page 5.
Santa Cruz Evening News March 5, 1920, Page 8


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