|public domain photo - Marco Soave|
According to family sources, Frances A. (Fanny) Jackson was born near Niagara Falls in Canada in about 1839. Her father was born in England, but, as yet, I don't have a first name for him. Her mother was Patience Jemima Fox who was born in about 1812 in New York. There were three daughters born to this couple, including Frances. Her sisters were Maria and Mary Lucinda. All of them were born in Canada. Apparently, Mr. Jackson died before July 1, 1842, because Patience married Alexander Duncan Milne on that date in New York. They had four children: Mary and Jessie, who were born in Canada; and Duncan and Ellen Adele, who were born in New York.
In 1850, Alexander and Patience were living with their family in Randolph, Cattaraugus County, New York. Though they were enumerated in the same location in 1860, it appears they purchased 40 acres of land in Iowa in 1855. They removed to Clayton County, Iowa, before 1870.
Frances was married to James Orson Brownell in about 1857, probably in New York. They were living in Cold Spring, Cattaraugus County, New York; their first child, Ella (Stella) being one year old. William was born to them in 1861, with Irvy (Preserved) following in about 1867. James died in about 1868, apparently in a railroad accident. Frances was expecting their fourth child, James Orson, at the time of her husband's death. This son was born in Iowa on May 20, 1869, after Frances' marriage to Mortimer D. Clark on February 13, 1869, in Colesburg, Delaware County, Iowa.
When Mortimer and Frances were enumerated in Colony Township, Delaware County, Iowa, in 1870, Frances' son, Irvy, was living with Frances' mother and stepfather in Clayton County. In 1880, the Clarks were living in Post Township, Allamakee County, Iowa, where Mortimer died on February 27, 1882. He is buried in the Smith Cemetery. In 1885, according to the Iowa State Census, Frances was still living in Post Township. She was 45. All three of her sons were living with her there.
What became of Frances after 1885 is still a mystery. Her mother died in 1880, but her stepfather didn't die until 1897. In tracking the various family members, and searching for any Frances around her age born in Canada, no plausible scenario has presented itself. Time and perseverance will eventually pay off!