Jane-Claire Powell
Jane-Claire Powell
JCPPicture1.jpg
Portrayed By Emma Watson
Gender Female
Date of Birth mid June, 1863
Age 18
Aliases Alias
Place of Birth Missouri Territory, USA
Occupation Your Job
Known Relatives Louise Powell (mother, deceased), Henry Powell (father), Bonnie Powell (sister), Jacob Powell (brother), Charlie Powell (brother, deceased)
Partner or Spouse n/a
Table of Contents

History

Henry and Louise Powell were homesteaders who’d moved west to the Missouri Territory shortly after the passage of 1862’s Homestead. The couple already had a trio of children, two boys and a girl, and the family settled on a small parcel of land in the Missouri River Valley. Jane-Claire was born sometime later, on an otherwise unremarkable Sunday afternoon in mid June 1863. Jane’s parents were both well into their forties when she was born and so the bulk of the responsibility for her rearing fell at the feet of her eldest sibling, her sister Bonnie.

Jane’s childhood was typical for the time period. Her days were spent split between helping on the small farm and playing and in the evenings, her sister saw to her education and Jane learned her numbers, her Gospel, to read and write and to cook and sew. Her memories of her childhood are positive if not idealized as the bad is “forgotten” in favor of the good. All was not perfect, despite how Jane remembers things. It was a constant struggle to stay afloat both financially and as a simple working farm (e.g. having enough grain to feed the livestock and plant in the spring or producing enough food to sell to maintain solvency and feed the family.) In addition the Homestead Act and the rush of settlers upset the delicate balance of the west and Henry Powell often found himself at odds with the free range cattlemen who, until now, had free reign of the territory’s wide open spaces. Powell, never one to stay quiet, became something of a spokesman for the homesteaders, a lightening rod for controversy and a target for those who wished to see the homesteaders pack up and leave. Harsh words were exchanged, threats made, fences destroyed and fights picked. In short, it was hardly an easy life for Jane and her family – even if she doesn’t remember it that way.

Between Jane’s fifth and twelfth birthdays her siblings, one by one, married and began families of their own and by the time Jane began her transformation into womanhood she was already aunt to six nieces and nephews. Jane loved being an aunt and was, given her relative age to her nieces and nephews, quite popular amongst them.

As Jane came into womanhood she began to attract the attention of young (and sometimes not so young) men as lots of talk began to occur about the “pretty Powell girl.” A young man from a neighboring ranch began to come around and, over time, he and Jane struck up a friendship that transformed into young love; young love that seemed destined for marriage and a lifetime of bliss.

The relationship never made its destination as the young man’s father determined he was better off marrying a girl of less modest means and arranged for a girl with flaming red hair to come west from Boston to be his son’s bride. Jane was heartbroken, as was to be expected, and took a self imposed vow of chastity (not that she wasn’t chaste before but she vowed to remain such until the day she died a lonely old maid). That, unfortunately, was not the end of things. Her youngest brother, Charlie, with whom Jane was closest both in age and friendship, confronted the young man’s father in the town’s saloon. Always a hothead, Charlie exchanged words and made threats and managed to get himself knifed in the belly by one of the rancher’s hands. Over the next few hours he died a slow agonizing death on the town doctor’s table.

Charlie’s death seemed to be a floodgate that opened a torrent of tragedy and ill fortune for the Powells. The next winter Jane’s mother took ill and died of fever and her father began to drink himself into oblivion. Too drunk to work his farm the fields went unplanted and when harvest time came the Powells did not have the money to repay the loans they’d taken the previous summer and the bank foreclosed on the farm. Now seventeen, Jane was left without a home and her father, bent on self destruction, continued to drink himself to death even while he “lived” for lack of a better term in an ally behind the town’s saloon.

Jane spent the next year, or so, living with her sister but by her eighteenth birthday she’d come to realize it was no place she could stay permanently. She packed what little she had and scrounged what money she could and headed west, recently settling in Cimarron. In need of a job and lacking any appreciable skills she finds herself sweeping floors and washing sheets at the Cimarron Rose.

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