|About the Book|
The Legend of Mammy Jane: An Uneducated Girl Becomes the Lady of the Manor in Appalachia, is a West Virginia classic first published over 20 years ago. The book takes place in the hills of West Virginia just before it became a state. It tells theMoreThe Legend of Mammy Jane: An Uneducated Girl Becomes the Lady of the Manor in Appalachia, is a West Virginia classic first published over 20 years ago. The book takes place in the hills of West Virginia just before it became a state. It tells the story of Mammy Jane, a gutsy, smart, hard-working 17-year old who quickly grows into womanhood after she marries a widower with five children.Her story is one of romance, hardship, devotion, hard work, grief, and love of family. It spans several generations and gives a fascinating and detailed account of daily life in West Virginia during and after the Civil War. Starting with next to nothing, Jane teaches herself what she needs to know to raise a family, build a home, and eventually become a prosperous landowner.This plucky heroine of questionable birth was born Labanna Jane, a name quickly shortened to Jane when she becomes a hired girl at age ten. With no formal education, at this tender age she begins work for a family during the wife s laying-in, quickly getting the children and family fed and the house cleaned while the baby is delivered. After her two-week stint she uses her two silver dollars to buy things for her mother and brother.Several years later she is working for another family when she meets handsome Tom Jarvis, and becomes his wife at seventeen. Soon thereafter her new husband tells her he is leaving to fight for the Union. She accepts his decision without complaint, and is left to care for his farm and five children.But Jane is resourceful. She quickly figures out she can sell eggs, butter and baked goods to Union soldiers stationed nearby. She soon has the older children learning to do more chores on the farm. She figures out how to get the cow to give more milk and the chickens more eggs. She impresses her neighbors with her cooking, as they help raise her barn. As her savings grow, she starts acquiring surrounding properties.This amazing story is told plainly, like a good West Virginia folktale. It includes authentic and humorous remedies and sayings. It explains traditional rituals of the day including burials, births, and weddings. Mammy Jane s story is one you will never forget.