Jane (8) "Jeanette" Erin Emmet was born in the spring of 1802 at the Fort George prison in Scotland, just before her parents, Jane Patten and Thomas (1) Addis Emmet (TAE) were released and allowed to leave for Europe. The family spent a few years in Paris and then came to New York in the fall of 1804. An 1820 letter from TAE to his brother-in-law in Dublin, John Patten, noted that the Emmet daughters were said to be "accomplished and well informed."
At first, the Emmet family lived in two adjoining houses on the South West corner of Pine and Nassau Streets, with the lower part of one of the houses serving as a law office for TAE and (later) his sons. They also had a summer house on what came to be 54th Street and "Middle Road," corresponding to today's Fifth Avenue. This house was the center of their lives until after TAE died in 1827; the family's winter location changed quite frequently, but the Middle Road house remained.
Jane was a good musician, fond of drawing and making caricatures; she grew into a handsome and witty young woman. She and her brother John (5) loved practical jokes and dressing up in costumes. Her sense of humor was said to be "more distinctly Irish than the others." She was interested in fashion by the time she was 15. Letters describing family adventures tell of Jane, called Jeanette as a nickname, "dancing the Kentucky reel," hiding behind bushes or choking on her own laughter. "There is the most riotous frolicking every evening," she said in one letter to her sister.
One young man named Bache McEvers was involved with many of these capers, as his parents, whose country house was nearby, were friends of Jane's parents. Bache was often observed hanging about the garden on Middle Road, pretending to study chemistry with John (5), yet hoping to see Jane. His courtship was successful and by the fall of 1825, they were married in Grace Church. The couple rented a house in the country called "Mount Alto," on the banks of the Hudson River —now part of New York City's Riverside Park, near where Grant's Tomb is located. The William Whitlock family lived nearby—their son Sam married one of Jane and Bache McEver's daughters twenty-five years later. The couple had two girls, Jeanette (38) and Mary (39) Bache, both born within a few years of the wedding. A son, Addis Emmet (40), was born seven years after Mary, but he died when only fourteen months old in Long Branch, NJ —a place where the family sometimes went for holidays.
Bache and Jane lived at "Mount Alto" for more than twenty years. Bache was successful in his various business ventures. Jane, like other women in her family, was involved with charitable institutions —one, for example, was called "The House and School of Industry for Females." Women were welcome to come to the institution two days a week and be taught to sew, becoming a "needle-women," and being paid for what they produced. Sick and infirm women, or those over the age of fifty, were supplied with work they could do at home. A separate school was set up for girls, ages five to fifteen; they were given instruction in sewing and were encouraged to make their own clothes, with the hope that they could become self-supporting - "an effectual means of diminishing pauperism" it is said in a petition to the New York City Common Council for funds.
By 1850, Bache's health had started to deteriorate and the couple sailed to Europe in hopes a change of climate would bring some improvement. But the trip did not help, and he died in Paris in July of 1851. A few years later, Jane moved to Staten Island, NY and lived with her daughter Mary (39) who had married Edward Cunard. Mary died only days after delivering her eighth child in 1866. Edward then took his children to England to live and Jane went with them. When Edward died only a few years later, his mother-in-law remained there for the rest of her life, raising her grandchildren and running the household. She died on June 7th, 1890 while living with her granddaughter Mary (95) Cunard Gosling and husband George Gosling; her death came only six months after seeing the wedding of the last Cunard child, Caroline (100), who married in January of 1890.