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 Mary Jane (Hill) Arnold  (1843 - 1936)

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Lived/Active: California/Ohio      Known for: watercolor painting, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Mary Jane Arnold
Watercolor Artist
Born in Greenup Kentucky in 1843, Mary Jane Arnold nee Hill, moved with her family to Wheelersburgh, Ohio in 1849. After hearing of the gold rush out west, her father, older brother, and neighbor William Reddick, left for the California gold fields. Five years later in October of 1854, her brother returned and marrying the Reddick's daughter Ann, gathered both families for the trip back to California.
At that time her family consisted of her father Joseph Hill (48 -- already in California), mother Iley Lawson Hill (45), brother John P. Bartley Hill (24) his new wife Ann Eliza Reddick Hill (17), brother Lewis Castlemann Hill (12), and sister Lucrecia Clay Hill (7). Mary Jane at the time was 11.
They left the town of Wheelersburg on a paddle-wheel steamship, with the adults and children numbering 14, and went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the train trip to New York. There they took passage on the steam ship North Star for Panama, and upon arrival, boarded the mountain train, which took them but half-way across the highlands. Here they rode mules down to the city of Panama on the Pacific side. Boarding the steamer SS Golden Gate for California they stopped in Acapulco, Mexico to watch the Popocatepetl Volcano. Continuing up the coast, they arrived in San Francisco in mid-November.
From 1854, Mary Jane Hill lived in the mining community of Mokelumne Hill, later attending The College of the Pacific in 1869 at Santa Clara. She then married John Arnold and moved to several locations within California, eventually settling at Lakeport in 1882. They had three children. Mary Jane Arnold became a teacher and held school in her home. She was an avid watercolor artist and in April of 1915 she wrote her memoir of Across Panama, not published in book form until 2013. She died in 1936 in Lakeport and is buried there at the Hartley Cemetery.
Iley Lawson Hill, the mother of Mary Jane Arnold, died in 1913 at the age of 104 and was the last true living Daughter of the American Revolution.
The only known photo of Mary Jane for certainty is one taken of her at age 11.

Written and submitted by Douglas Westfall, editor and publisher of Across Panama, the memoir by Mary Jane Arnold.

These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Born in Ohio in 1843.  By the 1880s Arnold had settled in Lakeport, CA and was teaching in the public schools.  She died there on Jan. 9, 1936. 

Exh:  Calif. State Fair, 1886-88.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Census; Death Record
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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