Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy (1806-1861)

Jane Dale Owen was one of two daughters of the British social reformer, Robert Owen. She and her four brothers resided in the town of New Harmony, Indiana, which her father had purchased in 1825.

Jane moved to New Harmony in 1833 not long after her mother and sister had died in Scotland. In 1835, she married Robert Henry Fauntleroy, a civil engineer from Virginia who partnered with David Dale Owen, and then Robert Dale Owen, in a castor-bean enterprise in New Harmony. Fauntleroy became more lastingly known, however, as an officer in the U. S. Coast Survey. His death in 1849 was a loss from which his wife never fully recovered.

Image used by permission of Indiana Department of Natural Resources, copyright © Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. Based on a daguerrotype; artist unknown.

Few traces of Mrs. Fauntleroy's school and teaching have survived, but one exception is a series of advertisements that ran in the Indiana Statesman, from August, 1844 to October 4, 1845. The ads described Mrs. Fauntleroy's seminary, or home-school for young ladies. Probably the ad tells us more about her school—now the historic Old Fauntleroy Home in New Harmony—than any other record. Costs for boarding and individual courses are given. Scientific instruction was given by her brother, Dr. David Dale Owen.

In the February 8, 1851 issue of Robert Owen's Journal, Owen praises his children, and about Jane he writes

My daughter—the only one now living—married a gentleman who was long employed as an efficient officer in the coast survey of America, lately suddenly deceased while employed in this service, in which he was so respected by his brother officers, that they have resolved to raise at their expense a monument of his memory.

His now deeply afflicted widow has, from her childhood, ever been considered a pattern of a daughter, friend, wife, and mother; and her society has been courted by every circle into which she has ever been introduced.

Nearly three years later, Jane, having visited Robert Owen in London, wrote a letter to her brother Richard in New Harmony. The letter, dated Dec. 27, 1853, was sent from Stuttgart, Germany, where Jane and her children (Ellinor, Constance, Edward, Albert; see links below) were immersed in German culture and education. Jane wrote briefly of the visit in London:
I must tell you how well and comfortable we found our good old Father - how happy he looked when he surveyed us sitting around a large dining table - how he talked to us of the spirits with the same benignity with which he used to talk of the New System; how kind and considerate he was in all things and how satisfied he seemed to feel that he had seen us all once more again. He talked a great deal of the absent and said you were certainly the best correspondent amongst us. (Courtesy of the Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana)
At the time of Jane's visit, her father, Robert Owen, was 82 years old. It was now 28 years after Owen's purchase of New Harmony, Indiana, and about 13 years after the Owenite movement had peaked in England. The "New System" in Jane's letter refers to Owen's principles for social reform; "the spirits" refers to Robert Owen's adherence to spiritualism in his later years.

The only known portrait of Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy hangs in the Old Fauntleroy Home in New Harmony. The historic Fauntleroy home, central to so many gatherings of Robert Owen's children and grandchildren, is memorialized in

Ross F. Lockridge, The Old Fauntleroy Home, New Harmony Memorial Commission, 1939. (The author's son, Ross F. Lockridge, Jr., wrote the famous novel, Raintree County.)

Robert Henry Fauntleroy
George Davidson
Mt. Ellinor (named in honor of Ellinor Fauntleroy, G. Davidson's betrothed)
Lake Constance (and Mt. Constance), named in honor of Constance Fauntleroy by G. Davidson
The Brothers (mountain named in honor of the sons of Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy by G. Davidson)
The Brothers (mountain: south peak, Mt. Edward; north peak, Mt. Arthur)
Fauntleroy Park (and Community, Cove, and Avenue)
Seminary for Young Ladies (Jane Fauntleroy's newspaper ad)
Ross Lockridge Sr., and Jr., authors
New Harmony Scientists, Educators, Writers & Artists
Clark Kimberling Home Page