Lady Jane Seymour Cartwright is likely the closest thing to royalty Delta will ever see. On her mother's side she is an English Seymour, a descendant of the Plantaganets.
Yes, she was a "blue blood," as her Grandmother Macintyre put it.
"That confused me a lot as I bled red like everyone else in our family," Lady Jane says.
At her death, Cartwright's mother, a Scottish Highlander, left her the title of "Lady of Lochaber" and a wee piece of land in perpetuity in the Highlands of Scotland, which will be passed on to another Macintyre cousin.
Lady Jane is an American born and raised in Hawaii. Her seventh great-grandfather, Corporal John Ledyard, was on Captain Cook's ship "Resolution" when Captain Cook was killed during a dispute with the Hawaiians. Many of her forebears served as missionaries to Hawaii; her great-great-grandfather Edwin Hall was the first person to print a book west of the Rockies, to publish a newspaper in Hawaii and to print the Bible in the Hawaiian language. Her grandmother was born upstairs in what later became "The House Without A Key," made famous in Charlie Chan movies.
Lady Jane is a 1953 graduate of the Punahou School — the same school from which President Barack Obama graduated in 1979.
On her father's side, Lady Jane traces her lineage to the father of modern baseball, Alexander Cartwright Jr. Her great-great-grandfather set the bases 90 feet apart and established nine innings as a game and nine players as a team. When he arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in 1848, he brought the game of baseball with him. In Hawaii he started the Honolulu Fire Department, the HonoluluLibrary and was an advisor to the king.
"Being the fourth generation born in the Hawaiian Islands, we were considered 'old guard'," Lady Jane says.
A "tropical tree transplant," she moved to Colorado in the early 1960s after her mother's fourth husband, "Curly" Ferguson, died on their ranch in Crawford 18 months after they were married. Lady Jane says her mother didn't know how to run a household, much less the Lazy Y Two Bar ranch in Crawford. Both women had lived in California for many years, hobnobbing with the "Hollywood set," as Lady Jane puts it. Her mother was a fashion designer with rich and famous clients; Lady Jane did some acting, dancing,modeling and photography.
So when it came to ranching in the rugged West, they started with the basics. They read up on the topic and purchased bum lambs, which they nurtured into a large herd of sheep. Lady Jane's mother, Margery, also had 47 horses, all of which she named. She was able to pay off the ranch and later sold it four times. (Lady Jane explains three of the buyers backed out.)
In Crawford Lady Jane met and married her third husband, Robert Kendall Bradfield, who went by the name of Bob West. They were both active in the Red Feather Bowmen, an archery club Bob started in Crawford. Lady Jane later married Robert MacDougall and moved to Montrose. Today she's settled in Delta pursuing her artistic interests, writing her autobiography, and raising bettas and guppies. She plans to resurrect Fancy Fins 2 Die 4, an Internet business which specializes in snails, freshwater plant and betta fish. In small tanks spread throughout her home, she has separated the males from the females and the babies from the growing bettas and guppies.
Horticulture is another interest which she can trace to a grand-uncle who was well-known in the orchid industry. In addition to raising orchids and African violets, Lady Jane is trying her hand at papayas, figs, strawberry guavas, Meyer's lemon and avocado.
Lady Jane has won awards in art, archery, marksmanship with handgun and rifle, photography, fashion design, dance and metallurgy. She and her second husband, Robert Van Dyke, owned a jewelry manufacturing business in Hawaii in the early '60s. During that period of time, Lady Jane designed rings, pendants and a commemorative medal. Her design was chosen from 350 entries as the winner of a contest to design the King Kamehameha Commemorative Medals in 1965.
Lady Jane's autobiography would not be complete without a chapter on the unexplained phenomenon of UFOs. This is also a family tradition, she explains, as her mother and grandmother also had unexplained encounters with what they could only conclude were aliens — or possibly military test missiles.
There will be a chapter on her faith. A retired minister of the Baha'i World Faith of 40 years, she gave the Baha'i service for her mother when she was buried in the family plot in an Oahu cemetery in 2007.
But primarily, her story will be one of "diamonds to denims." Growing up she was surrounded by servants, dressmakers, gardeners and chauffeurs. She went to a private school and, in California, belonged to the same exclusive tennis club as Peter Lawford. Years later she was the guardian of her grandmother's $2 million estate.
"Now all the people in my life who held the money are gone and the ones I loaned money to refuse to pay me."
No longer able to earn a living as an accountant, bank teller or efficiency expert — three of many paying jobs she once held — she's raising Siamese fighting fish (Bettas) and guppies for sale at Aquabid.com.
The transition has been difficult for Lady Jane. She still has a title, and she's very comfortable in denim, but the diamonds would certainly make her life a lot easier. Quite seriously, she says she's looking for a nice gentleman who can put up with her. "I need help to try to keep this place," she says.blog comments powered by Disqus