When Scotsman Duncan McGregor Simpson’s wife Annie tragically died in childbirth in 1900 she not only left him widowed, but a single father with 6 children to care for, the youngest of whom was only 2 years old . It was a necessity to remarry, and Duncan found a wife in Jane Elizabeth McRae ( known frequently as Jennie), daughter of Jane Thompson McRae . It is not known how the two met, but they were married in 1902 at the home of Jane Elizabeth's mother. For Jane, quite young at 22 when she married, it must have been quite a challenge to step in and take on a mothering role for children, some of whom were only a few years younger than herself. Additionally , very soon she was expecting a child herself and within a year the blended family had begun taking shape. Jane went on to have 11 children of her own to give Duncan a total of 17 children! The age gap between the eldest Jonnie (John Robert Simpson) and the youngest Clyde McGregor Simpson being 37 years.
We know though that despite the closeness in age of Jane to her adopted children some did view her as a mother as evidenced by the postcard sent to her from England during WW1 by a wounded Charles Duncan Simpson, and a photo from another stepson, both addressed to “Dear Mother”.
Family get togethers must have been quite an undertaking with such a large group as shown in the photo to the right.