Rose Garden PhotographsJessie Jean “JJ” (Higley) Lane was born to Stephen Weaver and Jessie Fremont (Howe) Higley on June 24, 1895, in Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory. The family was living at 202 North Pleasant Street when the 1900 census was taken. JJ’s brother, James Stephen Higley, was born July 14, 1896. Her father, Stephen Weaver (SW) Higley, worked for the Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix Railway. In 1890, SW moved his wife and a son to Prescott, where he was superintendent for construction.

The Higley family relocated to Phoenix in 1905, moving into the three-story Victorian home constructed for Dr. Rosson at 139 North Sixth Street.  They lived there until 1914.   JJ attended Bishops Girls School in La Jolla, California.  The Arizona Republican dated December 14, 1913, reported that “Miss Jessie Jean Higley is one of the most charming of the coterie of lovely girls who were introduced this winter.  She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. W. Higley of 139 North Sixth Street and has a delightful personality.  A bright vivacious manner is one of the greatest charms.  She is greatly interested in music and, though she is a favorite socially, devotes many a day to her piano.  During the holidays, Miss Higley will have Miss Olive Powers of California as her guest and will entertain in her honor.”

JJ loved to tell stories about her family and visitors who came to the family home for social events.  One day, her father, SW, brought home a fawn he rescued when his train hit a doe. JJ and her brother James kept the fawn in their fenced side yard for several years.  JJ used to sneak the fawn up to the third floor where she loved to roller skate while the fawn ran around the floor.  Of course, she only did this when she thought no one else was home.

Jessie married Lieutenant Eben Elwood Lane on April 25, 1919, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Phoenix.  Eben had ventured to Phoenix following his graduation from the University of Michigan in 1911.

JJ enjoyed recalling her first trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to meet her in-laws.  JJ was about four feet, nine inches, petite of figure with “jet” black hair.  When she and Eben stepped off the train, several family members were heard to exclaim, “She is an Indian!”

Eben and JJ had two children.  Robert Ellwood was born December 13, 1922 and died at the age of eighteen months.  On July 28, 1924, Virginia was born, and she grew up at their home at 325 East Culver Street in Phoenix.

JJ did not have a “formal” employment, but during her long life she was prominent in Phoenix social life, the Junior League, Phoenix Country Club, Paradise Country Club, Heard Museum and the Pink Ladies of Good Samaritan Hospital.

JJ died April 9, 1993 in Phoenix and was buried in the Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery.

Donors: Richard Spence Burke & Nancy (Lane) Burnett, 2013
Photo Location: RGC MS-39, Box I-L, F-Lane, Jessie J. (Higley)
Updated: 4/9/15; D. Sue Kissel