Herbert Wilkinson was born on July 23, 1798. Some say she
was born in St. Mary's County, but in all likelihood she was
born in Charles County. She was the youngest child of William
Mackall Wilkinson (1752-1812), a native of Calvert County
and of Ann Herbert Dent (1756-1813), a native of Charles County
immediately after the death of her father, Jane and her mother
left Charles County and moved to the Mississippi Territory
(now Adams County) and lived at "Propinquity" Plantation",
the home of Jane's sister, Barbara Wilkinson, the wife of
Alexander Calvit. This was probably a necessity, as it appears
that William Mackall Wilkinson was heavily in debt at the
time of his death and had been having financial difficulties
is said to have met Col. James Long, a physician and a native
of Culpeper County, Virginia, as he was returning from the
Battle of New Orleans. They were married on May 14, 1815 at
Natchez, Mississippi. Their first child, Ann Herbert Long
was born on November 26, 1816.
Longs would lead a quiet life until early 1819 when the United
States seized both Florida and Texas. In the negotiations
that followed, Spain agreed to accept $5 million for Florida,
but Texas was returned to Spanish rule. There was much dissatisfaction
with this decision and it led to an attempt to establish a
Republic within Spanish Texas. Col. James Long, primarily
using his own funds, raised arms and followers. It is thought
that, despite "official U.S. policy", he had the support of
General Andrew Jackson and high U.S. government officials.
Col. Long left Mississippi in the early part of June, 1819,
he took with him the flag that Jane Herbert (Wilkinson) Long
and her sister designed and made which would represent this
new Republic of Texas. The design of this flag has never changed
and it is, of course, the official flag of the state of Texas
and the basis from which they derive their nickname of "The
Lone Star State."
June 23, 1819, Col. Long, commanding a force of almost 300,
occupied Nacogdoches, issued a Declaration of Independence,
and established a government. Col. Long was named as President
and Commander of the Army.
apparently had all intentions of accompanying her husband
when he left for Texas, but was in the last weeks of pregnancy
with their second child, Rebecca who was born on June 19.
Just twelve days after Rebecca's birth, Jane was on her way
leaving her children in the care of her sisters. She arrived
in Texas in August but was forced to flee in November when
Spanish troops approached their frontier outpost. Jane returned
to get her children, finding that Rebecca had died during
1820, Col. Long attempted to enlist the support of Jean and
Pierre Lafitte (well known pirates) to establish Galveston
Island as a port of entry for the new Republic of Texas. Events
overtook them as Col. Long learned that the Spanish were on
the march to Nacogdoches. To ensure the safety of his family,
Col. Long sent them and a small group to Bolivar Peninsula,
opposite Galveston Island. It is said that, as they arrived,
they observed Lafitte's ships as they were leaving that area
for the last time.
was not long before Col. Long and his men were captured and
transported to Mexico City. On April 22, 1822, James Long
died in Mexico. The opinions vary about the circumstances
of his death and range from accident to secret orders.
the meantime, Jane refused to leave the small fort at Bolivar
Point until her husband returned. Eventually Jane (who was
pregnant), her daughter Ann Herbert Long, who was six years
old, and a slave girl named Kian (some give her name as Kiamatta)
who was only 12 years old and who had accompanied Jane when
she left Mississippi, were the only ones left at Bolivar Point.
biggest threat at this time were the Karankawa Indians (who
were cannibals). To ward off Indian attacks, Jane and Kian
would fire the fort's cannon every morning and fly a red flag
(made from a flannel petticoat) over the fort to make the
Indians think that the fort was occupied by troops.
gave birth in an ice-encrusted tent to her third child, Mary
James Long, on December 21, 1821. There are those who state
that this child was the first child born to an English-speaking
woman in Texas and was the reason that Jane was termed "Mother
of Texas", however, there is evidence to support that Jane
had already been given that title well before her last daughter
in early 1822, Jane had no choice but to abandon her vigil
and joined another family at their camp. She had no idea where
her husband was or if he was living or dead. She did not find
out about his death until almost three months later, in the
summer of 1822. She eventually took her children and Kian
and went to stay with her sister in Alexandria, Louisiana,
but returned to Texas after the death of her youngest daughter
on August 24, 1824.
received title to land in Fort Bend County and Waller County,
Texas from Stephen Austin in August, 1824. Jane, however,
lived in San Felipe, Texas where she opened a boarding house.
She sold a part of her property in Fort Bend County on which
the town of Richmond, Texas was developed (now the county
seat). In 1837, she moved to Fort Bend County and opened another
boarding house in Richmond while developing a plantation on
her other property.
never remarried, although she was courted by such famous Texas
figures as Stephen Austin, William Travis, and Sam Houston.
She died in Fort Bend County, Texas on December 30, 1880.
A centennial marker was erected in her honor in 1936.