Born: November 13, 1856, on a farm near South Whitley, Indiana. Birth name: Mary Jane Wilson.
Died: September 3, 1913, at the home of her sister Eliza Ann (Mrs. Jonathan Ulrey), South Whitley, Indiana.
Buried: South Whitley Cemetery, South Whitley, Indiana.
Jennie was the daughter of Robert Wilson and Mary Frances Russell. The 1870, 1880 and 1900 censuses show her family in Cleveland, Indiana.
Jennie was afflicted with a spinal condition at age four, and spent her life in a wheel chair. She was baptized in 1881, being carried on a chair to a tree shaded stream. She said of the experience,
It gave me much joy to thus confess my dear Savior.
She never attended school, but was educated at home. Her first poems appeared in a local paper. Later, through the influence of Reverend Jacob D. Coverstone (1847–1930), she sent hymns to a publication in Dayton, Ohio.
Her first hymn was All the Way; not knowing it had been published, she was pleasantly surprised when it was found in new song books bought for the Sunday School in her neighborhood. She is said to have written over 3,000 texts, and was once called
the Fanny Crosby of the West. To quote Hall:
Miss Wilson shows no trace of invalidism in her literary work. One of her poems entitled, A Memory Picture, is an exception. It refers to scenery near the old home, and alludes to memories of the days when she could walk.
Even though wheelchair bound, she enjoyed attending Bible conferences at nearby Winona Lake, Indiana, and other locations.
On to VictoryShall Our Motto Be
She Hath Done What She Could