Woman Who Was One of the Most Remarkable
Characters of Tippecanoe County for Years


Special to the Indianapolis Journal.
LAFAYETTE, Ind., Dec. 22—Mrs. Jennie Jahonica, “The Woman Hermit of Happy Hollow,” died last night at the county infirmary, removing from Tippecanoe County and the State as well one of its  most peculiar characters.  For more than a quarter of a century she had lived by herself in the solitude of the beautiful gorge northwest of the city and there is not a man, woman or child in Tippecanoe County who has not heard of the strange old woman and marveled at her remarkable existence.

She was born eighty-seven years ago in Huff, Holland.  When ten years old she was set to work in the fields beside men laborers and for eleven years worked as hard as any man.  She married a poor peasant like herself named Kineff and he died leaving her with a baby but a few months old.  She continued to work as a laborer until 1850, when she came to America and settled on a farm near Chicago.  In Chicago she married a man named Jahonica, who died soon after the marriage, and she came to Lafayette.

Then came the tragedy that blasted her life and caused her to withdraw from her friends and associates to seek peace of mind the lonely ravine.  Her daughter died in 1875 and it nearly broke the mother’s heart.  She retired to a rude shack which she built of mud and straw in the wildest part of Happy Hollow, where she lived four years, when a fire destroyed her cabin and left her homeless.  For some time she lived in the open without shelter of any kind, but later the ladies of the German Reformed Church built her another cottage farther up the gorge, where few people ever caught glimpse of her. 

Children spoke of her as a witch and she was believed by the superstitious to have mysterious powers of working good and evil.  She refused to leave her lonely hut and lived there until failing health compelled her to seek refuge in the county asylum.  The hard work of her long life broke down her system and her indomitable courage went for naught.  In September she went to the county farm and there ended her days. 

Rev. Conrad Hassel will officiate at her funeral, which will be held at the German Reformed Church.

The Indianapolis Journal, pg 3
December 23, 1903

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