Jane Alder Bourne was born June 6, 1825 in Trowbridge, Wittshire, England to William and Elizabeth Bevan Alder. Her father was a cabinet maker, and her mother worked in her brother's weaving mill. The same brother allowed Jane's mother to rent out one of his homes. One of the boarders that stayed with the Alders was a man, Charles Bourne, who met and married Jane in 1843. In 1844, the couple converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They had three children, but all of them died in their infancy. The couple later decided to travel to America, where they joined the saints and traveled west with the Claudius and Spencer Company. They arrived in Salt Lake City on September 14, 1853. The next year, they had a child, Priscilla. The family later moved to Farmington, and Jane had a total of eleven children before she died on July 10, 1889.
This two-page typescript biography from the Margaret Steed Hess collection was written by Jane's granddaughter, Fern P. Bradley, in 1959. Fern provides a brief account of Jane's life, with some details of the hardships Jane experienced. After arriving in Utah, food was so scarce that Jane and one of her newborn babies nearly died from starvation because Jane had been nursing the baby with her own blood. The manuscript describes Jane living poorly in Utah such that the family had to live on pig weeds, sego lily roots, and grain for some time. Jane was an 'example of an unselfish pioneer mother,' and she was both courageous and cheerful.