Jane Austen's brothers and sisters

James Austen (1765-1819) Jane's eldest brother was studious and went to Oxford University at the age of 14 in 1779 and was ordained as a cleryman in 1787. He married in 1792 when Jane was 17 to Anne Mathews who died only three years after their marriage in 1795. She bore one daughter, one of Jane's favorite nieces, Anna (1793). James married again in 1797 to Mary Lloyd (1771-1843) with whom he had two children James Edward (1798) and Caroline (1805). Mary was not a favorite sister-in-law of Jane's, it was her sister Martha Lloyd who came to live with the Austens in 1805 after the death of her mother. In 1800 James took over the curacy of Steventon when his father Rev. Gerorge Austen retired. James was had some literary pretentions: he wrote a poem on Sense & Sensibility, wrote sermons, and from 1789-1790, with the help of his brother Henry Austen, edited a university magazine at Oxford called "The Loiterer", which ran for sixty issues. He died two years after his sister Jane in 1819.

James's daughter Anna (1793-1872) was Jane's first niece and rather a favorite. Several pieces in Jane's Juvenalia were dedicated to her. Anna, like her father had some literary inclinations and worked on a never-completed novel, Which is the Heorine? ,with some help from her aunt but later destroyed the manuscript after the death of Jane. Anna married in 1814 to Benjamin Lefroy (born 1791) with whome she had seven children including Jemima (born 1815) and Fanny C. Lefroy (1820-1885) the author of MS Family History. Anna's half brother James Edward (1798-1874) and his sister Caroline (1805-1880) were more literarily inclined. They both solicited the help of their aunt in their youthful literary works, James even wrote a poem when he first found out that his aunt Jane was the author of Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice. He took on the last name Austen-Leigh after inheriting from a maternal great-aunt and great uncle. James married Emma Smith with whom he had ten children. In 1871 he published A memoir of Jane Austen, he died in 1874. His son William Austen-Leigh (1843-1921) and grandson Richard Austen-Leigh (1872-1941) co-authored Jane Austen: Her Life and Letters in 1913. His sister Caroline Austen was the author of My Aunt Jane Austen in 1867.

George Austen - (1766-1838) Jane's second brother was nine years older than her. Not much is known of him beyond the fact that he was an invalid. Although he was sickly George lived for twenty-one years after his sister.

Edward (Austen) Knight - (1767-1852) Jane's third brother was a steady buisness-like young man. He was adopted in the early 1780's by his rich and childless cousins Thomas and Catherine Knight. When he inherited their estate of Gosherham, in the county of Kent, Edward changed his last name to Knight in their honor in 1812. He married Elizabeth Bridges (1773-1808) with whome he had eleven children. His oldest daughter Fanny Knight (1793-1882) was a favorite with both of her aunts. Jane dedicaded some of her Juvenalia works to her also. Fanny's mother died when she was sixteen and she often turned to her aunt Jane for advice, mostly romantic. It wasn't until three years after Jane's death that she married Sir Edward Knatchbull in 1820. They had nine children. It was Fanny's grandson the 1st Baron Branboune who was the editor of Letters of Jane Austen (1884).

Henry Thomas Austen - (1771-1850) Jane's fourth brother was her favorite. He was witty and enthusiastic in whatever he did, but not always successful. He entered Oxford University in 1788, and co-edited the university's magazine called The Loiterer, which ran for sixty issues. He married Eliza de Feuillide (1761-1813) they had no children and she died in 1813. In 1816-1817 between the bancrupcy of his buiness (in which his brother Edward lost 20,000 pounds) and the death of his dear sister Jane, Henry went though a mid-life crisis. He did manage to publish the last two of Jane's complete novels, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey at the end of 1817. He eventually became a Calvinist-leaning minister and died in 1850.

Cassandra Elizabeth Austen - (1773-1845) Named for their mother, Jane's only beloved sister was two years older than her. It is through their over one hundred letters to each other that we get our deepest look into the life of Jane Austen. Jane told her sister everything, from the general happenings of day-to-day life to her deepest feelings about life, men, her writings, and the world of their day. Cassandra was once engaged, to a cousin of her sister-in-law Mary Lloyd, a young man named Thomas Fowle. He was a military chaplain and they became engaged in 1794 but he did not have enough money to marry her and unfortunately died of yellow fever in the Caribbean in 1797. After his death Cassandra never married, but lived at home with Jane and their parents. Together she and Jane enjoyed the sites and sounds of Bath and many visits with family and friends. She deeply mourned the death of her sister in 1817 and died herself in 1845 at the good old age of seventy-two.

Fancis William Austen - (1774-1865) Frank, was only a year older than Jane and was her fifth brother. He entered the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth at the age of 12, and fought in the British navy during the Napoleonic wars. Frank was away at sea in the Far East from age 14 to 18. He eventually rose to the rank of admiral and was knighted for his galantry. Nelson once called Frank Austen "an excellent young man". In 1806 he married Mary Gibson who died in 1823 after seventeen years of marriage and eleven children. Five years later in 1828 Frank married Martha Lloyd (1765-1843) an old family friend and sister-in-law of his brother James Austen. Martha had lived with the Austens since the death of her mother in 1805. They did not have any children.

Frank's daughter Catherine Anne (1818-1942) was a novelist and married in 1842 to John Hubback. It was their son John Henry Hubback (1844-1939) who co-authored with his daughter Edith Charlotte Hubback (1876-1947) the book Jane Austen's Sailor Brothers.

Jane Austen - (1775-1817)

Charles John Austen - (1779-1852) Jane's sixth and youngest brother, also entered the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth at the age of 12 in 1791. He fought in the British navy during the Napoleonic wars with his brother Frank. He also rose to the rank of admiral. Charles married Frances Palmer (1790-1814) and they had three daughters: Cassandra Esten Austen born 1808, Harriet Austen born 1810, and Fanny born 1812. Charles died in 1852 at the age of 73.


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