Cazneau, Jane Maria Eliza Storms

Cazneau, Jane Maria Eliza (b. McManus) Storms

(1807–78) adventurer, journalist, publicist; born near Troy, N.Y. The daughter of a lawyer (and U.S. representative, 1825–27), she assisted her father in a failed scheme to establish a colony of German settlers in Texas (1833–35). (Afterward, Aaron Burr's second wife accused him of committing adultery with her. Jane had meanwhile ended her brief marriage (1825–31) to Allen B. (or William F.) Storms.) Settling in New York City, she became a journalist, writing mainly for the New York Sun; in 1846 (because she spoke Spanish) she accompanied its editor, Moses Beach, on a secret peace mission to Mexico during the war and is said to have provided crucial information to Gen. Winfield Scott. She went on to Washington, D.C., and New York City where she lobbied for annexing all of Mexico, advocated the expansionist views summed up by "manifest destiny," and promoted the liberation of Cuba from Spain. By 1850 she was married to William L. Cazneau, a Texas politician and fellow adventurer, and they would devote much of the next 20 years trying to get the U.S.A. to annex the Caribbean island of Santo Domingo; they also encouraged William Walker's filibustering in Nicaragua. Apparently as indefatigable as she was irrepressible, she wrote several books (all using the pen name Cora Montgomery) promoting her views about U.S. expansion in the Caribbean, including The Queen of Islands and the King of Rivers (1870) and Our Winter Eden; Pen Pictures of the Tropics (1878). When their plan to annex Santo Domingo was finally rejected by the U.S. Senate (1870), she and her husband retired to Jamaica. She was lost at sea off Cape Hatteras on a return trip to Jamaica.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.