Jackie Orthwein, later known by her married names:”Bancroft”, “Spencer”, and “Morgan”, was well-educated as a graduate of Kent College. For over a hundred years, Kent has followed the motto: “Simplicity of life, Directness of purpose, self-reliance”. Jackie followed that motto throughout her life.
Kent is located in the Northwest corner of Connecticut in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains along the banks of the Housatonic River. It was founded by an Episcopal monk, and at the time Jackie attended was an all women’s college, known for its rigorous academic environment but knowledgeable and supportive teachers. Many of its students, then as now, prepare for the world’s top colleges and universities with an extensive liberal arts curriculum.
Most students live on campus at Kent, as do the faculty, which builds together an active, engaging campus community seven days a week. It is said that Kent is a community of achievement with a culture of performance that gives its students momentum for life.
This Eastern education seems incongruous to the life lived by Jackie, yet with a closer look, one can see how that college education, along with her independent spirit, prepared her for the trials of living and ranching in Eastern New Mexico in the late 40s and early 50s.
It was Hugh Bancroft, Jr., the “Wall Street Journal”, Dow Jones heir that married Jackie shortly after her graduation from Kent. It was he who brought her to this romantic view of ranching in the foothills of the Sacramento mountains but left her in death with three stair-step children five years later.
I write of Jackie’s life in my book: “Observer: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation — even crime”