LottieAbbott was born in 1853 to parents who were principals at the Mississippi Valley Female Seminary in Saint Louis Missouri. The Abbotts fled Saint Louis during the Civil War, but resumed their commitment to religious training for girls at the Ladies Collegiate Seminary in Jacksonville Florida during Reconstruction. In the 1870 Federal Census, Lottie was recorded as a 17-year old living with her parents and sister in Jacksonville. At a young age, she was herself a teacher at the corner of Ocean and Adams Streets, the site of the First Presbyterian Church.
Richard HenryJones' path to Florida is uncertain. He was an immigrant to the United States who fought with the British navy in the Siege of Sevastopol (1854-55) when he was a just a boy. Henry was somewhere between 25-28 years old when he appeared in Newark New Jersey in 1869, paying dues for membership with the International Order of Odd Fellows. He may have lived in Newark for many years prior to that, as he called the city 'the closest place to home I have in America'. Henry was not registered as a resident of Jacksonville for the 1870 census, but by 1871 he was employed with the firm of Cooper & Jones, a painting contractor.
Lottie and Henry met and married in March 1872, when she was 19. They established a family quickly with two sons—Harry (February 1873) and Howard (April 1874)—born in rapid succession. Then, less than year after Howard was born, the young mother passed away leaving Henry a single father of two infants.
In 1882, Henry was a painter at Jones & Verrill and lived at the American House—a three-story brick hotel later known as the Pennsylvania House—at West Forsyth and Cedar Streets. His partner was John Cooper, who by 1891 was a sole proprietor with a business on Stonewall Street.
Henry died in March 1896, and the cemetery recorded his age as 55.
Lottie Abbott purchased property in the 600 block of Laura Street near Elizabeth (now Beaver) Street in Jacksonville in 1874. It's not clear why she completed this transaction independent of her husband, or how unusual it would have been for a married woman to own real estate in this era. By 1874, Lottie was a mother with two small children, and her parents had presumably returned to Cleveland. The Abbott family once lived within three blocks of this intersection in 1871, before Lottie was married. There is no record of Lottie and Richard ever living on this property, or what became of it after her death in 1875. The $800 purchase was from Damon Greenleaf, who moved to Jacksonville shortly after the war (about the same time Lottie's family arrived) and established a jewelry store on Bay Street. In 1880, JH Crosby joined the company, for the next 50 years Greenleaf & Crosby was a fixture in Jacksonville retailing. In 1927 the jewelers moved off Bay Street and into the Greenleaf & Crosby Building, a 12-story tower which still stands at 208 North Laura Street, designed by Marsh & Saxelbye.