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Jane Chambers McKinney was born in 1802 in Wilmington, Delaware. In 1822, she married Alexander Graydon, an iron manufacturer. They moved to Indianapolis in 1843 and continued their involvement in the Presbyterian Church and as advocates for African-American issues. The Graydons were ardent abolitionists and their home was reputed to be a station of the Underground Railroad. Jane Graydon also served as a Civil War nurse and helped found the Indianapolis Home for Friendless Women, a safe haven for destitute women and children.