She was born 20 December 1866 in Racine, Wisconsin the daughter of William J. Howard and Edith Dawson (2). Before her marriage she lived at 2036 North Main Street, Racine.
Jennie was a frail woman who had been poor in health for years. She had lived through several catastrophic events in addition to the Titanic: She was a pastry cook in the Blake Opera House and Hotel which burned to the ground on 27 December 1884. She made the last trip in the elevator before flames gutted the shaft. Prior to the fire by several months, she was found lying unconscious in the kitchen overcome by gas fumes from the stove.
Jennie was married to Claus Peter Hansen on 25 July, 1900 in Racine. They would have no children.
In 1912 Peter and Jennie were going to Denmark to visit his parents and three brothers, whom he had not seen for twenty-one years. Before leaving Racine, Jennie told her brother, Thomas Howard, that she dreaded making the trip, saying that she had a feeling she would never return alive; she even told Thomas the type of funeral arrangements she wanted in the event that her body was recovered (he took this in a humorous vein). The Hansens left for Europe on board the Cunarder Campania on February 14, 1912.
When the time came for Peter and Jennie to return to America Peter´s twenty-six year old brother, Henrik Juul Hansen decided to leave Denmark and accompany them to the new world. Peter bought their tickets at the White Star agent (C. Hansen) in Maribo, Lolland. (south of Sealand) and the three boarded the Titanic in Southampton as third class passengers (ticket number 350026, £14 2s 2d).
After the collision, Peter put his wife into a lifeboat (possibly lifeboat 11) with the words: "Jennie, you had better go so that there will be one of us to tell the story back home". Peter and Henrik both perished in the sinking.
Jennie claimed that in the crowded lifeboat a sailor was sitting on her lap rowing the whole time!
In New York Jennie was hospitalised.
As a result of the Titanic disaster, Jennie suffered such a shock to her nervous system that she was unable to shed a tear after. She also suffered from severe nightmares and went to stay with her elder brother Thomas Howard and his wife Maggie in Nicholson Rd., Franksville, Racine. Apparently Jennie's nightmares were so severe that Thomas and Maggie had to go and hold her down on the bed.
Jennie returned to Racine Wisconsin where she married Elmer Emerson (who was 19 years her junior) on 25 August 1915 . They lived at 1214 Center Street, Racine. Jennie Louise Emerson (née Howard, late Hansen) died on 15 December 1952 aged 85.