Nancy Jay, John and Sarah’s daughter, was nineteen when her mother died, and she took over the role of female head of the household, overseeing household finances and staff, ordering foodstuffs, planning meals, and being responsible for entertaining, home decorating projects, and the gardens. Although Nancy’s sister-in-law Augusta McVickar Jay lived here in the 1820s, she seems to have accepted Nancy’s role, confining her own household activities to the raising of her children. Nancy never married, and cared for her father to the end of his life. Like her father, John, and brother William, Nancy was devoutly religious and actively supported many evangelical causes. She also had a love of gardening, collected shells, and was a savvy investor.
Nancy had been born in France, while Sarah and John were there during the Paris peace negotiations. Sarah had the occasion to witness the first launch of the Montgolfier brothers’ balloon during this visit. At some later date the Jay family acquired two French balloon-back chairs, made in the style of J.B. Demay, that commemorate the balloon launch. On Nancy’s dressing table is a mirror made by Martin-Guillaume Biennais for Napoleon’s second wife, Marie-Louise, Archduchess of Austria and Empress of France.
When John Jay died in 1829, Nancy left the house and William’s wife Augusta became its female head. Nancy moved to her sister Maria’s home in New York City. The sisters kept themselves occupied with travel, visiting such places as Niagara Falls and St. Croix. Charitable endeavors were also important to Nancy; in 1839 she, along with ten other women, founded the Colored Home, a residence for the sick and aged, and upon her death she left significant bequests to the Colored Home and the Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans.