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Jane was born, October 18, 1817 in Perthshire, Scotland, the sixth child of ten born to Margaret Clelland and John Strang. In 1835, Jane came to Canada with her parents, brothers and sisters. There she met John McAlister, a young Scotsman. They were married in Canada on October 22, 1838. They remained in Canada until 1842, when they came with his mother, Elizabeth McAlister, to just northeast of Millburn (now northwest corner of Kelly and Hunt Club Roads) where they took up their homestead. They bought one hundred and sixty acres, for $1.25 an acre.
They lived on and worked the land and became prosperous. In time, Mr. McAlister made money by loaning money to people in the area. When they came to Lake County, he had only his team and $25.00 in cash, of which $22.00 was spent on a cow. They also raised sheep and Jane sheared the sheep, carded the wool, spun it into yarn, and knitted it into stockings and other needed garments.
As they had no children, they often had boys from an orphanage to assist with the work. In 1882, Jane and her husband moved to Waukegan. She became a faithful member of the First Presbyterian Church. Rev. Samuel Chidester was the minister at that time and lived with his friend John Baggett, an educator, in the manse which Jane gave to the church.
Mr. McAlister died in December, 1888. Jane worked for the betterment of community affairs and donated $21,000 for a hospital building. Construction was started with the first patient being admitted on September 24, 1904 and the first operation being performed three days later. This building was built on the southwest corner or North Avenue and Franklin Streets in Waukegan.
The original hospital started in a rented home, owned by A. C. Hawthorne, at 720 N. Avenue and had six beds. On May 29,1897, the Hospital Association acquired the Liebeck property and increased the beds to fourteen. The Liebeck house was moved to the rear of the property and used as a nurses home to make way for the new four story red brick building. The new hospital had 34 beds and was named the Jane McAlister Hospital, the forerunner of Victory Memorial Hospital.
Jane died on October 29, 1903 with bronchial pneumonia. She left real estate valued at $2,000 and personal property estimated at about $100,000. Her home on Clayton Street was willed to Rev. Chidester and he and Mr. Baggett are buried in the McAlister plot along with Jane's mother Elizabeth.