Jean Rae Baxter was born in Toronto and grew up in Hamilton, but "down home" was the region of Essex and Kent Counties on the north shore of Lake Erie where her ancestors had settled, some following the American Revolution and some a century earlier, in the days of New France. There were many family stories to awaken her interest in Canada's past, and frequently, in these stories, the lives of settlers were interwoven with those of First Nations people.

After earning her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.Ed degree from Queen's, she lived for many years in the Kingston area, where her interest in Loyalist history led her to find out more about such figures as the Rev'd John Stuart, Sir William Johnson, and Molly Brant.

Her career as a teacher began in Lennox & Addington County, Loyalist country twenty miles west of Kingston. While teaching at Napanee District Secondary School, she helped to develop Language Arts Curriculum in liaison with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (O.I.S.E.).

During her career in education, Jean had little free time for her own writing, although she managed to produce a few poems, professional articles, and several one-act plays that have been produced in schools and churches.

Following her career in education, she returned to Hamilton and became a fulltime author. As well as writing novels and short stories, she was a member of the committee that organizes Hamilton's Lit Live Reading Series and also served as Co-chair of the Literary Advisory Committee, Hamilton Arts Council. In 2016 she returned to Kingston, where she now lives and writes.