Mary [Jacobs] Scott (1834 - 1873)

Mary Jacobs was born on 5 April 1834 in Westbourne, Sussex, about 7 miles northeast of Portsmouth. She was one of at least six children, born of Joseph and Hannah [White] Jacobs. We know little of her  childhood. She was christened on  1 June 1834, at the parish church in Westbourne. The next information we have on her is twenty two years later when she married William Scott on 3 Aug, 1856. They were married at the parish church in Westbourne, where Mary had been christened. At that time and for many years later, William was a warder at Portsmouth Prison and they lived in different houses in the vicinity of the Prison.

They enjoyed seventeen years of marriage, until her death on February 7th, 1873 on the Isle of Wight. During that period they had seven children, four of whom lived beyond infancy. During this period of her life most of the information we have, that relates to her personally, occurs on the various birth and death certificates of her children. In addition we have census information from 1861 and 1871. We can also deduce some information from from her husband's career moves which indicate that they probably moved to the Isle of Wight in the fall of 1869.

Within the family we have an anecdotal piece of information relating to Mary's death and William's subsequent marriage to Sarah Langrish. Sarah, also born in Westbourne, was a childhood friend of Mary. In 1873 Sarah was a spinster (i.e., had never married). Mary, aware that she was about to die, made arrangements for Sarah to marry William -- which was done a couple of years later on 20 April 1875 at St. Mary's Church in Portsmouth.

Mary's funeral service was at the Carisbrooke Church on the Isle of Wight and is recorded in the church record book there. She is interred in the Carisbrooke Cemetery in plot number 1493, "a common grave in the consecrated ground" according to the entry in the cemetery records. The costs charged by the cemetery, as recorded in their records, were "to Jno. Chiverton, burial fee, 2/-, Sexton, 3/-, Moving(?) Up, 1/-, Knells, 3/-, Clerk, 1/- for a total of 10/- (ten shillings)" and the burial was presided over by 'the Vicar'.

In June of 1998, William and Mary's great granddaughter, Evelyn (Cobby) Selby, and her husband Peter visited Carisbrooke church and Mary's grave -- perhaps the first family members to do so in a century. They took several photographs and obtained photocopies of cemetery documents related to the funeral -- these, and other documents and photographs relating to Mary's life, are reproduced below.

Documents and Photographs Related to Mary's Life

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Christ Church in Westbourne: This is the church in which Mary was Christened and in which she and William Scott were married. Westbourne is where the Jacobs family lived through most of the 19th century. Mary's mother was born just north of Westbourne in Harting, Sussex in 1803 and is reputed to have lived to be one hundred. She is listed in the 1881 census (at close to 80 years!) as a labourer!

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A family register (presumably from a Bible) listing the births of William and Mary and also of their children. The page is completed in two hands. I conclude that the entry for Mary Ann Scott is in William's handwriting, while the rest is in Mary's. Note the twins Walter and Charles. Only Walter, Elizabeth Marion, Sydney George and William Joseph lived beyond infancy.

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An Interior view of Carisbrooke Church; Mary's funeral service was held here

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Mary's gravestone -- unfortunately the inscription was not legible

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An exterior view of Carisbrooke Church where Mary's funeral service was held and likely where the family attended church

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Mary's funeral notice: The original is on a hard paper and heavily embossed.  The image has been highlighted a little to improve readability. Cards like these, often with photographs of the deceased were given to family and friends. The verse reads:

A loving wife, and mother dear,
  And faithful friend, while living here;
In love we lived, in peace she died --
  We craved her life, but God denied.


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Mary's Death Certificate



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Photo 1: Estimated to have been taken between 1855 and 1860 at about the time of her marriage and perhaps after she had her first child. It is a less formal portrait than the other three and, in that perhaps reflects a younger spirit -- it may even have been taken before her marriage in 1856 at the age of 22.

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Photo 2:This photograph also reflects a younger woman, though the pose and dress are somewhat more formal. I place this as later than photo 1 but still early in her married life


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Photo 3: Here we see a somewhat older woman. There is some thickening of the waist. Interestingly the photograph was taken in Brighton -- perhaps she and William were on a vacation at the time. To me the photograph may show the early signs of illness


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Photo 4: I place this as the latest of the four photographs, perhaps taken within a year of her death. Her waist seems to be thicker and she does not appear to be all that well.

Four Photographs of Mary (Jacobs) Scott

We are fortunate in having the above four photographs of Mary. I have arranged them in chronological order as I guess it to be


Mary's Cause of Death -- Genetic Weakness?

Mary's cause of death is listed as "Hepatitis, Dropsy, Certified". Dropsy is an old term for edema, a swelling of the body and is usually related to kidney failure. Hepatitis is a failure of the liver. The term "Certified" would indicate that the cause of death had been determined by a doctor.

Mary's cause of death may be a sign of a problem in the genetic makeup of the family. We have not yet determined what happened to her son Sydney George Scott (no trace of him yet found after the 1881). However it is interesting that two of her other children, Walter and Elizabeth named children Sydney George.  Walter's son was born in 1887. Elizabeth's son was born in 1901. It may well be that Mary's son had died during the period 1881 - 1887.

In the next generation Walter's wife Julia bore about twelve children. Only four of these lived beyond infancy; we do not know the causes of the infant deaths at this time.

In the next generation Mary's great granddaughter Hilda Emily Fry died in 1921, at the age of 12, from Pyelitis and Cystitis. Pyelitis is an infection of the lining surrounding the kidney, while Cystitis is an inflammation of the skin. Another member of this generation, a great grandson had a kidney transplant in his 50's.

In the next generation a great great granddaughter had a kidney transplant while in her 20's. (These latter two are still living and so not named on this page).

That these various conditions were related to kidney failures may be coincidental, or it may relate to a genetic tendency to failure of the kidneys. It will be useful obtain further information on Sydney George Scott as well as other deaths in the family.




The following have helped in preparing this page through sharing knowledge or materials

This document is 'in progress'. Any errors are mine. Contributions to this account of Mary's life would be much appreciated.

ŠKenneth Scott and others

last modified 30 September 2001