All pictures Copyright
 E & BJ Capper Nagold 2017

 

Mary Jane Capper / Benton / Lloyd / Smith

The data base FamilySearch.org offered by the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) was very useful in finding out more about Mary Jane.

The only known picture of her is this one, which is taken from the family group picture, thought to date between 1893 and 1895, so she was about 42. She had had some hard times. By this time Mary Jane had already married three times and had had 9 children, of whom at least 3 are known to have died, very probably also a fourth, so her appearance is remarkably good.

At her first marriage to William Benton on 6th Sept. 1867 in Gwalior in northern India, where her father was stationed, she was 15 years old. William was 30. A marriage at 15 in Victorian times was not as unusual as today, so Mary Jane was not necessarly pregnant, which is the conclusion one tends to draw immediately today. By late the same year her father John was stationed over 2000 km away in southern India, which may have been a reason for her to marry early. The first child, William, died young in 1868. The second child Rose Ann was born in October 1870, soon after Mary Jane’s parents had returned to England at the end of John’s army service. However, only 10 days after the birth of her daughter Mary Jane’s husband died. By that time the family were stationed in Trichinopoly in southern India.

Mary Jane was a widow with a young daughter to look after. She was successful, as the daughter survived childhood and herself married in 1887 at almost 17. In August 1872 Mary Jane re-married, but again in June 1875 was widowed after less than 3 years. They were now living in Kamptee in central India. (No record of children found.)

Just over 4 months later at 23 she married her third husband Andrew Clarke Smith. There are records of 6 sons and 1 daughter born in India. The daughter and at least two of the sons died young. A third son also very probably died young as the same names were ‘reused’ only 2 years later.

She was in Britain in about 1893-95 - see reference to family picture above. In her receipt of her 6th of the estate after the death of her father she gives an address in ‘Palavarum’. Pallavarum is a town to the south of Madras (Chennai).

When she left India and whether her husband and how many of her children were then alive is not known. Her children would have been cousins of my father John P. Capper. I remember there were some relatives named Smith, but have no details.

Here is a link to a family tree showing Mary Jane’s known descendants:

Mary Jane Capper and husband