Martha Jolly was born at Chesterton, Cambridge, England, in 1851, and was christened on the 12th of September of that year. Her parents were Thomas and Mary Ann Jolly nee Snelling. She was the eighth of nine children. Their names were Mary Ann, William, Benjamin, Thomas Benjamin, Thomas, Emily, Sarah Ann and Benjamin. The older Benjamin and Thomas Benjamin did not survive infancy.
In 1864 Martha's parents and their four youngest children (Emily, Sarah, Martha and Benjamin) came to New Zealand. The ship was the Asterope It sailed from London on 26 June 1864, and arrived in Wellington on 7 October 1864. On the trip out a severe SW gale, when they were just off Kerguelen Island, blew away the jib, split the foresail, and washed away the poop ladders and port bulwarks on both sides. For the rest of the journey there were light winds, although they were becalmed off Tasmania for 7 days. They sighted Cape Farewell, New Zealand, on the 1st of October, only to contend with a strong SE gale for 3 days.
Thomas and Mary Ann Jolly and family set up home in the Hutt Valley.
On Friday 22 August 1873, Martha's mother, Mary Ann, died in the Hutt Valley, aged 64 years.
The following year, on 7 September 1874, Martha married James Scrimshaw at the Catholic Church in the Hutt. Martha was not a Roman Catholic. James was 19 years old, Martha was 23. The priest was Father McLaughey. They were to have 14 children.
* Their first son, Thomas, was born in 1875. At some stage Thomas married Annie Mary Rhode. They had two children: Herbert Arthur and Florence May. His wife Annie died in 1901 while milking the cows. In 1903 Tom married Eva Beatrice Fletcher. They had two children - Rex Thomas and Phyllis Virginia. Thomas died in Trentham on 2 June 1963.
* On 31 May 1876 their first daughter, Mary Ann, was born at Lower Hutt. She married James Whall at Trentham in 1899, and lived at Darfield, Canterbury. They had fifteen children - James Hector Francis, John Victor Claud, Rita Margaret, Charles William Frederick, Mary Ellenor Millicent, Thomas Arthur, George Robert, Frederick Louis, Stanley Herbert, Margaret Ethel, Gertrude Helone Emma, Doris Pamella, Phyllis Jessie Elizabeth, Leslie Edward, and Malcolm Kenneth. Mary Ann, died in Christchurch on 4 January 1954.
* On 22 July 1877 their second son, James Hector, was born. At one stage he lived at Hunterville. At another time Jim used to work on the Grace's farm in the Wairarapa. He never married and died in 1968. The name of Hector comes from his father's brother who drowned in the Hutt River aged 9.
* A second daughter, Martha Margaret, probably called Maggie, was born on 5 April 1879 at Taita. She married Thomas Alfred White in 1908. They lived in Templeton near Christchurch, and had two sons: Frank Charles and Bert James. Both sons died young - one in World War II and the other of tuberculosis. Maggie died in Christchurch.
* Their third son, Robert Arthur, was born on 17 August 1880 at Whitemans Valley, Upper Hutt. He was known as Arthur. On 2 September 1914 he married Isabel Coffin at Raurimu where they lived. The marriage was dissolved in Napier on 13 March 1924. At one stage Arthur lived in the Wairarapa.
* On 2 March 1882 their fourth son, George William, was born. He died the following year on 21 April, and is buried at Saint Joseph's Church, Upper Hutt.
* On 25 September 1883 their fifth son, John Benjamin, was born. At one stage he lived on the Rangitikei Line, Palmerston North. He was a farmer. He died unmarried, at the Awapuni Home on 9 January 1941 of carcinoma of the ear.
* On Sunday 8th November 1885 their third daughter was born - called Minnie Elizabeth. She was registered on 15th January 1886 - which might help account for the fact that some sources say she was born in 1886. Minnie married Albert Goodman. Minnie had five children: Eva Mary (Dorrie), Frank, Rene Mavis, Roy Albert and Keith William. Minnie died in 1948 and is buried at Akatarawa.
* On 22 April 1887 their sixth son, Henry Patrick, was born. He was known as Pat or Paddy. He married Mary Brady and they had four children: Thomas Patrick, Harold Joseph, Kenneth and Eileen Beatrice. He died 6 July 1968 in Lower Hutt and is buried at Taita.
* On 5 September 1889 their seventh son was born. He was called William Hector, but known as Kemp or Kempthorne. He was baptised as Kempthorn William. His wife was Nancy. They had no children. He died at the R.S.A Home in Levin on 26 July 1966 aged 76 years and is buried in the Levin Cemetery.
* On 8 August 1891 their fourth daughter was born. She was called Martha, and in 1912 married John Williamson. Their children were Patricia Ann, Maureen Kathleen, Myrtle Iris, John, and Denis Michael. Martha died in Lower Hutt in 1974 and is buried at St Joseph's Church, Upper Hutt.
* On 5th April 1893 their eighth and final son, Archibald, was born. Archie's wife was Rosina. He died in the R.S.A. Home in Levin on 7 January 1976 and was cremated. They had no children.
* On 9th October 1896 they had their fifth daughter, called Beatrice Alice. She married an American called Louis Gender. He was chief engineer on the Golden Rod Line that traded between China and the U.S.A. He died at sea and was buried at sea. Beatrice died in Oakland, San Francisco, in 1982. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered in San Francisco Bay. Their daughter Betty Alice, born in 1930, died in 1984 in California.
* On 13 June 1899 their sixth daughter and final child, Ethel May, was born at Upper Hutt. Ethel never married, and died on 19 September 1971 in Wellington and is buried at the Akatarawa Cemetery.
On 27 July 1889 Martha's father, Thomas Jolly, died.
At some time after this Martha and James had shifted from the Hutt Valley to Palmerston North where they lived in Tram Street. In 1917 Tram Street was renamed Heretaunga Street.
At some stage Martha became a Roman Catholic, for she is buried in the Catholic Section of the Palmerston North cemetery. There was some "unspoken feelings" on the Anglican Goodman side of the family that she may have had this "foisted" upon her on her death bed. George Scrimshaw (Martha's father-in-law) and Mary Ann Snelling (Martha's mother), had also become Catholics and feelings ran deep.
In 1913 Martha had a tooth removed. Blood poisoning followed and on Sunday 7 September she died at the Palmerston North Hospital. She was 63 years old. It was James and Martha's 39th Wedding Anniversary.
The grave stone reads:
I know you feel it hard to part
With me, the darling of your heart.
But only trust in Jesu's name
And you shall see your Mother again.
Martha's husband James
Martha's daughter Mary Ann
Martha's daughter Minnie Elizabeth
Martha's Grave Stone