Follow-up: Miss Mary Scott revealed? And some notes on Widow Alsop


From John Hennessy:

We learn new things every day. 

In the wake of last week’s post on Clearview and the mysterious Miss Mary Scott, Norman Schools sent along this image, which we are happy to share.  Norman owns the house of Walker and Margaret Conway in Falmouth, the childhood home of Virginia abolitionist Moncure Conway; Norman is a driving force behind the Moncure Conway Foundation. Few people are more devoted to both history and home than Norman and his wife Lenetta, and over the years he has organized the very popular Yankees in Falmouth event each September.

Is this Mary Scott?

He received this image from a man named Silleck, a visitor to Yankees in Falmouth one year.  The man’s ancestral family, the Wallace’s, owned Clearview after the Civil War, and Mr. Silleck brought along several images of Falmouth from his collection. They included this image, showing an older woman on the back porch of Clearview. The woman is not identified, and nor do we know the year it was taken. But given the style and the look of  the image, it seems likely it was prior to 1900.

Is it Mary Scott?  She died at Clearview in August 1891 at age 67.  Her younger sister Fanny was twenty years her junior–too young, it seems, to be the woman in the picture.

So, it very well could be Mary Scott, though we will never know for sure.  The possibility that it could be is intriguing.

Our thanks to Norman Schools for sharing this little piece. He asked that we cite the image as from the Silleck Collection.

Since our post on the Confederate dead at Widow Alsop’s farm–and the revelation that the widow was just 23 years old in 1864–I came across her obituary from the Daily Star, December 6, 1915. She never remarried and never moved–living out her remaining half-century on or near the farm where the pictures were taken.

Mrs. Susan A. Alsop, widow of the late J.A. Alsop, of Spotsylvania Co., Va., passed away peacefully at he residence of Mr. S.R. Alrich…July 31, 1915, in the 76th year of her age, after a long and painful illness, which she bore with Christian fortitude. Mrs. Alsop was married in early womanhood. The happy union was soon broken, Mr. Alsop having passed away two years after the marriage, leaving his young widow with one child, for whom she tenderly cared, and in whose companionship she found great joy and comfort. But death soon tore him from her embrace, leaving her to mourn her sad loss.

Mrs. Alsop was a member of the Massaponax Baptist church from early childhood and continued faithful to the end of her life. To the Sunday School of her church she left an amount adequate to establish a library.

Mrs. Alsop was tenderly loved by all who had the pleasure of knowing her. She was a true friend, a kind neighbor and a lovely Christian character. Her genial disposition greatly endeared her to those with whom she came in contact.

Her funeral took place from Massaponax Baptist Church Tuesday, August 3, 1915, at 10 o’clock a.m. attended by a large company of friends and relatives and the body was tenderly laid to rest in the old family burial ground.

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6 thoughts on “Follow-up: Miss Mary Scott revealed? And some notes on Widow Alsop

    • Good question. I did a little digging on that and did not find it readily. I’ll do some more on it today. Big Sam Alsop, the patriarch of Spotsylvania Alsops, is buried in the Berea Church cemetery. I wonder if it’s a section of that. I’ll ask around today and let you know what I find. John

  1. To me, this nice image has the look of an early polaroid……i.e., softness of the image and the brown staining. Also, the film was pretty sensative and the camera had a shutter which froze the woman in mid-stride. I’m guessing 1940’s or 50’s. Has anyone seen the original?
    Thanks for the update.
    -Robert Maresz

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