Alice Mabel Cobb 
25 February 1880 - 18 February 1903 

Alice was born in Christchurch, Hampshire on 25 February 1880. She immigrated to New Zealand with her parents and eight other siblings on the ship, 'Lady Jocelyn', when she was about three years old. Alice was also known as Mabel (her middle name). The reason for this is unknown.

Joseph and Harriet with their children, 1883. 
Alice (Mabel) is likely to be the little girl 
at the front by her mother's knees.
Joseph and Harriet's daughters, Mary and Mabel.
Photo taken around 1881.

The Cobb family boarded the ship 'Kiwi' to take them to their new home in Napier. They arrived in Napier on 5 January 1884. Below is the notice of arrivals to Napier.

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There they were met by Alice's aunt, Emily Lydford, and her husband Richard who had arrived in New Zealand in 1879. There were three little cousins for Alice to meet: Richard Jnr, William, and baby George.

The Cobb family lived in Port Ahuriri for a short time before shifting to Hastings around 1885. The Cobbs returned to live in Napier in 1889.

Alice was a skilled seamstress, and in the 1894 school prizegiving (for Main School), when she was in Standard V, she was awarded a first class certificate in Sewing. (Note that she was known as Mabel at school.)

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Main School was situated near Clive Square. It's playground is now Memorial Park.

Alice (Mabel) was a devoted Christian and was heavily involved in the Trinity Church. She was a conscientious member of the church choir. There are several reports in the newspapers of the day mentioning a Miss Cobb singing items at the church, but it is unclear which Miss Cobb they refer to. We know that both Alice (Mabel) and Mary both sang in the choir. 

On 12 March 1902, at a church social, Alice (Mabel) was presented with a gift of silver cruets from her fellow choir members to celebrate her up coming wedding. 

Alice (Mabel) was 22 years old when she married English-born, Alfred Jacobi (22 June 1870 - 1910), an ironmonger from Dannevirke, on Wednesday 26 March 1902 at the Trinity Methodist Church, Napier. Alfred was born in Pampisford, Cambridgeshire. He was 9 years her senior and had previously worked as a carpenter and store-man. Many church choir members were in attendance and the ceremony was described as a 'choral wedding' as it contained a number of musical items. Alice's sisters, Mary and Dorothy were attendants, and her brother Harold, a groomsman.

Alfred & Mabel on their wedding day, 1902.

Marriage certificate for Alfred and Alice (Mabel).
(Photo by K Bland, 2015)
Signatures on the Marriage Certificate of Alfred and Alice (Mabel).
(Photo by K Bland, 2015)
 The Cobb family celebrating the wedding of Alfred and Alice (Mabel), 1902.
Dorothy, and Mary were attendants and were dressed in white.
The attendants had matching hats with white trim.
Unknown photographer.

The following report about the Jacobi-Cobb wedding appeared in the Bush Advocate on 29 March, 1902.
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Alfred owned 241 acres of land in Dannevirke which he won in 1899 in the Land Ballot. It has been noted that in 1911 this estate was valued for Stamp Duty at a substantial 711 pounds. It was reported that Alfred was well known and popular around town.

Alfred Jacobi c1902
Unknown photographer
(Photo courtesy of J Henry)

Alice (Mabel) gave birth to a daughter named Mabel Cecelia Jacobi (13 Feb 1903 - 30 Sep 1918) in Dannevirke on 13 February 1903, but sadly, passed away five days later just shy of her 23rd birthday. The following death notice was published in the Manawatu Standard, 19 February 1903:

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A funeral service was held for Alice (Mabel) at the Trinity Church on 22 February. She was then buried in the Old Napier Cemetery.

The road leading up the hill to the Old Napier Cemetery.
The white picket fence is the entrance to the cemetery. c1900.

This touching tribute was written in memory of Alice (Mabel), in church newspaper, The Outlook 21 March 1903:

Mrs Alfred Jacobi
Alice (Mabel) Jacobi, third daughter of Mr and Mrs Cobb of Napier, and wife of Mr Alfred Jacobi of Dannevirke, Hawke's Bay, passed away at her late residence on February 18 after a very short illness. Mrs Jacobi was born in Christchurch, England on February 25, 1880, and with her parents came to New Zealand in 1883. To know her from her earliest childhood was to love her, possessing as she did a loving, unselfish disposition, always willing to deny herself in order to give pleasure to others. To her loving interest and regard for the Sabbath, sanctuary and Sabbath School may be attributed her deep piety; her place in the choir and school was never allowed to be vacant unless she was hindered from filling them by some consciencious reason that she could give her loving Master. It was during a mission conducted by Mr Scott, of Christchurch, that she publicly acknowledged her Saviour. From that time she manifested in no unmistakable manner her trust in and love for her Saviour, striving by word and work to bring glory to His name. 

During a visit of Mr Reeve, of the Poona Village Mission, India, some five or six years ago, she was led to offer herself for that work. Towards this end she diligently studied, striving to prepare herself for this important and hallowed work for many months. God, however, willed it otherwise, her usefulness was to be directed to another sphere of life, in which God greatly blessed her. Her home life was a very happy one, and the memory of her consistent, self-sacrificing life will shine out as that of one hid with Christ in God. A diligent student of God's Word, she had learned the secret of true happiness. As a friend she was true to the last. Friendships formed by her were never slighted or forgotten. During the short term of her married life, not quite 11 months, she proved a devoted and affectionate wife, always willing to deny herself that others might be happy. Prior to the birth of her little daughter (who survives her) she expressed a presentiment (premonition) that she would not recover, but she lived, however, in no fear of death, and passed away on the fifth day after the birth of her child. Unable to speak for days she yet manifested by the bright, luminous expression of her face when conscious that peace reigned within. Her last resting place, which on the day of internment was piled high with floral tributes, is in the Napier Cemetery. During the solemn and impressive service in Trinity Church on Sunday, February 22, a great wave of sorrow filled every heart as the fact was realised that this church had witnessed within one short year the bridal and funeral of one so fair and promising. But she has gone to be with Christ which is far better, and being dead yet speaketh.

What became of baby Mabel after the death of her mother is sketchy at present, but it seems that she remained in the care of her father for a while.

On 27 November 1907, Alfred's brother, Ernest Jacobi, married Ethel Mary Elizabeth Davidson in Pahiatua. It is possible that Alfred and Mabel attended the wedding. 

Alfred became partners in an ironmonger business in High Street, Dannevirke adjacent to McDowell and Power's in late 1908. The company was named Lovatt and Co. They stocked a variety of goods including iron beds, carpentry and garden tools, baking wares, crockeryware, glassware and even toilet sets! In March 1909 it was advertised that Lovatt and Co were moving into larger premises which necessitated a sale. The new shop was situated next to the watchmaker, Mr Martin, and conveniently located two shops away from the Post Office.

Family records state that Mabel was enrolled in school by Mr Jacobi, presumably her father) at the Dannevirke South School on 4 October 1909 when she was six years, eight months old. Sadly, her father, Alfred, died (in Dannevirke) five months later, on 7 March 1910, aged 38, after suffering from an internal illness for several months. He was buried in the Old Napier Cemetery with his wife. 

We are unsure who took care of seven year old Mabel at this time, but we do know that she was withdrawn from the Dannevirke South School on 14 October 1910 and taken to Hastings, probably to live there with relatives of her father, eg grandparents. 

Mabel lost two grandparents during 1911, first grandfather Joseph Cobb died in March, then grandmother Henrietta Jacobi passed away on 17 October 1911 at her home in Avenue Road, Hastings. She was 65. 

It is known that Mabel was in the care of her uncle and aunt, Robert and Elsie Ashcroft at Newman (near Eketahuna), for a period of time around 1911-12 (not sure of specific dates at this stage). The small local school recorded her guardian as being her uncle, Robert Ashcroft. Mabel's last day at that school was 7 February 1912. She was then taken back to Dannevirke. It seems that Mabel also attended a school in Birkenhead, Auckland, beginning on 9 December 1912. Her parent was listed as 'Mrs Jacobi' which indicates that she may have been adopted by an uncle and aunt.

Mabel's grandfather William Jacobi, one of the first hairdressers in Hastings passed away on 5 July 1918. Mabel herself contracted tuberculosis and died in Hastings, on 30 September 1918, aged 15 years & 7 months. The following newspaper notice indicates that her funeral was held at the old family church in Napier.

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Mabel Cecelia was buried with her parents in the Old Napier Cemetery. The tall grave in the photo below is the final resting place for Alice (Mabel), her husband Alfred, and daughter Mabel. 

Jacobi family plot, Old Napier Cemetery.
(Photo by K Bland, 2015)
Jacobi family plot, Old Napier Cemetery.
(Photo by K Bland, 2015)
Jacobi family plot, Old Napier Cemetery.
(Photo by K Bland, 2015)
Jacobi family plot, Old Napier Cemetery.
(Photo by K Bland, 2015)

Sources of information:
Family held records
Papers Past
Births, Deaths and Marriages Online
Church Papers Online
Hastings District Council - Cemetery Database
Ancestry - Electoral Roll records - Jacobi and Davidson family tree
J Jacobi, J Henry, G J Bland

Notes and ideas to investigate further:
The Jacobi family were involved in the Wesleyan Church in Hastings. It appears that it was a musical family. They sang (in 1893), and again in October 1893 at a fundraising concert.
1883 - a salon was built in Hastings for Mr Jacobi.
1894 - Mr Jacobi bought a piece of land on the corner of Sale and Munroe Streets.
1899 - Mr H Jacobi elected vice captain of the Napier Hockey Club  (Henry?)

William and Henrietta Jacobi's children:

  • Henry Charles Jacobi (1866 - 1947) born in England
  • Elizabeth Jacobi (1868 - 1950) born in England
  • Alfred Jacobi (1870 - 1910) - born in England
  • Emily Louisa Jacoby (1873 - c1874) born in England
  • Lillian Henrietta (or Henrietta Lillian) Jacobi (1887-88) born in New Zealand
  • Ernest William Jacoby (1880 - 1923) born in New Zealand

NZ Births Register:
Henrietta Lillian - b1887  Death of Lillian Henrietta Jacobi 1950 (never married?) aged 62 (b1888?)
No other children are listed on the Births and Deaths website, but in the newspaper report announcing William's death it states that he had two sons and two daughters who survived him. Obviously, Alfred died prior to him, so is not one of them.

Ernest Jacobi purchased Henrietta's plot in the Hastings Cemetery. A "Miss Jacobi" purchased William's plot in the Hastings Cemetery. (Henrietta and William are not buried together.) Miss Jacobi could be Henrietta Lillian (or Lillian Henrietta) who doesn't appear to have married.

Births, Deaths, & Marriages records: (unknown if all are relatives)

  • 1890 Henry Jacobi (could be Henry Charles b 1866? d 1947 ages 81) married Mary McKay
  • 1897 Emily Louisa Jacobi married Archibald Ambrose
  • 1902 Alfred Jacobi married Alice Mabel Cobb
  • 1907 Ernest William Jacobi (b 1881? d 1923 aged 42) married Ethel Mary Elizabeth Davidson (d1957 aged 74) Ethel was from a Pahiatua family. Ernest was living in Wellington at the time of his marriage. The wedding was hled in Pahiatua. If Alfred took Mabel Cecelia to the wedding of his brother in Pahiatua, he may have looked up the Ashcrofts (Elsie Ashcroft was the sister of his late wife Alice Mabel) who also lived in the area at that time.
  • 1917 Marguerite Moana Jacobi married Francis Wynn Sheath
  • 1921 Eileen Mary Jacobi married Cyril Walter Niccolls
  • 1924 Henry Redvers Buller Jacobi (d1961 aged 60) married Constance Sprott (d 1966 aged 62)

Last updated 26 June 2020

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