It’s hard to work out when they split up, but they must have been living apart by November of 1860, because although Elizabeth was not deceased, Mark gave his marital status as ‘widower’ and married again, this time to Maria McArthur. Maria said she was a widow, and maybe she thought she was: she had left her former husband John McArthur sometime after 1851 after being married for at least 7 years. Maria and John had no children, and they lived with his parents. The marriage obviously didn’t work.
Why was he so keen on marrying? I believe Mark had a hope that he would immigrate to Australia or New Zealand, and a way to do this and prosper was to be married to a hard-working woman. A couple could make a go of it, but a single man may struggle a bit, and would have less chance of marrying in the Colonies, since women were in the minority. His son George was a sailor, and had sailed to both New Zealand and Australia by 1860. It’s possible he sent word home that his father could make a life there. So he and Rosina immigrated, had four children, and eventually lost contact with family at home. There is a whole different story relating to his children by Rosina in New Zealand re-establishing links with their now very elderly aunt Phillis and also the family of their Uncle George and Aunt Ann who had immigrated to Utah – that deserves a series of blogs!
Bigamy seems to be accepted in the Jarvis family around that time. Mark’s daughters Eugenie and Ruth both had bigamous marriages – Eugenie two of them plus a defacto husband for 12 years – and I have other London based family who also walked away from unsatisfactory marriages. Maria Jarvis, nee McArthur, nee Fudge was definitely not a widow when she married Mark. Poor abandoned John McArthur, a wax-work maker in Kingston Upon Hull, Yorkshire eventually lived with another lady and had children, but never married her. Victorians in the lower and working classes may have had many griefs and economic pressures, but they had hope for the future, and valued companionship and interdependence. It seems to have been the relationship which counted, and they were prepared to chance prosecution and social or family censure to live as a couple.