Sacred to the memory of David Wright, surgeon, who died at Ayr 15th October 1847; and of Jessie Eaton who died at Edinburgh on 4th August 1868. Base. David Wright M.D., died at Edinburgh 16th February 1870 aged 21; Erected by George Vint Wright M.D., and David Wright, M.D. Edin., their two sons in affectionate remembrance; George Vint Wright M.D., died at Edinburgh 6th June 1870 aged 28. North side: Mary Eaton sister of Jessie Eaton who died at Edinburgh 18 aged 58 years and interred in the old churchyard Ayr.
This very fancy memorial, with a statue of a sorrowing lady on top and the symbolic emblem of reversed crossed torches on the front of the stone, records the early deaths of three doctors: David Wright and his two sons, George Vint Wright and David Wright, jun.
David Wright was born in Irvine in November 1807, the son of John Wright, a timber merchant, and his wife Jane Boyd. He established himself as a surgeon in Ayr and married Jessie Eaton there on 12 December 1840. They had two sons: George Vint, born 1 November 1841, and David, born 2 July 1843. However, David Wright sen. died of consumption on 15 October 1847 and was buried in Ayr, although he is also listed on a Wright family gravestone in Irvine which records his parents and all their children.
David’s widow was left to bring up their two sons with the help of her older unmarried sister Mary, who was living with them in the 1841 census. Jessie, Mary and the two boys were living in Ayr in the 1851 census and Jessie – Mrs Doctor Wright – was the tenant and occupier of a house in Charlotte Street, Ayr, in the 1855 valuation list. By 1860, however, the family had moved to London Street, Edinburgh, as Mary Eaton died there on 18 January 1860. She was buried in Ayr Churchyard.
The 1861 census lists Jessie as a Fundholder and the two boys as medical students. George Vint Wright qualified as a doctor in 1862 and David Wright in 1865. The 1865 Edinburgh Valuation List shows Jessie had moved to Milton Cottage, 3 Cumin Place, and it was there that she died three years later, on 4 August 1868.
George joined the navy as an assistant surgeon and was serving on the Doris on the North America and West India station when his mother died. David stayed in Scotland but spent some time in London, which may be how he met his wife, Susan Light, daughter of a London builder. David and Susan married at St Peter’s Episcopal Church Edinburgh on 18 December 1869. Two months later, on 16 February 1870, David died of pneumonia aged 26. His widow returned to London and remarried in 1873.
George Vint Wright was back in Edinburgh by the time David died (he registered David’s death) and only a few months later he too was dead. He died at 3 Roxburgh Street on 6 June 1870 probably as the result of an infection (erysipelas) after a fall as his death certificate refers to “Injuries to face leg and foot” incurred ten days earlier. The doctor who signed the death certificate was Dr Joseph Bell, probably best remembered now as the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes!