Mary Turnbull was born in 1865. Her parents, George Turnbull and Mary Turnbull (née Barron), were from Roxburghshire, Scotland. Mary had eight siblings.
Mary met David Besford, a coal miner and Methodist lay preacher, while he was preaching outdoors in the street, and they were married on 10th December 1887 at the United Presbyterian Church in Warkworth.
David and Mary lived at 19 Church Street, Amble until sometime between January 1893 and July 1894, when they moved to Middleton Street, Amble.
They had a total of twelve children, eight of whom survived beyond childhood.
Their third child (and first son) was John William (Jack) Besford.
Mary Besford died on 28th June 1951 at 33 Bothal Cottages, Ashington, at the age of 86.