Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Joseph Roper (1791-1868), Plasterer of Chesterfield

Joseph Roper was born at Brampton, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire in 1791, son of Joseph Roper senior and his wife Sarah. In 1814, he married Anne Heath at St Peter's Church, Old Brampton, and when a son George was baptised there on 1 March 1815, Joseph described himself as a plasterer, living at Ashgate (a hamlet near Brampton). Anne presumably died shortly afterwards because Joseph was remarried at Chesterfield on 4 January 1820 to Anne Heald (1796-); again he described himself as plasterer. Joseph & Anne went on to have another three daughters (Anne, Emma, Elizabeth) and three sons (Wlliam, Charles, Henry/Harry) between then and 1839. The family are shown living at White Horse Yard, West Bars, Chesterfield in the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses, and Joseph continued working as a plasterer. He died at the age of 77 at Chesterfield (Regn. Dist.) in the June quarter of 1868.

More detailed biographical and professional notes for photographer Samuel Whiting have been provided elsewhere, but he operated a studio in Chesterfield from at least 1868 until the 1880s. The earliest premises recorded were in Vicar Lane, and it seems likely that Whiting took this portrait of Joseph Roper shortly before the latter's death, possibly between 1866 and 1868.

I purchased this carte de visite on eBay, my interest having been aroused by the fact that it was the only example I had then seen by the itinerant photographer and travelling fairground showman Samuel Whiting, and because the subject was identified on the reverse. However, I subsequently discovered that fellow DerbysGen lister Liz Newbery is descended from Joseph Roper's sister Anne Roper (1796-1872), who married Richard Kirk (1795-1867), Chesterfield's crier. I'm grateful to Liz for sharing her research material, and know that she's enjoying the detailed image of this photo that I sent her. I'd be happy to do the same for any other family members who'd like to get in touch.

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