Allestree August 25th 1894 In Rememberance of past Kindness, With Best Wishes from Henry MitchellI had little success in tracing Henry Mitchell - it was just too common a name to be sure I had the right one. However, in February 2007 I posted images of several of the portraits by Derbyshire studios in the respective profiles on my Derbyshire photographers web site, including a CDV and cabinet card by W.N. Statham of Matlock Bridge. Some time later, I was very excited to hear from Marilyn McMillan and Betty Jane Rotteau, from Ontario and British Columbia respectively, who had identified some of the individuals in these portraits.
Just to give you a bit of our Statham ancestry to help make sense of this. Isaac Statham married Sarah Carline and they had 6 children who lived to adulthood. Isaac married in 1873, Henry was our gr-grandfather who you know about, Louisa and Caroline never married but lived together their whole lives, William was with Louisa & Caroline until 1911. I am still looking for a marriage and/or death for him. Then there was Clarissa. She married Henry Mitchell in 1882 and they had 3 children. I think this is the Henry who wrote the above message. From what I can figure Allestree was near Derby at that time, whether this is where Henry & Clarissa were living I don't know for sure. During the 1891 and 1901 census Henry, Clarissa and family were living in Derby area, Quarn Street and Elm Street. Their children's birth were all registered in Derby.
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This just raises more questions. I wonder who Henry was referring to when he wrote his message. Could it have been a message to his sister-in-laws, Louisa and Caroline who took care of their father until he passed away in November, 1894.I think it's quite possible that Henry gave the album to either Isaac Statham senior or Caroline and Louise, but most likely to his sisters-in-law. When Caroline died in 1931, the executors of her will were Frederick Lewis Mitchell and Edward Mitchell, the two sons of Henry and Clarissa. It seems very likely that either they or their sister Clarissa Zenobia, by then married to Thomas Hayes, inherited the album, perhaps along with other family effects. That is, of course, just a wild theory. However, it would explain how photographs from Loughborough and Leicester found their way into the album, since I note that in the census records Henry Mitchell states that he was born in Loughborough. Most of the photographs are from Matlock, Matlock Bath, Chesterfield and Derby. It is important to note that there are many portraits which were taken well before the album was purchased and inscribed in 1894, so they must have been inserted afterwards. It is tempting to theorise that many of the older Derbyshire portraits could be of other members of the Statham family.