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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

Mary Henrietta Smith from Chilbolton

Mary Henrietta Smith was one of Ari’s 5x great-grandmothers. She was born in 1811, the daughter of Thomas Smith and Jane Day. The family lived in Chilbolton, Hampshire, and Mary was baptised on the 2nd of June at the parish church of St Mary the Less.

When she was twenty-one, she married Charles Mitchener, who was an agricultural labourer. The marriage took place at St Peter’s in Goodworth Clatford.

Mary’s first child, Frances Mary Edith, was born in 1834. (She went on to marry a shepherd with the Hardyesque name of Gabriel Wild.)

Next came a son, Henry, who fought in China, Malta, Gibraltar and India as a private in the 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot, which was an infantry regiment.

By George E. Madeley - Richard Cannon (1850) Historical record of the Thirty-first, or, The Huntingdonshire Regiment of Foot, Public Domain,

Henry's discharge notes in 1877, when he was thirty-nine, state “General debility, haemorrhoids, the result of old age and long service, especially in tropical climes.” “The regiment saw active service in China, moving there in 1860 during the Second Opium War and taking part in the capture of the Taku Forts. The regiment remained in China until 1863, and was involved in suppressing the Taiping Rebellion. For the regiment's remaining separate existence it was based at various garrisons in the United Kingdom, Gibraltar and Malta. ( Henry was just forty-four when he died.

The next child was Ari’s ancestor Elizabeth (see, and last came Walter, who was born in 1843 and died at only twenty-six.

Census records show Mary with her family in 1841 in Goodworth Clatford, but by 1851 she had been widowed, and was working as a laundress. Her mother Jane, now a pauper, was living with them. Ten years later, Mary described herself as a charwoman, and was living with her youngest son Walter (17) and two-year old granddaughter Emma (daughter of Frances). In 1871 Mary was a housekeeper, living at the Post Office in Goodworth Clatford, in the home of a widower, William Downs, and his daughter Elizabeth, who was the postmistress. The final census in which Mary appeared was 1881, a few months after her daughter Elizabeth had died from phthisis. Mary was living with her son-in-law, John Tarrant, and his four children (two babies also died in 1880).

Mary died on 30 December 1885 and was buried on the 3rd of January.

Andover Chronicle, 1 January 1886. Image © The British Library Board.

Ari, this is how you are related to Mary:

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