Descendants of William Lee Henderson and Eleanor Ann Selina Shelby
From the unpublished book written by Vivian Anderson Castleberry
Henderson Connections

Only the blurry photo at left (wearing bonnet) is definitely Eleanor, taken about 1900 (she died later that year). I am questioning the others.

Here are the 5 "Eleanor" photos, zoomed out so you can see the clothing.

Family Resemblances

At right, the first photo is Eleanor’s brother James Madison Shelby (1814–1889). He married (second photo) Amanda Ann Henderson (1816–1896)—William Lee’s sister. Note the resemblance of James Madison Shelby to the third "Eleanor" picture—these two could certainly be siblings!

The four other women are their daughters: Mary Eleanor “Mollie” (1844–1899), Jane Eliza “Jennie” (1845–1902), Rachel Lenora “Nora” (1853–1927), and Margaret Amanda “Maggie” (1858–1912).  They are double first cousins with William and Eleanor’s children. (Names and dates from, accuracy not verified.)

The Shelby daughters strongly resemble their Henderson double cousins. However, the Shelby girls' hair and attire are a bit fancier in their photos, leading me to believe they are not a match for "Eleanor" 1 or 2. But seeing these family resemblances makes me sure that "Eleanor" 1 and 2 are certainly family members.

Shelby daughter photos courtesy of Sonya Manderson at . I didn't have her email address to thank her personally, so thank you, Sonya!

Eleanor's daughter Sallie
Below are 4 photos of Eleanor’s daughter Sallie (1853–1941). Note the resemblance to the first two "Eleanor" photos? These were taken in 1896, 1900, before 1919, and 1925. They are all definitely Sallie.

Eleanor's Photo Mystery

Want to help me with a puzzle? These are five photos labeled “Eleanor Ann Selina Shelby” (1817–1900). You’ll find some of these same photos out there online with the same label. The fifth photo (wearing bonnet) is definitely Eleanor in 1900, but the others are debatable:

Matching photos:

  • Photos 1 & 3 do not look like the same person. The top of the head has a totally different shape, among other differences.

  • Photos 1 & 2 could be the same person.

  • Photos 2 & 3 could maybe be the same person, but the top of the head is different.

  • Photo 4 seems to match Photo 3, based on ears and top of head.

Photo age:

  • Eleanor was born in 1817, and in Photo 1, she looks no older than 30, which she would have been in 1847, or maybe 40, which she would have been in 1857. It would be extremely rare to have an 1840s photo of a non-famous person. (The photography process was invented in 1839.) I don’t see many 1850s photos either.

  • In fact, none of the Henderson or Shelby photos I've ever seen were taken before 1880, and none were taken in Alabama. (Both on and in this book, as far as I can tell. Please let me know if I'm wrong.) That means the woman in Photo 1 would have to have been born in the 1840s or 50s.

Eleanor's children:

  • The first photo bears a striking resemblance to her daughter Sallie (1853–1941). However, I don't think photo 2 is Sallie, as she didn't look like that at that age (see her photos next page).

  • We don't have a photo of Sallie's sister Martha Elizabeth (1842–1896), but the clothing and ages in 1 and 2 might fit for her if #2 was taken before her death at age 54 in 1896. (This woman looks older than 50s, though.)

My guesses: We know #5 is Eleanor. I believe #3 is Eleanor based on her resemblance to her brother James Madison Shelby. I think #4 is probably Eleanor. I think #1 could be either Sallie or her "unphotographed" sister Martha Elizabeth. #2 is probably not Sallie, but it could be Martha, or possibly Eleanor. Let me know if you can help with this one!

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