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John Button was christened at St. Saviour parish in York, Yorkshire on September 14th 1835 [IGI: Batch C071851] to parents Stephen Button and his wife Elizabeth (nee Jackson) who had married at St. Maurice parish, York on December 11th 1834 [IGI: Batch M108871]. Elizabeth was born at Barton le Street, Yorkshire. Stephen was born at Cawood, Yorkshire around 1802-06, probably to parents Leonard Button and his wife Ann/Hannah, several of whose children (but not Stephen) have their christenings at Cawood recorded in the IGI [Batch C109132].
The 1841 Census finds John at age "5" living with his parents in Rosemary Lane, St. Mary Bishophill Senior parish, York. His father, misentered as "Samuel", is described as a mariner with (rounded age) "35".
The 1851 Census finds him at age "15" living with his parents and numerous siblings in Skeldergate, St. Mary Bishophill Senior and occupied as an apprentice joiner. His father was now occupied as a waterman captain. Next door, at the "Jolly Sailor" public house, was the family of Stephen's presumed brother Samuel Button, occupied as a publican.
The 1861 Census finds him at age "25" living in Peter Lane, St. Peter-the-Little parish, York and occupied as joiner, together with a servant Harriet Hardcastle aged "20" born in York. Meanwhile, his parents were living at 45, Skeldergate, Stephen being described as a cow keeper aged "50" (but nearer 56). Living next door at No. 46 was the family of Samuel Button.
John married Harriet Hardcastle in 1862 [Marriage Index: York 9d 41, 1862 (June)]. The marriage is recorded also in the IGI [Batch: M006134] as taking place at St. John Ousebridge parish, York on May 13th 1862, the entry giving his age as "27" and hers as "22" and correctly naming his father as Stephen.
John's mother Elizabeth died aged "48" in 1866 [Death Index: York 9d 25, 1866 (June)] and his father Stephen died aged "68" in 1871 [Death Index: York 9d 17, 1871 (June)].
The 1871 Census finds Harriet aged "30" living with two young daughters Emma and Hannah in Cross Keys Passage, North Street in St. Micklegate parish, York and occupied as a charwoman. She is described as married, but John was not present and has not yet been located in this census. It is suspected that they had separated.
John possibly died aged "42" in 1879 [Death Index: York 9d 11, 1879 (March)], although this may refer instead to his cousin John, the son of Samuel.
The 1881 Census finds Harriet aged "35", claiming to be widowed, living with four children (not including Emma) at 51, Aldwark in St. Helen-on-the-Walls parish, York and occupied as a dressmaker. Emma was meanwhile living at age "16" in the household of a butcher William Coffey at 100, Broughton Road in Salford where she was occupied as a domestic servant.
Harriet died aged "47" in 1885 [Death Index: York 9d 31, 1885 (Dec)].
On July 30th 1887 Emma - now calling herself "Emma Agnes" - married George (1) Harrison at St. Thomas Ardwick in Manchester [Marriage Index: Chorlton 8c 797, 1887 (Sept)].