William Pitt Button
William Pitt Button

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

WILLIAM PITT BUTTON was born in that portion of the old town of Schaghticoke which has since been set off to Pittstown, Jan. 22, 1806. He was the youngest son of John and Mary (Ransom) Button. His father and mother were natives of Connecticut, they had thirteen children, - seven sons and six daughters. One son died an infant. Six sons and six daughters lived to adult age, were married and raised families. After the birth of two children, the family moved from Connecticut and settled in Pittstown on the farm now owned by Clark Perry, where they remained about ten years. Here four of their children were born. They next moved on to a farm owned by Abram Lansing, situated about a mile west of the hamlet of Cooksborough, at that time in Schaghticoke, now Pittstown. At this place the rest of the children were born. In the year 1812 the family moved on to a farm, then and still owned by George Tibbits, in Schaghticoke. Here, March 1, 1819, the mother died. His father was again married in 1825, to the widow Lowe. By this union there were three children. The father died Nov. 16, 1832.

William Pitt Button was seven years of age when his father removed on to the farm last named, and he worked on it until he was twenty-one years of age. His education was limited to an attendance in winter upon the district school. When he first left home he lived with his brother-in-law, Elihu Blanchard, who kept at that time a tavern at Schaghticoke Hill. He worked for him for eight months at nine dollars per month. The following two years he worked for his father, receiving eight dollars per month. He next worked for his brother, Ransom Button, two seasons at ten dollars per month. In 1831 he purchased his first farm, consisting of one hundred and seven acres, of John Viele, paying one thousand eight hundred dollars, for which he ran in debt. He had saved from his monthly earnings a sufficient amount to stock it.

The next year, Feb. 23, 1832, he was married to Lois Buckley, daughter of Jabez Buckley, of Schaghticoke. Mrs. Button was born Nov. 12, 1807. By her he had six children, - four sons and two daughters, viz., George W., born Dec. 31, 1832, died June 25, 1852; David M., a farmer and paper-manufacturer in Schaghticoke, born Feb. 23, 1836, married Dec. 23, 1857, to Eliza Jane Baucus, daughter of James W. Baucus, three children, Warren W. Minnie, and Earnest D.; Edwin S., born August 25, 1839, died March 21, 1878; J. Warren, born July 4, 1842, died May 13, 1849; Sobry Ann, born Nov. 8, 1844, married Feb. 14, 1867, to Isaac Mabb, three children, viz., Ida, George W., and Clarence, George W. is deceased; Sarah Jane, born Oct. 22, 1848, living at home. Mrs. Button died March 1, 1849.

Mr. Button again married June 20, 1850, to Mrs. Susan Wing, widow of Morgan Wing, and daughter of Samuel and Susan Loundsberry. She was born May 2, 1817, in Pittstown. The issue of this marriage were two sons and two daughters, viz., Emily Frances, born June 25, 1851, married Nov. 21, 1876, to Andrew Button, they have on child, Clara; Merritt, born Nov. 21, 1852, a farmer in Schaghticoke; Harriet Amelia, born July 12, 1855, keeping house for her brother Merrit; Theodore, born Feb. 24, 1859, living at home.

At the time of the purchase of his first farm it was very much out of repair, and at the end of the first year Mr. Button borrowed one hundred dollars for interest money, for which he paid seventeen dollars interest. After the first year he was enabled to meet principal and interest faster than they became due. To the original one hundred and seven acres he has added from time to time lots adjoining of forty, thirty, and sixty-three acres, also the Knickerbocker farm of one hundred and ninety-six acres, the Groesbeck farm of one hundred and seventy-seven acres, and the Ezra Bryan farm of one hundred and fifty acres. He also assisted his son, David M., in the purchase of the farm in Schaghticoke, now owned and occupied by the latter. He has also accumulated a handsome property outside his real estate. Starting with no capital except his hands, a good constitution, and a will to succeed, Mr. Button furnishes a marked example of what may be accomplished by dint of hard work; accomplished by an intelligent application of means to ends.

In politics he has been identified with the Whig and Republican parties. The only public office which he has ever consented to fill was that of highway commissioner, which he has filled at one time and another for twenty years, and in this capacity has rendered his town marked service. The successful controversy with the Albany and Northern Railroad, in which he was ably seconded by the late Abram Myers, by which that company were compelled to build three bridges over their tracks, was a marked instance of his perseverance and tact.

In both attempts which have been made to divide the town he has been a strong opponent, and rendered efficient service upon the committee appointed by the citizens of the town to look after their interests.

No man in the town of Schaghticoke has probably done more in the way of saving useless expense by successfully opposing the opening of roads and building of bridges which were not required by the public needs.

Mr. Button united with the Methodist Episcopal Church of Schaghticoke Hill in 1835. He was a trustee of the church for many years, and has been and is still one of its principal supporters.

Residence of William Pitt Button, Old Schaghticoke, N. Y.

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