William was born about 1836 or 1837 possibly at Whithings Clough near Hawkshaw in Lancashire to Thomas (HM059) and Rachel (HM060).
The 1841 Census tells us that he was then 4 years old and living with his parents and two younger sisters Ann (GM077) and Nancy (GM078) at Withings Clough, Tottington Lower End.
By the time the 1851 Census was taken, William was 14 and a coal miner. His family were now living at Boardmans in Hawkshaw where they had been since at least 1848 according to the baptism details of his younger sister Betsy (GM150).
The 1861 Census shows that William had moved to 40 Anne Street in Burnley. Here he is shown to be a boarder in the house of Martha Wilson. He is described as a collier and is boarding along with four other young men who are also colliers from the Turton area. Could it be that this is a group of friends who moved to Burnley together? Was it Williams move to Burnley that led to the rest of the family following? Or had the family planned to move anyway and William had gone ahead to find a place for them?
William married Mary Ann Norris (GM018)(b.c.1846) in Habergham Eaves on the 9th February 1863. (VRI) The VRI gives Mary Ann’s father as James Miller.
Sarah Jane (FM273) was born on the 31st July 1864 and was christened on the 28th August 1864 (VRI). Sadly she died aged 8 months (RoD Burnley 1865 Q2 Vol.8e p.119) and was interred in grave no. 1492 at Burnley Cemetery.
Mary Ann gave birth to a stillborn child who was buried on the 21st December 1865 in grave ref.15798 (a public grave) in Burnley Cemetery.
Sarah Ann was born about 1866 but died in April 1867 and was buried in grave ref.1492 in Burnley Cemetery on the 23rd April 1867 (confirmation needed from certificates).
James William (FM024) was born on the 28th October 1867 and christened on the 1st December of the same year at Holy Trinity, Habergham Eaves (VRI).
William and Mary Anne had another daughter, Mary (FM084), on the 22nd February 1870. She was christened privately on the 9th April (VRI) but died shortly after on the 24th April. The fact that she was christened privately suggests that she was premature or ill and the family were worried that she wouldn’t live long. She too was interred in grave no. 1492 at Burnley Cemetery.
By the time of the 1871 Census William was living at 101 Stoops Lane in Habergham Eaves with his wife Mary Anne (GM018) and their son James William (FM024) who was now aged 3.
William and his family had moved to 6 Marles Street, Burnley by the time of the 1881 Census, he was still a coal miner, and they now had three children:
By the time of the 1891 census William and family had moved to 26 Cobden Street. They now had another son called Mark (EM201) who was born in 1883 (Burnley 1883 Q1 8e 230). Mark married Janet Davis (EM209) in Q1 1920 in Burnley and they lived at 13 Ashford Street in Nelson. They had a daughter called Joyce (DM059) who was born about 1923.
William died on the 9th September 1898, they were now living at 17 Cobden Street, and he was buried in Burnley Cemetery, grave ref.A15615, on the 12th September. Probate was granted on the 30th November of the same year and it shows that William left £248 effects to his widow Mary Anne.