The Button and Young Families

Benjamin F. Dake, III wrote a very well researched article for Beyond Germanna in the volume 7, number 4 issue (page 394). He declined to make an identification with Daniel Buttons who was a taxpayer in the Elk Run District of Prince William County, Virginia, in 1751 though the probability is very high. Mr. Dake suggested as a starting point that one review some of the history as given in Germanna Record Five (GR5). The Jung (Young) family of the Little Fork in Virginia and of Seelbach or Trupbach, villages west of Siegen, is discussed in Chapter 26 of GR5. Chapter 5 of GR5 discusses the Button family. Chapter 2 of GR5 gives a summary of the religious situation in the first half of the 17th century in the Nassau-Siegen area, the Thirty Years War with its depredations and repressions, and the Swedish assistance to the Protestants.

The information should be of interest to all Germanna researchers for it shows that the history of families may be complex. We are inclined to think that any one particular family lived in the village of origin indefinitely whereas the story may be much more complicated than that.

At the time of the Swedes being in control in the Siegen area during the the Thirty Years War, a member of the Jung family of Siegen, Christoph Jung, was the Reformed (Evangelische or Protestant) pastor at Gundersheim of Kreis Worms, about eighty miles to the south of Siegen. He last appears there in 1635 at the end of the Swedish occupation. Christoph was “of” Siegen, an expression usually meaning he was born there. He matriculated at Herborn, 20 to 25 miles southeast of Siegen, on 2 December 1615 and again on 2 July 1618. At this later date, a notation states he was the pastor at Seelbach. In addition he may have served at Altenkirchen since his son Wilhelm, another minister, was “of” Altenkirchen. Christoph died some time after April 1635 in Alzey where he may have been a minister also. The son Wilhelm was pastor at Ostheim (now Ostheim-Nidderau) from 1650 to 1662 and at Markoebel (now Markoebel-Hammersbach) from 1662 to 1697.

Wilhelm Jung and his wife, Anna Maria Dietz, had eleven children, one of whom, Maria Margarete, married Jacob Bouton (or Jakob Boutton) as his second wife. Jakob Bouton of Hanau was the son of the Huguenot David Bouton by his second wife, Rachel Haseur. David was born in Metz, France, went as a young man to Hanau in Hesse, married, and became a businessman there. One of Jacob’s sons was Jean Daniel, baptized in the French Reformed Church (Wallonischekirche) in Hanau on 25 January 1691. His German name was Johann Daniel and the Bouton surname was spelled occasionally as Boutton and Button in the Hanau records. Jean passed through Holland, where his first given name would have been Jan, and sailed on the ship Samuel for Philadelphia. He was 48 when he arrived and took the oath of allegiance on 27 August 1739. The ship’s captain had spelled his surname as Buttong. This would be an approximate phonetic spelling of the nasal sounding name in French, especially if the pronunciation were influenced by the more guttural German, though he, Daniel, wrote his own name as Bouton. He was naturalized in Philadelphia on 1 February 1746 with the name Johann Daniel Bouton.

It was not unusual that Johann Daniel was a city dweller, rather than a farmer as most of the Palatines were, as his father was a beer-brewer in Hanau. His grandfather, David, was a businessman in the Hanau suburbs. His great-grandfather, Theodore Bouton, was a hatter in Metz. His grandfather and great-grandfather Jung were city dwellers as ministers.

If we do identify Johann Daniel Bouton with the Daniel Buttons in Prince William County, we must note that he lived for a few years in Philadelphia before moving to Prince William County. However, it would appear that the identity is valid considering the similarity of the names and associations in Germany and in Virginia.

Mr. Dake’s research was extensive and based on many records from Germany and America. He was a member (he is now deceased) of many research societies in Europe. He gave an extensive list of references in his article in Beyond GermannaOne of his ancestors was the Huguenot David Bouton, who had emigrated to Hanau from Metz, Lorraine, France, and one of whose sons married the Jung girl. The European references for this article came from the Hanau archives as the Hanau church records have not been microfilmed by the Mormon Church; the Leiden Huguenot records which are on LDS microfilm; from M. Jean-Louis Calbet, the leading researcher of 16th and 17th century Protestants of Metz; as well as from the Genealogical Society of Hesse, the Pastor at Markbbel, and others. Mr. Dake belonged to three French genealogical societies and a historical society, two Swiss genealogical societies, and a German (Hesse) genealogical society as well as the German Huguenot Society. His wife belonged to the genealogical society in Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Several of the Germanna families have a history spread over a wide geographical region. The Blankenbaker and Garr families claim to have Austrian origins (probably the Scheible and perhaps the Kaefer families are also in this group). The Hieronymus family claims an Austrian origin. Several families can show ancestors from Switzerland in the male or female line. The Rector family seems to have come from Saxony.