I had a closer look at the 1851 census record I described as “less than clear” on Wednesday. FamilySearch has the transcription from one of its “partner sites”, Findmypast.
I think this is John MABBOTT from Lincolnshire.
I’ll get to his Manchester birthplace and uncertain occupation later. The marriage of John and Emma TAYLOR had been registered in the July Quarter of the previous year and on this census night they had no more than three months to wait for the birth of their daughter, the short-lived Elizabeth.
The Mabbotts were lodging with Samuel MORRIS and his wife, Isabella.
The quality of the page image on Findmypast is poor. The transcriber sees things I can’t discern but Samuel’s family name is a lot clearer to me than “N?” (I confirmed his identity in the 1861 census.)
I see Isabella’s birthplace as “Lincolnshire”. The 1861 census offers “Ireland” rather than “Manchester”. She married Samuel in 1836 and I couldn’t find any birth registrations in their first ten years together. As for John’s occupation, “Wheelwright” seems clearer to me than “? Man” and this would make “Smith” in 1861 seem reasonable. The mystery of how and why he changed his career path from working in metal to dealing in pills and potions would remain, of course. (To be solved, perhaps, by his encounter with druggist Abraham MASON, whose widow he subsequently married.)
I spent a couple of hours this afternoon looking for information about the other Sleaford John Mabbotts born about the same time as our man. Not one seems to have left the county of their birth and most left their mark in court records for one misdemeanour or another – assaulting a wife, being served with a bastardy order, depositing manure in a town street, being drunk on the highway in charge of a team of horses.
I think there is a strong enough case to marry John Mabbott and Emma Taylor on FamilySearch and hope others will confirm the union and contribute some of their forebears.