Sarah Lane was born to William Lane and Hannah Caldwell on 25 Aug 1820 in Manchester. Lancashire, England. She was baptized at St. James Cathedral on 24 Sep 1820. Her father was an iron monger and she was raised in a relatively well to do middle class household. On 31 Dec 1839 she was married to John Buck at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Liverpool, England. They had three children, Edward born 31 Aug 1841, Hannah Elizabeth born 10 May 1844 and John born 14 April 1846. In the 1841 Census of England she is living with her husband in her father's house in Manchester. Her husband, John Buck, died 16 Dec 1846 and her son, John, died soon after.
In 1849 the entire family, her father and mother, her older brother, William Frederick Lane, his wife, Jane, and their two sons, Samuel and William Frederick, her younger sister, Amelia, plus her two children, Edward and Elizabeth Buck, and herself all moved to America. Her brother, William Frederick, moved first. We have a letter he wrote asking her to join him soon. He was living in or around Buffalo, New York. According to a descendant, Jim Brown, they brought a great deal of their belongings with them from England. Most of which are still in the possession of various family members. Her younger sister, Amelia, died soon after the family arrived in America.
In the 1850 Census the family is to be found in Buffalo, New York. Curiously the Census only lists William, Hannah, William the son and Sarah, not Jane or the four children. I don't know if they just asked William for his children and not his grandchildren as it seems odd. William is listed as a lockmaker. While living in Buffalo Sarah married Thomas Kay. The family Bible says they were married June 14, 1851 at "Trinity Church Buffalo U.S. of America." Before coming to America, Thomas Kay and his wife, Sarah, had a son, Robert, born 1 Nov 1846 in Holcombe, Lancashire. Sarah Kay died and was buried on 12 Jan 1850 in Astley-Bridge, Lancashire. This is likely why Thomas decided to immigrate to America. He is listed in the 1850 Census as a laborer. I don't know how they met but Thomas and Sarah must've felt a kinship at both having come from Lancashire and both having lost a spouse at a young age. Their daughter Sarah Buck Kay was born 5 Oct 1852 followed by Mary in 1854 and Anne in 1856.
Sometime after Anne's birth the whole family decided to move once again and they re-located to Vienna in Elgin County, Ontario, Canada. Here William F. or Willie, was born in August 1859. In Vienna Sarah had a Milliner's shop and was also a seamstress. Her daughter, Elizabeth Buck, is also listed as a seamstress in the 1861 Census. Thomas is listed as a Teamster. In approximately 1870 they moved back to the U.S., living in Saginaw, Michigan. They seemed to miss the 1870 Census in the U.S. and the 1871 Census in Canada. In the 1880 Census, Thomas Kay is listed as a laborer and only his son,William, is still at home, all of his daughters having been married by then. Thomas died on 6 Jul 1895 and Sarah followed him on 13 Nov 1896, both in Saginaw.
One fact about Thomas Kay is noted enough to be quite evident,that is that he had quite a drinking problem. It is mentioned in letters from Sarah's father and brother and the Saginaw Evening News of 10 Mar 1890 reports his conviction of "being a common drunkard" but he gets off with a promise of good behavior. This must have been a trial for Sarah.
Sarah was evidently the center of her family. We have many letters that were sent to her from her brother, William Frederick, her son, Edward and her father. Unfortunately we don't have her replies! But it is clear that she is a key member of the family and frequently consulted by others. In the one picture we have of her she is old but she is very self-possessed. To me she exudes stability and determination. She's not mean but I wouldn't want to cross her!