On John Kirton & Mary Barson’s wedding John is shown as a Shoemaker, Father John Kirton, occupation Papermaker. He does not appear on the 1841, 1851 or 1861 Census returns.
We have found a baptism of John Kirton on 22 July 1821, Father John Kirton, Papermaker, in East Retford, Nottinghamshire, 47 miles from Derby where he married.
We found some military records which seem to fit and would solve the problem of him missing:
At the National Archives there is a record, not obtainable at the moment, of John Kirton in the 45th Foot Regiment in Belfast, Ireland in 1841. The regiment was deployed to South Africa in 1843.
I found a Chelsea Pension record for John Kirton in 1866, showing over 24 years in the army, which would tie in with being “missing” in the census returns. It does state service in the Cape.
On the 1871 Census there is a John Kirton shown as 51, a shoemaker by trade, born in East Retford, Nottinghamshire, as a patient in the Leicester Lunatic Asylum.
At this same time Mary Kirton (Barson) is living with her son William Edwin in Derby.
We have also found a death record for John Kirton in Leicester in 1973, and an entry for a burial in Welford Road Cemetery, Leicester:
Burial August 21 1873, aged 53, address Leicester Borough Asylum, Humberstone (which became the Towers).
Section T, plot number 818. In the same plot are two other burials from the Workhouse.
A visit to the Cemetery when the Visitor Centre is open would be good as they can point you to the plot.
Hope this is good info for you and has solved your mystery.