John (James) Stitson (1816 – after 1871)


   1. His childhood

John (James) Stitson had a sister Maria, and they were born to John sr and Susanna Stitson. John jr was born on 10 March 1816 at Wolborough near Newton Abbot, Devonshire (now Devon), England.1-4

   2. His wife

He married Mary Anne Gale who was born in 1821 at Exeter, Devonshire. The couple had nine children who were all born at Wolborough.4,5

   3. His career

By 1851, the family lived at 10 Richard’s Court, East Street, Wolborough and the same address is recorded during the 1871 Census. John worked as a carpenter and Mary as a washerwoman (a person who washes other people’s clothes and linens for a living). Their son John James, aged 26, was a shoemaker and 16 year-old Isaac was a carter (a person who drives a cart). Ernest and Eliza were 12 and 9 years old, respectively, and still attended school.5,6

It is clear that the Stitsons were not wealthy or even from the middle-class. The Stitsons didn’t even employ a servant, which was a requirement to be labelled ‘middle-class’. No, they were the servants! As labourers from the poorer working class, the Stitson family members all worked hard to earn a decent living. Once the older children reached puberty, they had to start pulling their weight in assisting the family financially. The family lived in the Victorian era, which was characterised by improving health and living standards, industrial revolution, peace and prosperity, and the expansion of the British Empire through the colonisation of Africa, India and the Middle East. And although an increasing number of middle-class families appeared in the Victorian English society, social inequality continued to exist. Many poorer working class families barely survived and even some middle class families struggled to sustain their standard of living.7,8

   4. His death

It is unknown when John Stitson died, but it was after 1871 when his name still appeared in the census records. In 1871, he was already 55 years old.6

  5. His children

Their children were William (1839 – 1925), John James (1843 – 1884?), Harry/Henry (1847 – 1867), Samuel (26 August 1848 – after 1911) who married Elizabeth Ann Wood (1859 – 1948), Mary Elizabeth (1851 – after 1912), Isaac (ca 1854 – ?), Alfred George (ca 1857 – ?), Ernest (ca 1859 – ?), Eliza (ca 1862 – ?) and possibly Andrew.9,10

The third child, Samuel, married Elizabeth Ann Wood. Their daughter, Rose Mary would later marry her nephew, Charles Sepp, son of her aunt, Mary Elizabeth.9 READ MORE on Samuel Stitson.

The fifth child, Mary Elizabeth married Gustav Sepp and they became my husband’s great-great-parents. Their son, Charles married his niece, the daughter of Samuel Stitson.9,10 READ MORE on Mary Elizabeth Stitson and her husband, Gustav Sepp


  1. Devon.
  2. Leonard’s Tower, Newton Abbot.
  3. Wolborough.
  4. John Stitson.
  5. John Stitson. 1851 England and Wales Census, Wolborough, Newton Abbot, Devonshire. National Archives, London, England.
  6. John Stitson. 1871 England and Wales Census, Wolborough, Newton Abbot, Devonshire. National Archives, London, England.
  7. The Victorian Period.
  8. Victoria Era.
  9. Mary Sepp.
  10. Death notice & will of Gustav Sepp. National Archives & Records Service of South Africa, Pretoria. TAB MHG 21900/1912.