When John was about 25 years old, he married Frances Leppard in Lewes, Sussex, England. Soon after the wedding, she got sick and died. John ran away to sea and served aboard a Navy ship called the Penelope. Just 4 months later, he was discharged due to illness. I told this story in a small book: John Stanbridge Goes to Sea.
John went home to Lewes, but he and his brother were trouble-makers, and they soon found themselves in prison. One Guy Fawkes night, along with several others, they started a riot. They set tar barrels on fire and rolled them down the High Street, causing trouble and scaring a lot of people.
This incident is still remembered in Lewes, where the “Bonfire Boys” still run riot every November 5th. I had fun telling this story in four small books about John Stanbridge and the Bonfire Boys.
When John got out of jail, he married Mary Ann Hillman. She was 13 years younger than he was. They had five boys and eight girls. We’re descended from a middle child, Charlotte, who was born on Nov. 5th 1858 (Bonfire night!)
John worked as a butcher in Lewes, where he seems to have spent his spare time fooling around, hanging out in pubs, and getting into fights. He died of bronchitis and stomach trouble in December 1891.
John’s father was Thomas Stanbridge (1780-c1855).
Sussex Advertiser, 29 February 1848, page 6.