Henry reminisces about the many good times at the Stephenson House during the restoration. The restoration is now complete and the educational tours and activities for the school kids are up and running. Carol, the Board and Director RoxAnn have done an outstanding job.
Henry has listened to and remembered a lot of conversations to keep you all updated on the progress at the house and updated on the Stephenson family history. Now,Henry is going to be hanging out in Lower Town and drop by the house to enjoy the events - especially those with food! Henry is now a retired mouse.
The Friends have the educational program up and running. They have accomplished their goal and the school kids on tours are having fun and learning! Henry had learned more about the Black Hawk War and continues his stories about Capt. Wheeler's Company and tells of a letter Joseph Gillespie writes home about an encounter with the Indians. Gillespie later became a Madison County judge.
In 1815 the Stephenson family stopped at Ferguson's Ferry on return trip from Washington, D.C. Now we know the ferry was located at Golconda, IL. The first owners were the parents of John Lusk. John later came to Edwardsville where he was an active citizen.
Henry tells about the Stephenson House receiving the loan of a letter written by Lucy Stephenson. Dotty from Austin has loaned the letter to the Stephenson House. Lucy wrote the letter in 1831 in her house here in Edwardsville to Patty Canal. Henry tells all about how this "meant to be" came about.
Children's Day at the House was fun day for the many children who stopped by.
We learn from Bob about broomcorn and how it was made into brooms. The vegetable garden is flourishing.
The greatest news is that a portrait of Col. Ben's mother, Mary Reed Stephenson, has been loaned to the Stephenson House! And, the glass bowl that his mother carried across the Allegheny Mountains from Berkeley County Virginia to Knoxville, Tennessee has also been loaned to the Stephenson House. These wonderful loans have been made by Julie who is a descendant of Col. Ben's sister, Isabella Stephenson Boyd.
Master Gardeners Tour is a success and our gardens are beautiful! Some folks enjoyed lunch on the porch where they enjoyed the breeze.
Bev and Caryl, nieces of the Berry sisters, Stella and Ione, share their memories with us.
The gardeners have planted broom corn that will be made into brooms!
New information on the early life of Palemon Winchester who was the son of Stephen Winchester and the nephew of James of Cragfont, TN.
Taste of Downtown coming up soon!
The gardeners have planted okra, tomatoes and pole beans.
Henry talks about how the choice of books that Col. Ben and Palemon Winchester reflects their individual personalities and education. The Stephenson, Boyd, and Winchester families were all well educated.
Gardens are underway and the school kids are arriving for tours and fun and games at Col. Ben's house. Keith and Jack have finished all the construction and have left for other work.
Professional genealogist did not find any additional information about Col. Ben's eight slaves/indentured servants.
Corner stones set by Jeff, the surveyor, have added historic authenticity to Col. Ben's house.
Information has been found about First Presbyterian Church organized in 1819 in Edwardsville. Lucy and Elizabeth F. Smith, widow of prominent Presbyterian minister, are active in the Female Sunday School Society.
A split rail fence has been built at Col. Ben's house.
Henry learns that Col. Ben's house was the very same size as the house is today. The two-story Wolf Addition/1845 was built on the original kitchen foundation. The restoration made it clear that the 1820 and 1845 bricks were different from the floor level up. The foundation bricks, to the floor level, were all from 1820.
The Stephenson House now has clothes racks with wooden pegs and a rack for hanging kitchen ware that was made from an antique rake.
St. Louis artist Lon Brauer has created a portrait of Col. Ben from the likeness in the 1800 watercolor on ivory miniature. Sure looks good in the parlor!
Henry learns about the squaring ax used to make logs into beams, the metal 'dogs' used to steady the log and about split rail fences. The kitchen is so good. last week the ladies made stew, bread and apple crisp over the hearth and in the bustle oven.
Henry talks about the wonderful kitchen and how it attracts folks with the great smell of bread baked by RoxAnn in the bustle oven.
There have been lots of tours with the volunteers leading the way and there are folks just "around" reading or sharpening tools, just like in the old days. Henry has learned about beds with rope spring, ticking stuffed with hay and feather beds!
Outside the shade garden is almost finished and pickets identical to the original found in the attic are ready to be made into a fence. The ladies are busy making clothing for the volunteers.
The 1820 Col. Benjamin Stephenson House opens to the public March 2, 2006
with hours of 10 to 4 Thursday through Saturday and Sundays from noon to 4. Everyone is busy!
Back to the courthouse and jail. situation in 1821. County Commissioners will accept low bid for new jail. Job went to W. Seeley with bid of $2800 that was higher than bids of Stephenson, Smith and Edwards. Seeley had great difficulty getting payment from County. The proposal of the group who pledged donations for the courthouse was also accepted by the County in 1821. The "Donation Courthouse" was finally completed in 1835 and was not much of an improvement over the first log cabin courthouse.
Keith and Jack are constructing a flag pole, corner of original barn foundation and shade garden by the patio.
In 1820 Stephenson, Smith, N. Edwards and others offered to donate the land and build new courthouse and jail at their expense. County rejected the offer. A group proposed their donations of money and material for new courthouse. To be continued!
Henry learns that Stephensons and Meriwether Lewis were in Harpers Ferry at same time. Lewis getting guns and ironwork from the US Armory.
The Stephenson House now also owns a slide lid candle box that is intended to keep tallow and beeswax candles from mice. Henry is not too happy about that.
Privy is ready for the brickwork.
Henry visits with Cousin Jake and his buddies in Lower Town. They tell Henry the story of Daniel Cook, a young lawyer from Kentucky, who lived in Edwardsville for 3 or 4 years, married Julia, Ninian Edwards daughter, and served Illinois in many positions including first Attorney General and finally Representative to U.S.Congress for 8 years. He was responsible for getting the Illinois-Michigan Canal Act passed. Cook County is named for him.
Keith is working on the kitchen and someone has "borrowed" his cement mixer. Henry is asking the borrower to return mixer when finished with his project.
Director RoxAnn tells about traditions and customs of welcoming in new years day.
Event schedule for 2006 will be on the website soon.
A privy will be built at the Stephenson House. It will be large, just like the Stephensons and construction will start soon. This will conclude construction at "my" house.
The family of Merrill "Rosey" Rosenthal has donated a sample stitched by Martha Swearingen at age 10 years. She was Lucy's second cousin. Thank you to the Rosenthals!
Henry tells the story of Mistletoe!
Progress on the kitchen, a donation of a settle dating from 1790 to 1810 by a friend in memory of his wife.
Holiday Open House for members and donors was a beautiful event. The house was magnificent.
Researchers have located records on Benjamin from 1804 to 1807. He was in Jefferson County, Virginia with his family and was buying property.
The Paint Crew has painted cabinets for the Museum Shop.
There was a dinner in honor of Keith and Karen and Jack. They have been here for almost five years, restoring Col. Ben's house and have become family to all of us. Soon the construction will be complete and we will lose them. The Stephenson House has gained some wonderful neighbors through the construction work!
Henry tells about the first hanging in Madison County in 1824.
Volunteer docents are attending training sessions in preparation for the March opening of the Stephenson House.
Keith cooked great beans in the kitchen fireplace!
Henry tells about the punishment for fighting and stealing in 1820 Edwardsville.
Tea for Lucy is an elegant event with guests served tea and dainty sandwiches on the porch. Each guest purchased a piece of Lucy's Spode china pattern as a gift to her.
Henry tells the story of Benaiah Robinson, one of Edwardsville's first surveyors.
Master Gardeners from the Illinois State Convention tour Stephenson House gardens and house. The beehive over in the kitchen is almost completed.
The Paint Crew talks about early surveyors, including George Washington and tomahawk land claims.
Good neighbors at the Stephenson House and many people drop in to say hello, including Bob Coomer, Director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
Henry gives us a reminder about why Col Ben was an important person in Federal, state of Illinois and the town of Edwardsville government.
50/50 Auction is coming up on Oct 2 - please find your items to donate!!
Construction of the summer kitchen has begun. Stephenson House now has a telephone 618-692-1818 and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Henry tells about the 4th of July celebrations in 1810 and 1819.
Construction of the summer kitchen has begun and should be completed by end of October.
Henry tells all about the garden. Many of the seeds planted are harvested from Thomas Jefferson's gardens at Monticello. Henry assures us that the produce is very tasty!
A big welcome to the Director of the Stephenson House! RoxAnn has been hired as our first Director.
Sid and SIUE students excavate large dump at "my" house and find many Stephenson artifacts. Excavation was to determine if Col. Ben had an office at his new house. No evidence of an office was found.
He talks about the people who appeared in period dress for the filming of an orientation video in preparation for the opening of the Stephenson House. R. Maynard filmed scenes of a 4th of July parade, Col. Ben and John McKee meeting on Land Office business, indentured servants working in the garden with Lucy, cooking, doing laundry and doing carpentry work. Also scenes of a Stephenson family dinner and bedtime scenes with the children were filmed.
Information has been found showing that Lucy sold the homeplace in V/WV in 1832. A hard decision as this was also the burial place of her father. She evidently needed the money in an effort to keep the house that Col. Ben built. She sold the house two years later to Elvira Edwards who was helping her friend in need.
Taste of Downtown on June 11 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm at Madison County Transit Center.
Henry talks about what kind of life it was for Julia Stephenson Winchester in Carlinville, Macoupin County, IL in 1830. This was the new frontier!
Sig Ep Fraternity helped with spring yard work. The newly installed floors are receiving finish coats by The Paint Crew. Door and window trim has been installed and is being glazed by Keith the painter.
Stories from the 1811-1812 earthquake. Reports of the damage at Kaskaskia have been sent to Henry.
All the new details at the Stephenson House. Delft tile from Holland on front parlor fireplace, The Paint Crew and painting of walls and floor restoration, handmade door and closet hardware made as close as possible to original in appearance and mechanism's.
Lower Town is where it all began for Edwardsville, the area around Rusty's and to the Klingel House.
Edwardsville was a starting place for many of the young politicians, doctors and lawyers. Dr. John Bowers. Dr. John Todd, Dr. Benjamin F. Edwards and Judge Joseph Gillespie are mentioned.
Getting ready for wallpaper and paint at the house. The Paint Crew is working away at the paint projects and the floor. Wallpapers are documented papers.
Benjamin Stephenson and Palemon Winchester donated books to the first Edwardsville Library. B. Stephenson donated volume 3 of "A Defense of the Constitution of the United State of America" write by John Adams around 1786. The signature of B. Stephenson is this book and five other volumes of "The History of Modern Europe" that he donated.
The Friends have received a $5000 grant from the Ferguson Foundation of Freeport, Il. for repair and construction of floors in the 1820s section of Col. Ben's house.
New authentic hardware for outside doors. a view of all that has been accomplished in five years at the Stephenson House.
A thank you to those who have been so supportive with time, money and materials.
Henry talks about how Christmas is celebrated in Wellsburg when Lucy was a child, and when she was in Kaskaskia and in Edwardsville.
The Friends of The Stephenson House plan to open to the public in this coming fall.
The eighth grade class from St. Mary's School rakes leaves at Col. Ben's house and they donate $75 they raised at candy sucker sale.
Henry tell how the portraits of Col. Ben and Lucy were saved and restored.
The Stephenson mouse cousins in Columbia Mo. told Henry about Lucy and the Indian threat during her youth.
Tobe,the mulatto boy that was left to the children of Van Swearingen, Lucy's father, gains freedom at age 28.
Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity boys dig and plant trees at Stephenson House
William, Col. Ben's older brother and Sarah, his younger sister in Knoxville in 1820's
Berkeley County, Virginia House Tax and Slave Tax Record of 1798 shows William Stephenson there in 1798
New found relative tells that Col. Ben's mother moved to Knoxville in 1804 with his sister and husband
Mother died there and so did Maria, sister of Ben and Isabella Stephenson
Both sisters had married Boyds