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INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - May 22, 2002

Hi, Henry the Stephenson House mouse is back again. Hey folks, the excitement never seems to end at 409 S. Buchanan. Have you seen the comfortable, warm, red brick house nestled into the trees? Yep, the paint has been removed and the Stephenson House is once again like when Col. Ben and Lucy built the house. It just makes me feel good to sit back and look at the house.

The 50/50 Auction went off without a problem and it was fun! Jim sure got me out of bed early Saturday morning. For the last week Jim and Sid picked up and stored the donated items. On Saturday people were all over the place bringing the donated items out to the wagons, making coffee and bringing doughnuts. Henry can't begin to tell you who all worked, but there were a lot of people working and I did see George, working hard as usual. Jim had friends Sid, Jane, Larry and Maureen volunteering to do all kinds of jobs. They held up the items to auction, moved stuff, and just worked hard all day. Wish you could have seen Maureen and the girls move stuff into vans at the end of the day! What a bunch of troopers! And, Mary made sure I got some homemade pie. Henry just loves these events with food! Auctioneers Ahrens and Neimeier donated their time to a hardworking group of people. I sure hope they made a lot of money to help pay off that Clark property lot. Hey, if you ever need a benefit auction organized, call Jim! That man does a great job and has fun at the same time!

Ole Henry here has overheard two questions asked often. Folks want to know about Col. Ben's children and where the Stephenson's lived before this house was built in 1820.

Well, here are some answers and some news from Columbia, Missouri! Col. Ben and Lucy had four children, Julia, James, Benjamin V. and Elvira.
Now I think you all understand that the stories from so long ago come from census records and other kinds of old records and facts the researchers find about Col. Ben and Lucy. I am sure all of you realize that the Stephenson House mouse - ME - and my mouse relatives have remembered a lot of stories and other very useful information! My mouse family is proud to brag about how we have come up with a lot of news. And, we did it again just this week.

Here is the story about recent news. Have you all seen the "The Spectator"? It is the newsletter of the Friends of the Benjamin Stephenson House, which Jeff and his team put together. I heard a lot of people have read this newsletter. But, listen to what happened. My cousin Elzey, that I did not know existed, came rushing in from Columbia, Missouri last week. Somehow he had heard about the Stephenson House through "The Spectator" and made a rush trip to share his information with me! Cousin Elzey told me that some of Col. Ben's family lived and died in Columbia, Missouri. No one had any idea that Col. Ben's descendants had gone to Columbia, Missouri, so it looks as if Karen and Amanda have a new place to search. And all because Cousin Elzey, my far away, unknown relative had heard about "The Spectator" newsletter - talk about incredible luck!

We now have new reliable facts about Julia, the oldest child of Col. Ben and Lucy. Julia E. Stephenson was born in Harper's Ferry, Virginia on November 24, 1803 and died in Columbia, Missouri on April 17, 1880. This was all on her tombstone said Cousin Elzey. Henry knows that Eleanor was Lucy's mothers name so the E. in Julia's name must be for Eleanor. Julia married Palemon Winchester in July 1820 in Edwardsville. Winchester practiced law in Edwardsville and in 1829 the Winchester family moved to Carlinville, Illinois. Palemon died in 1860 and soon after Julia went to live with her son Benjamin S. in Columbia, Missouri. She died there at the age of seventy-five.

James W., Col. Ben's and Lucy's oldest son, was born in 1806 in Virginia. He was named James in honor of his Grandfather James Stephenson and Uncle James Stephenson. In 1828 James left Edwardsville for Galena, Jo Daviess County, Illinois. He was the Democratic candidate for Illinois governor in 1838. Poor health forced him to withdraw a few months before the election. James died in Galena of tuberculosis in August 1838, just one week after the election. He left a widow and two children. There are many records available on James W., including an article in an Illinois State publication.

Now let me will tell you about Benjamin V. and Elvira Amanda, the youngest children of Col. Ben and Lucy. Henry knows these two children have researchers confused! The few records the researchers have all say Benjamin V. and Elvira were both born in 1812. So, until somebody or some mouse relative comes up with new information, it's anybody's educated guess! Were Benjamin V. and Elvira twins or were they simply born in the same year?? Either way - poor Lucy!

Here are the dates the researchers talk about. Elvira married William Starr, on May 26, 1827 in Edwardsville. The couple later lived in Carlinville. By 1850 William Starr had apparently died and Elvira A. was living with her mother, Lucy, in Carlinville. The 1850 Census shows her age 38. This is the only record that has been found that actually shows her age. Elvira was named for Elvira Edwards, wife of Ninian and good friend of the Stephensons.

Benjamin V. (it seems the V. stands for Van, Lucy's brother), appears to have lived in a lot of places. Deed records have been located that tell us where Benjamin V. was in 1839 and 1842. In 1839 Benjamin V. of Jo Daviess County bought property in Macoupin, Bureau and Putnam Counties from his mother, Lucy. He lived in Grant County, Wisconsin in 1842 when he bought property in Carlinville from his mother. The 1850 Census of Carlinville shows him born in 1812. When Benjamin V. lived in Yuba County, California in 1855 he applied for Black Hawk War Bounty Land and stated his age as 43 years. This seems to confirm his date of birth of 1812. Guess Ole Henry will alert the Stephenson House mouse relatives to be looking for more information. Sure hope somebody will remember a story about Benjamin V. and Elvira that will tell us when they were born.

There are more stories and information on the Stephenson kids and one day very soon Henry here will tell you about each child and what went on with them. OK??

Another promise, next time I will tell you all I know about Col. Ben and Lucy's first house in Edwardsville. Right now I am on my way to find a nice spot and take a nap in this great sunshine!

See ya' later,

Henry


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