Monday, November 19, 2018 HOME | CONTACT US | SUPPORT US | VOLUNTEER
    Preservation Education Colonel Stephenson  

Inside the
Stephenson House
Henry's Maze
Henry Coloring Page 1
Henry Coloring Page 2

<<< Previous       Next >>>


Hi! Henry the Stephenson House mouse is back again. It has been a real quiet time around here lately and all I'm doing is trying to keep warm. I will be glad when E.J. and the guys come back. It is always nice to have them around, but especially when they come back this time, because they will start working on the furnace in "my" house. That sounds real good to me!

Henry here thinks it's time to get back to the questions I left you with last time we talked. Who was Patronella Josephine Canal, called Patty by Lucy Stephenson? How did Lucy and Patty become such good friends? So, let's get on with the story. Ole' Henry thinks it is an interesting story and it gives us some idea of the life of women in the 1820's.

Patronella's family was active in politics in Edwardsville and Madison County. The newspapers and court proceedings of 1829-30 disclose that in 1830, J.B. Canal, Patty's brother, was Madison County Circuit Clerk and state representative at the capital in Vandalia. Emmanuel J. West, her step-father, was appointed Receiver of Public Monies at the Land Grant Office in Edwardsville in 1829, and in 1830 was appointed Chief of Mission in Peru. Henry thinks that a street in Edwardsville is named for his son, Edward J. West.

When Patronella was sixty-five she wrote about her life. She writes that she was born Patronella Josephine Canal in the Canary Islands in 1809. Her father died in 1811 and her mother, Isabella Guaredo Canal, "a descendant of pure ancestors from Old Spain," then married Emmanuel J. West. The family of 13, which included five Canal children and two West children, came from the Canary Islands to New York and then traveled by wagon to Edwardsville arriving in 1819. They lived on a 650 acre farm that Emmanuel West purchased for $8.00 an acre. Within the next year, West and his neighbor Gershom Flagg planted some of the first apple orchards in the area. For some reason, West got his trees from the state of New York while Flagg got his from Greenville, Illinois. Sure would be expensive trees from New York!

Patty wrote about her early life and about her mother wanted her to become a nun. At the age of 14, Patty was sent to Sisters of the Sacred Hearts in Florissant, Missouri where she stayed for two years and then was sent home at age 16. Later her brother Manuel Canal took her to St. Mary's Seminary in Perry County, Missouri. Patty writes that she joined the Sisters there for a short time but was unhappy there too. So, in 1829, her sister Mary visited and brought her to St. Louis. Henry here thinks Mary's visit may have resulted from a letter the Seminary priest sent to Patty's step-father, Emmanuel J. West. The priest wrote that Patty "is not called to a Religious life" and the family should send for her as soon as possible. Patty agreed. She did not want to become a nun.

The year of 1830 was hard for Patty. She wrote that her step-father, Emmanuel West, died in Peru; one of her brothers died; and another left the area. In 1876 Patty reminisced in her writings as she wrote: "I was left all alone at the age of 20 and under the care of Mrs. Stephenson. I was a perfect stranger to the evils of the world. Stephenson turned my attention to going to school, teaching school and serving in rich families both in St. Louis and Alton. I met with many troubles, but I would not give up to sorrow." Lucy's letter, written in 1831, was sent to Patty in care of Mrs. Tiffin in St. Louis. Apparently Patty had followed Lucy's advice and was serving for the rich Tiffin family in St. Louis. Henry knows from Patty's notes that she had worked as a seamstress and in 1840 she taught school in Macoupin County. Lucy was in Carlinville at the time. Remember, she moved there in 1834. Henry wonders if she helped Patty get the teaching position.

It is not clear why Lucy Stephenson was chosen to care for Patty. Whatever the reason, Ole' Henry thinks Patty was very fortunate to be placed in Lucy's care. No question about it, Lucy provided warmth, love, sound advice and encouragement to Patty. The more we learn about Lucy it becomes increasingly clear that she went that "extra mile" for a lot of people. She must have been a great lady!

In 1841 Patty married Edward Jones, Sr. She died on April 17, 1892, after 17 days in St. Joseph's Hospital, Alton, Illinois, at a cost of $11.50. Patty and her husband are buried in Bethalto Methodist Cemetery.

The writings of Patronella "Patty" have solved one questions relating to the 1830 Census. The Census of Edwardsville shows lots of people living in the Stephenson household. The people on the 1830 Census could be figured out be age and sex and it is evident that both the Winchester and Starr families were living with Lucy Stephenson. As you will remember, Palemon Winchester married Julia Stephenson and William E. Starr married Elvira Stephenson. Karen could figure out all the folks except for one female age twenty to thirty. She was Patronella Canal, Lucy's Patty! See how Henry is learning. If we wait long enough and keep looking, the answers will turn up.

Hey folks, Lucy's letter and Patty's notes have provided us with lots of information. Now we know more about the Stephenson and West families and we got a look at the life of a doctor in our area in the early 1800's.

Henry has heard The Friends talking and they really liked reading about Lucy and Patty. As Elizabeth said, "Finally, a look at life in the early 1800's through a woman's eyes!" Just think what an independent woman Patty was in 1829 when she resisted her mother's wish that she become a nun. And, with Lucy's encouragement Patty learned to provide for herself.

And Lucy, well, her letter told us a lot about her personality which reveals a strong, compassionate woman. Now Henry has to agree with that for sure. With the knowledge we have about Col. Ben and now further insight about Lucy, Ole' Henry thinks Col. Ben and Lucy were both well-liked and respected by the people in Edwardsville.

All right, that is the end of my story about Lucy and Patty. Right now I am on my way to munch on the bag of corn chips somebody dropped in the alley. I plan to find some sun, sit back with the chips and admire "my" beautiful house. You all stay warm and well.

See ya' later,


<<< Previous       Next >>>

© 2007 The Friends of the Benjamin Stephenson House