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INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - February 20,2003

Hi! Henry the Stephenson House mouse is back again. Gosh folks, talk about getting to looking real spiffy. Just take a look at the old Clark lot! Thiems has all the rubble out and now we have what Henry calls a new piece of property for gardens and parking. Totally cool, as I hear the kids say! Let me tell you, I have been hearing a lot of news lately. Like, Bob and Mark are doing a lot of planning with E.J., the City and The Friends on the heating, air conditioning and electrical work for "my" house. Also, I overheard RoseMarie mention two grants that have been written applying for funds for the gardens and grounds. Keep your fingers crossed for good results on these applications. Carol and Jim are getting ideas and plans together for the gardens. If and when we get grant money, they will be ready to go with the planting. You know, it may look quiet around here, but I hear a lot of planning going on for work when the weather breaks. This group never seems to rest!

Another thing I have figured out is that winter is also the time for research. It was a year ago when Ole' Henry showed up with the tales that great-great-great grandfather Samuel told about Col. Ben and the old days. Well, now Sid has been checking out old newspapers, Illinois and U.S. Congressional records and now great-great-great grandfather Samuel's tales are leading to more complete stories about Col. Ben as a politician and person.

We have all known that Col. Ben was a delegate from the Illinois Territory to the U.S. House of Representatives. Sid has recently located lots more information and now Henry understands how it all happened. Shadrach Bond resigned from Congress when he was appointed to the land office in Kaskaskia. Col. Ben was appointed to fill out his unexpired term as delegate from the Illinois Territory in 1814. On November 14, 1814, Col. Ben took Bond's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Well, Ole' Samuel told us long ago that Col. Ben was elected to his second term. But, he didn't tell any details of the election and what went on. Maybe as a mouse he didn't find elections interesting! Remember what Henry has always said. Keep looking and the answer will turn up, and it has. Hey, the election story has been found! The Secretary of the Illinois Territory was Nathanial Pope and his records give us the story of the election and here it is. An election was held at the court house in Kaskaskia on September 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 1814 for the election of a delegate to represent the Illinois Territory in Congress for two years. Here are the election results: "Benjamin Stephenson had one hundred and eighteen votes, and Joshua Oglisby (sp?) had two votes for Delegate...".
Looks like a landslide to Henry! It appears that the election for the two year term as delegate was held almost a year ahead of time and I guess the winner was to also fill out Shadrach Bond's unexpired term in November following the September 1814 election.

Today I got lucky and I found a Doughnut Palace doughnut on the front sidewalk! As I munched away I thought about Col. Ben and his landslide victory for delegate. That was really quite a victory especially because when Col. Ben was sheriff of Randolph County for five years he had a chance to make a lot of people angry. He won the election without a single negative vote! Sure appears to me that Col. Ben was well-liked and respected by everyone.

Henry just keeps wishing a mouse relative would appear from Washington D.C. with stories about Col. Ben's life while in Congress. Right now we don't know much about it, but we do know for a fact that Col. Ben was a very effective and popular legislator. Daniel Cook, editor of the Western Intelligencer, lauded Col. Ben saying: "He made no parade of extravagant promises, but he has shown emphatically "his faith by his works"..." Cook's description of Col. Ben pictures him as a quiet, retiring, perhaps shy, individual and his success in Washington, D. C. was "very great, indeed unexpected..." This is the kind of man Great-great-great grandfather Samuel told about!

Henry thinks most people both liked and respected Col. Ben. Hooper Warren, the editor of the Edwardsville Spectator, clearly liked and respected him. Writing Col. Ben's obituary, Warren speaks highly of his effectiveness and accomplishments in Congress. Warren also wrote "...Although the writer of these lines has known and honored the deceased as a public officer, he has to state that it was in the friendly and domestic circles that the virtues of his heart shone with peculiar lustre."

Yep, we sure are getting a better picture of Col. Ben as a popular and well respected individual. And, Henry here has more of Col. Ben's accomplishments in Congress to tell you about later. This winter has been a real good time for laying back, sleeping, eating and sleeping some more. I think I am getting a little pudgy around the middle! Hey, spring will be here soon, lots will be going on outside and I will be all slim and trim again! You all take care.

See ya' later,

Henry


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