INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - March 5, 2003
Hi! Henry the Stephenson House Mouse is back again. Hey,
hasn't the snow been fun? My cousin Jake and his grandchildren met me
at the Public Library yard last time it snowed. Jake lives near the Klingel
House and this was a half-way point for us to meet. We all had fun playing
in the snow! We even saw Sid going into the library to look up more stuff
on Col. Ben. Henry thinks Sid is having fun doing this.
Do you remember not long ago when Henry here talked about
Col. Ben's obituary? Well, the other day I really got to thinking about
what Hooper Warren of the "Edwardsville Spectator" had written
about Col. Ben. You know, it is unbelievable how much thinking I can do
while munching away on a big chunk of cheese! Anyway, Ol' Henry wants
you folks to read the entire obituary. Hooper Warren wrote the obituary
expressing considerable sympathy for not only the family but also for
all those who knew Col. Ben.
"Edwardsville Spectator," October 12, 1822
DIED-In this town, on Thursday last, Col. BENJAMIN
STEPHENSON, Receiver of Public Moneys for the Edwardsville Land District,
in the 54th year of his age.
However unavailing the tear of regret, which is shed
for a deceased friend-notwithstanding the efforts of philosophy, or the
just, but ineffectual dictates of sober reason-it will flow. Vain to the
bereaved widow and father-less child are all the admonitions of careful
friends-who fear and mourn rather for the living than the dead.
But when one who has filled the various stations of life with such pre-eminent
faithfulness, as the subject of this notice, is called hence, the grief
extends far beyond the precincts of the weeping relatives. All seem anxious
to mingle their sorrows with the known pangs of the bereaved widow and
children. Such emotions cause the present feeble attempt to sketch some
of the events which have marked the life of Col. Benjamin Stephenson.
He was born on the 8th of July, 1769, in the then colony of Pennsylvania-whence
he commenced his public life, and acquired the lasting esteem and approbation
of all who knew him. In 1809, he removed with his family to Illinois,
since which time he has filled various public offices, with such
distinguished credit-so much to the satisfaction of all with, or for,
whom he acted, that his eulogy is written in the hearts of more persons,
perhaps, than will read this article.
During the late war he commanded a battalion under the then Governor Edwards,
and a regiment under Brigadier General Howard, and in one or the other
of which stations he was actively employed during nearly the whole period
of danger to our exposed frontiers, and on all occasions distinguished
much by his vigilance, energy and intrepidity, as to secure the approbation
of those under whom he acted, as well as the respect and esteem of those
whom he commanded.
After the termination of his military duties, he was elected by the people
of the territory to represent them in Congress. Without having become
famous as a public speaker, he is acknowledged to have effected, by his
prudent watchfulness, and through the esteem entertained for him, by his
members, as much at least as any other delegate could have done. From
the high and honorable station Col. S. retired in 1816, having received
the appointment of Receiver of Public Moneys in this land district. In
station he continued to retain the confidence, friendship, and esteem,
it is believed, of all who knew him. As a member of the convention which
formed the constitution of this state, his conduct was especially satisfactory
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. If the
patriot mourn his death as a public loss-if friends shed the tear of sorrow
over his grave-what, oh! what are the agonies of a beloved and affectionate
wife-now wife, alas! No more, and of children, cherished by the kindliest
sympathies of paternal love? He alone who is the widow's God, and Father
to the fatherless, can heal the wound which His hand, in his own wise
providence, has made. To Him may they look in humble confidence, and in
Him may they find present and eternal consolation.
This was certainly an obituary written by one who was
deeply saddened by a death. Warren wrote a moving article about the highpoints
of Col. Ben's life and a touching rendering of the deep grief of his wife
and children. Immediately upon his death the words of praise, respect
and friendship for Col. Benjamin Stephenson were spoken with great compassion.
Warren's choice of words such as confidence, faithfulness, respect, esteem
and friendship describe a man we would all have enjoyed knowing. Great-great-great
grandfather Samuel said that October 10, 1822, was a very, very sad day.
Among other things that Ol' Samuel mentioned was that Warren and Col.
Ben had some opposing political views, which in those days could develop
into pretty heated arguments. However, Hooper Warren obviously liked and
respected Col. Ben so much that in death he could easily put the political
issues aside. Henry thinks these were two exceptional men.
The weather has been snowy, it has been bitter cold and it has rained
and you know what? E.J. and the guys can't do much on the house in that
kind of weather! Henry here is getting a lot of time to sleep and think,
but I sure will be glad when activity starts around here again. Guess
I will go take a nap, again!
See ya' later,