Thursday, October 19, 2017 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 >>>

INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - August 21, 2003

Hi! Henry the Stephenson House mouse is back again. I have lots to talk about. The electrical work is going well thanks to Mark, the electrician. He really has helped Joe especially with his advice in getting things done economically! Mark, you are great! Probably you have noticed that the grounds have been graded and new soil added, thanks to Jason for the soil. "My" house is looking good!

The 50/50 auction is coming up on September 7th. If you have items to donate, please call Jim at 656-8527 and good ole' Jim will pick up your donation. We already have some quality pieces for auction and would like more. Henry hopes to see you at the 50/50 Auction on Sunday September 7th, beginning at 12 o'clock noon. Bring a friend and help make this auction bigger and better than last year!

Now, let's get back to the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Wm. H. Crawford, and his reply to Lucy's letter that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. In his reply, Crawford told about the information President Monroe had used when he decided against appointing Palemon H. Winchester as Receiver of Moneys at the Edwardsville Land Grant Office. As receiver, Col. Ben had reported to Josiah Meigs, his immediate superior and Meigs reported to Wm. H. Crawford. Since both Meigs and Col. Ben were deceased, Meigs shortly before Col. Ben, Crawford was now the only person left who had knowledge of Col. Ben's office. He provided all the information used by the President in making his decision.

The first information provided by Crawford was that Lucy and Winchester had declined to administer Col. Ben's estate. Now, Ol' Henry talked with Cousin Jake, my cousin who seems to know everything! Jake said his side of the mouse family often talked about Lucy's letter and he knew some of the old stories. He said the fact that Lucy and Winchester declined to administer Col. Ben's estate led to false rumors! Folks in Edwardsville knew Col. Ben was suffering before his death and was unable to get the land sale accounts for September and October written and sent to Crawford before his death. Well, Jake says some of the folks in Edwardsville still got all upset when Lucy and Winchester, her son-in-law, declined to administer the estate because some knew Lucy had those two months of land office money in her possession. So, the rumors really began to fly! The story that Lucy and Winchester were defrauding the government of the land sales money spread quickly. Eventually Crawford had heard the rumors and passed them on to President Monroe.

Lucy said in her letter that she had "the proof" that these rumors were untrue. She still had the land sales money and that was "the proof" she spoke about. Lucy did not know what to do with the land sales money, but she did know that Crawford had forbidden Col. Ben to put any money in the Bank of Edwardsville for various reasons. With the passing of Josiah Meigs, Col. Ben's immediate superior, Lucy had no one to direct her. She asked Crawford for the reason no one had contacted her and instructed her what she was to do with the money. Crawford's answer was that she should get the money to the new receiver of moneys and he would provide a voucher that would clear Col. Ben's account with the government. That was a good answer, but failed to acknowledge that Lucy did not know the identity of the receiver until April 1823, about the time she wrote her letter to Crawford. Communications were very slow in 1820.

Edward Coles had resigned as Registrar of the Land Office in 1820 and the records do not show a registrar appointed to the land office until January, 1823. It appears Col. Ben was the only government employee at the land grant office and Lucy was waiting to hear from Crawford or someone in Washington about the handling of the receiver's accounts. Lucy and Winchester, who was an attorney in addition to being her son-in-law, waited for instructions from Crawford while the rumors flew that they were defrauding the government.

Crawford also supplied President Monroe with the information that Col. Ben had "misapplied" a portion of the receiver's money a few months before his death. Cousin Jake remembers many of the old stories about this "misapplied" money. They explained that Col. Ben was expected to pay the Kickapoo, pay the surveyors, pay Captain Boltinghouses' militia company and pay other legitimate government expenses. But funds were not always allocated for these payments. So, some payments were made without waiting for permission from the government. Crawford apparently expected the Kickapoo to patiently wait for payment while letters authorizing payment were going back and forth between Col. Ben and Crawford. These letters could take two months each way! Cousin Jake said the Stephenson mouse family even laughed at that.

The last bit of information Crawford gave to President Monroe was that Col. Ben had not sent in the accounts for land sales from Sept and October, 1822. Crawford had to know that Col. Ben was sick during September and died October 12, 1822, but still reported to the President that there were irregularities at the Edwardsville Land Grant Office. The Receiver of Moneys, Col. Ben, was sick and dying during September and October and these accounts had not been received by Crawford. There was no one to get the paper work together to send to Crawford.

When Lucy spoke of "the proof" that she and Winchester were innocent of defrauding the government, she meant the September and October land sales money. She still had the money but did not know what to do with it.

Lucy and Winchester knew the information Crawford provided President Monroe was distorted. But, the only other men who really knew what had happened in the Edwardsville Land Grant Office were Col. Ben and Josiah Meigs, both deceased. It was Crawford who provided the information that led President Monroe to believe the Edwardsville Land Grant Office was poorly managed.

Well folks, what do you think about Lucy, a young widow in 1822, questioning Wm. H. Crawford, Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, about presidential appointments? Henry here thinks she was quite a woman, especially for the 1820's. Lucy was educated, intelligent and obviously a woman who stood up for what she thought was right. Lucy, her husband and her son-in-law had been unjustly criticized by U.S. Treasury and she took her position against the Secretary of the Treasury and demanded an answer. However, her questioning letter did not change the appointment. Samuel C. Lockwood, apparently the man Crawford wanted, was appointed Receiver of Moneys of the Land Grant Office in Edwardsville in February 1823.

Folks, this has taken a lot of words to try to explain what went on with the appointment for the receiver of moneys after Col. Ben's death and Henry hopes you understand.

Let me just say this - I am worn out and heading for a nap in my own special place!

See ya' later,
Henry


<<< Previous       Next >>>

© 2007 The Friends of the Benjamin Stephenson House