INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - September 4, 2003
Hi! Henry the Stephenson House mouse is back again. I'm
just hanging out at "my" house trying to keep cool. My most
excitement has been when Jim and Sid were here making a sign for the 50/50
Auction coming up this Sunday. It should be a good auction - don't miss
I was having an easy, laid back week and the next thing I know Cousin
Seth appears, coming all the way from Carlinville! He had heard how great
the restoration was coming along, so he came to see for himself. He was
impressed! Well, you know how it is, we got to talking about Col. Ben
and Lucy once again. I learned a lot as Cousin Seth recalled the stories
Great grand pappy Amos told about Lucy's death and what was reported in
her obituary. Ya' know, it was Great grand pappy Amos who hid in the bureau
drawer so he could move to Carlinville with Lucy in 1834. He stayed with
her until her death in 1850.
Cousin Seth began his stories with Lucy's death. She was 61 years old
when she died at the home of her grandson-in-law, Nicholas Boice, who
was married to Miriam Winchester, daughter of Palemon and Julia. Great-grand
pappy Amos said Miss Lucy died after suffering a long and complicated
illness. He said the family did all they could do, but the pain and suffering
could not be controlled or conquered.
Cousin Seth said Ol' Amos got tears in his eyes when he told how alert
Miss Lucy was as she neared death. She remained calm as she gave final
advice to her children and selected her funeral hymn. Then Miss Lucy quietly
died. Grand pappy Amos loved Miss Lucy and he knew she was an exceptional
woman until the end of her days.
Ol' Henry asked Cousin Seth about Lucy's obituary and he said it told
that Lucy was born in a fort near Wheeling, Virginia, married Col. Ben,
came to Kaskaskia and finally to Edwardsville. The obituary told that
Lucy, a widow for 28 years, was a friendly, good natured woman. She was
kind and thoughtful and was known to think before she spoke or acted because
she was not only thoughtful but she was very cautious too. Miss Lucy was
highly valued as a friend, parent and grandparent.
Elvira, Lucy's widowed daughter, was in Carlinville to care for Lucy when
she was sick. Cousin Seth recalls that there were a lot of folks at Lucy's
house to help care for her. Elvira was there with Lucy's granddaughter,
Laura Winchester, who along with two other girls, age seven and twelve,
were there to help care for Miss Lucy, according to Seth. Lucy was moved
to the home of Nicholas and Miriam Boice just before she died and Cousin
Seth does not know why she was moved. Lucy Swearingen Stephenson, "Miss
Lucy", died on August 28, 1850, in Carlinville. Cousin Seth learned
from Sheila that Miss Lucy's obituary, written by Dr. J. A. Halderman,
was published in the Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review.
After Cousin Seth and I talked, I understood that he has a true interest
in the life of Col. Ben and Lucy and their children. I sure am glad he
visited with me! Cousin Seth told me that he has been asking around in
Macoupin County to find all the information he could about Benjamin V.,
Col. Ben and Lucy's youngest child. The last Henry knew was that Benjamin
V. had gone to California in the 1850's. Well, Cousin Seth gathered more
information in Carlinville, really "beating the bushes" for
Stephenson information! What he found took him back to the death of Lucy.
Lucy was ill for a long time and her living children, Julia, Elvira and
Benjamin V. were with her during both her illness and when she died in
1850. It was after his mother's death that Benjamin V. left for Yuba County,
California. In 1852 he applied to the U.S. Pensions Office for Bounty
Land due him for his service in the Black Hawk War. Benjamin wrote to
the U.S. Pensions and in 1854 he received 80 acres of bounty land in Yuba
County, California. Cousin Seth said Benjamin V. sold the 80 acres to
a Patrick Lynch in 1854 and then applied for additional land under a new
bounty land act of March 1855. Seth isn't sure, but he thinks Benjamin
V. received the additional 80 acres through the 1855 land act.
Cousin Seth says he thinks he has found out all he can about Benjamin
V. and Lucy's death from the Carlinville cousins. Ol' Henry is sure glad
Seth found all that new information. The next time Seth comes to visit
I am going to make sure I have sausage and cheese from Joe's waiting for
Right now I am really looking forward to the 50/50 Auction this coming
Sunday, Sept. 7. It is going to be so much fun and I hope The Friends
make a lot of money to help with the restoration of "my" house.
Seems to me that they are on the verge of being able to open and have
activities for kids and grown-ups. I hear Carol and Joe talking and I
know that they " just" need to get that plastering done and
some other things taken care of, like woodwork, locks, ceilings; and,
get the courtyard paved with brick so you folks do not have to wade in
mud after it rains! And, the best part is that when the House is open
to the public, The Friends will be eligible for grant money from various
places that will enable them to present excellent programs at "my"
Please help make this auction a success. There is still time to call Jim
656-8752 or Sid 656-9408 and have them pick up your donation for the auction.
Be sure to bring a friend on Sunday to the auction - there are some really
great items waiting for a new home!!! Henry will be looking for this Sunday
at noon for the 50/50 Auction at "my" house!
See ya' later