Friday, August 18, 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 - October 30, 2003

Hi! Henry the Stephenson House mouse is back again. Hey, the Burgoo Day was a winner with an absolutely fantastic October day! Chef's Wilma Jene and Lois and their efficient, hard working crew produced some great Burgoo! The aroma of burgoo and the wonderful cook fire just kept Henry feeling good all day!

Ol' Henry just kinda' laid back and took it all in. Golly, early in the morning I saw Senator Bill Haine, Jack Minner, Mayor Gary, Mike Campbell, Rich and Retired Senator Evelyn Bowles gathered 'round to check out the Burgoo. Later in the day I saw some of the regulars here, like Henry, Jean, Meg, Bob, Jack and Virginia and I saw Evelyn again as she was helping on Mary's committee. That Evelyn is one great person! There were a lot of new faces in the crowd including Michael, Kay, Michelle, Connie and my friend Marion.

Keith, with his mandolin and guitar, played and sang some great folk tunes that everyone enjoyed. Craftspeople displayed articles knitted from natural dyed yards, basket making and spinning. Tracy from the Stephenson House Heritage Guild was here with her loom. This guild is open for anyone who is interested and Henry will tell you more about them at another time. All these folks were dressed in historical dress that sure made ol' Henry think about Col. Ben and Lucy and their family.

Sid and his crew had lots of folks around watching the excavation of the privy. I heard the legs of a "frozen Charlotte" were found. I could pretend that I knew what that was, but I won't. I learned that a" frozen Charlotte" is a porcelain doll, about 3 inches tall and from what I could see this little doll's legs were formed real close together. I guess the whole doll was rather stiff and that is why they called it a "frozen Charlotte". A piece of a clay pipe stem was found and it even has the name of the company on it. Sid says there are charts that help you determine how old the pipe is by the size of the stem. There were a lot of shards found that will be easier to identify when washed. In a rubbish burn pile near the privy they found an intact ceramic ink well and also a 3 cent piece from around 1863. Boy, it seems that a new discovery is made around here about every day. Henry is a just little short of words to say how exciting this all is!

Did you notice all the concrete that's been poured around "my" house? It's used as base for the brick porch floor, sidewalks and courtyard. A great big thanks to E-Mix (this is the correct spelling) for the donation of all the concrete. You are a great friend, Kenny!

Keith has already started laying brick on the concrete base. The bricks will stay level for many a year - which means no tipping at "my" house. This brick work is going to be absolutely beautiful!

All the activity around here is wearing ol' Henry out, so I retreated to my special hidey place. When I got all cozy I got to thinking about the Stephensons and their house and lifestyle and what the average guy was doing in 1820. I think finding the porcelain "frozen Charlotte" got me started thinking. That doll indicated once again that the Stephensons were very much above average in their lifestyle. Not many little girls in Edwardsville had porcelain dolls at that time.

Hey, the brick foundation of the barn that was uncovered was seven brick courses deep and four bricks across for the wall base. This is where the animals lived! The privy was very large. It measured nine feet by six feet and was lined with brick. Then there was a brick courtyard that had a well 40 feet deep, round in shape and lined with bricks just like the bricks in the house, barn, privy and courtyard. Henry has heard that the other day some people got to look inside this well and found it truly awesome. The well is now secured with a cover that can be removed later.

Ol' Henry, Cousin Jake and Cousin Seth never heard any stories passed along from the old Grandpappys about the size and number of buildings on Col. Ben's place! I reckon it was so big that Grandpappys Samuel and Ezra from long, long ago didn't have reason to leave the farm. My guess is that they thought this was how everyone lived with big barns, big privies and brick courtyards!

This old mouse thought about Edwardsville in 1820 and earlier. There were only about 70 homes in Edwardsville around this time. A lot of the men who were here were professionals and they were sort of passing through as they made their way to the big time in

Springfield and Washington. They came to Edwardsville, location of the Land Grant Office, where they either hoped to earn money, to become involved in politics or both. Many of these young men boarded at W. C. Wiggins or at John Lusk's hotel while in town.

At that same time most families lived in log cabins in Edwardsville or the surrounding farm area. They sure did not live the style of the Stephenson family. This was the new frontier and things were rather primitive for most folks. The Stephensons, Edwards, Pricketts, and Whitesides were a small group with the means to live in a grand style. But, ol' Henry is sure you can be very proud of your ancestor if he was one of those who lived in the log cabins. They were the new frontiersmen who were starting out with very little and had great dreams of making a fine living from the rich Illinois soil. They, too, could then provide some of the nicer things available for their families.

The settlers in their log cabins, Col. Ben in his newly built house and the Prickett's and the Whitesides were all pioneers and new frontiersmen. Each did his part in his own way to help Illinois become a state. And, all were here to improve the lifestyle of their families. Henry thinks these families all loved adventure and were very brave to make the long, hard trip to the Illinois Territory.

This mouse is heading outside to see if E.J. and the guys have made any new discoveries. I can't just stay in my hidey place and nap - I might miss a lot of excitement around "my" house!




<<< Previous       Next >>>

© 2007 The Friends of the Benjamin Stephenson House