INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - December 10, 2003
Hi! Henry is back again. And, with Christmas near "my"
house is decorated for the holidays, including an incredible new post
lantern! I heard Joe say that the post is made of Western Cedar and was
hand crafted in Shipman, IL. It will mellow in time and become the same
color as the cedar shake roof shingles. The lantern is made of antiqued
copper and is a replica of New England lanterns of the early 1800's -
without the candles for illumination, of course! The post lantern is truly
beautiful. It represents another piece of art created by a skilled craftsman
from today's world.
Once again, the Christmas Trees for Charity had so many great trees that
it was difficult to decide which one a fellow liked best! The trees were
sold by silent auction and the proceeds are to help the Metro-East Humane
Society, Glen-Ed Pantry and Oasis Women's Center. Henry hopes they raised
a lot of money for those good charities. Oh, my gosh, there was even a
mouse tree named for ME! Now, that was a neat tree - just thinking about
it makes me blush!
I heard Sid, Karen and Elizabeth talking about having located a relative
of Col. Ben's. I was amazed to hear that Julie, a descendant of Isabella
Stephenson Boyd, Col. Ben's younger sister, has been in touch with The
Friends. She is from the female side of the family and, it is said that
girls usually seem to know the most about old family stories. I hope so!
James and Mary Reed Stephenson had seven children, three boys and four
girls. Two of the daughters, Isabella and Maria, married brothers named
John and Samuel Boyd. They all lived in Martinsburg, VA.
Julie, our new found relative, told The Friends that Isabella, born in
1777, married John Boyd in 1803 and the couple came to Knoxville with
her widowed mother shortly thereafter. Remember a long time ago Henry
told you about Col. Ben providing the money for his sister's marriage
license? Well, it was Isabella's marriage license and those things were
expensive in those days. Julie is the great granddaughter of Isabella
Julie told us about Col. Ben's mother leaving Martinsburg, VA around 1804,
right after her husband and Ben's father died. Julie said he crossed the
Alleghany Mountains with her daughter Isabella and husband, John Boyd,
to Knoxville, TN where they were to make their new homes. Henry knows
that Mary Reed Stephenson, Col. Ben's mother, lived in Knoxville near
her daughter Isabella until her death on August 2, 1828. She is buried
in the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery in downtown Knoxville.
She lived to be 86 years old! Even Henry knows this is an incredible number
of years to live in the early 1800's. You know, it never even occurred
to Ol' Henry that Col. Ben's mother may have been alive at the time of
his death in 1822. His mother was 80 years old and living in Knoxville
when Col. Ben died at the age of 53.
Maria, the younger sister born in 1777, married Samuel Boyd in 1798 in
Martinsburg, VA., where she remained until after Samuel's death in 1816.
They did have grandchildren who lived in Knoxville and, in 1856 Maria
went to visit them. She died while visiting her grandchildren on January
02, 1857, while visiting the grandchildren.
This sure is a lot of information for this ol' mouse to take in at one
time. So, I headed for my bag of corn chips in my hidey place, laid back
and nibbled away, thinking about the early Stephenson family. Then, it
came to me: It was the women! How about those Stephenson women? Mary,
Col. Ben's widowed mother, was over 60 years old when she headed over
the mountains for Knoxville to make a new home. Maria, her daughter, went
over the same mountains at the age of 78 to visit her grandchildren in
Knoxville. These women went over those mountains like Henry visits downtown
What drove these women, and their husbands, to venture to the New Frontier?
This mouse thinks the older women packed their bags, left their childhood
homes and traveled with the children who would be caring for them in their
old age. The men sought the vast frontier as a place to improve their
position in life. Ol' Henry thinks it was survival and improvement in
lifestyle that encouraged folks to move on to the frontier. The Stephenson
family was one of the many adventuresome, strong, courageous and fearless
families that settled these new expanses of land. Great great-great-grandfather
Samuel always said the Stephensons were a very special family!
Before the guys got rid of the leaves in my yard, I saved a bunch of them
and I now have a wonderful nest in my hidey place! I'm going there to
rest right now. Once again it's been a busy weekend at "my"
See ya' later,