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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 Stephenson Boyd.


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 Edwardsville!


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" house.


See ya' later,
Henry



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