INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - December 23, 2003
Hi! Henry the Stephenson House mouse is back again. 'Tis
the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature is
stirring - not even Henry, this old mouse. I found a cute little red hat
that I know Mary left here just for me and I'm wearing it now. It's just
me, Santa Mouse, curled up in my hidey place watching the glow the beautiful
new post lantern creates on the front yard. Life is great!
Way back in 1820 the folks did not celebrate Christmas because that celebration
came years later. December was just another month and usually cold. However,
in December 1821, there was one family in Edwardsville that was very busy
and happy and that was the Col. Benjamin Stephenson family. They were
very busy because on December 15th they were moving into their new brick
I heard Karen say there is a bill from Jacque Mette in the Probate Records
that tells the story. In early November, 1821, Mette delivered seven loads
of wood and one load of beef to Col. Ben. During the first weeks of December,
Mette's bill shows that he "hauled
1 load of barrels -$2.00
1 load of plank -$.25 2 loads of barrels-.$.50 1 load barrel and meat
- $2.00; 2 loads of hogs - $.75". It looks like the Stephensons were
making cure they would have plenty of food, livestock and firewood in
place before they moved in. On December 15 Mette finished his part of
the move when he hauled the household furniture, total charge - $5.00.
On December 15, 1821, the Col. Benjamin Stephenson family spent their
first night in their new home. How happy they must have been! Henry wonders
if it was snowing on the new home and all the outbuildings. Just imagine
the beautiful scene in rural Edwardsville.
Mette returned the first of January with five more loads of wood. The
number of loads of wood delivered by Mette figures out to be more than
five loads of wood needed to keep Col. Ben's family warm in December.
The wood probably came from Col. Ben's property and Mette charged 25 cents
a load for hauling. Wonder who cut the wood?
Jacque Mette, the hauler, is a story himself. In 1812 Mette was one of
the persons Gov. Edwards ordered arrested in Peoria for "assisting
the savages to murder our frontier settlers." He was among the prisoners
brought to Fort Russell. Apparently Mette became "rehabilitated"
by 1819, because at that time he was living in Edwardsville and served
as official interpreter for the Treaty of Edwardsville, working with Chouteau
and Col. Ben. Mette must have been really "rehabilitated" for
Col. Ben to have trusted him to haul all of the Stephensons' worldly goods
to the new home in 1821.
You all know about warm, fuzzys? Picture the Stephenson family gathered
around the fire, enjoying their first night in their new brick home. That
is a warm, fuzzy!
HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
See ya' in year 2004,