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INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - April 14, 2004

Hi! Henry the Stephenson House Mouse is back again. A lot of things were accomplished around here recently. Sid and his paint crew are very, very happy to report that the old millwork and the shutters have received their final coat of paint. They also want you to know that they are now working on that wonderful millwork from Mechanics Planing Mill. I heard Chuck say that he had no idea baseboard 10 inches wide and about 18 feet long could be so heavy! Henry thinks these guys are really getting a work out! Keith is still working away at the bricks and has his wife here to keep him company. She does a real nice job of sweeping the sand into brickwork and then Henry thinks she leaves to go shopping!


Saturday was a great day! The Sig Eps came to help with the garden. Rose Marie and John helped the fraternity guys get going on the project and Cliff, who is the fraternity adviser, was there too. Henry here had a great time listening to the boys give each other trouble. It got pretty funny when Don, Matt and some of the others lost their grip on the wheelbarrow! The shrub went flying when the guys hit the big dirt pile. At the same time, a photographer from the paper took pictures! And, you can imagine the laughter and razing that followed. It was so good to see the Sig Eps come back to the first home they owned and help with the garden. These guys are fun and their help is really appreciated by all. Especially retired guys of The Friends who have been doing a lot of labor! Henry understands this - I call myself Ol' Henry for a reason, ya know.


Let's go on to the Stephenson family history. Remember last time when I told you that Cousin Elzy from Columbia, Mo. sent word that William, Col. Ben's older brother, died in Knoxville, TN? Don't you wonder how my cousins, especially Elzey and Seth from Carlinville, can know so much?


Cousin Elzey told me that William Stephenson's tombstone in the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Knoxville shows that he was born in 1763, and died Aug 8, 1821 at age 58. And, William was married to Nancy Kennedy from Berkeley County, Virginia. Now get this! Sarah, William and Col. Ben's sister, married James Kennedy from Berkeley County. Well, blow this mouse away! Two Stephenson sisters married Boyd brothers and William and sister Sarah both marry Kennedys. Elzey says Sarah Stephenson Kennedy and her husband James lived and died in Knoxville. Golly, that bunch had a lot to remember when they started talking about cousins, double cousins, and sister and brother-in-laws!


Needless to say, Karen was sure glad to hear about William. I heard her tell Elizabeth that she had about given up on ever finding William. His father stated in his will that William had already got his share. This left Karen with the impression that after William received his inheritance he set out for another area. I think Knoxville will be hearing from Karen and the researchers in Edwardsville as they look for the Stephensons.
Henry here has been counting on his toes and it looks to me like there were a lot of Stephensons in Knoxville. I have counted five and that includes the mother, Mary, daughters Isabella, Maria and Sarah and son William. Son James and daughter Margaret were the two children who remained behind in Martinsburg.
All the children of James and Mary Stephenson have been located. The big, burning question left is where was Col. Benjamin Stephenson from 1798 until he and Lucy came to Kaskaskia in 1809??? We know he was in Kentucky for about three years, but where was he the majority of that time? I know there are a lot of people who wish one of my mouse cousins would turn up with that news real soon!!!


Some more interesting stuff turned up! Berkeley County, Virginia had a House Tax and Slave Tax in 1798. James Stephenson, Sr. and William are listed as paying the House Tax; James Sr. $236.25 and William 262.50. James Stephenson, the son who was later a State Senator, married Ann Cunningham who owned a lot of property by inheritance. His House Tax and Slave tax totaled $1891.00. This information gives an idea of their money affairs and also tells us that William was in Berkeley County in 1798. But, Ben was not listed as a property owner there in 1798. Was he there, though??


Henry here thinks there is a lot to be learned by researching further in Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia. I'm sure there will be a lot of letters sent and phone calls made to persons in those states to get more Stephenson information. Good Luck!!


As the others think about research, Ol' Henry has new events to tell you about and they are all exciting. How about having High Tea at the Klingel House on May 1 at 3 PM? The Friends of the Benjamin Stephenson House will present a fashion show of 1800-1820's clothing. Call the Klingel House, 655-0650, for reservations! And, "The Taste of Downtown Edwardsville" will be on June 12 at the Madison County Transit Center. Remember how beautiful the Transit Center looked last year! Be sure to get your ticket in advance and come join the fun.


Ol' Henry heard Carol talking about a house tour at Hunter's View. Well, it just so happens that I know Hunter's View is the most wonderful home of Tom and Sandy Allen! The Allen's beautiful new home has lakes, woods, rolling hills, and lots of wildlife including wild turkeys! Is that a dream come true or what? Henry has heard that on Sunday June 26 there will be a tour of Hunter's View from 11 to 4 PM. All a person does is go to The Bank of Edwardsville Information Desk, tell them what time you would like to go on the tour, pay $35. for your ticket and you are all set. There will be air-conditioned buses at The Bank of Edwardsville's Vandalia Street parking lots to take you to Hunter's View. The time to be there for your bus is marked on your ticket! Now, what could be more simple and fun? You buy your ticket and a bus will take you to and from Tom and Sandy's dream home!


And, here is another reason Henry really likes the tour: All the proceeds go to The Stephenson House to help complete the interior so the house can be opened to visitors and the programs for all ages can begin. Ya' know, this mouse calls it "my" house but with the support received from so many, perhaps Henry should give it up and call it "our" house! But, in my heart it will always be "my" house, a house that my mouse family has watched over for many years.


Want to hear a secret? Henry here hid in Carol's van and I got to see Hunter's View! It is absolutely beautiful! This old mouse would love to play in the forest I saw at Tom and Sandy's! Please don't tell Carol that I hid in her van!


See ya' later,
Henry





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