INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - November 4, 2004
Hi! Henry the Stephenson House mouse is back again. One
thing for sure, there is always something going on around here. Right
now our faithful volunteer painters are here every Tuesday as they paint
and paint and paint. Tom has joined Joe, Chuck and George. Welcome, Tom!
Ol' Henry knows your help is needed and the job will be completed even
I really got a surprise the other day when I looked out the window and
saw at least 25 young people with rakes and bags coming into 'my' yard.
I had no idea what was going on. Turns out it was Debbie and her eighth
grade class from St. Mary's School who had come to rake leaves and clean
up the yard. A lady from a newspaper called The Intelligencer came by
and took pictures of the kids to put in the paper. I hear there have been
lots of pictures about the Stephenson House in that newspaper. Ol' Henry
needs to learn to read so I can read in the paper about things like these
kids raking leaves! These same boys and girls raised $75 selling candy
suckers at their school and they donated the money to the garden committee
at Col. Ben's house. Three cheers for this great group of kids and Debbie
Cousin Jake and Henry here visited for a couple weeks with our Stephenson
cousins in Columbia, Missouri. We had much fun and we caught up on family
history as we listened to Cousin Elzey tell lots of stories. One night,
as we sat around our tiny fire roasting marshmallows on our tiny sticks,
Elzey started telling us about the Dearings of Columbia. He told us Julia
Stephenson Winchester's granddaughter, Marion Matthews, married George
Dearing. Just to keep you on track, Marion was Col. Ben's and Lucy's great-granddaugther.
Well, George and Marion Matthews Dearing had four sons. Cousin Elzey was
real quick to say that these four boys were an intelligent group of young
men. Fred, one of the sons, was an American Minister in Stockholm with
the U.S. Government in 1937. At that time he wrote to the Freeport Public
Library requesting a picture of Col. Ben's portrait that hung in the Stephenson
County Court House. He explained that Col. Ben was his great-great grandfather.
A nice lady from the library sent Fred a picture of Col. Ben's portrait.
Cousin Elzey said it had to have been a big job to take the picture because
the huge portrait of Col. Ben hangs way up high on the wall. She must
have had a mighty tall ladder!
Henry here told you before that Cousin Elzey knows just about everything.
Well, he's done it again! Elzey said that in Fred's letter to the Freeport
library, he told the lady there that his aunt, Mrs. David L. Thornton
of Versailles, Kentucky had portraits of both Colonel Stephenson and his
wife, Lucy. Elzey even knew that Mrs. Thornton got the pictures from her
husband's cousin, Nelly, who was a Winchester from the family of Julia
Stephenson and Palemon Winchester. You see, Mrs. Thornton was the wife
of David L. Thornton, who was great-great grandson of Col. Ben and Lucy
and also Fred Dearing's cousin. Henry here has figured it out! David Thornton
and Fred Dearing were cousins because their mothers were sisters. David's
wife was a grand lady with a love for history and she even had the portraits
of Col. Ben and Lucy professionally restored.
Wow! That story got Ol' Henry to thinking about some stuff I've seen and
heard at the Stephenson House. Henry here remembers that at Col. Ben's
birthday party, Karen placed two old looking pictures of a man and woman
on the mantel in the front parlor. I was excited about the birthday party
and didn't pay much attention. Now I know that they were copies of the
pictures David Thornton's wife, Fred Dearing's aunt from Versailles, got
from the Winchesters. Cousin Elzey says that figures because he knows
that Palemon Winchester bought the portraits at the sale of the Stephenson
property. I also remember Karen mentioning that Col. Ben and Lucy's great-great-great-great
grandson, David, has these portraits hanging in his home in Lexington,
Seems to Ol' Henry that someone in the Stephenson line usually shows up
to save what is important and needs to be saved. Of course, it does take
the researchers a lot of time to find it! Ain't it grand when things fall
Let's get back to the Dearing family of Columbia. Cousin Elzey thinks
Fred is the only one of the four children who had a child, a son. He says
the Dearings live quietly in Columbia and the Stephenson mouse stories
just don't include this family. Maybe some will appear. It is just good
to know that the line of Col. Ben and Lucy is still around in Columbia,
Henry is heading out today to explore! I need to check out the neighborhood
and other areas to see what has changed over the summer months. Vacations
do put a mouse behind on the news!
See ya' later,