INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - December 16, 2004
Hi! Henry the Stephenson House mouse is back again. Oh,
this has been a wonderful week at 'my' house. The man who builds restoration
staircases arrived and installed 'my' staircase. It is even more beautiful
than I had ever dreamt it would be! Remember how great- great- grandpappy
Ezra liked to sit on the landing to enjoy the breeze coming through the
windows? Henry too feels good sitting on the landing and when I'm looking
up or looking down the staircase it just gets more beautiful. The walnut
handrail is splendid as it just seems to flow with the staircase. After
I got over the great glow of the staircase I closed my eyes and pictured
the rooms with the 1820's colors. Oh, how beautiful!
The stair steps and the handrail have protective covers on them until
the time comes to paint and stain. The handrail is walnut and will be
stained and the rest of the staircase will be painted a shade of white.
This staircase is elegant and speaks to us of a grand lifestyle, but most
of all it brings warmth to the home of Col. Ben and Lucy.
There is a lot of work going on around here at all different times. One
cold morning I ran outside to see what Carol F., Jim and John were doing.
They were planting tulips bulbs now so that tulips will be blooming in
'my' yard in the spring! The painters are continuing to do their good
work as usual. They are an easygoing, fun loving group that takes on any
task that needs to be done. Hey, this group continues to grow in numbers
as a fellow named Bob joined them last week. I know the Friends are quite
pleased to have this group of guys helping!
Hey, I have got to tell you that the mouse cousins did a lot of reminiscing
about the Stephenson's when we were in Columbia, Mo. this summer. Cousin
Elzey, you know the cousin who knows everything, got us to talking about
how the Stephenson name and their descendants have all but disappeared.
With that we all got to thinking and figuring out who the descendants
of Col. Ben and Lucy were and are. From what we figured out there are
no living descendants with the Stephenson name.
Now, there is a bright side to all this. There are descendants through
Julia Stephenson and Palemon Winchester that are lineal descendants, but
with a different last name. Lineal descendants? Those are words Ol' Henry
didn't understand, I am just a mouse you know. Well, I heard Sid explaining
descendants the other day and I learned a lot. A lineal descendant is
in direct line to an ancestor like a child, grandchild, great grandchild
and on forever. Henry understands that also means a niece, nephew or great
niece or nephew and so on in not a lineal descendant. Hey, we have all
learned something and that is good.
Now, let Henry here try to explain how all this happened. I gotta' think
hard and carefully! Col. Ben and Lucy had four children, two boys and
two girls. James, the oldest son, died young leaving a son, Kyle. Kyle
died in Arkansas in 1884, apparently unmarried. Benjamin V., the youngest
Stephenson child, went looking for bounty land in Yuba County, California
at age 42. He was not married when he left and word did not reach Illinois
that he had married in California. It is a pretty good guess that James
and Benjamin V. did not have sons who carried on the Stephenson family
name. If they did, it has all been lost over the years.
Well guys, that left it to the Stephenson daughters, Julia and Elvira,
to propagate the Stephenson family line. There is little is known about
Elvira and Bill Starr's four children. But, Ol' Henry did tell you long
ago that Elvira's obituary said she had only one survivor, her son William
E. Starr of the Arizona Territory. It appears to Henry that William was
Elvira's only descendant.
Thank goodness Julia and Palemon Winchester had nine children to carry
on the Stephenson line. Julia had seven girls and two boys. As with the
Stephenson family, the boys did not have children to carry on the name
so that ended the Winchester name. Ol' Henry could not remember about
Julia's girls, but Cousin Elzey knew, like always. There were seven Winchester
girls. Of those seven, two died as infants, four either died young, childless
or have been lost to history because their married name is not known.
You got it, that left one Winchester daughter to keep the Stephenson line
going - and she did! It was Elvira Winchester who married Milton Matthews
and had nine children of which six grew to adulthood.
Golly, when you think about a family name disappearing you can really
see why with this family. Of the six living Matthews children, five girls
and one boy, only two girls married and had children. So, any Stephenson
lineal descendants would be through the two Matthews girls who married.
These girls, Marion and Lucy, were the great grandchildren of Col. Ben
and Lucy and one was Lucy's namesake. That sure makes her extra special
to Ol' Henry
Marion Matthews Dearing was the mother of the four Dearing boys, including
Fred whose old letter led Karen to the portraits of Col. Ben and Lucy.
Lucy Matthews married David Thornton and it is through their son David
that we have the Thornton and Hamilton families of the Lexington area.
You want to talk about the number of greats like in great grandchildren?
The Hamilton children in Lexington are the great-great-great-great-great
grandchildren of Col. Ben and Lucy. It was Elvira Winchester Matthews
and her daughters who kept the Stephenson line going. It sure is good
to know that there is a little bit of Col. Ben and Lucy around today!
Ol' Henry has heard another tidbit that is fun to know. The researchers
do know that Col. Ben's sisters were very proud of Ben and the Stephenson
name. Although Col. Ben's sisters married giving up the Stephenson name,
during the next 200 years Benjamin and Stephenson are names used in the
naming of his sister's descendants. The Stephenson name lives on in another
Well my friends, I am turning in for the night. My fluffy bed is ready
and it is nice to sleep with the soft candlelight in the windows.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
See you next year,