following is copied from a hand-written history of the Stephens
family, set to paper by Franklin Stephens in 1926, at age
83. The original was written in pencil on a Big Chief tablet
during the last years of his life. It is written in first-person
and the reader must remember to put it in its proper perspective.
He was the grandfather of Howard Hatcher Stephens, great-grandfather
to me, William Howard Stephens, and great-great grandfather
to my children, Jeromie Brian and Jennifer Jane Stephens.
Any text enclosed in brackets [ ] or colored red was added
by me, this date, January 1991.
A Brief Family History
William Stephens, was born near Uniontown, Pennsylvania on
June 24th, 1793, and died at Maquoketa, Iowa, at his son Daniel's
home, June 26th, 1878, being 85 years and two days old.
Hannah Stephens, was born in Northcumberland County,. Pennsylvania,
on April 16th, 1797 and died at Allen's Grove, Iowa, August
31st, 1875, being 78 years, four months and 15 days old.
Stephens and Hannah VanHorn--were married January 12th, 1813,
by George Pfoutz, Justice of the Peace. The witnesses were
Matthew Dunlap, John N. Brown, Mary Greyer and Daniel Vanhorn,
this last witness being her father.
notice by the dates given above that my father was but little
past 18 and my mother about 16 when married; furthermore,
they spent some 62 years of married life together.
14 children, seven of whom died during their lifetime. Following
I give you the family record of births and deaths as taken
from the old family bible now in my brother Wesley B. Stephens'
June 19, 1913
||June 8, 1826
||February 27, 1848
||February 8, 1828
||died as infant
alive in 1926
||October 25, 1838
||June 29, 1925
alive in 1926
and mother are buried side by side in the Allen's Grove cemetery,
Allen's Grove, Scott County Iowa, and a suitable double monument erected
over them. All of the seven children who preceded them in
death were buried in Carroll County, OH.
when about 14 years old, came with his father to Ohio and
settled in Carroll County. He helped to clear off he farm
north of Carrollton, then owned by Isaac Dwire (Divire?). He afterwards
cleared off part of the land on which Carrollton now stands
and helped cut the logs and build the first house in that
town. To Mr. Dwire (Divire?) my father was 'bound out', as they termed
it, for three years. The contract gave Mr. Dwire (Divire?) his services
in return for which he was to board and clothe the boy, send
him to school two months each year (if there was a school
in the neighborhood) and pay him $20 in money each year. It
was during these years that he did the chopping, grubbing
and log rolling on the aforesaid Isaac Dwire (Divire?) farm.
of a year or so after the close of the above mentioned contract
he married and settled near his father-in-law, Daniel VanHorn,
in Lee township.
Imogen Stephens, maiden name was Albright. She had three sisters
and three brothers. One brother, Peter, died in childhood.
Their names were Louisa, Henrietta, Imogene, Peter, William,
Louise and Ella. I have given the name in the order of their
births as near as I can remember. All of them graduated from
Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, Iowa
married S. H. Manley, professor of languages in the college,
who died someplace in Florida. They had two sons, Edward and
Joseph, who are both college graduates. Edward is now and
has been for some years a professor in some college in Chicago,
Ill., and his mother lived with him. She is a very bright,
is president of Marrietta College in Ohio. If either of them
every married, I never heard of it. Henrietta married a good
miner, James somebody-or-other. But failing in health a few
years after, is now cared for in some hospital in the west.
I do not know just where. She had no children.
a Mr. Olmstead, a clothier of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who moved
to Boone, Iowa, later and died there leaving Ella quite a
comfortable estate. They had no children. William is a lawyer
in Mt. Vernon, Iowa He never married. Louis B. is a prosperous
wholesale grocer in Pierre, South Dakota. He never married.
Stephens' parents came from Pennsylvania, which was their
native state. Your great-grandmother Stephens had a very cheerful
and happy disposition and was a devoted, kind and loving mother.
She was a good singer and appeared often on public musical
entertainments and was a member of the church choir most of
her life. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church
from childhood and so were her sisters and parents.
two older sisters and was never called on or requested to
do any cooking or other housework although she often wanted
to. After our marriage she at once devoted her energies in
that direction and became an excellent cook and housekeeper,
thus showing what a will-to-do can accomplish. Her age at
death and the cause are given in our family bible now in the
keeping of your family.
two years after her death I married Mrs. Louisa G. Benjamin,
a widow of West Liberty, Iowa There was only 17 days difference
in our ages, I being the older. We were married April 3, 1889,
at Iowa City, Iowa, and we lived happily together for nearly
24 years. She died in Corvallis, OR., November 6th, 1912,
of neuroathenia [a thiamin deficiency] or neuritis.
a son, Roy S. Benjamin, about 16 years old when we were married,
who died when 26 years old in Philadelphia, Pa., after an
operation for appendicitis. He was a fine fellow, and so far
as I ever knew he and my boys got along together like real
got any school education, only a little in childhood in the
county district schools. She inherited a love for good books
by the best authors and was a lifelong inveterate reader of
them. For years previous to our marriage, she owned and edited
the 'West Liberty Enterprise'. During the later years of our
marriage, while on the farm in Oregon, she wrote a book called
'Letters From An Oregon Ranch' which had a wide sale. She
always saw the funny side of everything at a glance and was
a conversationalist and tidy housekeeper. Her father, Paxton
Wright, was a Quaker and her brother a Presbyterian while
she became, in later life, a Unitarian. She had six brothers
and one sister as follows: William, Henry, John M., Robert,
Oscar, Jane and George. All her brothers except William and
Henry were soldiers in the Civil War for three full years
or more. William went to California in 1849. He spent his
life as a writer for papers and magazines under the pen name
of "Dan DeQuill". The other boys were merchants or farmers.
Jane died when a young girl. After all the brothers at home
enlisted in the army it left Lou to run the farm, her mother
being a widow, which she did for three years aided only by
a nieces' crippled husband, doing all kinds of farm labor
from 19 years of age to 23. This was her contribution toward
winning the war of the rebellion.
was dressed in a suit of hankein and mother in a calico dress
that cost $.35 per yard when they were married. While father's
suit was quite respectable, mothers's clothes were decidedly
elegant, as her father was regarded as a rich man. After defraying
all marriage expenses, father had some two or three dollars
in money and a little spotted two-year-old colt and one suit
of homemade work clothes. Mother had about the same change
in clothing but no money no stock but some bedding and cooking
utensils. They were very happy, having two souls with but
a single thought--two hearts that beat as one.
a one room log house in the woods, split out slabs or puncheons
for a table, made wooden spoons and dishes, split materials
for a bedstead and set up house-keeping. The woods were full
of wild animals such as bear, deer, coons, squirrels, pheasants,
quails and father was a good shot, having spent some time
as an apprentice in his brother Jame's gunsmiths shop. So he killed all their
Mother, like all pioneer women, could shoot almost as well as any man.
once cleared off a little spot for corn and wheat, mother
helping to roll logs and burn them and the brush. They dug
out a farm there in the succeeding years and were very happy.
They would take the children out with them when they went
to the clearing and leave the oldest in charge of the smaller
ones with some sticks and bright leaves or wild flowers to
play with while they worked, keeping one eye on the children
and the other on their work and on the lookout for a bear,
wildcat or panther that might be lurking about too near the
babies. The gun always went with them and stayed in convenient
reach. There were also Indians about occasionally whom they
generally fed and sent away in peace.
many years of hard labor and much deprivation among the woodlands
of Ohio, they sold their limited possessions which their industry
and economy had gotten them, and followed their oldest son
James to Allen's Grove, Iowa, 15 miles from Davenport, in
the year of 1844. I, Franklin Stephens, was then one year
old. The object of this move was to secure cheap prairie land
for their sons, seven of whom came with them. Within a few
months after reaching their destination, they and all the
children, except for me, were taken with the ague [a form
of malaria, probably picked up as they crossed the open lands]
and laid sick and helpless for three years. Every dollar they
had was spent for doctors bills and machine. Out of five splendid
horses they brought with them there, three died during this
in fortune and spirit in 1847, they returned to Ohio, by the
financial aid of old friends there, taking all the family
along except Daniel who, with his brother James, remarried
in Iowa on land they had entered from the government. After
living as renters in Ohio for six years, they returned to
Allen's Grove, Iowa, bringing four boys with them. John remained
in Ohio for a few years and William died there in 1848.
second trip from Ohio to Iowa was in 1853, I being then ten
years old and well remember the trip. Robert , Wesley, Thomas
and Franklin (me) were the boys who came along to Iowa on
this trip. Father entered 40 acres of land in 1853 adjoining
my brother James' farm and ought some more and by the aid
of his sons again established a home of his own where he and
mother spent the rest of their life.
life occupation was that of a farmer. Beginning life as a
poor boy he succeeded by dint of great energy and industry
in accumulating a fair proportion of property before he was
45, but about this time sickness and misfortune befalling
him, he became somewhat involved and much discouraged, and
although he was always able to keep his family together and
in fair circumstances, he never fully recovered from his misfortune
and left this world as he began it--a poor man.
and mother united with the Methodist Church soon after marriage
and were faithful and worthy members throughout their lives.
Over 40 years father was a class leader and exhorter. He possessed
a pure, generous Christian heart, was an entertaining conversationalist,
had fair palaver as a speaker and was the sweetest singer
I ever heard. But a few hours previous to his death he turned
in his bed on his back and began two verses of that old hymn
is the road that leads to death
thousands walk together there;
wisdom shows a narrow path,
here and there a traveler."
seemed as clear and steady and strong as it ever did. A rich,
ringing tenor. He had a cheerful happy spirit, was a great
laugher, an excellent mimic and a good story teller. He always
saw all the oddities and all the peculiarities of human nature
at a glance and remembered them. In politics he was first
a Whig and then a stanch Republican. He was 5 feet 8 ½
inches high, rather stoutly built, average weight about 160
pounds. In his childhood and youth his hair was blond but
grew darker as he reached manhood and at 50 years of age and
on until his death was white as snow. His skin was very white
and thin, his eyes a light sky blew. In his early manhood
he could jump 33 feet in three standing jumps on level ground
and turn and jump the same distance back, and often jumped
a stick held six feet high---this was a running jump.
never disposed to be quarrelsome and was uniformly of a pleasant,
peaceable disposition, but once thoroughly aroused knew no
such thing as fear. To illustrate: At a log rolling in Ohio,
where many neighbors had gotten together, a large rawboned
burly man whom my mother had refused to marry, pushed her
and her second baby into a large fireplace blazing with hickory
wood. Bystanders rescued them without serious damage. A few
minutes later father, coming in, was informed of what had
happened. Without uttering a word he sprung upon the fellow
like a panther, seizing him by the throat and holding on until
his adversary sunk to the floor. Friends tried to pull him
loose and in doing so dragged both men out of the house onto
the porch where they pried father's thumb out of joint and
thus saved the mans life after many resuscitative efforts,
for he was practically DEAD. The 240 pound brute got a just
punishment for his criminal act and I know we children have
always been proud of father for administering it.
had black hair in her early life which turned as she advanced
in years, but never got white. She was about five feet tall
and rather stout in build and stood as straight as a gun barrel
all her life. Her cheeks were always a healthy red and all
her features betokened firmness. She was unyielding when once
her mind was fully made up but always just and generous. She
learned to read in childhood and that was all the education
she had to commence life with. After marriage she learned
to write her name--Hannah Stephens--because she was ashamed
to make her mark in signing legal papers, but never learned
to write anything else until she was about 65 years old.
to the war in 1862 and she once went to practicing on copies
sent for her by my bother Wesley so as to write to her baby
boy. Within these months I got a letter from her. We corresponded
all through the Civil War. I have some of her letters now,
you see when she once resolved to do a thing she never stopped
until it was accomplished.
owned a cookstove nor cooked a meal on one until I, her 14th
child, was ten years old. For over 40 years she cooked over
a fireplace and most of that time for a large family and was
always faithful, patient and uncomplaining.
smoked a pipe from ten years of age until she was 56, she
decided to quit and never smoked afterward.
living in the woods of Ohio, she left the children in the
house about dusk one evening and went to the spring a few
rods away for a bucket of water. Father was away from home
at the time. On her return she heard a whistling in the trees
close to the door. She sprang for the door just as a panther
leaped for her. She got inside safely but the panther tore
most of her dress skirt off of her and in disappointed rage
gave vent to a most piercing and blood-curdling scream. Mind
you, she didn't faint! After a short time she put the children
to bed, barred the door, put out the light and stayed close
by the gun for hours listening to the panther climbing the
trees and jumping from one to the other giving occasional
screams. Mind you, she didn't faint or scream not apply the
smelling salts, but when all was quiet she went to bed and
always modest, rather quiet, and had wonderful self control.
In the government of her children she was very firm but quiet.
We children all knew what we had to do when mother cleared
her throat in a certain quiet way, as she always did if our
conduct was improper in the presence of company. If she caught
our eye she would omit the throat clearing and shake her head.
In case we failed to heed these admonitions, a just punishment
always followed when the company had gone, although generally
administered with tears in her eyes as she had a wonderfully
tender heart as well as a just judgment and unbending will.
She administered her own punishment and never threatened to
tell father if we didn't behave properly.
James married Hannah Peterson of Ohio about 1840 and moved
to Allen's Grove, Iowa, at once where he entered 160 acres
of land on which he lived as a farmer for 60 years. He died
there in 1901, being 87 years old. They had one daughter,
Jennie, and one son who died in infancy. His wife also died
at the same time. About 1850 he married Angeline Ross of Scott
five children--Jasper, Erma, Mary Adeline, William and Pattie
Brown. Of these children, Jennie, Erma and Pattie are still
living in 1926. My brother Daniel married Cynthia Daniels
in Ohio about the year 1835 and in 1844 moved to Allen's Grove,
Iowa, where he entered 160 acres of land joining his brother
James. Some years later he sold out and moved to Jackson County,
Iowa, and bought a farm there, two miles from Maquoketa.
had three sons and one daughter--Harvey, William M., Eliza
and Fancis, all now dead in 1926. Francis died of sickness
in the army in 1862 and Eliza died of apoplexy [a stroke]
on December 26th, 1907.
wife died in 1890. She lived with his son William M. in Maquoketa
and he was hale and hearty when he died in 1913 being 96 years
old. All his children were born before I was. Harvey, being
about seven years older than me, rather disliked to call me
uncle when we were boys.
is the wealthiest one of my family, being worth $30,000 at
this writing and his son William M. is the wealthiest one
of all my relations, being at this time worth $200,000 or
Stephens was by trade a carpenter and a cabinetmaker. He married
Mary Jane Wolf and settled in Carrollton, OH, where he followed
his trade until about 1855 when he moved to Maquoketa, Iowa,
where he died in 1888 being 68 years old. His wife died when
several years past 80. They had six children--Melissa, Elmer,
Adaline, Rosaline, Louella and William. They are all dead
now (1926). Melissa died of cholera in Carrollton, OH. When
it was known that she had cholera nobody would come near the
house. John at once sent his wife and family away and stayed
with her alone until she died. He then hauled her to the cemetery
alone and buried her. No Stephens ever deserted his children
in time of trouble or danger.
Eliza married William Kyle in Ohio. I think they had two children,
one I am certain. Eliza died when 23 years old, two years
after I was born. You will notice by the family list given
at the beginning of this history that all my sisters died
young. Eliza lived the longest of them all. She is the only
one of them I ever saw and as I was only about one-and-one-half
years old at the time I have no real recollection of her.
Robert Collins was a tailor by trade, then a farmer, then
a minister in the United Brethren Church, settling finally
on a farm five miles from Anamosa, Jones county, Iowa, where
he died in 1903 being 74 years old.
1851 he married Rebecca Groves and moved to Iowa in 1853,
settling in Allen's Grove. They had five children of which
Otto and Franklin were the youngest. I do not remember the
names of the three older ones. All of them except Franklin
died with diphtheria in the winter of 1863-4.
died soon after this, say two years, and about 1873 he married
a Miss Pfeiffer and they had two children--Blanch and Clifford.
They are both living and so is their mother, although her
health is failing.
Browning married Elizabeth Mains of Ohio about 1861 and bought
and settled upon our old homestead in Allen's Grove, Iowa,
which he owned until 1907. He now lives in Davenport, Iowa,
1918 LeClair St.
years he conducted a county store in Allen's Grove and a post
office in connection with the farm. They had five children--Elbert,
Oprah, Robert Clarence, Jennie and Charles M., all of who
are still living. Wesley is the best penman of the family
and one of the best spellers I ever knew. I never knew him
to misspell a word. In his early manhood he was a county school
teacher and music teacher. Nobody ever knew how he learned
to read. When about five years old mother found him under
the bed one day actually reading the New Testament. He has
been a great reader of history and newspapers all through
life and one of the most honorable, upright men I ever knew.
Lyman left the home farm in 1860 and entered Cornell College,
Mt. Vernon, Iowa, from which he graduated as Bachelor of Arts
in 1865. He was at once employed by the college authorities
as one of the instructors, which position he held about six
years. During this time he married Miss Elizabeth Pryor who
at the time was the piano instructor in the college. He is
at this writing Assistant Adjutant General of Iowa and lives
in Des Moines. Out of five of six children born to them, only
the youngest is living and she is named Ethel VanHorn Stephens.
She has three girls and one son now living in Los Angeles,
CA. Her husband there died of hydrophobia. His name was Rosco
Stephens, who was my father's father [great-great-great-grandfather to me, William Howard Stephens],
was born in England. I do not think any of us know where or
the month and day of his birth. He died in his 98th year of
old age, having been blind the last eight years of his life.
He lived with my father at the time and had for a number of
years previous. He and my brother John were great friends,
and after he lost his sight John always put him to bet at
night and walked with him for exercise during the day when
he needed it.
after he and John had spent a pleasant evening together cracking
jokes (they were both great jokers), grandfather retired and
went to sleep as usual and never woke up.
boyhood and early manhood he was a shepherd on the Isle of
Wight and also on the Isle of Mann. I knew of no other occupation
he had during his life in England. His parents were poor.
How many brothers and sisters he had I do not know, I only
know he had brothers. What became of them I don't know either.
He decided to come to America.
days poor people desiring to come to this country put themselves
in the hands of the captain of some ship who brought them
to this country and sold them for some sum of money sufficient
to pay for their passage to some planter in the Southern states,
binding them to work for said planter a certain number of
years in payment.
Stephens was sold to a planter in the state of Maryland and
signed an agreement to work for him seven years. One year
after his arrival in America another ship brought over and
sold to the same planter one Margaret Collins who also signed
a seven year agreement. Of course there were Negro slaves
on the plantation and they all worked together in the fields,
although the white people were treated a little better than
and Margaret fell in love but could not marry by the terms
of their contracts until their terms of service were ended.
Robert's time ending one year before Margaret's, he worked
six months longer, thus finishing her time in six-and-one-half
years. They then married and settled in Pennsylvania where
they raised a family of seven children named as follows: James,
Robert, Jonathan, William, Nancy, Betsy and Polly. This is
not the order of their births. I know James was the oldest
and William, my father, the youngest, but cannot properly
place the others.
married and raised a family about which I know nothing. He
enlisted as a soldier in one of the historic Indian wars of
this country and died of sickness over on the Great Lakes
someplace. Polly married Ephraim Yarington. Betsy was twice
married, first to John Rumple and next to David Wells. Nancy
died when 14 years old. Robert married, but I know of only
one of his children--his son Robert who was a hatter some
place in Indiana. At one time he was quite well off. My grandmother
Margaret died when my father was about five years old. She dropped dead while milking a cow. Grandfather
never married again.
was about nine or ten years old his brother Jonathan ran away
from home, as he did not like to live with his older brothers
or sisters. He took father, of whom he thought a great deal,
down the canal passing their place on a walk one day. At last
he stopped and taking his knife and a shilling (the last ten
cents he had) from his pocket said, "Bill, I'm going to run
away and you'll never see me any more. Take these to remember
me by--goodby, be a good boy." He walked on down the canal
until he was lost to fathers's sight, notwithstanding all
father's tears and pleading, and he never saw him afterward.
was 15 or 16 years old at that time. Several years afterward
a man came through the country where father lived and not
finding him left word that his brother Jonathan wanted him
to see William Stephens and tell him that he was driving an
ammunition wagon for the government at Memphis, Tennessee,
and was well and doing good. This was during the war of 1812.
Further than this, as a matter of fact, we know nothing of
was in the army during the Civil War I met a John Stephens
from Missouri who told me on being questioned before knowing
anything of my relationship, that his grandfather's name was
Jonathan Stephens, that he died in a certain year, that his
father was the oldest of the family and his name will William
Stephens (Jonathan's youngest brother's name), that Alexander
H. Stephens (vice president of the Southern Confederacy) was
his (John's) uncle. We never traced it up as we could not
then get letters though the confederate lines very easily.
From Jonathan's age at death my father said he was certain
he was his last brother. Certain it is that there are many
Stephens in the south who spell their names the same as we
do. There are also many in the eastern and middle states.
They may be descendants of my uncles James and Robert, or
of some of my great uncles who may have chose to ... [unable
to read the handwriting]...after my grandfather.
Margaret Collins Stephens, was born and raised in Dublin,
Ireland. She had blond hair, blue eyes and a light pink skin.
She was regarded a very pretty woman. She had a quick temper,
great courage and much of the Spartan nature.
a rawhide lying up on two pegs in the wall when raising her
family. She frequently told the boys if she ever knew of them
imposing upon any one or picking a fuss she would whip them
severely, and if any one imposed on them and they didn't resent
it she would whip them still harder; if they got into a fight
for good cause and hollered enough she could cut the blood
out of them . This illustrates her Celtic gait and temper.
However, she never had occasion to go to the limit of her
code. She died when about 55 or 60 years old.
VanHorn, my mother's father, was born in Pennsylvania June
22, 1776, and died in May 1854, being 78 years old. His father's
name was also Daniel and his mother's name before marriage
was Anna Packinghan. They were both born in Holland.
VanHorn was six feet one-and-one-half inches high, had straight
black hair and dark skin. His average weight was 240 pounds.
I remember his hands...they were the largest I ever saw. He
married Susanna Stull who died in 1848, being 72 years old.
She was also born in Pennsylvania, but her father and mother,
Matthew and Hannah Stull, came from Germany. Grandmother VanHorn
was a small woman, her heaviest weight being 100 pounds.
and grandfather VanHorn frequently conversed in German although
one was low-Dutch and the other was high-Dutch, and my mother
could speak the German quite fluently in her early life. My
mother's parents had eight children as follows: Hannah (my
mother), Anna, Thomas, Mary, Jacob, Eliza, Susanna and Jemima,
none of whom are now living.
of hard labor and frugality grandfather VanHorn acquired what
in those days was regarded as great wealth, being worth $75,000
at his death. A few years previous to his death he married
Mary Loll, a maiden lady worth $30,000. Shortly after this
he made a will by which he gave 1/3 of his wealth to his wife
Mary, 1/3 to the Presbyterian Missionary Cause and 1/3 to
his children, allowing his wife to keep all of what she had
previous to the marriage. Mary was not satisfied, and having
a business head and an inching palm made grandfather believe
in his last hours that his children were displeased with the
amount given to the missionary cause and would try to break
the will and that he had better will it all to her and she
would make a satisfactory division after his death. Being
in great pain and under the influence of opiates he DID as
she wanted, and THERE IT REMAINED FOREVER AFTER, although
we fought it in the courts for years afterwards.
however, I inherited a rather hopeful, cheerful nature, so
that the various vicissitudes of a long and somewhat strenuous
life have not embittered my disposition although I have had
my full share of disappointments, failures, mistakes and sorrow.
With a courage born of necessity, I might almost say if I
have tried to rise above them all and thus have had my share
of pleasure also out of life after all. My chief joy is that
my children have carved out for themselves, each in his own
way, positions of honor and efficiency and today stand shoulder
to shoulder with their fellows doing their part of the world's
great work and are rearing their offspring to do the same.
Greater consolation I could not ask or even hope for.
these remarks let me say that my life work is done, and I
will soon be to one and all only a memory. So let that memory,
on the part of my children, be that they have always held
the first place in my heart, and that my closing benediction
God bless and prosper them and theirs
the future as in the past."
remainder of this family history is added by William Howard
Stephens in January of 1984. It is intended to bring the reader
forward another 60 years.
died in February of 1928, two years after he finished the
family history detailed above. His wife, Imogene Albright
Stephens, died in 1887, and not too much is know about her.
and Imogene had two sons, Louis L. Stephens and Howard Henry
Stephens. Louis married and had two sons, Ernest and Richard.
Their birth and death information is not know to me.
Henry, the youngest of his two sons, was born in Iowa in 1874
and died in May of 1947 in Topeka. His wife's name was Minnetta
Maxwell Stephens, affectionately know as 'Minnie" or, presumably
due to her large size, 'Big Ma'. She was born in Illinois
in 1878 and died a few months after Howard Henry. They were
married in Peoria, Illinois, in May 1899. Photos of the two
of them appear elsewhere in this volume.
Henry spent his life working for the Santa Fe railroad. He
started his career with the railroad when he was 16 years
old. He was employed as a mechanic in Chillicothe, Illinois.
Most railroad employees learn that their employer expects
them to move around the territory, and Howard Henry and Minnie
were no exceptions. Each move usually meant a promotion. By
the time the Stephens' moved to Topeka in 1922 (by way of
Ft. Madison, Iowa, Chillicothe, Illinois, Arkansas City, Kansas,
Amarillo, Texas, Wellington, Kansas, and Clovis, New Mexico)
he had climbed as high up on the ladder as was possible--he
was the superintendent of the shops in Topeka, a position
he held until his retirement in June of 1940. His retirement
certificate shows that he worked for the railroad for 50 years
and five months.
Henry and Minnetta's children were named Franklin Erwin, Zelma
Inogene, Helen Louise, Viola Agnes, Orla Francis, Lois Syble
and Howard Hatcher. Howard Hatcher's middle name was taken
from the name of the doctor that delivered him, Dr. Hatcher
of Wellington, Kansas. Howard Hatcher was also my father.
wife was named Virgie. They had one child, Virginia Francis
Stephens. Zelma married Arthur Taylor and they had two children,
Betty Ann and Arthur Berry. Helen married Bernard Wiss and
they had five children. Their names are Betty Mae, Berna Lou,
Bud, Gene and William.
was born January 12, 1907. She and her husband Charles Crank
had no children of their own, but chose to adopt a boy and
girl, Elizabeth (Betsy) and Charles (Chuck). Photos of these
two appear elsewhere. Betsy was killed in an automobile accident
in 1962 while she was a student at the University of Kansas.
Chuck lives in California and has a daughter Jo Ann. Until
her death in 1989, Viola
continued to live in Topeka after her husband's death in 1972.
He had retired from the Topeka Police Department where he
had been chief of detectives.
Jack Temple, Jr., a successful salesman. They lived in Kansas
City until her death in 1975. Jack purchased a resort in the
Ozarks, moved there, and died about 1985.
was born in June 9, 1911. She married Andy Hoy and they had
one son, Andrew. Lois's second marriage was to Jack Jarrell,
a newspaperman. He was assigned to the Washington Bureau of
he Omaha World Herald. They lived in Washington, D.C. for
several years and then moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Jack
died in 1973 and Lois died in August, 2011 after reaching the ripe old age of 100 and two months. She had moved to Keene, NH and was just a few miles from her grandson and his family. Independent to the end, Lois never lived anywhere except in her own house or apartment.
Hatcher was born in 1918 and died in 1982 He married Betty
Jane Carswell in 1939 and had one son, William Howard. Howard
spent most of his adult life pursuing the photographic craft
in one form or another. Just after he and Betty married the
moved to San Francisco where he worked as a portrait photographer.
The returned to Topeka and both attended Washburn University.
During WWII he worked in photo intelligence, serving in the
Army Air Corps in the South Pacific.
his discharge from the military, he and Betty remained in
Topeka. Howard worked for the Carswell Manufacturing (Betty's
Uncle's business), then went into advertising for Henry Manufacturing
in Topeka. In 1965 he joined the staff of Southwestern College
in Winfield, Kansas, as Public Relations Director, the position
he held until his death 17 years later.
spent the last ten years of his life in Winfield, perfecting
his first love--photography. He had several photographic exhibitions
featuring his work. He revived many of the turn-of-the-century
darkroom techniques and left a wealth of photographs for others
to study. Over $1,000 worth of his photographs were purchased
by his friends in Winfield following his death. The proceeds
of the sale were give to Southwestern as a bequest .
and Betty's son William Howard was born on March 20, 1947.
He graduated from Southwestern College in Winfield in 1969.
Bill worked in newspaper photography at the Topeka Capital
Journal, Wichita Eagle Beacon, and also worked as news bureau
director at Southwestern.
in college, Bill married Linda Rae Kinder, whom he met in
high school, in 1967. They had two children, Jeromie Brian
and Jennifer Jane. Jeromie was born October 16, 1969 and Jennifer
on January 18, 1971.
Bill and his family moved to Bowling Green, OH, where he served
for five years as assistant director of News and Photo service
at Bowling Green State University. The four of them moved
to Topeka in the summer of 1978. Bill, like his grandfather,
worked for the Santa Fe railway in the communications department
for seven years.
time of this writing, Jeromie is in the 8th grade and Jennifer
is in the 7th. It remains to be seen if Jeromie will continue
the Stephens family line, or if it will end with him.
About My First 41 Years
The time is May, 1988. The occasion is the beginning of a
new chapter in my life...the first child is graduating from
high school. In another year the second child will do the
same, and that will complete my transition from the role of
father-teacher-provider to whatever comes next!
for this writing is to do for my kids what my parents didn't
do for me---provide me with some answers to questions and
provide me with a written perspective on their lives. Now
that they are both gone, I wish I had their thoughts and stories
set to paper. I did not realize until they were gone that
there were things which I never asked them and things which
were never clear in my own mind about my early years. Things
such as names, places, events, anecdotes, etc. I am attempting
to lay out some recollections and memories for Jeromie and
Jennifer and perhaps make some things clear to them...things
that they don't care about now, but will at a later time in
their lives (as I have now that I am older).
writing I am 41 years old. My life is at least half over,
probably 2/3 or 3/4 over since both parents died in their
late 50's or early 60's.
all grades from kindergarten through high school in the Topeka
Public School system. One of my earliest memories of school
are of the 4th or 5th grade teacher Mrs. Stone. I had a crush
on her and I remember inviting her to come to our house for
dinner. She accepted and I remember my mother asking me what
I would like for dinner and what clothes I wanted my parents
to wear for the occasion. We had a favorite meal (spaghetti
and meatballs) and I helped mom pick out some clothes which
she would wear that evening. I do not remember much of what
went on that evening, but I think back on that time and wonder
how many parents were sensitive enough to their kids needs
to do something like that?
Capper junior high school and had one of the worst cases of
acne that has ever plagued any teenager. I didn't date--I
think I was too self conscious about my acne and perhaps a
was Topeka West, class of 1965. Photography was my big claim-to-fame
and I worked on the school newspaper and yearbook all three
years. I was not a strong student academically, getting about
a C+ average, but I never felt any pressure from my parents
to 'strive onward and upward'. They reminded me at grade card
time that I had the potential of doing better, but they didn't
make a big production number when my grades weren't up to
was about 10 or 12 it was discovered that I had a learning
disability--dyslexia. It is more common for left-handed people
to have this than right-handed people. Sometimes the two halves
of my brain wouldn't cooperate with each other and I would
see letters upside-down and backwards. I didn't know that
I was interpreting them incorrectly, so it made for some difficult
experiences in school where they were trying to teach me reading
and writing. My mother spent a lot of time with me, helping
me trace letters with my fingers and thereby form a better
image of them in my brain. Twenty years later Linda would
spend time with Jeromie, doing the same thing because he showed
some signs of dyslexia.
in the University of Kansas in '65-'66 and became involved
with the photographic circles on campus. I took pictures for
the daily campus newspaper and was quite the 'big man on campus'
(at least in my own eyes) photographically speaking. Unfortunately
my studies suffered, and I flunked out after my freshman year.
My father, who had left his job as advertising manager for
an earthmoving manufacturer in Topeka and taken a public relations
job at Southwestern College in Winfield, had arranged for
me to be admitted to SC on a probationary basis. I kept my
grades up and graduated on the Deans Honor Roll in 1969.
continued to be a big part of my life in college. I took over
as the official photographer at Southwestern and worked for
the yearbook and newspaper all three years at Southwestern.
I started to make some professional contacts and started stringing
for the Wichita Eagle-Beacon.
in high school I had a part-time job at the Capital Journal
newspaper in Topeka as photo lab assistant. I mixed chemicals,
loaded film and worked as a general flunky helping the photographers
with their daily assignments. Rich Clarkson was photo chief
and in later years went on to become the director of photography
at National Geographic. Gary Settle, Bill Snead, Owen
Brewer and many others worked at the CJ for a while and have
gone on to become legends in the photographic world. Although
I strived, I never achieved anywhere near their level of accomplishment.
I am satisfied to be able to say that I knew them then and
worked with them and shared ideas with them. In fact, in the
early 1980's Jeromie attended a lecture at KU where Rich Clarkson
was showing some of his work. Jeromie was very much in awe
of Clarkson and his reputation. I accompanied Jeromie to one
of the lectures and still remember the beaming expression
on Jeromie's face when Rich saw me, called me by name and
we exchanged smalltalk for a while!
my last 18 months in College I started working full time for
the Eagle Beacon in Wichita, commuting to Wichita every afternoon
at 3:00 and working until 11:00pm. When I graduated in 1969
I decided to quit the newspaper and join the staff at Southwestern
College as news bureau director. This lasted for four years
until my job was eliminated due to a decline in enrollment
in small colleges all over the nation. I located a position
at Bowling Green State University in Ohio .
Linda's father, Linda and the kids and I loaded into a U-Haul
and moved to Ohio on memorial day weekend 1972. No place to
live, strange town, no place to store the furniture, etc.
We got it done, though. Floyd almost missed his flight back
to Topeka because I provided him the wrong directions to the
airport in Toledo. Dad flew back a few days later and I found
myself, for the first time in my life, 1000 miles from relatives
and on my own.
have always seemed to fascinate Jennifer. She can still remember
our addresses in Bowling Green. When I was first married,
we lived at 1409 W 3rd, then moved to somewhere on West 2nd.
When my mother died we moved in with my father and maternal
grandmother Lillian Carswell (Nonie) at 136 Red Bud, then
we moved to 0101 Iowa (where we lived when Jeromie was born,
then to 1810 Fowler when Jennifer was born, then bought our
first house at 410 College. Upon arrival at Bowling Green
we lived in Stadium View Apts., then 434 N Prospect, and finally
217 W Reed. Whew!
one fond memory of the house on Prospect in Bowling. Dad came
to visit us one summer and Linda and I decided to go out for
the evening and leave dad in charge of the kids (or was it
the other way around?). When we got back, dad kind of mentioned
that he met on the of the neighbor ladies, but did not elaborate.
We found out later that the kids went upstairs while dad was
busy downstairs, opened Jeromie's bedroom window, and proceeded
to crawl out on the porch roof and watch the cars go by! The
neighbor lady came to the door and asked dad if he knew the
kids were out on the roof. They were probably about five and
six at the time, perhaps a year or two younger.
a good relationship with Clif Boutelle and he and I became
good friends. Clif was the director of News and Photo Service
at BGSU. It was through Clif that I got started shooting bubble
gum cards for Topps Chewing Gum, Inc. He had been doing it
for several seasons and was wanting to spend weekends with
his family. I jumped at the chance for the extra bucks and
excitement of attending NFL football games with sideline credentials.
I continued to shoot for Topps the entire time I was at BG.
I traveled to Cincinnati to shoot football, baseball and hockey,
and shot football in Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh,
Kansas City, Denver, and some summer training camps in Ohio
five years at BG I decided to return to Topeka to try my hand
at freelance photography as a full-time occupation. I had
been augmenting my income at BGSU by shooting commercial assignments.
Clif Boutelle and I had the corner on the market in BG and
I thought that I would be able to do as well in Topeka. I
regretted leaving BGSU many, many times over the past years.
I was secure in a good job there. I enjoyed the work and the
university atmosphere. But, no sense crying over spilt milk.
I discovered that there was not enough work to keep a self-employed
photographer working in Topeka. To keep the bills paid, I
took a job at the Menninger Foundation as a mental health
technician. I worked on one of the wards at the hospital and
spent my time talking to and working with the patients. Although
my college degree was in psychology, I realized that this
sort of work was not how I wanted to spend the rest of my
broadcasting had always interested me, and I set out to obtain
an FCC First Class Radiotelephone license so I could get into
TV broadcasting in a technical position. I passed the tests
and got a job as an engineer at WIBW TV in Topeka. I worked
primarily at the transmitter site near Maple Hill. One of
the things I enjoyed most was the ability to take the kids
with me and spent the entire day with them while I did my
duties around the transmitter site. Otherwise I would be alone
out there for my entire shift. I am sure both kids remember
the projects we did on those weekends---the computer rack
we built out of 2 x 4's, the dog 'Cat', shooting the .22 cal
pistol, looking for snakes, fixing our lunch, and on and on.
(we called her 'Bug' because her parents thought she was as
cute as a little ladybug) was a remarkable person. She is
over 80 years old at this time, has had both hips replaced,
has had a colostomy, her husband died 20 years ago, her daughter
was killed in a car accident, and to top it all if, she is
diabetic. She lived in a retirement home for a while, but
it got to be too expensive and she moved into an apartment
at 914 West 12th. A bad neighborhood, but she has survived
so far. Jennifer cleaned her apartment for once a week and
that gave her a little spending money.
became pregnant with Jeromie shortly after my mother died
in 1968. I have shed many tears since then agonizing over
the injustice of life; my mother, who loved little children,
never lived to see her own grandchildren. Linda had a hard
labor with both kids. I remember October 15th, 1969 was the
date set for a national Vietnam War Moratorium , (look it
up in the history books if you want to know what it was all
about!) and the TV networks were covering the protests from
coast to coast all day. Linda was in the labor suite in the
hospital at Winfield, I was at her bedside, and the two of
us watched the TV coverage all day and into the night while
she went through her labor pains. I probably did more watching
than she did. Finally she dilated enough for the doctor to
be called, and she was moved into the delivery room. She was
given a spinal block to deaden some of the pain, and Jeromie
was born about 2:00 in the morning on the 16th. The first
thing Linda asked for was a hot dog with mustard on it!
she was returned to her room I called Dad and told him, called
the Kinders, and called Marion Brown in Kansas City. Marion
was a close friend of my mother and (I found out much later
from Howard) almost became the next Mrs. Howard Stephens after
my mom died. No hanky-panky going on, but Marion helped Howard
through the tough times following mom's death and I think
a real love developed between them. Marion wanted to continue
her career at St. Paul's School of Theology in Kansas City,
a nothing further came of the romance.
bought a new green suit for the birth occasion and he put
it on and came visiting his new grandson later in the day.
He was so pleased to have a grandchild that he was beaming
from ear to ear and looked like a giant leprechaun in his
new green suit. I made a photograph of Jeromie and we used
that on our birth announcement. When I was born, dad took
a picture of me and it was used on my birth announcement.
was also born in the middle of the night after a long labor,
although I do not think it was a difficult as the first one.
Because of her weight and blood pressure, Linda was suffering
from toxemia and went into the hospital a few days before
the expected date. I found out later that her condition was
much more serious than I realized and perhaps a real disaster
was avoided by the extended hospital stay. Upon her birth,
I called the same three people. I remember that the Kinders
came to Winfield one or two days after Jennifer was born.
Linda was ready to be dismissed from the hospital and we snuck
Cindy (Linda's sister) into the maternity ward to see the
new arrival---Cindy was too young to be there---and for some
reason Cindy passed out, fell to the floor and got a black
eye out of the whole thing. We got chewed out for allowing
a minor to come on the ward.
was pregnant with Jennifer we decided that two kids were enough.
As it turned out we were blessed with a son and a daughter.
One of each. Linda was having some problems with birth control
pills, so the logical thing to do was for me to have a vasectomy.
Dr Kauffman, who had doctored all of us in Winfield, did the
job. They day before I was to go in for the out-patient surgery
in his office, they said that I needed to have two patches
shaved in my crotch, so the two small incisions could be made.
Linda got out her beauticians straight razor and proceeded
to take off all of my hair from my bellybutton to my kneecaps.
I looked really weird. Even Dr. Kauffman commented on it.
mother died I was working at the Eagle-Beacon in Wichita.
On the police radio I heard an ambulance dispatched in Winfield,
but could not make out the address. It was about an hour later
that dad called me and said she was gone. Mom had rheumatic
fever as a youngster and it weakened her heart wall. She died
in dad's arms. It haunts me still when I think of him saying
she died in his arms. They loved each other so intensely and
each complemented the other's weaknesses. We had a memorial
service in Winfield and a graveside service in Topeka.
to die was Lillian, my mother's mother. She had moved to Winfield
when dad took the job at Southwestern in 1965. She lived in
a spare bedroom at their house. After mom died, Lillian's
age caught up with her and she needed more care than could
be provided for her at the house. She moved to Wheat Road
Manor nursing home in Winfield. She lived long enough to see
her great-grandchildren and I have picture of her with them.
After we moved to Ohio I wrote her on a regular basis. After
her death I discovered she had kept many of the letters and
newspaper clippings about the births, stories about me or
pictures of mine which appeared in the paper. Many of her
final possessions now belong to Jennifer. When she died we
had a memorial service for her and buried her in the Stephenson
plot at the Topeka Cemetery, about 100 feet south of the Stephens
plot. That, of course, is where her daughter Betty is buried.
Lillian's maiden name was Lillybelle O'Riley Stephenson and
she married into the Carswell family.
1981 the kids and I took a bus trip to Winfield to visit Dad
for Christmas. We spent several days there and we all enjoyed
each other's company very much. After the first of the new
year dad phoned to say he was going into the hospital for
some tests. They had found something suspicious on a chest
x-ray. That evening I phoned Dr. Kauffman at home and asked
how serious it was. He said not to worry and dad would be
home in a few days. At 2:00 the next morning Dr. Kauffman
called me with the news of his death. Linda and I sat up and
talked about it until sunrise. One of the hardest things for
me to do was to tell the kids of his death. We woke them up
individually and told them that he had died at the hospital
during the night. Both just buried their heads in the pillows
and cried. The day before we had taken a Polaroid picture
of the kids holding a 'GET WELL SOON' sign and had mailed
it to dad at the hospital. He never got it. The letter and
picture were returned to us and are in one of our scrapbooks
had been a heavy smoker for 20 years) died of lung cancer.
The doctor said the tumor was as the size of a grapefruit
and was at the top of his lung. I am convinced that dad knew
of this condition, that Dr. Kauffman knew all along, and that
dad realized his time had come and why burden me with the
anticipation of his death? I asked Dr. Kauffman, in a roundabout
way, if Dad had any advance knowledge of this large object
in his chest. I never got a straight answer from him. He wouldn't
want to lie to me, but he probably was still respecting the
wishes of an old friend. If it were me with the same situation,
I would have done just the same thing.
universally liked at Southwestern and the entire campus community
joined in sorrow at his death. I asked Norman Callison, the
head of the theater department and old friend, to speak at
the memorial service at church. He did; he told jokes about
dad and provided exactly the sort of memorial that dad would
have wanted---witty, unburdened with rhetoric or sentimentality,
and I met during highschool. Neither of us dated much during
those times, just each other. We were married in 1968 in Topeka.
Our marriage lasted for 18 years. We had each other for the
first few years, then when the kids came along we became caught
up in parenting responsibilities. What I am about to say has
been said my millions of parents who take the time to reflect
on their children's early years. I am going to echo it once
more because no truer words were ever set to paper; young
parents do not appreciate their children until it is too late.
The advice I give to new parents is take time to enjoy your
children for what they are---not little adults, but rather
people to be molded into something. So much is learned from
the parental behavior and not from the parental lectures.
Your kids will be influenced more from your actions than your
words. If Jennifer and Jeromie have kids I hope they will
take time to spend time with them and develop the close physical
and emotional bonds which only come from time spent together.
came on friendly terms, joint custody, pre-arranged split
of property, the kids chose to live with me. Linda and I did
everything to assure the kids that they were not involved
in the decision to divorce---it was simply a matter of the
two parents growing in different directions. I think they
accepted this for the truth that it was. I can not imagine
surviving a divorce with custody and property battles---what
immeasurable damage it must do to the kids. Linda and I are
still on speaking terms and that is the way it should be.
fortunate enough to meet a woman, also divorced, who was 100%
compatible with me and my lifestyle. LeAnn and I met when
we both worked at TECOM in 1987, began dating in 1988, moved
in together in 1989 and were married in 1990. LeAnn's children,
Allen and Julie, are roughly the same ages as Jeromie and
Jennifer. All six of us get along with each other and we have
formed a fine, cohesive, extended family unit. LeAnn and I
discussed our backgrounds, beliefs, finances and many other
topics before we slowly grew to be a part of each other's
lives. I expect to spend the rest of my life with LeAnn, which
is a prospect I look forward to with a great deal of excitement!
events come to mind when I think of the pride I feel towards
my children. I will relate two or three:
has always enjoyed performing and showing off her skills.
I remember vividly the many occasions when she was performing
with the clogging team and I watched the audience clapping
in time to the music and really getting into their performance.
The same holds true for the plays which she was in She had
a part in "You Can't Take it With You" and at the conclusion
of the performance she presented the director with a bouquet
of flowers. The smile on her face and the sense of satisfaction
which she must have felt after a job well done made me feel
proud to be a part of her life.
worked for most of the last semester of his high school senior
year putting together a slide presentation complete with music.
It contained images which he had photographed during his four
years at Washburn Rural High School. His mom and I attended
the premier showing and, quite frankly, since attendance was
voluntary on the part of the students, I expected to see a
hundred people in there. Boy! was I wrong. There wasn't a
seat to be found in the auditorium which could seat 600. They
were even standing along the back row. Every time a new image
flashed on the screen, hoots and hollers and clapping would
erupt. I watched Jeromie's face as he ran the multiple projectors,
music, and watched the stop watch during the production. I
saw the same sense of accomplishment on his face and damn
near cried when the audience gave him a standing ovation (led
by his sister) at the conclusion of the 18-minute presentation.
No father, whose son had scored the winning touchdown, could
have been filled with more pride than I did at that moment.
summer of 1989 both kids decided to join the military. As
luck would have it, they both were sent to Ft. Jackson, SC
for basic training, Jeromie being a week ahead of Jennifer.
Midway though their eight weeks in boot camp, hurricane Hugo
blew through that part of the country, inflicting millions
of dollars of damage and causing many deaths. I had a phone
call from them both the next day and they said the eye of
the storm was less than 70 miles from where they were located.
LeAnn and I flew to Ft. Jackson for Jeromie's graduation and
stayed around for a week so we could attend Jennifer's graduation.
I am sure the kids were happy that we were able to be there.
I was caught up in the accomplishment that they both had successfully
completed basic training...a task that not everyone can do.
I never tried to influence their choice of the military, because
it was a different environment that it was 20 years previous
when I was involved with the draft.
getting out of the army, Jennifer tried marriage and it was
not her cup of tea. She continued her medical career, working
at several area hospitals in the Kansas City and Leavenworth
areas. Her assignments included emergency room, corinary intensive
care, and neonatal intensive care. In March of 2000 Jennifer had
a daughter Olivia Rose Comer Stephens. She was born on Bill's
birthday (March 20). A coincidence I'm sure! Olivia was born
with several heart defects which were corrected via open-heart
surgery when she was just two months old. Corinary and neonatal
were two areas that Jennifer had experience in through her
job, so she knew exactly what her daughter would be going
Jennifer met Kevin, then a Major in the Army. They moved to the Baltimore, MD, area and jennifer finished her BSN degree. Now a Lt. Col., Kevin and Jennifer got married in 2008 and currently live in Lansing, KS. where he is on the staff at Ft. Leavenworth. They have a son Kaiden Dean McCarley who was born in October 0f 2013.
is married to a lady who he met while in the army. He and
April were married on April 1st, 2001. Not a coincidence,
I bet! April has a daughter Trina and a son Matthew. Jeromie
became an instant father and seems to bask in all of the joys
that fatherhood provides. He and his family live in the Washington,
DC area where he works in the telecommunications field. Jeromie
has adopted Matthew.
and Jeromie had a son Jeromie Jon who was born in September,
2006. We just call him JJ. He loves to spend his free time out in their large yard which is enclosed on all sides by rows of trees, each one enticing him to climb it.
brings my recollections up to date. LeAnn retired in 2007 and Bill retired in 2009. This section was begin
in 1988 and most recently edited in November, 2013. The kids
have already started to form their own memories and file them
away. Perhaps some day they will feel the need, as I have,
to set their memories down on paper for the benefit of their