Our Stevens Ancestry
Eight Generations of
Joyce Stevens Turel
Revised January 2003
This report would not have been possible without some very generous sharing. Family members shared their memories and their photographs, and several amateur and professional genealogists shared their careful research. The only original research here centers around James Stevens, Jr and John MB Stevens. All other information has been gathered from others. Since this report is intended for family members, I've skipped footnoting. I have tried to credit the photographs. And if I actually quoted, I've tried to mention my source. Otherwise, please refer to the Bibliography of Sources toward the back where I attempt to give some credit, at least, to those who so richly deserve it. So, thank you all for your contributions, and please forgive me for crediting you in such a casual fashion.
The earliest Stevens ancestor we can claim is a man named John Stevens who lived in Gloucester County, Virginia in 1662. We found him by tracing the generations backwards from child to parent, through church, court, and census records. We don't know who John's parents were. We may never know who John's parents were. He's our "brick wall."Here's what we do know: Few records were kept in colonial Virginia between 1607 and 1635. History has preserved the names of governors and dashing leaders, but for lessor folk there's only the 1623 Jamestown census. There was a John Stevens among the 1,033 residents listed there. But how could it be our John Stevens? We know that our John Stevens had a wife born around 1645, and five sons born between 1662 and 1681. If he had immigrated prior to 1623, he would have been too old for such a family. We also know that after 1635 ships captains were required to keep passenger lists. These lists show several Stevens immigrants from England between 1635 and 1662, but none of them connects to our John Stevens who married Mary Munford and lived in Gloucester with his five sons. They all married other people, lived other places, and had other children.
So, it seems that our John Stevens either was born in Virginia or immigrated with his parents (probably from England) during the twelve-year interval between 1623 and 1635. If he was born in Virginia, his father may have been the John Stevens of the 1623 census - another brick wall as nothing is known of his birth. Maybe someday new information will surface, and we'll make a connection to the old country. In the meantime, our ancestry report begins in Virginia.
John Stevens ( ? -
before 1704) Page 11
Edward Stevens (1662 - 1735) Page 17
James Stevens (1695 - 1744) Page 19
Nelson County Generations
James Stevens, Sr (1735
- 1813) Page 23
James Stevens, Jr (1764 - 1818) Page 31
Campbell County Generations
John MB Stevens (1805 -
1882) Page 41
James William Stevens (1843 - 1928) Page 53
James William Stevens, Jr (1877 - 1954) Page 95
The next record that helps us is
a deed dated June 9, 1671 conveying to
John Stevens, of Gloucester County, six hundred acres on the south side
Rappahannock River on a creek flowing into the river at the tidewater
between Snow Creek and Ware Creek. This was a considerable land holding
equivalent of twelve "head rights." (The king granted fifty acres of
land per head
right to encourage people to recruit other immigrants.) We don't know
Stevens purchased his six hundred acres with cash, with head rights, or
providing some other service to the king.
From the baptismal records of his
youngest son, we know that John was
still alive in 1681. In 1704 Quit Rent Rolls were drawn up of real
estate owners. "Quit Rent" was a tax assessment of one shilling for
every fifty acres. (The tax
was payable in tobacco at the rate of a penny per pound.) According to
Quit Rent Rolls, John's six-hundred-acre farm appears to have been
among his sons. Based on this, we're assuming that John died before
John Stevens was the first of
eight generations of tobacco planters in our
The baptismal records for John Stevens's children
were kept at the
Abingdon Episcopal Church which is located between Gloucester and
Gloucester Point at the lower right of the map.
The six hundred acres John Stevens bought in 1671
is located just north
of Fort A.P. Hill at the upper left of the map. At that time John's
land was in
Gloucester County. Between 1691 and 1727 the county lines moved several
times as King and Queen, Essex, King William, Spotsylvania and Caroline
Counties were created. Which county John's land was in depended on
year it was. Since 1727 John's land has been in Caroline County.
It should be noted that some
records show Mary's name spelled
Munford, and other records show it spelled Mumford. This is a name with
great many spellings - Monfort, Mountford, etc. The Mumford girls who
married Charles were probably relatives of Charles's mother. As you
further, you'll find many instances of multiple marriages between
families. People seemed to marry their in-law's relatives quite often.
There were several
marriages between second cousins. There were even a few marriages
first cousins. Some people explain this by pointing out that "The
tired." In other words, it was a lot easier to court the daughter of a
came to visit your home, than to ride your horse to and fro to court a
lady who lived across the county.
According to the deed recorded June 9, 1671, the
six hundred acre parcel
conveyed to John Stevens was on the south side of the Rappahannock
on a creek flowing into the river at the tidewater line between Snow
Ware Creek. On the above map, Dick's Creek seems to match that
description. Six hundred acres is a little less than a square mile.
Edward Stevens was baptized in
1662 in Abingdon Parish, Gloucester
County, Virginia and died in January 1735. Around 1683 he married
Elizabeth Lane, daughter of Valentine Lane. She was born about 1666 and
after 1703. The Lane family descends from Adam de la Lone of France,
another Norman who accompanied William the Conqueror to Britain. Over
centuries, the name de la Lone became Lane. According to the 1704 Quit
Rolls, Edward owned 80 acres in Gloucester County which he had
inherited. Ten years later, Edward owned quite a bit more real estate.
It appears to have
been the custom for a father to give land to his sons as wedding gifts.
cases there was a deed at the time, in others the land was willed to
the son and
deeded as settlement of the estate. Often the father constructed a
house for the
son and his new family.
Edward Stevens and Martha Lane
had the following children:
"To all Christian people
to whom these presents shall
come, I, Edward Stevens Junior send greetings; Know ye
that I, Edward Stevens Junior, for and in consideration of
the love, good will and affection which I have and do bear
towards my loving brother, James Stevens, of the county of
Essex and parish of St. Mary's have given and granted . . .
to the said James Stevens . . . all and singular my lands,
houses, tenements of what kind so ever . . . lying and being
in the above said parish of St. Mary's and county of Essex,
as well as . . . tenement the said James Stevens now lives in
ye aforesaid parish and county . . . houses, all other
appurtenances of what kind so ever belonging . . . this 4th
day of November 1717."
John Stevens (their second child of that name) was born October 17, 1703 and died on March 8, 1753. On February 24, 1726, he married Mary Whiting who died November 14, 1771. Their son, another Edward Stevens, had an illustrious military career during the Revolutionary War. As a colonel, he commanded the Culpeper Minute Men, and, as a general, he led the march of the Virginia Militia to join the Southern Army on October 30, 1780. His correspondence with George Washington can be read among Washington's papers. There's an interesting law suit involving Edward and his mother, Mary, which we'll get to later as our direct ancestor, Edward's cousin, gave a deposition.
James Stevens was born about 1695 in Abingdon Parish, Gloucester County, Virginia and died before April 13, 1744 in St. Mary's Parish, Caroline County, Virginia. In late 1717 or early 1718, James married Elizabeth Thomas, the daughter of John Thomas and Katherine Harrison. The Thomas family were neighbors with 1,650 acres on Ware Creek. Elizabeth was born about 1698 and was a cousin of James's Griffin relatives. On March 14, 1718, shortly after his wedding, James's father, Edward Stevens, deeded to him 118 acres on condition of James "yielding and paying thereof the rent of one ear of Indian corn at ye feast of St. Michael's ye Arch Angel only if the same be lawfully demanded."
I think we can assume that these
were prosperous times, for James was
able to reassemble and add to his grandfather's six hundred acres. For
a time, a
James Stevens was the overseer of the road from Ware Creek to Snow
Creek. There's a court entry dated March 14, 1735 fining James fifteen
shillings for not
keeping the road in repair. James petitioned the court to assign the
someone else which the court did on May 9, 1735. This may have been
other James Stevens, but we know ours lived there, so we're assuming it
James died in late March or early April of 1744 at the age of forty-nine leaving three minor children. Evidently, James's wife Elizabeth passed away also, for each minor child had a court-approved guardian. James's estate was tied up in probate until 1756 when his youngest son, our next ancestor, reached the age of twenty-one.
The children of James Stevens and Elizabeth Thomas
James Stevens, Sr was born in
1735 in St Mary's Parish, Caroline
County, Virginia. He was only about nine years old when he was
orphaned. Thomas Merry, the husband of his oldest sister Elizabeth, was
guardian. We're probably safe in assuming that Elizabeth and Thomas
James Sr married Bethethland
"Madame" Taliaferro around 1758 in
Caroline County, Virginia. Bethethland was born August 20, 1738 in
County, Virginia and died in 1828 in Nelson County, Virginia. Her
mother was Rose Berryman whose ancestors immigrated to Virginia from
England in the
mid 1600's. Her father was Richard Taliaferro (pronounced "tolliver")
distinguished ancestors can be traced from Italy to England to
Jamestown. Early Taliaferro immigrants were very wealthy social
leaders. They were known
for having a fine, aristocratic appearance, and there were many
and politicians among them. A Taliaferro was one of the architects for
Governors Palace in Williamsburg. Bethethland's unusual name honored
ancestor, Robert Beheathland, a gentleman who accompanied Captain John
Smith to Virginia in 1607. Robert Beheathland had no male heirs, but
has been kept alive by his female descendants for almost 400 years.
several variations in the spelling, as you can imagine.
About 1769 James Sr and his wife
Madame moved from Caroline County
to Nelson County (then Amherst County) along with their friend John
whose immigrant ancestor was Sir Thomas Loving, born in 1610, Surveyor
General of Virginia, and member of the House of Burgesses. James
the Nassaw Tract, almost two thousand acres on Lomax Creek, a branch of
Rucker's Run, for two hundred and twenty-five pounds sterling.
"Some time before the
Revolution the King of England granted to
James Stevens and John Loving a large tract of land in what was then
Amherst County--now Nelson, which was formed by taking parts of
Amherst and Albemarle. The story, which has been handed down in the
family, goes that when the two friends reached a high point of land
viewed the landscape o'er' and agreed that one would take as far as he
could see on the right side of the road, and the other the left.
strictly correct or not, it is a fact that most of the Stevens lands
lie to the
west of the old stage coach road [Route 29]. The Lovings settled on
their side and the name of Lovingston was given to the county seat."
In June 1771 there was an
interesting law suit in Caroline County
involving the family. A slave named Henry Ralls sued Mary Whiting
widow of John Stevens (1703-1753), for his freedom. The parties agreed
Henry Ralls was indentured as a slave to age thirty-one. They disagreed
the year of Henry's birth. Mary Whiting Stevens was elderly and in ill
(she died later that same year), so her son Edward asked to join in the
her behalf. A slave named Meriah Mullin testified that Henry was born
year as her son, and she had proof of the birth date of her son. Meriah
Henry was "the whitest child she had ever saw to have so dark a mother,
. . . sure it was a white man's child." Edward called his cousin, James
testify as to the date that Henry was born. By deposition, James Sr
Henry was born around the time of his (James Sr's) father's death
which would mean that Henry was twenty-seven years old not thirty-one.
court found in favor of Henry Ralls and set him free. Perhaps the court
credit James Sr's memory of something that happened when he was only
This old map shows the Nassaw Tract when it was in Albemarle County which means this map dates between 1744 (when Albemarle County was created) and 1761 (when Amherst County was created). Nelson County didn't exist until 1807. The large river near the bottom of the map is the James River which was not fully navigable above Richmond until canals were built. Until then the tobacco had to be carried around the waterfalls and rapids.
James Stevens, Sr died in
November of 1813 in Nelson County, Virginia. According to his will, he
owned more than 1,400 acres at the time of his death. With the help of
his attorney, Spotswood Garland, James wrote a complex will
in October of 1796 with two later codicils in order to leave his estate
grandchildren, giving his widow and two sons a life estate only. James
handsome bequests to his loved ones, providing land, slaves, and a
to each. Why did James Sr go to so much trouble to control his legacy
his death? My theory is that it was because his younger son, John
Stevens, had just fathered a child out of wedlock. I offer the
In James Sr's will written
October 1796, he said:
"Farther my will and desire is, in case
my son John Griffin Stevens shall die
without leaving any issue lawfully begotten, at his decease,
that then the tract of
land and Slaves . . . ."
In the November 7, 1813 codicil
to his will, James Sr said:
"The land devised to my son John G.
Stevens, I wish to be held and
enjoyed by him and his wife during their lifetime and after their death
my will and
desire is that the lands so devised to him shall descend to his
begotten in equal proportions to them and their respective heirs
In a March 7, 1820 Indenture by
John Griffin's eldest son, all seven of
John Griffin's children are listed by name:
". . . they being all that were
entitled according to the construction which the
aforesaid parties hereby declare shall be given to the said will . . .
In a March 7, 1820 Indenture by
James Sr's widow:
" . . . this said John G. Stevens for and during the lives of the said John and his wife and to be equally divided among the children of the said John lawfully begotten . . . ."
"To the rest of my children and
grandchildren I make no gift or devise."
Who are the "rest of my children
and grandchildren"? I'm assuming he's
referring to his unlawfully begotten children and
someday we'll be reunited with these cousins.
The children of James Stevens, Sr
and Bethethland Taliaferro were:
In 1775, Anthony Rucker introduced a flat-bottomed boat called a Batteau. The Batteau's long, shallow design made it easier to transport tobacco down the James River from Lynchburg to Richmond. The Batteau was an instant success. Thomas Jefferson was at the Batteau's first launching April 19, 1775. He noted in his diary: "Rucker's battoe is 50 f. long 4 f. wide in the bottom & 6 f. wide at the top. She carries eleven hhds. (hogsheads) . . . ." In 1821, Jefferson's notes helped Anthony Rucker's heirs patent the Batteau design.
James Stevens, Jr was born about
1764 in Caroline County before his
family relocated to Amherst County, Virginia (later to become Nelson
County). He married Elizabeth Turner on November 25, 1785 in Amherst
County. She was born in 1768 in Amherst County, Virginia, the daughter
Stephen Turner and Sarah Spencer. The Turner home is still standing and
still owned by a Turner descendant.
James Stevens, Jr was one of the
founders of the new county seat at
Lovingston. In 1809 he was the first purchaser of Lot 4 of the new
town. He paid twelve "pounds" for this lot which is across the street
courthouse. The deed required him to build a house with a brick or
chimney on the lot within five years. In 1811 James Jr obtained a
operate an "ordinary" (an inn) there. James Jr promised to provide:
"good, wholesome and cleanly lodging and
diet for travellers and stablage fodder and
provinder as the season may require for their horses."
His license was granted under the condition that he:
". . . shall
not suffer and permit unlawful gaming in his said house nor on the
day suffer any person to tipple . . . more than is necessary."
James Jr and his family appear in
the 1810 Nelson County census with
nineteen slaves. On January 26, 1818, Elizabeth filed a guardian bond
children, "orphans of James Stevens, Jr," so James Jr must have died
before that date. Their middle son Samuel became the head of the
household, his older brother having earlier moved to Lynchburg. James
wife Elizabeth appears with Samuel's family in the 1820 census and in
1830 census. There was no will recorded for Elizabeth, but she probably
died between 1830 and 1840 since she's not present in the 1840 census.
Here's a photo taken before 1901 of Charles Henry Stevens and his wife sitting on a side porch at Red Hill. The two women standing are assumed to be the two youngest daughters, one of whom married a Goodwin and lived at Oakland, the nearby, federal-style, brick mansion. The man sitting on the steps is believed to be Charles Henry's brother, Robert Fletcher Stevens. When this picture was taken, Charles Henry's two sons had already married our great-aunts, their Stevens cousins from Campbell County. On the next page we have recent photos of Red Hill.
The Stevens House is in the town of Lovingston
directly across the
street from the courthouse.
Red Hill is on Route 653 one half mile west of
Route 29. Route 653
is between Colleen and Lovingston.
Oakland is easily visible from the highway and
makes a good
landmark when looking for Red Hill.
Stevens Cove is at the intersection of Route 718
and Route 751.
John MB Stevens was born in 1805
in Nelson County, Virginia. Some
say the initial M is for Merry and the B is for Brown. The
connection was a strong one that spanned several generations. To date,
Brown/Stevens connection is evident. We have no proof of what John's
stood for, because he signed his name "John MB Stevens" on all the
documents we've found. In subsequent generations the name Merry seems
have evolved into Murray.
John MB was about twelve years
old when his father died and his
brother, Samuel, became head of the household. On August 14, 1826, John
MB received his inheritance that his brother, Samuel, had held in trust
for him -
one thousand dollars. August 14, 1826 was probably his twenty-first
or close to it. John MB decided to seek his fortune in the Lynchburg or
Campbell County area with his older brother, James T. Stevens.
During this period Lynchburg
became one of the wealthiest cities per
capita in the nation because of its tobacco trade. Before 1826 Thomas
Jefferson wrote, "Lynchburg is growing more rapidly than any [town] I
ever known in any country." The wonderful mansions on the hills by the
were built by the tobacco millionaires living in Lynchburg.
Construction of the
James River canal and rail service to Lynchburg contributed to
booming economy. Some unusual phenomena occurred in Lynchburg in the
1830's and added to the excitement. There was an earthquake, an
meteor storm, a hailstorm that broke almost every window in the town,
rare auroral display in the northern sky.
On the next page there are three photos of Lynchburg during John MB's day. The top photo is Lynchburg's first tobacco warehouse. The middle photo is a very familiar landmark - the Quaker Church, then called the South River Meeting House. The bottom photo is the Old Market House where John MB may have traded. We can't really connect John MB to any of these places.
The 1840 census states that John
MB Stevens owned sixteen male slaves,
twelve female slaves, and five slave children. There were thirty-three
a total of ten people employed in agriculture. There's a deed dated May
1856 stating that John MB paid the Glass family eight hundred dollars
for a one-acre parcel with improvements "about three fourths of a mile
in Sandy Hook between the Turnpike Road and the canal . . . to contain
sixty-three feet front . . . . " There's another deed dated January 4,
whereby John MB paid two thousand sixty-one dollars and fifty cents for
hundred ninety-four and a half acres crossing three branches of Beaver
crossing Opossum Creek, and including land on both sides of the
Road. No improvements are mentioned in this deed. According to data in
1860 census, the value of his real estate was $4,500 and the value of
personal estate was $17,885. This was a considerable estate at that
Some financial disaster happened
to John MB after the Civil War. Could
it have been the effects of the war and the abolition of slavery? Could
been an ill-fated venture into railroad construction as some say? Or,
there was a crash in real estate values. All we know for sure at this
time is that
a bankruptcy and a series of confusing real estate transactions ensued
Civil War. On January 1, 1869, John MB sold the Glass parcel, mentioned
above, to William C. Perrow, his brother-in-law, for five hundred
was less than he had paid for it. In 1871 John MB bought a property on
Hill with frontage on Blackwater Creek. Through a series of mishaps,
didn't record this deed until 1881. On April 17, 1874, John MB took
bankruptcy, and a parcel of one hundred and seventy-five acres on
Creek was put up for public auction. John MB's daughter, Bettie T.
bought the parcel from the bankruptcy trustees at the auction May 25,
seven hundred dollars, although for some reason, settlement was not
June 20, 1883 after John MB's death.
Caroline died on November 14,
1898. In her will dated May 2, 1894,
Caroline divided the farm between her younger son Claude and her
Nicholas J. Hunter, directing that the acres be divided equally between
that Claude was to get all the improvements. She said Claude had been
to her after the death of her husband. There's no mention of the number
she owned, but she said that Claude was to get the land next to the
that Nicholas was to get the west side, adjoining the lands of both
Alice Merry and
the late J.C. Glass, and along both sides of the railroad. (Caroline
had sold the
railroad a right-of-way through the plantation in 1887.) Caroline said
the plantation by a deed from her departed husband:
". . .
this plantation being the homestead of my husband and myself for
about fifty years, and lying on the west side of the Lynchburg and
Campbell Courthouse Turnpike, the L. and D railroad running through
We learn a couple of things from Caroline's will.
First, evidently John MB
and Caroline didn't lose their home in the bankruptcy. Perhaps their
Bettie rescued their home at the auction. Bettie's deed from the
trustees says the land adjoined "the lands of William C. Perrow and
the deed doesn't mention any improvements which seems unusual
that The Mansion must have been a substantial improvement. Perhaps the
in question was east of the Turnpike, or perhaps The Mansion wasn't
anymore. We know that The Mansion burned to the ground in a disastrous
on a Christmas Eve. We don't know what year the fire happened. We do
that somehow the part of the plantation east of the Turnpike ended up
hands of John MB's oldest son, James William Stevens. There are still
here to be solved.
The second thing we learn from
Caroline's will is: if the farm was John
MB and Caroline's home for about fifty years as she said, then they
have lived at the Daniel Hill property.
Daniel Hill is located between
Blackwater Creek and the James River. In the 1800's the tobacco
millionaires built mansions on the hilltop. Today
Daniel Hill is part of Lynchburg's historic district, and the mansions
restored from a century of being tenements. But the property John MB
wasn't in the affluent residential neighborhood on the high ground.
John MB's property was located
down a steep grade right on Blackwater
Creek. According to the deed, his property was three-fourths of an
acre, fronted on both Blackwater Creek and Blackwater Street, and
Hancock property. Thanks to Jones Memorial Library, we have an old
of some waterfront buildings a little downstream on Blackwater Creek.
appears to have been an industrial area. The 1877 map shows railroad
running right along the banks of Blackwater Creek. If John MB did
the railroad business, perhaps this property was part of the venture.
the railroads were a thrilling innovation at the time. We can only
John MB's reasons for buying the Daniel Hill property, but it seems
that it was an investment venture of some kind.
It's believed that John MB and
Caroline Stevens are both buried in the
family cemetery that was next to The Mansion. There are seven or eight
graves still there, although hard to find. Most of the tombstones are
over and badly deteriorated. The only tombstone that's legible is that
daughter, Victoria Stevens Hunter.
James William "Mansy" Stevens was born June 20, 1843 in Campbell County, Virginia and died there on February 05, 1928. He entered the Confederate Army when he was about 18 years old, and was mustered into service as a private in Lynchburg on May 11, 1861 in a company called the Beauregard Rifles. He's listed on that first roster as J.W. Stephens, although on subsequent rosters the spelling is corrected. There's an interesting account in a book, Lynchburg and It's People by W. Asbury Christian:
"About eight o'clock the Rifle Grays were drawn up in front of their armory on Main St., the Home Guard at theirs on Eighth St., and the Artillery on Clay St. The first two companies mustered about one hundred each, and the last about eighty-five, some of their men not being ready. The companies marched to their place of meeting on Church St., between Eighth and Tenth, and were formed into a column by Colonel D.A. Langhorne. They marched through the crowded streets to Eleventh St., then to Main St., then to Bridge St. and to the Virginia and Tennessee depot, where they halted to listen to an address by Rev. J.D. Mitchell. The speaker, burning with patriotism, said he had two sons in one of the companies-sons of a Charleston, S.C. mother, and if he had fifty they would be given up into the service of the State in such a contest. He wanted the soldiers to show themselves men, and in the day of battle put their trust in God and never turn their backs upon the enemy. He alluded to the war now being made upon our cherished institutions, appointed by Heaven for the development and happiness of the thousands of that inferior race committed to the guardianship of the South, and felicitated him that they would find brave and efficient defenders in the gallant young men who had taken up arms in vindication of our rights . . . the troops marched onto the place of embarkation, amid the tears and congratulations of the multitude of noble women and brave men who had come to bid them Godsend. It was a solemn scene, and one that thrilled every heart."If you look carefully at the old postcard on the next page, you'll see that in those days Ninth Street seems to a have had a row of hitching posts on one side and seems to have been level between Church and Main Streets (if you know Lynchburg, you'll know what a change that is).
Confederate payroll records show
that Mansy was wounded at the Battle
of Balls Bluff on October 21, 1861. Balls Bluff Battlefield Park is
east of Leesburg, Virginia on the Virginia/Maryland line. The battle
on the steep banks of the Potomac River. It's said that Mansy served
under "The Grey Ghost," Colonel John Singleton Mosby, a famous hero of
Civil War. Records show Mansy still absent on March 15, 1862 recovering
from his wound. He was a fine storyteller and entertained many with his
tales of his adventures during the Civil War. Rucker Mator Stevens,
been known to spin a few yarns himself, remembers Mansy's telling him
times the following story, paraphrased here:
Grandpa was assigned as a scout to ride
out at night to check on the enemy. On
one of his missions, he spotted a flock of sheep sleeping huddled in a
corner. On his way
back to camp, he rode back by the sleeping sheep, leaned down, grabbed
a lamb, threw
it over his horse's shoulders, and slit its throat. The soldiers
enjoyed their dinner that night.
Rucker also shared with us
another story that Mansy told him once when
Rucker, then a child, complained at the dinner table about being served
too much cabbage for his liking. It seems that:
Grandpa was with the cavalry in the
Civil War. The Yankees had them trapped in
the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the soldiers took turns riding behind the
Yankee lines to the
different farms looking for food. Seems the Yankees had the food line
cut off. All they
had was bags of parched corn meant for the horses. Once, when they
couldn't find any
food for themselves, Grandpa said that to keep from starving they had
to cook up the
horses' parched corn and eat that. Grandpa said I should never complain
about having too
much of any food.
Jennie Belle's mother's ancestry
can be traced back to Isaac De Sailly
born about 1500 in France. Her immigrant ancestor was Marcus Abraham
Sallee who came to New York City from St. Martin, Isle de Rhe, Aunis
Province, France around 1700, and settled in Henrico County, Virginia.
Subsequent Sallee generations spread into neighboring Virginia
counties, and Kentucky, where Jennie Belle's mother was born.
Jennie Belle's father, David, was
the first in his line to relocate from
Pennsylvania to Kentucky. He married Martha Anne Sallee in Augusta,
County, Kentucky. The census says Jennie Belle was born in Illinois, so
family must have moved around before settling in the town of Covington
northeastern Kentucky border. Although Covington is in Kentucky, it's
essentially a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. A total of seven children are
including four brothers (George, David, Judson and Bush) and two
sisters (Blandelia and Lucy). Jennie Belle's father's occupation is
listed in the
1860 census as "Master Builder."
How Mansy and Jennie Belle met is
a mystery. Is this another example
of the Stevens/Merry connection? Three of Mansy's sisters married Merry
cousins from Hart County, Kentucky. The problem with this theory is
County, Kentucky is in the middle of the state, and Covington, Kentucky
the northeast border of the state. But other Merry cousins had built a
estate in Covington called "The Landmark." We can only guess how James
Jennie Belle met. It's said that Jennie Belle came to Virginia to marry
one suitcase and a rocking chair.
This picture was taken in the side yard of Mansy and Jennie Belle's home, the converted barn. Judging by the ages of the children, this picture probably was taken between 1898 and 1899. Mansy's mother, Caroline Perrow Stevens, passed away in November 1898. Could this picture have been taken at her funeral? Family photos seem to have been a funeral custom in that era. At that time of loss, family members traveled great distances to be together. Everyone was dressed up, looking their best, and feeling their mortality. On the other hand, the corsages, James William Jr's tie, and the children's bare feet suggest a reunion in a warmer month - possibly Easter? It's impossible to say for sure.
On the left: daughter Annie Belle
is seated. Her husband William Henry Stevens is standing to her right.
Their five children are around Annie Belle.
In the middle: Jennie Belle
Williams Stevens and James William "Mansy" Stevens are seated. Their
youngest sons, James William, Jr and Robert Samuel, age twenty-two and
eighteen, are standing behind them. (Oldest son, David Murray, is away
fighting the Spanish American War.) Charles William Stevens, orphan of
deceased daughter Lula Carrie is seated at Jennie Belle's feet.
On the right: daughter Blandelia
Mabel "Sis" is seated, and her husband, Milton Taylor Barker, is
behind her. Those pretty toddlers in dresses and ringlets are boys.
"Death of Mrs. Stevens
On the opposing page are some
snapshots of Mansy and other family
members. It's possible that these photos were taken by a photographer
the time of Jennie Belle's funeral in lieu of the traditional funeral
The first photo shows the two
brothers, James Jr, age thirty-seven, and
Robert Samuel, age thirty-three, with their fine, riding horses. It's
photo because of the fine resolution of the details even in the
a third horse, a buckboard wagon, and a dog on the right, in addition
to the two
men, two horses and buggy in the foreground.
In the second snapshot, Mansy is
playing cards with an unknown friend
in front of the converted barn. Could the unknown card player be Sis's
husband, Milton Taylor Barker? In 1914, he would have been sixty-six
old (only five years younger than Mansy). In the funeral/reunion photo
1898/1899, he was about fifty years old. A little later we'll get to a
Sis's family in which there's a young man who bears a striking
this card player/hunter.
Notice the house's unusual floor
plan. There were two interior staircases
- one on each side of the house. If you were on the first floor and
wanted to go
to the other side of the first floor, you had to either climb a
staircase and go
across and down, or you had to walk outside through what we might call
the breeze way.
The Family in 1914?
James William Stevens, Jr and Robert Samuel Stevens with horses
The first photo shows four
children on a rock pile. If this photo was
taken in 1914, then these could be Sis's four youngest children: David
thirteen, Mabel age 9, Allen age 5, and Lula age 3. Rucker Mator
remembers a similar rock pile years later at "Uncle Robert's farm." If
carefully, you'll see a woman in the background on the right. The
shows two other women and a dog on the rock pile.
Unfortunately it's not possible
to identify the three women in the two
photos. Jennie Belle's obituary only mentions two women, Mattie Stevens
(Annie Belle's youngest), who would have been around eighteen years
Blandelia Mabel "Sis" Stevens Barker, who would have been around
years old. We know that James William Jr had married in December of
and that the newly-weds were living at Mansy's farm. So Nettie Virginia
Stevens, age twenty-one, would have been there as well if 1914 is the
date. Other possible family members are: Annie Belle's daughters Nellie
twenty-eight, Mabelle Baylor age twenty-four, and Annie Louise age
twenty. Although we can't see the women's faces, the style of their
appropriate for around 1914 according to Dating Old Photographs
1840 - 1929
by Halvor Moorshead. The features of the ladies' clothing that date
them are: long, narrow skirts, three-quarter sleeves that are not
puffy, tight corseted
waists, puffy bodices, and open collars.
In 1916 Mansy sold the farm to
his son, Robert Samuel Stevens, and
moved into a little cottage that was on the other side of the present
close to the Providence School. In August of 1917 he was awarded a
of $50.00 under the Confederate Pension Act of 1916. A few years later
Mansy's grandchildren, the children of James William Stevens, Jr,
their farm to attend the school. On their way home, they often stopped
their grandfather and get a nickel to buy candy at the little country
store on the
corner. Mansy spent his days sitting on his front porch, chewing
reminiscing with his Civil War buddies who passed by.
Every year the city of Lynchburg
had a dinner at the Armory for the Civil
War veterans. Before the dinner, all the veterans would walk in a
Main Street and down Church Street to the Armory. Robert and James
drive their father to town for the event. It's said that Mansy would
cane in the buggy to walk proudly in the parade.
unknown friend with rifle
James William "Mansy" Stevens
Robert Samuel Stevens
and two hunting dogs
James William Stevens, Jr with hunting
horn, dog, and possum.
"James William Stevens, aged 85 years, died Sunday morning at his home on the Rustburg road where he had spent his entire life. His death was caused by pneumonia. He is survived by four children: Mrs. Milton Taylor Barker [Blandelia Mabel Stevens] of High Point, NC, David Murray Stevens of Sheridan, Wyoming, Robert Samuel Stevens and James William Stevens, Jr. of Campbell County.
"Funeral services for Mr. Stevens were held yesterday afternoon at his home. Rev. P. F. Arthur and Rev. Clark Wood officiating. Several hymns were sung by a quartet, and flower bearers were Miss Mabel Barker [granddaughter], Nellie Stevens [granddaughter] and Sarah Stevens [step-granddaughter], Annie Laurie Carson [son's fiancé], and Lula Barker [granddaughter] and Mrs. J. N. Perrow [cousin], Mrs. S.M. Hopkins [cousin], Mrs. Willie Stevens [grandson's wife] and Mrs. David P. Barker [grandson's wife].
"Honorary pallbearers were J.W. Barker [grandson], Thomas Franklin Carson [a neighbor and Annie Laurie's father], Milton Taylor Barker [son-in-law], William Henry Stevens [son-in-law], N. N. Gallier, R. L. Perrow [cousin], T. J. Perrow [cousin], and W. T. Lindsay [nephew].
"Active Pallbearers were: Charles William Stevens, Milton Taylor Barker, [Jr?], David P. Barker, Allen A. Barker, William Murray Stevens, and Louis Henry Stevens [all grandsons and one step-grandson]."
It sounds like a beautifully
orchestrated funeral, and the obituary is
unusually well done. It's unfortunate that we don't know who arranged
The Mansion burned down long ago.
Tombstones can still be found
from the family cemetery that was on the west side of the highway near
Mansion. Mansy's cottage and the Providence School have been torn down.
The barn that was converted into a house was replaced in 1936 by the
residence at Glenacre Farm. The wrought iron fence which enclosed the
cemetery on the east side of the highway is still there, although all
there were moved to Spring Hill Cemetery. The Little House and the New
House at James W. Stevens Jr's farm are still standing, although the
farm is no
longer owned by the Stevens family. When last seen in 2001, the New
looked better than ever. The Providence Church is still an active
The children of James William
Stevens and Jennie Belle Williams were:
Alice Myrtle Barker
Blandelia Mabel Stevens Barker, Ray's
sister, encouraged her young
niece, Alice Myrtle Barker, to write to Ray, a lonesome soldier far
from home. On April 9, 1911, Ray and Alice were married in Washington,
from her sister's home there). Alice was born May 17, 1887 in Randolph
County, North Carolina. When they married, he was forty-six years old,
she was twenty-four.
Photo of Alice Myrtle
Barker courtesy of R. D. Stevens
Ray resigned from the military,
and they opened a café in Sheridan. Notice the prices for the
meals on the window in the photo. The many soldiers
in town were hungry for some good home-cooking. The story is told that
and Alice kept a wash bowl and razor in the back so the soldiers could
a bit while waiting for their meals. Bob and Rosemary Stevens recently
Sheridan and describe Sheridan as "a lovely, clean town at the base of
Ray was stationed at Fort
Mackenzie in Sheridan, Wyoming. In 1916,
Ray and Alice filed for a homestead in Johnson County, Wyoming. The
government gave them three hundred and twenty acres with the
that after they built improvements, the government would give them
three hundred and twenty acres. They bought an adjoining forty acre
$20.00 (fifty cents an acre), and by the end of 1916, they had a
six-hundred-eighty-acre cattle ranch. Unfortunately, the land was so
rough that thousands
of acres were necessary to support a family. Ray soon moved the family
to Sheridan, leased the land, and turned to hauling coal for a living.
is still owned by a Stevens descendant and is currently leased for
When word came in 1928 that David
Murray Stevens was on his
deathbed, his brothers, James William, Jr and Robert Samuel, headed to
Wyoming on the train. Ray died while his brothers were in route, so
around and came home before reaching Wyoming. Ray died on July 3, 1928
in Sheridan, Wyoming, just five months after his father's death.
The children of David Murray Stevens and Alice
Myrtle Barker are:
"Mama would always prepare Christmas dinner for the family, and I remember one of the last times she cooked for us. We looked out of the window and saw a strange person standing in the yard. It was Jack Purvis. On Christmas he had no family or place to go. But he remembered that he was always welcome at Cousin Louise's table, and he came to her on Christmas Day. As I recall, we always shared Christmas with someone less fortunate than we were, and to this day, we feel that we must find someone to give Christmas dinner to in Mama's memory."
The children of Annie Louise Stevens and Harry
The children of Blandelia Mabel "Sis" Stevens and Milton Taylor Barker were:
"Uncle Robert lived in a house that used to be beside the current brick home at Glenacre Farm. Grandpa lived across the highway (Rte. 501). Cousin Nellie (oldest daughter of Robert's sister Annie Belle) kept house for Uncle Robert. Uncle Robert left farming tobacco and worked as a salesman for the Willis Knight Car dealership. He was so successful that when the Oldsmobile dealership became available, he bought the building, restored it and sold Whippets, then Oldsmobiles. Uncle Robert would go to the Carson farm next door to us to court Annie Laurie Carson. Then he would come to our house for supper."Robert married Annie Laurie Carson on November 28, 1928. Annie Laurie was born on June 9, 1905 in Appomattox County, the daughter of Thomas Carson and Laura Carroll. At the time of their wedding, Robert was forty-seven and Annie Laurie was twenty-three. Robert and Annie Laurie were members of the Providence United Methodist Church.
Robert Samuel Stevens
Annie Laurie Carson
Married November 28, 1928
In 1936 Robert tore down the barn that had been converted into a residence and built a new brick home. His brother, James William Stevens, Jr, was his contractor. After Robert retired from the automobile dealership in 1942, he raised Aberdeen Angus cattle. He had a pedigreed bull with a complicated name, long ago forgotten, but called "Glen" for short. Robert and Annie Laurie named their home "Glenacre Farm" after Glen, the bull.Robert died February 26, 1952 in Campbell County, Virginia and was buried in the family "burying ground" at Glenacre Farm. In 1955, all the graves there were moved to the Spring Hill Cemetery in Lynchburg. Here's Robert's obituary from the Lynchburg newspaper. (I've corrected typographical errors in dates):
"Robert S. Stevens
"Robert Samuel Stevens, 70, of RFD 2, Lynchburg, died suddenly at 2:25 P.M. yesterday at Memorial Hospital. Born in Campbell County April 19, 1881, he was the son of James William and Jennie Bell Williams Stevens. From 1929 to Jan 1, 1942, he was president of Stevens Motor Company. At the time of his death he was owner of Glenacre Farm in Campbell County. Mr. Stevens was a member of Providence Methodist Church and served on the board of trustees of the church.
"He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Annie Laurie Carson Stevens; one son, Robert S. Stevens Jr., and one daughter, Phyllis Anne Stevens, both of RFD 2; one brother, James W. Stevens Jr., RFD 2, and two grandchildren.
will be held at Diuguid Memorial Chapel
tomorrow afternoon at 2 o'clock. Interment will be in the family
in Campbell County."
A few years later, Annie Laurie met Victor Joseph "Vic" Duplin, Jr through the minister of her church. Vic was born on December 3, 1904 in Stoneham, Massachusetts and was an engineer for a large firm in New Jersey. After his first wife died, he wanted a change of scene and requested a transfer. When he came to Lynchburg, he initially rented a room in the home of the minister of the Providence Methodist Church. The minister introduced him to Annie Laurie. Annie Laurie and Vic were married on November 26, 1958 in a Catholic ceremony with the Methodist minister who introduced them as best man. Vic died April 3, 1989 in Lynchburg, Virginia and was buried in Stoneham, Massachusetts. Annie Laurie died on October 3, 1990 in Lynchburg, Virginia, and was buried October 6, 1990 at the Spring Hill Cemetery. Here's her obituary from the Lynchburg newspaper:
"Annie Laurie Stevens Duplin
"Annie Laurie Stevens Duplin of Glenacre Farm, Lynchburg, died Wednesday, Oct 3, 1990 in Lynchburg General Hospital. Twice married, she was the wife of the late Robert Samuel Stevens and the late Victor Joseph Duplin, Jr.
"Born in Appomattox County, she was a daughter of the late Thomas Franklin Carson and Laura Carroll Carson. She was a member of the Providence United Methodist Church.
"She is survived by a son, Robert S. Stevens, Jr, Duluth, Ga; a daughter, Mrs. Charles E. (Anne) Thaxton, Lynchburg; a brother, Allen W. Carson, Lynchburg; a sister, Kathleen Carson Miller: and five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
"She was preceded in death by two brothers, T. Adrian Carson and Leslie D. Carson, and a sister, Virginia I. Carson.
"A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday in Whitten Park Avenue Chapel by the Rev. Stephen Hay. Interment will be in Spring Hill cemetery.
"The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and at other times at the residence of her daughter, 3101 Cranehill Drive.
contributions may be made to the Providence United
Methodist Church, c/o Mrs. L.T. Brown, Jr., Route 5, Box 348,
Lynchburg VA 24501."
The children of
Robert Samuel Stevens and Annie Laurie
"Jimmie" Stevens, Jr was born on June 26, 1877 in
Campbell County, Virginia. As a young man, he worked for the railroad
company directing twenty or so teams of work horses and dump carts
excavating for the rail lines being laid through West Virginia.
He married Nettie
Virginia Rucker on December 24, 1913 in the
Centenary Methodist Church then on Clay St. in Lynchburg, Virginia. We
their original wedding certificate which was witnessed by Mr. and Mrs.
Hamner Rucker, Nettie's first cousin and his wife. At the time of their
James was thirty-six years old and Nettie was twenty years old.
Rucker was born on April 2, 1893 in Sherwill, Campbell
County, Virginia. She was probably named for her maternal grandmother,
Jeanette Fields Hunter, who was called "Nettie". Her father was Milton
Mattaugh "Toy" Rucker whose Huguenot ancestors immigrated from Germany
to Jamestown around 1700 seeking religious freedom. Her mother was Evie
Katherine "Kate" Flagg whose ancestors can be traced back 900 years
Wales through Lexington, Massachusetts where they were foot soldiers
were targets for "the shot heard 'round the world."
the New London Academy in Bedford County, Virginia
and the State Female Normal School in Farmville, Virginia, now known as
Longwood College. After college she was employed as the teacher at the
Providence School in Rustburg, Virginia, a one-room school where six
were taught simultaneously. In order to live near the school, she
the Lindsay family, descendants of Elizabeth Ann Townes Stevens who
James Lindsay in 1857. The Lindsay farm was next door to the Stevens
and it was there that she met her future husband, whom she once
me as a "gentleman farmer."
James and Nettie
lived upstairs at Mansy's home from their marriage until
after the birth of their second child, Rucker Mator Stevens. They
than 200 acres of wooded land nearby. James cleared the fields for
up a sawmill to make lumber, and built the home they called the Little
House. Rucker was told that when they moved from Mansy's house to the
his parents carried him in a wicker basket.
Rucker recently told this amusing tale of their domestic life, paraphrased here:
When I was a little boy, Mother sold the cream and the extra eggs for a little extra income. One day I stole a dollar from the top of the icebox in the kitchen where she kept the cream and egg money. I bought some candy and gave some to Melvin. Later, Melvin mentioned to Mother how nice I was for sharing my candy with him. Mother asked me where I got the money to buy candy. I said I got it from on top of the icebox. Mother told me that this was such a bad thing that Daddy would have to deal with me when he got home. Mother prepared a switch, and we waited for Daddy.
When Daddy got home, he took the switch and led me into the kitchen and closed the door. He said in a loud voice, 'Now, don't you ever do that again. I hope this teaches you a lesson," and more of the same. Meanwhile, he struck the switch against the kitchen table.
I said, "Daddy, you're missing me. You're missing me." I stuck my hand out, and the switch accidently caught me on the finger. Daddy took my hand and started rubbing my finger to make it better, all the while hitting the table over and over until the switch broke to pieces.On the opposing page there are some family snapshots. The photo of the four children was taken around 1924 at Robert's house. The photo of James William Stevens, Jr mowing hay behind a team of mules must have been taken after they bought an automobile, because only then did he have mules. Prior to that time, he always had horses. There's also a photo of the Little House which was probably taken in the 1940's. In March 2001, the Little House looked exactly the same as it does in this photo except for the tree.
The New House was
built between 1932 and 1936 during "The Great
Depression." James and Nettie were able to build a new home up on the
when times were very tough for most people. Men put out of work by the
depression were grateful to have jobs helping James build the house.
Garren recalls the basis for their design: Being a thrifty
couple, James and Nettie designed the floor plan to allow limited
heating of the
many rooms. They copied a home on Campbell Avenue that Nettie became
acquainted with while selling their excess eggs and cream. The formal
on the first floor could be closed off so that only the kitchen was
heated by the
wood range, and there was a door from the kitchen to the stairs
allowing for a
quick dash to the bedrooms. In the dining room there was a fancy wood
covered with tan enamel tiles. It was called something like a
"Heatrolla." French doors led from the dining room to the parlor which
was furnished with
carved furniture upholstered with mohair fabric - very desirable - and
outrageously expensive today. In fact, they furnished almost the entire
with brand new furniture. Two of the bedroom suites as well as the
suite mentioned above are still in the family. Beyond the parlor was
room where family concerts were sometimes held. Nettie Virginia Rucker
a very enthusiastic pianist who added her own creative touch to her
music - even her hymns weren't staid! James William Stevens, Jr and
Stevens played the fiddle. James William Stevens, III played the
Melvin Linwood Stevens played the mandolin. Evelyn LaVerne Stevens was
Rucker is shown here in the front yard. The New House
had two stories plus a cellar and full attic. At one time a servant
lived in an attic
room. The little room behind the side porch was a wash room where James
William Stevens, Jr would clean up after working the fields. The back
extended the width of the house. All three porches had swings. The
outbuilding barely visible on the left was the garage.
In 1936, after completing the New House, James acted as general contractor for his brother, Robert, who tore down the converted barn and built a new brick home.James William Stevens, Jr died September 11, 1954 at age 77 in Rustburg, Virginia and was buried September 13, 1954 in Spring Hill Cemetery in Lynchburg, Virginia. Here's his obituary from the Lynchburg newspaper:
"He was born in Campbell County, June 26, 1877, the son of James William and Jennie Belle Williams Stevens. He was a member of the Providence Methodist Church. He is survived by his wife, Nettie Rucker Stevens, Rt 2; three sons, James J. Stevens, Lynchburg, and Rucker M. and Melvin L. Stevens, Washington; a daughter, Mrs. A.S. Garren, Roanoke, and nine grandchildren.
"Funeral services for James W. Stevens were conducted from Diuguid Memorial Chapel yesterday morning at 11 o'clock by Dr. Charles L. DeLong and Dr. James W. Martin. Organ music was furnished by Mrs. Marshall Mauney.
"Burial was in Spring Hill Cemetery. Active pallbearers were James J. Stevens, Rucker M. Stevens, Melvin L. Stevens, Albert S. Garren, Robert S. Stevens, Jr. and William Merry Stevens."
Nettie Virginia Rucker died January 26, 1982 at age 88 in Salem, Virginia and was buried January 29, 1982 in Spring Hill Cemetery in Lynchburg, Virginia. Here's her obituary from the Lynchburg newspaper:
"Nettie Rucker Stevens, 88, died Tuesday in the McVitty Nursing Home in Salem.
"She was born in Sherwill, a daughter of the late Milton Rucker and Evie Katherine Flagg Rucker. She was the widow of James William Stevens, a former teacher at Providence School and a member of Providence United Methodist Church.
"She is survived by three sons, James W. Stevens, Jr., Evington, Rucker M. Stevens, Fort Defiance, and Melvin L. Stevens, Ormond Beach, Florida; one daughter, Mrs. LaVerne Garren, Roanoke; two sisters, Mrs. Jessie Wheeler, Lynchburg, and Mrs. Lucy Greenfield, California.
"Funeral services will be conducted Friday at 11:00 a.m. in Diuguid Memorial Chapel by the Rev. U. F. Bailey, with burial in Spring Hill Cemetery.
"The family will
receive friends at the funeral home today and Thursday from 7 to
Nettie Virginia Rucker Stevens
James William Stevens, III
James died December 1, 2000 in Lynchburg, Virginia and is buried at Spring Hill Cemetery. Here's his obituary from the Lynchburg newspaper:
"James J. Stevens
"James J. Stevens, died Friday, Dec. 1, 2000 in Drinkard Health Center at Westminster Canterbury at the age of 85.
"Born in Campbell County, Oct. 19, 1915, Mr. Stevens lived in the Lynchburg area most of his life. He was the eldest son of James and Nettie Stevens. Mr. Stevens owned and operated Stevens Home Furnishing Company on Wards Road for over 20 years. He was manager of the bookstore at Central Virginia Community College from 1970 to 1975. After 1975, he was an independent real estate developer and founded several developments including Viewmont in Evington and Clearview in Campbell County.
"Mr. Stevens was a life member of the Elks Club and a member of the Evington Ruritan Club, the Odd Fellows, the Lions Club and the Lynchburg Chapter for the Society for Preservation of Barbershop Singing in America. He was a member of West Lynchburg Baptist church and sang in the choir for many years.
"He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Nettie Stevens, and his brother, Melvin Stevens. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Louise Vaughan Stevens, who resides at Westminster Canterbury in Lynchburg; his brother, Rucker Stevens of Fla; his sister LaVerne Garren of Roanoke; his daughter, Joyce Stevens Turel of Oak Hill; his son, James William Stevens, IV of South Berwick, Maine; his younger daughter, June Stevens of Chapel Hill, N.C.; grandchildren, Steven Boldt of Atlanta, Ga., John Boldt of Falls Church, Alexis Stevens at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine, Victoria Stevens and James W. Stevens, V, of South Berwick, Maine, Virginia Sheppa and Charles Sheppa of Chapel Hill, N.C.; and great-grandchild, James Parker Boldt.
"A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec 6, 2000 in Woodall-Tharp Chapel with the Rev. Herb Maynard officiating. Interment will follow in Spring Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home Tuesday, Dec 5, from 7-8:30p.m. After the service on Wednesday, there will be a reception for family and friends at Westminster Canterbury, 501 V.E.S. Road.
accepted, or contributions may be made to West
Lynchburg Baptist Church, 3031 Memorial Avenue, Lynchburg, Va. 24502.
Woodall-Tharp Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. 237-9424."
"Dorothy Fitzherbert Stevens
"Dorothy Fitzherbert Stevens, 66, of Harrisonburg, died Friday, March 8, 1991 in Camelot Hall Nursing Home in Harrisonburg, following a long illness. She was the wife of Rucker Mator Stevens.
"Born in Morristown, N.J., she was a daughter of the late Richard Gardner Fitzherbert and Lilian Haward Fitzherbert. She was a member of St. John's United Methodist Church in Staunton and a retired senior accountant for the State of Virginia.
"In addition to her husband, she is survived by one son, Major Charles T. Stevens of Fort Campbell, Ky.; two daughters, Karen S. Mohr of Grand Forks, N.D. and Janice A. Stevens of Herndon; two brothers, Ernest Fitzherbert of Milford, Del., and John Fitzherbert of Ledgewood, N.J.; and seven grandchildren.
"A funeral service will be conducted at 1 p.m. Monday at Whitten Park Avenue Chapel by the Rev. Stephen Hay. Burial will be in Spring Hill Cemetery.
"The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 7 to 9 p.m. today.
"Memorial contributions may be made to Providence United Methodist Church."
Melvin Linwood Stevens
Margaret Elizabeth Miller
Married April 14, 1957
"Melvin L. Stevens, Sr., 77, of 299 Torpoint Gate Trail, Longwood, Fla., died Tuesday Aug. 19, 1997 at Princeton Hospital, Orlando, Fla. He was the husband of Margaret M. Stevens.
"Mr. Stevens was born in Lynchburg, Oct 9, 1919 to the late James W. Stevens and the late Nettie Rucker Stevens. He was a veteran of the US Navy during World War II and a member of American Legion Post #16.
"In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son, Melvin (Chip) L. Stevens Jr. of Longwood, Fla.; two brothers, James W. Stevens of Chapel Hill, N.C., Rucker M. Stevens of Fairfax, and a sister, LaVerne Garren of Roanoke.
"A funeral service will be conducted 11 a.m. Saturday at Woodall-Tharp Chapel with the Rev. Ronald Davidson officiating. Interment will follow in Spring Hill Cemetery with military honors provided by American Legion Post #16.
"The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.
"Memorial contributions may be made to Providence United Methodist Church.
Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Albert Stuart Hadden "Don" Garren died May 21, 1960 in
Roanoke, Virginia, and was buried May 23, 1960 at the Spring Hill
Cemetery in Lynchburg, Virginia. Here's his funeral notice from
the Lynchburg newspaper:
After the war ended, LaVerne and Don lived in Roanoke, Virginia. As a hobby, Don operated the Ledon Kennel and specialized in Weimaraners, German hunting dogs with a silver coat and pale blue eyes.
"Albert S. Garren
Here's a tribute to Don that appeared in the Roanoke newspaper Sunday June 5, 1960. It was written by one of Don's students:
" Having trained dogs for more than twenty years, Don came to our town well equipped to begin Roanoke's own obedience training classes. While in the Coast Guard he trained war dogs at Front Royal where some 1,500 dogs were kept for training. Before joining the Coast Guard he resided in Lynchburg where he bred Irish Setters. When he came to Roanoke, he began breeding Weimaraners and did much to further the breed in Southwest Virginia. One of his Weimaraners, trained by his oldest daughter Evelyn, recently received the highest obedience degree any dog can attain - Utility. Don's principal interest with dogs was obedience. One of his dreams was to erect a building in Roanoke for the training of dogs. His theory being that dogs, like humans, are happiest when they know what is expected of them. In the beginning Don trained dogs in his yard on Melrose Avenue, but interest grew to such an extent that it was necessary to find larger quarters and additional help. Through the generosity of M.F. Ring, Jr., the Roanoke Obedience Training Classes were held every Tuesday night at Roanoke City Mills. Fortunately for dog lovers in Roanoke, Don had the foresight to pick from his classes two very capable young men to help as his classes grew. Thus, obedience will not die but through the efforts of the Roanoke Kennel Club, Mr. Ring and instructors Bob Whiteside and Neb White, the regular classes will continue. It was through the efforts of Mr. Garren that the Roanoke Kennel Club was able to sponsor its first Obedience Trial in connection with the Annual All Breed Dog Show in 1956, and every year since, this has been a part of the show.
"Don not only trained obedience dogs but also companion dogs. he could get a dog to do almost anything he asked. For example, he was once asked to teach a Poodle to wife its feet before entering the house, which he promptly did. On another occasion he rented a wheel chair in order to train a German Shepherd as a companion to a woman who was to be confined to a wheel chair for life. He was fondly known by some as Roanoke's dog psychiatrist and helped many people make fine pets of a problem dog.
"Don served as president of the Roanoke Kennel Club in 1952 and 1953 as well as 1957 and 1958. He was the founder of obedience in Roanoke. He was assistant manager of Roanoke Loan Society, past commissioner of the Boy Scouts and at one time was active in the SPCA. He was a member of Tabernacle Baptist Church where he taught Sunday school.
life he never met a stranger and to all those who
were fortunate enough to know him, no matter how short a time, he was
a symbol of kindness and friendship. Full of compassion and
understanding, he will be sorely missed by many."
When you start a research project like this, it's a little like opening Pandora's box. You have no idea where your research will take you - or what scandals await you. Adding a little spice to our findings were: slavery, a murder, a bankruptcy, and a disastrous house fire. But the main finding was an amazing three hundred years of very respectable, very industrious tobacco farming.
James William Stevens, Jr was the eighth and last generation of tobacco farmers in our Stevens ancestry. Starting with him, we traced back in time to seven previous generations of tobacco farmers. The earliest generation of Stevens tobacco farmer lived in Virginia in the 1600's. Before that, we're at an impasse for now. We don't know the name of our Stevens ancestor who immigrated to the New World.Although we haven't been able to identify our Stevens immigrant ancestor by name, we can identify him by type. In the New World it was possible to make a fortune farming tobacco for export. Our Stevens immigrant ancestor was an ambitious farmer who recognized the economic opportunity the New World offered and had the courage to seize that opportunity.
This Stevens project has been lots of fun for me. Perhaps part of the enjoyment has come from finding that we can be proud of our Stevens ancestors.
Joyce Stevens Turel
1015 Hidden Bluff
Clermont, FL 34711-5987
1623/24 Census of Jamestown
1704 Quit Rent Rolls
Amherst County Will Book
Broderbund software, Family Tree Maker
Butler, Margaret Ann, Taylor-Mumford-Holland : Pioneers of Georgia, Florida, Louisiana & Texas
Campbell County, Virginia: Marriage Book, Deed Book, and Will Book
Christian, W. Asbury, Lynchburg and Its People
Corley, Connie, correspondence
Cox Connections Home Page
Cox Cousins Home Page
Delk, Ann Stevens, correspondence and photographs
Dierking, Patrick, correspondence
Dunn, Eleanor, correspondence
Eggleston, Marjorie, correspondence
Garren, LaVerne Stevens, correspondence and documents
Giles, Dorothy Bowling, Celebrate Heritage, correspondence and photographs
Hamner, Blanche Stevens, The Stevens Family of Nelson County, Virginia
Holland, Barbara H., correspondence
Lawler, Judy, correspondence, photographs, and documents
Lindsays in Campbell County - 1849 to the Present, author unknown
Moorshead, Halvor, Dating Old Photographs 1840-1929
Nelson County Virginia Courthouse: Marriage Book, Deed Book, and Will Book
News and Daily Advance, obituaries
Noel, Mary Roberts and Jenny Noel Weeks, Emigrant Cornelius Noel from Holland to Virginia
Oakes, Jane, correspondence and documents
Perrow, William Charlie, Report on Descendants of Charles Perrault
Register of Abingdon Parish, 1677-1761, Swem Library, College of William and Mary
Rogers, T.D., The Stevens Family
Rucker, Lucy Katherine, Flagg-Rucker Genealogy
Rudolph, Carolyn, correspondence, photographs, and Our Kentucky Roots : Doctors, Lawyers, Merchants, Chiefs
Social Security Death Index Online
Sparacio, Ruth and Sam, Pamunkey Neighbors of Orange County, Virginia
Spotsylvania County Records Online
Spring Hill Cemetery Records
Stevens, Clarence Perry, Stevens - Stephens Genealogy and Family History
Stevens Family Bible
Stevens Family - Genealogy
Stevens, Janice Alane, photograph
Stevens, Margaret Miller, interview and photographs
Stevens, Patrick, The Stevens and Allied Families in America from the 1600s
Stevens, Richard W., Descendants of John Stevens
Stevens, Robert Dolan, interview and photographs
Stevens, Robert Samuel, Jr, correspondence and photographs
Stevens, Rucker Mator, interview
Stevens, William, Descendants of John Stevens
Stevens, William Louis, Genealogy of a Stevens Family of Virginia
Stewart, Mary E., correspondence, documents, and photographs
Strickland, Queens of England, Vol I, p 116
Thaxton, Anne Stevens, correspondence and photographs
Tombstone Reading at Stevens Cemetery, Nelson County, Virginia
Turel, Stan, for proofreading and patiently listening to my endless ramblings about "dead people."
Virginia Census Indices Online
Virginia GenWeb Online
Wheeler, Jessie Leonard Jr, inspiration
Yates, John, correspondence
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