Dr. Robert Stephenson, Jr.

1841 - 1892

Of May 21st the whole city was startled by the report that Dr. Robert Stephenson was dead at his office in this city. Immediately hundreds of people hurried to the place, to find the announcement was only too true. It appears that having been in attendance on a patient all the night before, he went to the inner room of his office about l o’clock a. m. and laid down for a little rest and sleep. The day being cool he lighted his gas stove. It is supposed he went to sleep, and during the sleep, the gas escaped filling the room, and when found about half past one o'clock he was, as it turned out, dead. All the physicians of the city were immediately summoned to his assistance, and did all that human power and skill could do to resuscitate him, but in vain; it was too late, he was beyond recovery; he was dead. Yes dead! He passed away so quietly that no one knew the moment of his departure.' His was— "A death, like sleep; a gentle wafting to immortal life.

The dread announcement of his demise sped over the community, like a pestilence, burdening, the very air with mourning, and carrying inexpressible sorrow to every household They do more than "Bear about the mockery of woe As the warm spring breezes, aided by the bright rays of the sun, seemed to loosen the grip of the long, cold, inclement weather of the last several months which held all nature in abbey anoe, and the chimes of spring wooed us one more to renewed life and hope, Dr. Stephenson quietly and gently, separated from these, and the hopes and pleasures of this world, and departed to try the realities, of that realm from whence no traveler ere returns, and which is only dreamed of in this life, God called him to a higher life and made him an inhabitant of that world where all the scene are golden, and all the breezes that sweep over the elysian fields of joy, and gladness, are breaths, life, and gales of eternal happiness, created by tire will of the Father who made him, and in his own good time called him home, Dr. Stephenson was born in Athens County, Ohio, on the 16th day of September, 1841. His mother died leaving, him quite young, with other younger children. His father being poor, Robert was put out into the families and under the protection of strangers, to work his own way, in early child-hood; and manfully did he battle with life, and struggle for a place, for his own support and advancement, until the late civil war broke out, and his country called for help. Robert had too much love for his mother, affection for his father, and care for his helpless young brothers and sister, and his veins were to-'full of loyal blood, and his heart great and full of hope for the future, for him not to heed the cry of his country in distress. So, then but a boy, he enlisted in the 42nd Ohio Infantry and served for four years through the war, in the ranks, battle rig and suffering man fully and heroically for* his country, the stars and stripes, and his God. He was born to deeds of heroism in whatever walk of life he was called, and his heroism only died when his life ceased.

On his return from the war he studied medicine. His father having removed from Ohio to Centerville, Robert came here in the fall of 1865, and completed his course of studies and graduated at the Medical College at Keokuk, Iowa, and returned hire to practice his profession. He was very successful, and early took a high rank with the old and able practioners of Centerville and the county, and soon stood in the very front rank of the ablest Physicians and Surgeon in the state. He filled one of the professors chairs in the Medical college for years, in the city of City of Des Moines, and was oiled from there to a professorship in the Keokuk College of Physicians and Surgeons, in the city of Keokuk, Iowa, which he held when he died*. He was widely and well known throughout Iowa and "but few were better known and more highly esteemed, among all olaeVs, and oullings, in this part of the" state, than Dr. Stephenson.

After he established himself in the practice of his profession here, he married Miss Ruthe E. Pennington, by whom be he had four children; all now surviving him. Ambitious for his family as he was for everything else, he soon established a comfortable and pleasant home. For his children and wife-, he was a bountiful and thoughtful provider. About five years ago his wife died and a little over three years ago he again married another lovely, lovable and amiable wife, Miss Amy A. Summers, daughter of Dr. R. P. Summers of Caldwell, Ohio. With his wife be kept up a model home, where obedience, love, affection and happiness were enthroned a king, and ruled over the little kingdom With an honorable position among his fellow citizens; with an affectionate wife; with loving, intelligent, dutiful and superior children; with lucrative practice; in the prime of manhood and intellectual strength, he had apparently, everything to live for, yet he was prepared to obey the summons, come up higher.

In early life he dedicated himself to God and Humanity, and there was no demand of church, state or society, that was not cheerfully and vigorously responded too. He was a member of the Presbyterian church, leading and active; the superintendant of the Sunday School for twelve years; a member of all the branches and divisions of Masonry and Odd Fellows; at the time of his death the Master of Jackson Lodge of Masons and a Past Noble Grand of the Odd Fellows Lodge No. 76; a member of the G. A. R. post, With all these orders he was closely identified, and it is difficult to tell by which he will be missed the most. No more will his old comrade in arms touch elbows with him, nor hear his words of cheer, hope, and praise, nor his songs at Campfires so delightfully inspiring and amusing; no more will the societies and church to which he belonged, be urged, and encouraged to better deeds, and zealous efforts in the cause of right. He was identified with all the interests of the community, and ever willing to contribute his time and money, to help any good or worthy cause, or person. Inflexibly hostile to oppression, faithful always to principal and liberty, championing always the oppressed and needy, fearless as he was eloquent in his avowals, be will be mourned by a whole community It was fitting therefore, that his neighbor and friends should render him, the unusual honors that they did, in the last sad rites of burial, having been buried with the ceremonies of the Masons, Odd Fellows and Grand Army of the Republic He was no college orator or college bred student, but learned the lesson of life, in the stern school of the real and his attainments were the result o the trials of resolution, and dogged diligence. He was a loving husband, a faithful, indulgent, and an affectionate father; a loyal friend, an honorable, worthy citizen.

May his death during to us the warning! "Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not. The don of man cometh." A F R I E ND Highest of all in Leavening Power.

Submitted by Susie Bevins