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Vital Records

Mr. Erial Stevens and Miss Rosanna L. Hawkins 50th Wedding Anniversary


Mr. and Mrs. Erial Stevens Have Been Married Half a Century
Been Residents of Red Oak for Almost That Length of Time

Mr. and Mrs. Erial Stevens, who have been residents of Red Oak for nearly half a century, celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary Saturday, September 9, at their home at 605 Maple street. The day was observed by holding open house to all old friends and neighbors from 2 to 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and in the evening the relatives all gathered at the home and helped to celebrate the joyful occasion in a fitting manner.

The home was decorated with goldenrod, and beneath a large arch of goldenrod, from which was suspended a large, white bell, the bride and groom of fifty years ago stood to receive the congratulations and gifts of nearly 200 old friends, neighbors and relatives who called during the day. Each guest was presented with a tiny golden bell upon entering the home. After light refreshments were served and old acquaintances were renewed the guests passed into the gift room to view the many tokens of esteem of which Mr. and Mrs. Stevens were the recipients. Gold coins, a gold headed cane, cameo clasp, brooch, silverware, dishes and many other articles, together with a number of letters of congratulation were among the gifts received.

The members of the G. A. R., were present and presented their comrade with a gift, and the speeches of presentation and acceptance served to show those present that the gift was valued not alone for its intrinsic worth but for the sentiment which it expressed.

At the evening celebration fifty-two of the immediate relatives of the family gathered at the home, some of whom had never seen each other before, and it was also a matter of comment that this was about the largest assembly of relatives of which any one family in this community could boast. Light refreshments were served, and the evening was spent in visiting, with several musical numbers by some of the grand-children.

In attendance at the golden wedding were a niece and nephew of the bride and groom. Mrs. Martin Nelson and O. E. Jackson, who were present also at the wedding fifty years ago. Mrs. T. B. Ratliff, who had the pleasure of meeting the bride and groom at the church immediately after their marriage, was also present at the celebration on Saturday.

On Sunday a family reunion was held, all of the children and grand-children of Mr. and Mrs. Stevens being present. The out of town guests present at the golden wedding celebration were W. D. Stevens and family of Webster City, and Mr. and Mrs. George Jackson of Villisca. Mr. Stevens had one sister living but who was unable to be present, and Mrs. Stevens is the only surviving member of her family.

Mr. and Mrs. Stevens are the parents of six children, of whom there are three daughters and three sons. Two daughters, Ida and Lillie, are deceased. Those surviving are W. D., of Webster City, Inda and Harry of Red Oak, and Mrs. Della Koons of Clarinda. There are eleven grand-children.

Erial Stevens was born in Youngstown, Niagara county, N.Y., March 1, 1842. At the age of 13 he went to live with an uncle upon a farm near Milford, Ohio, and at the age of 17 he went to work on his father's farm where he also learned the carpenter trade. At the breaking out of the Civil war he answered the first call for volunteers and enlisted in Co. C, 32nd Ohio infantry. His regiment was sent to the eastern field of war where it took part in the early Virginia battles, was captured at Harper's Ferry, paroled and sent to Camp Douglas, Ohio. Mr. Stevens took part in many of the principal battles of the war, was with Sherman on the march to the sea, and was discharged at Louisville, Ky., July 20, 1865. He served exactly four years, and during that time was never sick or wounded seriously enough to miss a roll call.

On Sept. 9, 1866, he was married to Miss Rosanna L. Hawkins, and in 1868 he moved to Deleware (sic), Ohio. From there he and his wife and his wife's brother, Geo. E. Hawkins, drove overland to Red Oak, arriving here Nov. 5, 1868, and bringing with them from Sciola the returns of President Grant's first election. Mr. Stevens purchased two lots and a residence where the Thomas Transfer Co., barn now stands, and here his family resided until he purchased a farm four miles south of Red Oak in 1871. In 1886 Mr. Stevens brought his family to Red Oak again and he entered the livery business on Reed street with Ed Davis. He has also been in the oil business, restaurant business, was night watchman for several years, mail carrier for ten years and operated a light delivery wagon until last spring when he retired to obtain the much deserved rest which his many years of very active life entitled him to. Mr. Stevens is the only living charter member of the Christian church, and one of the three persons who signed the papers for the purchase of the ground upon which the first Christian church in Red Oak was built at the corner of Hammond and Fifth streets.

Mrs. Stevens, whose maiden name was Rosannah L. Hawkins, was born May 2, 1845, in Knox county, Ohio, and two years after her marriage accompanied her husband on their long trip by wagon to Red Oak. The events of her life have been closely linked with those of her husband, sharing as only a true and loving wife can the many joys and blessings which have come to them. Her ministering has been not alone to her family, for there are many others into whose life she has brought sunshine and gladness who will ever retain loving memories of her. She was a leading worker in the church until the duties of home and the infirmities of age prevented her from taking an active part. And although she has lived her three score and ten years her many friends unite in the wish that she with her husband may remain among us to enjoy yet many more happy years.

~submitted by Sara Stevens Patton