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James Stephenson


Posted By: Karen Brewer (email)
Date: 2/14/2015 at 10:31:56

Clarke County Historical and Biographical Record by Lewis Publishing, 1886. p. 189.

JAMES STEPHENSON, one of the early settlers of Clarke County, and a successful agriculturist of Washington Township, was born in Kentucky, on the Ohio River, April 20, 1820, a son of John and Margaret (Lewis) Stephenson, who were born, reared and married in the State of Pennsylvania. James Stephenson was seventeen years old when he left his native State, where he received the most of his education.

He was married in 1841, and immediately after his marriage started for Iowa, locating first at Keosauqua, Van Buren County, removing later to Monroe County, and in the fall of 1851 settled in Clarke County in Knox Township, where he remained two years. Mr. Stephenson then bought his present farm on section 33, Washington Township, on which he settled and began making improvements in his pioneer home, where he experienced many of the hardships and privations incident to a life in a new country.

His wife died February 4, 1879, leaving seven children--Margaret A., wife of E. Mitchell; John R.; Sarah J.; Mary, wife of Wilson Loomis; James, Jr.; Melissa E. and Dora.

Mr. Stephenson is one of the self-made men of Clarke County, beginning life without means, he having come to Iowa with but $1.75 in cash. But by his persevering energy and strict economy, combined with good business management, he has prospered even beyond his expectations, meeting with success both in his farming and stock-raising, in the latter business making a specialty of short-horn cattle. He at one time had 1,000 acres in Clarke County, part of which he has given to his children. He still owns 600 acres of choice land, and the small frame house in which he spent the first years of his residence in Clarke County has given place to his present commodious and comfortable dwelling.

Mr. Stephenson is a Democrat of the Jefferson school of politics. Mr. Stephenson’s parents settled in Kentucky after their marriage. They subsequently removed to Rush County, Indiana, remaining there till the fall of 1843, when they removed to Van Buren County, Iowa. From Van Buren County they went to Monroe County, Iowa, and in the fall of 1852 came with their family to Clarke County, entering a tract of sixteen acres from the Government on section 33, Washington Township, which the father improved and fenced, making that his home till his death in 1865, the mother surviving her husband till 1871. They had a family of seven children--William, deceased; James, our subject; Winthrop; Mary A. married William Buchanan, died in 1872; John; Lewis, living in Kansas, and Andrew.

John Stephenson was one of the sturdy pioneers of Clarke County, possessing great force of character and determination, which he showed in all his undertakings. He was a good neighbor and an enterprising citizen, always taking an active interest in all enterprises which he deemed for the good of his township. While living in Monroe County he served as trustee and justice of the peace.


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