Notes for James Stephenson: On March 24, 1826 James Stephenson and his wife, Amelia Bell Stephenson arrived in Austin's Colony from the Georgia-Florida border. The following transcript of the document written in Spanish and signed by Stephen F. Austin certifies that he was a recognized and lawful colonist. “Citizen Stephen F. Austin, contractor, in order to introduce foreign emigrants into the colonies designated by the Supreme Government of the State of Coahuila and Texas, by the contracts held between said government and Austin himself for that purpose: I certify that Mr. James Stephenson is one of the colonists that I have introduced by virtue of my aforesaid contracts; that he arrives in the Colony the (?) day of the month of March, of the year 1826; that he is married and his family consists of 7 persons, according to the declaration that he has presented to me, signed by himself, and it is clear to me that he has applied himself, in the presence of the mayor, the oath that precedes the third article of the Law of Colonization of the State. I give this certification to said James Stephenson, to present to the Commissioner named by the government to distribute lands and bestow titles; as written evidence entered in my referred contracts. This document will be null and void if the person interested does not present himself to said commissioner with this document, within a month, after publishing a public notice to this effect;…” Villa de Austin, 2 of December of 1829. Estevan F. Austin. A document signed by Miquel Arciniega, commissioner for the division and possession of lands, and to dispatch titles to the new colonists in the colonial grant of Stephen F. Austin received James Stephenson’s application for a sitio of land on 9 March 1831 next to the lands of Lakey and Kuykendall.
James Stephenson and wife Amelia were admitted into the colony (legally) on Dec 2 1829 when they took the oath. James was upon that date 39 years old giving him a birthdate of 1790 in NC. His wife Amelia was 30 years old, therefore a birthdate year of 1799 IF we count from the date of the oath (1829) They came with 3 sons ages 7 (Thomas) 6 (James Bell) 5 Henry and one daughter 3 (Civility) The Stephenson family originally settled on this league of land, which was mostly in northern Austin County with a small portion in Washington County. The gorgeous, rolling land is on both sides of Caney Creek and just south of Chappell Hill. Today, the Byler Ranch is located on a large portion of James Stephenson’s original league granted to him by the Mexican government. Apparently, James and his family didn’t remain on this land for a long time because by 1837 he had sold parts of it as referenced in a deed to Jeremiah Cloud. By 1850, James and his son James Bell Stephenson have moved to Southern Grimes County and this is where he died. According to census records, James had been born in North Carolina ca.1790 (he was 60 on the Grimes County Texas 1850 Census) and his wife was born in South Carolina ca. 1796. According to Austin’s first accounting in 1826, James was approximately 39 years and his wife 30 when they arrived in Texas. His statements on the Commissioner’s land board hearings after the Texas revolution place the date of his entry into Texas as 1826. This would put James Stephenson’s birth date at about 1787. Because of the close contact and the many transactions that took place between James Stephenson and Thomas and James Bell, we can conjecture that there was a close kinship relation of some kind, most probably that Amelia Bell Stephenson was either the sister of James and Thomas Bell or a first cousin. The Bell brothers, who had also been born in North Carolina, were of similar ages and had also come to Texas from Georgia/Florida. An article written by Joy Stephenson states that “James Stephenson and his wife, Amelia Bell Stephenson were not the first to come to Texas. James’ father Reverend Henry Stephenson was a circuit-riding Methodist preacher who came to Texas in 1815. Reverend Henry was one of the first Protestant ministers to preach in Texas and was among the founders of McMahan’s Chapel, believed to be the first Protestant Church established in Texas.” The accuracy of this statement is questionable and no conclusive proof that Henry Stephenson was the father of James has been found. It is quite possible though, that James P. Stephenson was the son of Henry Stephenson, the preacher. His son is named Henry N. Stephenson. Nevertheless, James was greatly instrumental in establishing the Methodist church in early colonial Texas.
James Stephenson lived near the Georgia/Florida border during the time of at least by 1819 when his son Thomas Bell Stephenson was born and James Bell Stephenson was born in 1820. He first appears in Texas in 1826 on an early Austin census and then again when he gets his league of land on Caney Creek in Austin County (1/8 in Washington Co.
James Stephenson fought in the battle for Texas Independence along with his sons James and Thomas.
He began selling his land in Austin County in 1837 when he sold some to Jeremiah Cloud. James Stephenson had several business dealings with William Barrett Travis. He called for the probate of his will after Travis' death at the Alamo. Travis owed Stephenson $2500. Travis owned a tract of land in Austin County near Buckhorn, very near the Stephenson land. This tract ironically was later purchased by Balthazar Hoffman whose son married Stephenson's granddaughter, Emma Stephenson, daughter of James Bell Stephenson. My grandmother Lillie Hoffman, daughter of Emma and William Hoffman, was born there and grew up on this land.
Nearby on the land that once belonged to Stephenson on Tottenham road, my grandmother Maud Barrett was born. She married Raymond Cloyd whose family has several connections to Jeremiah Cloud who bought Stephensons property. My mother was a Cloyd and my father a descendant of James Stephenson.
Travis and Stephenson also owned land adjoining each other in Washington County on New Year's Creek. They were both instrumental in the early protestant church, specifically the Methodist movement in Austin and Washington Counties. Stephenson donated some land for camp meetings and this may have been the site of the Caney Creek camps where Amelia Stephenson was baptized--one of the first in the new colony.
In his last years, Stephenson was living near Courtney, Grimes County, Texas and was installed into the Masonic lodge there as was his son James Bell Stephenson. In 1835 James bought 1107 acres of land in the Babbitt Survey in Austin County. In 1837 this land was in Montgomery Co. Then in 1846 the same land was in Grimes Co. James Stephenson the original Texas colonist was living on this land wehen he died 2 Jan 1853 at the age of 67. James Bell Stephenson bought the land from his father's estate and he and wife Melissa Maxwell lived there until he died. the land then passed to Louisa E Stephenson who had married W Green Harris.
It is my belief that Stephenson was involved in fighting Indian Battles in Florida--the Seminoles and earlier the Creeks with Andrew Jackson. Florida was only a territory in 1819. It is possible that he was born in an area of NC that became Tennessee and came from that direction. Also there was another part of NC that became South Carolina later on (Waxhaw). Many of this family were involved a generation earlier in the battle of King's Mountain during the American Revolution and I highly suspect that James' father may have been. Most of the Stephensons came in the early to mid 1700's from Ireland. They either entered through Chester Co PA and went to the Augusta Co. VA area before moving south or they came in through the port at Charleston SC.
His wife Amelia died in 1839 and he remarried a Hettie Bargley.
An important document which proves that James and Amelia Stephenson were the parents of James Bell Stephenson, record 544 dated November 1856 at the Austin County Courthouse states: "...we James B. Stephenson and Thomas B. Stephenson both of said county and state and children and heirs at law of James Stephenson and Amelia Stephenson do hereby disclaim all right, title, interest, claim or demand whatsoever in...head right league of our deceased father the said James Stephenson, situated in Austin & Washington Counties....to present settlers...Nathan W. Bush, Jeremiah Cloud Sr., Washington H. G. Cloud, Fleming S. Reese, Frederick A. Battoe, Benjamin S. Harrison, McGrady Montgomery, RW Scales and others, defendants in a suit of now pending in the District Court of the County of Austin wherein Civility A.G. Maxwell (with her husband William Maxwell) & Elizabeth Smith (with her husband—William Smith) as heirs of the said Amelia Stephenson are plaintiffs and seeking to recover...a portion of said headright League...Attest: Wm Bradbury
Age Gender Race Name of Slave Owner James Stephenson Grimes, Texas Home in 1850 55 Female Black
Stephenson, Lackey, Arrington, cleis Entries: 1097 Updated: Tue Jun 11 21:51:00 2002 Contact: Pierre Stephenson
ID: I26 Name: James STEPHENSON Given Name: James Surname: Stephenson Sex: M Change Date: 22 JAN 2000 at 07:40:40
Father: James A. STEPHENSON b: 27 MAY 1760 in Maryland Mother: Jane STEVENSON b: 1762 in Statesville NC
Marriage 1 Jane MOORE Children Calvin STEPHENSON Andy STEPHENSON Martin STEPHENSON G. Waltney STEPHENSON
fought at San Jacinto with his brother-in-law Thomas Bell
Old Stephenson Bible
On Wednesday, February 2, 2011, Del and Betty Meischen met Carrie Burger in College Station, Texas. Carrie descends from James and Amelia Bell through their son James Bell Stephenson, his son James Bell Stephenson Jr., and his son Thomas Bell Stephenson and his son LD Stephenson. Her father Charles B. Stephenson is the Bible Department Chairman at Lubbock Christian University and her mother is a CPA. Charles B. Stephenson Carrie’s father is an elder and part-time preacher at South Plains Church of Christ.
The Bible is in poor condition after having been rescued from a fire. Its pages are loose and the edges show the smoke from the fire. The name of James B. Stephenson appears on the inside cover and probably this was the son of James and Amelia Stephenson but it cannot be ruled out that it was JBS Jr. It appears that it came into the hands of JBS Jr., and from there passed down into Carrie’s family. On the last center page is a list of the births of all the children of James Bell Stephenson Jr. and wife Annie Smith. I did not copy them.
One curiosity is the locks of hair found in pieces of paper, some tied up with thread. Some of the writing on the old papers appear to date them to the civil war era. They were mostly shades of blondish red to brown. No names are attached but maybe DNA testing might reveal something…it would be a very good lead to the origins of these Stephensons.
Many thanks to Carrie for showing us the Bible. It is truly a treasure.
Dates and names found in the Bible.
Births Thomas B. Stephenson son of James Stephenson and Amelia his wife was born in the year of our Lord 1819 James B. Stephenson was born October 13, 1820 Henry Stephenson born March 10th 1821 Civility A G Stephenson was born Dec 30, 1822 George Stephenson was born June 19, 1826 Elizabeth Stephenson 24th April 1829 Martha Ann Stephenson born February 18th 1833 William T. Stephenson was born on the twenty third of December 1836 Thomas Bell was born 4 day of January 1838 James Marion Maxwell was born …day of July 1845 William James Maxwell was born May the 24, 1863 (very faint) Elmer Cecil Stephenson was born April 20, 1902 JB Stephenson Jr. was born Mar 4, 1906
Marriages Thomas B. Stephenson was married to Lucinda Sanders June 28, 1840 T M Maxwell and TJ Gladish was married July 21, 1862 Deaths Henry Stephenson died October 5, 1833 Amelia Stephenson died January 5 1838 James Stephenson died January 1853
Partially illegible entries Catrin Fisher was –ten the first day of May 1860 (christened?) (Catherine) Date May 21st 1843 written in pencil (date when JBS and Melissa Maxwell were married. Very faint= Kate Fisher and Timothy F Maxwell were married Sept 10, 1883
Comments: I did find a marriage of Catherine Fisher to Timothy Maxwell on the above date in Grimes County, Texas. I found the Maxwell-Gladish wedding in Fort Bend Co on the above date.
None of the grandchildren of any of the children of James and Amelia Bell are recorded. The fact that there are quite a few Maxwells listed causes me to believe that Melissa, wife of JBS, may have made these entries but then why not her own children—unless she had her own Bible and was just filling in some things. The last page has all of JBS Jr.s children listed in different handwriting and different ink as if they were all entered at one time.
Amanda Maxwell, sister of Melissa Maxwell wife of James Bell Stephenson married John Hutchens. Their daughter Mary C. Hutchens married Anton Fisher in Bellville. Emails from Carrie Burger before our meeting. From: Carrie Burger To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sent: Fri, December 10, 2010 12:37:05 PM Subject: James Bell Stephenson Hi Betty, I am Carrie Stephenson-Burger. I live in a small town in Madison County . I recently started researching my family’s history and found out you are the expert of all things Stephenson and Smith. I have a few pictures of the family and one of James B Stephenson, Thomas B Stephenson, LD Stephenson and Charles B Stephenson (my dad). There are other pictures, but that is the one I thought would be of most interest to you. I did purchase you book “From Jamestown to Texas ” for my dad for his Christmas gift. I will have the Stephenson Family Bible after Christmas. I have not seen it since I was a little girl. If I remember it correctly it has a lot of family history in it, from locks of hair to little notes. I will share with you what I know once we find it over Christmas break. My parents have moved so it will be challenging to find. I would like to ask if I could have a copy of the picture you have of James Bell Stephenson in the book of him in his Civil War uniform. If you could scan it to me that would be greatly appreciated and I will send what I have after Christmas. Carrie Burger PS: I almost forgot, my father told me he had an uncle that researched the Stephenson family back in the 70’s and my father has all of the research the uncle had compiled. I will look for that information as well. I am so sorry that I was unable to meet up with you this weekend. I have had a very sick boy. I did not get the Stephenson Bible. I am, however, going to get it during Christmas. My father said that it is in bad condition because a chimney fell one it during a fire before he got it. He also said that the first birth record was from a girl in 1803 and that there are several newspaper clippings dating back to the Civil War. It should be very interesting. I look forward to meeting all of you. Carrie Burger Fri, December 10, 2010 2:51:10 PM email@example.com> RE: James Bell Stephenson
Ok, I will tell you how I am related to you. I believe we are 2nd cousins.
I will start with the earliest I know and work backwards:
James Bell Stephenson JR and Anne Bell Stephenson are my great-great grandparents
Thomas Bell Stephenson and Virginia Clepper (von Kellper) are my great grandparents
LD Stephenson and Toy Bybee are my grandparents
Charles Bell Stephenson (3 brothers) and Carolyn Robinson are my parents- My father is the Bible Department Chairman at Lubbock Christian University and my mother is a CPA. My father is an elder and part-time preacher at South Plains Church of Christ.
I am Carrie Rae Stephenson (I am a high school counselor)-married to Jerry Burger. I have a brother Charles Bell Stephenson II
I have three kids –Chase (22) and Chelsea (19) Pectol and Charlie (9) Burger I might have the real old James B Stephenson’s Bible. My friend at work, that got me into genealogy, look over what I have and if the records are from marriages in 1822 and births around that time as well then it just might be the eldest James. The married family names are Maxwell, Sanders and Fisher. It is interesting. It was in my great grandfather’s possession at the time of his death because there is information about his funeral and about the son, Richard, which passed away. The names repeat so much! I also have some stories from Uncle Elmer that he researched. My father could not find the actual research documents, but we have the typed, with a typewriter-yuck, finished product of Elmer Stephenson. I am so sorry for the delay. I was sick over the holidays and did not get the Bible until this weekend. The birth was 1863, my father had misread it. It is the James Stephenson that had Elizabeth Stephenson, etc… and then James and Amelia Stephenson had record of their kid’s births. Some of the pages have faded and you cannot read them very well. The Bible is in bad condition. We can meet and you can look at it. Do you know a place that could restore the Bible? By restore, I mean to separate some of the front pages and enhance the ink that has faded.
More About James Stephenson: Date born 2: 1787, ,,North Carolina, USA.1286 Date born 3: 1787, North Carolina, USA.1287 Date born 4: 1787, North Carolina, USA.1287 Date born 5: 1787, north carolina, usa.1288, 1289, 1290, 1291, 1292, 1293 Date born 6: 17901294 Date born 7: 1790, North Carolina, North Carolina.1295 Date born 8: 1790, North Carolina, North Carolina.1295 Date born 9: 1790, North Carolina, North Carolina.1295 Date born 10: 1790, North Carolina, North Carolina.1295 Died 2: 02 Jan 1853, ,Grimes, Texas, USA.1296 Residence 1: 1850, Not Stated, Grimes, Texas.1297, 1297, 1297, 1297 Residence 2: 1850, Grimes, Texas.1298