Family History by Robert Monroe Fleming (Sr.)
Notes on Fanily History by Iva Causey Fleming
Transcribed by Robert M. Fleming Jr.
The general subject was "Saving Faith". a few of the young men submitted brief, appropriate suggestions and questions. When it became apparent that no others of the young men wished to speak the middle aged man whose hair and beard were sprinkled with gray rose and made an interesting fi ve minute talk. At the close of which he said, "We have with us today two strangers, aged men, neither of whom I ever saw before. And who are doubtless strangers to all of us. And we would like to hear a word of fellowship and exhortation from them, If they will so favor us." The aged strangers remained passive. And then the older member of the meeting rose and in a few simple words gave the clearest statement possible of the doctrines of grace and the operation of saving faith. Following his remarks with a word of prayer uttered as friend talketh to his friend. After which the meeting was closed in due form. There upon the the more aged of the strangers went forward and introduced himself and his companion to the gray bearded brother whose invitation we had not accepted. And both were introduced to the whole company. With whom we exhanged salutations. We found it to be as we had surmised. That the oldest member was a greatgrandson of the first Elder Stevenson and named Sidney Stevenson. Who resided on his plantation about two miles distant from Concord. Ane who then in his 79th year had walked over to help the boys in their young men's Sunday afternoon prayer meeting. We took Mr Stevenson into our wagon, went with him to his home, met his family, told them as fully as taste permitted, who we were and what we were after, to-wit: Gathering up our family traditions and the local traditions of their early home in America. We lost no time, but there was not time enough in the remenant of the afternoon. And we accepted their invitation to return and spend the day during the week. We did accept accompanied by my daughter Sarah. On that all day visit we thrashed the traditions thoroughly. On two different days that week we visited the spot where the first Elder Stevenson for fourty eight years had his home.
The buildings have all disappeared. A lot of small stones that had helped to form the foundations, too small to impede the plow or be of service else where, still remains to mark the spot where the dwelling stood. From the farther side of the little field that was in the rear of his house and through the growing once covered by the house, to the branch in front of it the corn rows run and when we saw it the growth, of the corn then in tassel marked the ground that had been so long covered by a human habitation almost as well as the stones of the foundation. Across the branch, only a hundred yards away, on a more elevated spot and in a grove of majestic trees his youngest son, Moses, had built a dwelling for his family a short time before the Father's death. That house is standing and in good habitable condition. Still surrounded and sheltered by the stately trees whose rich beauty, untouched by time or vandal or fire, completes the setting of a home that exemplified the taste of one who in the love of nature held communion with her visible senses.
Moses Stevenson sold his 535 acres in 1814. On October 23, 1851 Dr J M Moore acquired it and he, while he lived, and his children since his death have held it cintinuously. His son-in-law, Hon. Henry Clay Cowles, through his wife, now own 390 acres of it. And Mrs Cowan, a sister of Mrs Cowles, Owns the balance. The present value of the whole tract is twenty dollars an acre.
On Sundary July 5, 1896, I am my daughter, Sarah, went with Hon. Thomas Johnston Allison to "Bethany Meeting House", always a strictly country church. Where we met a congregation of several hundred, with the men and women and boys and girls in due proportion reprewsentative of the local community. Saw the social salutations and courtesies exchanged before and after the services. Saw and heard the separate classes of men and women reciting and being instructed in the Bible lessons. And many classes of children of different ages reciting and being taught in easier scripture lessons. And then the preacher, a great grandson I believe, of the first Elder Stevenson, began his service. And the senior elderof three score years and more, with snowy locks, but ruddy, healthy complexion of a man yet in the prime of manhood, raised the tunes, and with the help of his daughter seated by him, led the congregation in singing the songs of Leon much as all this had doubtless been doing and done through all the one hundred and eighteen years since the June 8, 1778, when James Hall, was installed pastor. The senior elder is named Hall, a doctor of medicine and surgery, a descendent of the Rev. James Hall's Father. After the interesting services in the church and an hour or more passed under the shade of the trees in making the strangers acquainted we passed on beyond the South Yadkin to the manor house of the late Thomas Allison, the tanner so long an active ruling elder in this church.
He had come from Iredell, then Rowan, in 1773, an infant in arms. His parents, staring from Philadelphia, crossed the Potomac at Harper's Ferry bringing themselves, their infant son, and all else they had on two horses. Settled on the South Yadkin in that year. Thomas received a cornfield, schoolhouse education, and at 18 years of age was bound to one Halvalter, a tanner, to learn his trade. He was to receive from his master one suit of summer and one suit of winter homespun and a change of linen and under clothes each year. And to get, when free, a suit of good clothes and fifty dollars in money. Or a saddle horse and outfit worth fifty dollars. When his time of service was out he had become so proficient in his trade that he easily arranged with his master, who wished to retire, to take over the business. He died in 1844. He left and estate wholly unencumbered with debt, consisting of 1200 acres of land around the manor house we visited; 50 negro slaves, 30 horses, 100 head of cattle, 100 head of sheep, as large stock of hogs and full plantation outfit. And his business of tanner and harness maker and vander[?], in full and healthy operation. To be continued by his son and by the grandson whose guests we were. The growth of the interstate commerce since the Civil War has dispensed with the general use of the manufacturing trades. As in it to befor obtained, and the grandson of the apprentice of Havalter had closed his tanner's business on the South Yadkin. He has been the high sherif of his native county and is now the United States Marshal for the United States Judicial District that embraces his native county. And is the holder and owner of a large block of bonds, with the proceeds of the sale of which Mr Cleveland and his Secretary, Mr Carlisle, recruited the gold reserve and maintained the standard of values of silver money. These details are given to illustrate the spirit of the times and place in which our forbears grew up and acted their part in life's drama. And to indicate the fruits of those doctrines of grace and of liberty which inspired the kindred congregation of the Forth Creek, Concord and Bethany. And then lines have gone into all the land. Verily from the beginning of the days of the Prince of Uz till now, no one has served God for naught.
As already mentioned, William Stevenson and his wife Mary, (McLelland), Stevenson, had born to them and reared to maturity, a family of seven sons and three daughters. There was also born to them two daughters, their fourth and sixth children, each of whom died in infancy. These were named Mary for their Mother. The first one named Mary having died before the other was born. I never saw any of the all ten children who lived to maturity. Except my Grandmother McKenzie who was the youngest of them. I arrived in the Blue River neighborhood, in Christian County, Kentucky, as few days after the death of James, the last survivor of them. Who died at his home near Blue River on the 20th day of June, 1850. One son, Thomas died unmarried during the Revolutionary War. Robert married Mariah Rebecca Steele, a sister of my Father's Mother. And moved to Missouri, as mentioned in Chapter II. The oldest daughter, Jane married William Sloan, and moved to Missouri. Of whom I know only what is mention in Chapter II. The other daughter, Nancy, married John Watt, of whom my Mother often spoke to her children. I have no recollection of having met any of the descendents of the three just named of the children of William and Mary Stevenson.
On my visits to Christian County, Kentucky in 1850 and in 1853, I met many of the descendents of their other sons. And have met different ones of them from time to time in other states. They are now widely scattered and in many places may be found some of them who have become permanent in business or in professional or public life. After my Grandmother, Elizabeth Stevenson McKenzie, who was left a widow with the care of a family of eight minor children, her brother James most kindly and efficiently assumed the charge of caring for that family. A care which he continued when needed. And to the extent needed, from 1817 to 1832. When all of his sister's children having in due course of life grown up. And all of her daughters married, she joined her children who were in Texas. My Mother often spoke to her children of her protracted visits at this Uncle's house, of his kindness to her and all of the members of her Mother's family and of his abundant hospitality. It was while visiting at his house that my Mother's oldest sister Mary Eveline first met Mr Josiah Hughes Bell, whom she married.
James Stevenson married Nancy Brevard, a nieceof Ephriam Brevard, on the 20th day of December 1783, in Iredell County N Carolina. He continued to live in N Carolina until about 1814, when he and several of his brothers and other kindred moved with their families to Christian County Kentucky. He had nine children, eight of whom reached maturity. One daughter, the seventh child, named Nancy Young, died in early infancy. The oldest daughter, Lillah, born February 16, 1796, married Andrew Worthington. She died early without issue, I knew Mr Worthington well. He was a man of large and varied information, and over flowing wit and humor. Further mention of him will be made in another chapter. The second child, named Jane Brevard, born August, 1797, married her cousin, Jacob Stevenson. the lived in Christian County and I have no present knowledge of them. Other that they reared a family of five children in Kentucky. The third child, Hugh Brevard, born April 11, 1800, died unmarried at the age of nineteen years. The fourth child, Marie McLelland, born November 4, 1802, married John Wallis Ewing in Christian County, Kentucky. His Father's name (christian) was Adlai and his Mother's maiden name Sophia Goodrich Wallis. They were both persons of superior intelligence and were liberally educated. The tradition is that they were a remarkably handsome couple. I have known three of their daughters, Aunt Isabella Caroline McKenzie, Miss Elisa Ann Stevenson, and Mrs Catherine A Worrell. But never saw either of their sons. My Mother so often spoke of two of their sons. The above named James Wallis Ewing and his brother Rev Fielding N Ewing that it is difficult for me to realize that I did not know them. My Mother was five years younger than her cousins, Marie Stevenson. But they were very much together, especially during all the time of the preparations for Miss Stevenson's wedding. And the account of it I received in my boyhood from this eye-witness greatly impressed my mind. Before I first visited Kentucky (1850), Mr and Mrs John Wallis Ewing had moved to Illinois. And before which I visited Illinois (1876) he had died. I remember with much pleasure meeting her, and then her seventy fourth year. And hearing rehearse the story of her early experiences with my Mother, with which I had been familiar through my Mother's version. Mr and Mrs Ewing were the parents of six children, one daughter and five sons. With whom and with whose families my children are well acquainted. The daughter, Mrs Nancy Jane Winchester, and three of her(children) brothers, not children,John Wallis Ewing, William Gillespie Ewing(Whig), and Adlar Thomas Ewing live in Chicago. One brother, Henry Ewing, lives in Kansas. And the remaining brother, James Stevenson Ewing resides in Bloomington, Illinois. He is at this writing United States Minister to Belgium, and resident at Brussels. The fifth child of James and Nancy Stevenson, named William Lameck, married a daughter of his Uncle Moses Stevenson by his first wife, Annie Ewing. Who was a sister of Adlai Ewing the father of John Wallis Ewing. This daughter that William Lameck married was named Jane. The had a family of five children. One of their sons, the late James Ewing Stevenson, who resided in Christian County, Kentucky was a prominent man of influence and reputation. He was a prosperous farmer. He married Margaret Crews and reared a family of fourteen children.
I believe the members of this family are the only ones of our connection bearing the Stevenson name. Who still reside in Christian County, Kentucky. The sixth child, John Turner Stevenson married Eliza Ann Ewing, a daughter of Adlar Ewing and a first cousin of Mary Caroline McKenzie. They married in Kentucky about the time or shortly before my parents removed to Texas. And they remained in the Blue Water neighborhood until after the death of his Father, in 1850. I was at their house in 1850, and then because well acquainted with their older children. Before my second visit to Blue Water (1853), they had moved to Illinois and I did not see any of them again until 1876. He had died before 1876 and all of his children, one daughter, and six sons, were then grown and living in Bloomington, Illinois. The sister, Mrs Elizatbeth Sophia McCaughey (McCoy) and five of the brothers are in California. The names of the living brothers are, Adlar Ewing Stevenson, William W Stevenson, Fielding U Stevenson.
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©2009 Robert M. Fleming Jr.
This page was last revised on 15 September 2009.