Our Stephenson/Stevenson Family History

Our branch of the Stevenson line comes from Roxburgshire, Scotland.  So far, we have traced this line to William Stevenson who was born in 1708.  On September 28, 1750, William Stevenson married Helen Drummond, daughter of Andrew and Helen Mathison Drummond.  (Drummond is an old established line in Scotland.  Someday I will do some research on this line.)  William and Helen had four children:  William, Margaret, John and Elizabeth.  

Our line continues through their son, John Stevenson, who was born in Roxburgshire on October 26, 1760 near Southdean.  John married Isabella Waugh (b. February 15, 1756 in Melrose, Roxburgshire) on November 16, 1782 in Brigend.  They had nine children.

John was a lowland Scot. He was a weaver in Brigend, near Melrose, Scotland. All of his nine children were born there. Melrose is a small village on the Tweed River about 30 miles southeast of Edinburgh. 

He thought of immigration shortly after he married but his brothers-in-law really discouraged him. I read a letter from them that I found in the Patrick Sullivan Museum in Boone County, IN.  They were in Jamaica at the time.  It was around 1785.  They warned them not to go to the Colonies.  They told them land was not as easy to get as they had been told and the Indians were always in the bushes killing people.  They apparently decided not to come just then, but they finally came in 1810 with all of their children.

Click here to see their Family Group Record.

John's will was dated: May 30, 1837

I, John Stephenson, of the County of Clinton and State of Ohio, being weak in body but of sound mind and disposing memory, do make and constitute this my last Will and Testament in the manner and form following--

"First, I will that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid.
"Second, I will that my daughter Nancy Grieve, wife of Archibald Grieve, shall have all my bed and bed clothes.
"Third, I will that all my books be equally divided between my three sons, John, Henry and George.
"Fourth, I will that my son George Stephenson shall have all the money that I have after the expences above referred to shall be paid.
"Fifth, I will that my daughter May have one dollar out of the money above referred to.
"And to my daughter Jane, I give the blessing of a dying father.
"And lastly I appoint and constitute my son, George Stephenson, Executor of this my last will and Testament."

Signed: John Stephenson
Witnesses: Finnon Casto and George Collins

Then in a final paragraph after his signature, John wrote:
"Nancy having thrown the door in his face when he sought Grace at her house, I suppose she would not take in the clothes either, so I leave them to George."

We continue through their youngest son, Henry, born October 8, 1792 in Melrose.  He immigrated with the family in 1810.  He married Phoebe Foote on November 15, 1819 in Lebanon, Warren Co., OH.  Phoebe is from a well documented Foote line.  

They had nine children.  Click here to see their Family Group Record.

In 1834 he went to Boone County, Ind., with several brothers and brothers-in-law, and entered Government land. Dissatisfied with the land they had bought, they returned to Rush County, IN. In 1837 they returned to Boone County and bought from the U.S. Government a farm on Finley Creek, Union Township, about a mile south of the village of Northfield, IN. After his death on Nov. 8, 1843, his farm was bought by his son George, and Phoebe lived on that farm with her son's family until her death on Feb. 13, 1870. Both were buried in the Little Eagle Cemetery, a few miles east of the farm. The farm was on the Michigan Road...a mile south of Northfield in Union Township.

The farm is located at:
N/W 4, Section 6, Twp 18, Range 1E...130.45 acres purchased on 9/27/1832. Also W/2 of NE/4 and E/2 of NW/4, Sec 42, Twp 19, Range 1E...160 acres purchased same day (9/27/1832).

I have a copy of Henry's naturalization papers dated December 21, 1836 in Boone County, IN.

When I wrote for their marriage certificate the clerk also sent me one for Phoebe Foote Stephenson to Tom Oliphant on March 17, 1858, in Boone County, IN.  Tom was a friend of Henry's.  He was mentioned in several documents we found in the Patrick Sullivan Museum.  Oliphant is also an old Scottish family name.  Tom was 72 when he married Phoebe.  She was 60.  I suspect it was more for her protection and support than for love, but that is only supposition on my part.  When I have time I intend to find out more about Tom Oliphant.  I do know Phoebe is buried next to Henry and her stone says Phoebe Stephenson.

We continue through their first daughter, Isabella. I suspect she was named after Henry's mother, Isabella Waugh Stevenson.  I don't know just when John changed the spelling to Stephenson.  Probably when he came to the Colonies.

Isabella married John McCoy on August 9, 1838, in Boone County, IN.  John was killed in a fall while working on the Masonic Temple in Indianapolis on April 21, 1850.  Isabella may have been pregnant at the time.  The newspaper article said John left a sick wife and two sons.  Isabella married John Frost on November 11, 1852.  They had several other children and moved to Marion County, Iowa before 1863.  

In the 1870 Knoxville, IA, census Isabella & John Frost listed a 16 year old female, S.A. We know of her daughter, Lydia Isabella (from the Foote History & Genealogy Book, vol. II). Lydia Isabella isn't listed on that census so it is possible she died before 1870 or was not living at home.  Isabella's first son, Henry Daniel McCoy also named his first daughter, Lydia Isabella.  I suspect that was in honor of his sister who more than likely died young.

S.A. could be Sarah Mariah we have listed as the daughter of John and Isabella McCoy. If this is her, she is a Frost, not a McCoy.

We do not know what happened to John and Isabella Frost.  They disappeared from the Iowa census.  Henry Daniel McCoy, her oldest son, moved to Iowa because she was there but no one in the family seems to recall anything more about her.  I'll keep searching and report back when and if I find anything.