Sedgwick County KSGenWeb

Portrait And Biographical Album of Sedgwick County, Kan.

Chapman Brothers 1888

Pages 419 - 420 

WILLIAM F. STEVENS, one of the honored pioneers of Sedgwick County, arrived here in December, 1870, and homesteaded the northeast quarter of section 1, in Union Township.  He has been an interested witness of the changes which have transpired during a period of nearly twenty years, and has contributed his full quota toward the building up of the section of country where he determined to make his permanent home.  A native of the Blue Grass State, he was born in Ohio County, Jan. 5, 1834, and although he has labored long and industriously, may be still called a man in the prime of life, and in full possession of the strength of mind and body.

      Charles W. and Polly (Wallace) Stevens were also natives of Kentucky, where they spent their entire lives.  Their household included five children, all of whom lived to reach their majority, but only three survive.  Charles H. continues a resident of his native county; Emily died in Kentucky about 1853; William F., of our sketch, was the third child; Isaac died in Mississippi County, Mo., about 1857; John W. continues in Ohio County, Ky.    

     Young Stevens received a limited education in the schools of his native county, and when twenty years of age was married to Miss Sarah E. Ward, the wedding taking place at the home of the bride, Feb. 7, 1854.  Mrs. Stevens was a native of the same county as her husband, and was the daughter of Matthew and Cassandra (Bennett) Ward.  Mr. and Mrs. Stevens, soon after marriage, left their native State and located in Gibson County, Ind., where our subject engaged in farming until after the outbreak of the Rebellion.  Although a Southerner by birth, he had been trained in the first principles of patriotism, and on the 11th of August, 1862, responded to the call for additional volunteers by enlisting in Company B, 65th Indiana Infantry, with which he served until the close of the conflict, and was present at all the engagements in which his regiment participated, including the siege of Knoxville, and other engagements in Tennessee.  He also marched with the Atlantie campaign, and with his comrades was under fire for a period of ninety days during the siege and capture of that city.  He carried the banner of his regiment and fortunately escaped wounds and capture, although frequently experiencing many hairbreadth escapes, serving often at the front as a non-commissioned officer.

      After the war and upon receiving his honorable discharge, Mr. Stevens resumed farming in Gibson County, Ind., where he continued his residence until spring of 1870.  Then resolving upon a change of location, he disposed of his property in the Hoosier State, and loading his personal effects and his family into a wagon, proceeded by team to the farther West.  After becoming comfortably settled upon the land, the cultivation and improvements of which he began with hope and courage, he was visited with a sore affliction in the death of his wife, which occurred the following year, May 13, 1871, while she was still a young woman, being but thirty-eight year of age.  His seven children were thus left motherless and his plans sadly broken in upon.  Of these children his eldest, Isaac, died eight years later, on the 24th of November, 1879, when a promising young man twenty-four years of age; Priscilla Ann became the wife of John Merkle, who is farming in Washington Territory; Charles R. died in Leadville, Col., March 16, 1872, aged twenty-one years; Samuel M. is attending school in Wichita; Martha is the wife of Francis T. Little, a farmer of Harper County, this State; Arthur C. died March 12, 1873, aged four years; George W. died April 6, 1871, when two days old.

      Mr. Stevens contracted a second marriage in 1872, with Miss Dorcas A., daughter of Samuel and Christian Embler, of Union Township, who died July 30, 1877, at the age of thirty-one years and eleven months.  Of this union there were born a son and daughter (twins), the latter of whom died in 1879, when six years old; Mark E., who died July 23, 1878, when one year old, and Evan E., who died Aug. 24, 1876, aged eight months.

      The present wife of our subject, to whom he was married Nov. 4, 1880, was formerly Miss Amanda M., daughter of Thomas J. and Nancy (Roy) Tyler.  Mrs. Amanda Stevens was born in Lawrence County, Ind., March 29, 1852.  Of her union with our subject there have been born three children, the eldest of whom, Curtis T., died in 1886, aged one year.  Those surviving are Artemus, now six years of age, and an infant named Frances.

         Mr. Stevens votes the straight Republican ticket and has served on the School Board of his district, although he prefers to be out of office.  He is a member of Wichita Lodge No. 99, A. F. & A. M., and belongs to the G. A. R. Post at Colwich.

      We present in this volume views of many of the representative farm homesteads of this county, and that owned by our subject is entitled to a place among them, it may be found on an adjoining page.

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