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This Changing World

The Columns of Will Ball

Stevens Family


(NOTE:  The author had seen a report of the death of George Stevens in a 50 Year column in the paper and it got him on to searching the Stevens family.)  According to Dr. Powell, George Stevens was brought up in Logansport by an uncle, E.T. Stevens.  Nothing further is added by the doctor in his book concerning him except that he married a Logansport girl and became president of the C. & O. Railroad.  So we went to “Who’s Who” in the library.  In that we found a very brief history which stated that he was born in Utica, Ohio on June 29, 1851, that he entered the railway service in 1864 which would make him 13 or 14 when he began to earn his way.  It also stated that he married Virginia Wilson on Dec. 27, 1881 but no mention is made that he ever lived in Logansport or that his wife was from here.  It did say that his home was in Richmond, Virginia and that he died on Nov. 11, 1920

Elijah T. Stevens, his uncle, appears in the old city directory back in the ‘70’s as a “wood dealer” or “wood buyer”.  He was the father of at least three children, two sons and a daughter.  One of his sons, Kirke, was a fireman on the Wabash, St. Louis and Western Railroad (now Wabash) in 1883.  The other son, John Shaw, “Shaw” to his friends, followed his cousin George to the C. & O. where he served for many years carrying a title something like superintendent of telegraph.  The daughter married Will McDonald, an old time resident of Logansport.  Her daughter Lottie married Clark Taylor and Joe and Eugene, the leather merchants, are her sons.

Lemuel B. Stevens, Sr., father of L.B. and Roderick D. Stevens, known as Rod and Bent to their friends, and grandfather of Miss Faith Stevens, was a brother of Elijah.  Rod and Bent, partners in the firm of Stevens Brothers, operated a planning mill and lumber business on 1st Street in back of the Lutheran Church, for many years.

Like many other early arrivals, the first member of the Stevens family came to Logansport via the Wabash and Erie Canal.  Also, they, like many other early arrivals, engaged in some form of woodworking or handling.  L.B. Stevens is listed in an early directory by the term “planning mill”.  Whether he was the owner or employee is not stated.

Elizabeth Stevens, wife of Elijah, bought Lot #2 in Spencer Square from Mrs. Mina Bachman on Sept. 26, 1864 for the sum of $2,000.  Mrs. Bachman was the widow of Henry W. Bachman, usually known as Harry, who built the fine home at 901 Market, now occupied by Ed Pitman.  Spencer Square was laid out as an addition to Logansport in 1860 by Thomas S. Dunn and his wife Harriett.

Stevens and his family evidently lived in the handsome two story frame house with its mansard roof until it was sold to Senator D.D. Pratt on April 19, 1873.  We understand the Stevens family moved to a home on the southwest corner of Brown and West Broadway upon leaving the Market Strett home.

As mentioned last week, the directories listed Elijah Stevens as a “dealer in wood”.  We believe the listing should have been “realtor” although that word had not been invented.  He owned a number of lots around town and his name appears many times in the deed records in the Recorder’s office.

According to Joe Taylor, his great-grandson, he had a daughter Lottie among his nine children.  That name also appears in the deed records but we did not learn if she was his daughter.  Another daughter, May, married Williamson Dunn, a member of a prominent Logansport family.  They moved to California where their descendents still live.


Logansport Press, May 27, 1851

Transcribed by Christine Spencer, April, 2009

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