Stevenson Family

Stevenson Family

The Revolutionary War was over, Thomas Jefferson had purchased the Louisiana Territory from France. First there were exploring parties, then the establishment of forts, missions, and settlements. Lewis and Clark ascended the Missouri River in the summer of 1804. Zebulos M. Pike explored parts of Kansas and Nebraska two years later. A scientific expedition under Major Stephen H. Long came up the Missouri, in the first steamboat to enter the country, in 1819.

The War of 1812 took the English and Indians out of the territory which is now Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The Indians that were left were being pushed West onto reservations. Settlement of the Louisiana Territory was the issue of the day. Spain and France had tried to settle it for the past 100 years but were unsuccessful.

There was a trail west from the Carolina and Virginias through the Cumberland Gap, on through Tennessee and Kentucky that Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton and others had established before the Revolutionary War. It went on to cross the Ohio River close to where it joined the Mississippi, To cross the Mississippi the trail led to Moccasin Springs, where Mr. Green ran the ferry that took you across the river. The Trail of Tears State Park is there now.

Mitchel Fleming, James Stevenson, Zenos Ross, Robert McFarland, Anderson Mitchell. Mr. Querry, Thomas Wilson, J. Wallace, John Garner, ____ Hill, and Phillip Clodfelter all came to the Louisiana Territory over that trail. Whether they were all in the same wagon train or in different groups, I don't know. There were lots of wagon trains going west at that time. As history goes, some traveled on Sunday and some didn't. Any way, they all settled within walking distance (at that time) of each other. I do know that Phillip Clodfelter came alone.


The territory was was settling up fast. The county seat was moved from Cape Girardeau to Jackson in 1815. The north end of Cape County is where the Stevensons lived. I'll try to locate the eleven families that made up the community where my ancestors lived.

They all entered land along the Blue Shawnee or Muddy Shawnee Creeks, except Anderson Mitchell. He was east of the Mitchell Fleming place, at the top of a little hollow that runs into Lovejoy Hollow. It is just my guess that if you went back a generation or two you would find Andersons in the Mitchell family and Mitchells in the Fleming family.

We will leave the Anderson Mitchell place, go due west over the ridge to Zenos Ross' place. His land joined Mitchell Fleming's land. Zenos' land was ridge land, his house was up in the timber, while Mitchell Fleming's 80 acres was bottom land along Blue Shawnee Creek. The Fleming graveyard is in the northeast corner of this plot. Ross married a Fleming girl.

Across Blue Shawnee a little south of the Fleming place, there is where James and Jane Stevenson raised their family. Out of their ten children only two of them that lived stayed in Missouri, Alexander K. and William. Alexander bought Robert McFarland's place when he moved to Illinois. William stayed on the home place.

Go on west across Muddy Shawnee Creek, on the west bank was the Hill place. This is where he got the idea of the hog ring for which he later received a patent. You can still buy Hill Hog Rings.

His daughter Margaret was Alexander K. Stevenson's first wife. They had three children. Julia went to Illinois, Mary Jane died in infancy. Linley was the boy, he grew up with Ransom Mitchell. They were buddies; whatever one did the other did. I've heard my Granddad say, "if they were playing a game at school they had to both be on the same side or they wouldn't play. When the Civil War broke out Linley joined the Union Army, Ransom stayed homne and remained neutral. Linley went through the war in Cape Girardeau, Shiloh, and the seige at Vicksburg. When he was being mustered out in St. Louis he took small pox and died. He was buried in Old Apple Creek Cemetery, Pocahontas, MO.

Frankie Jane (Shoults) Carruthers has some letters that Linly wrote, from Vicksburg, to her Grandpa Ransom while the seige was going on. In one letter he said, "There hasn't been a shot fired today. I think they are as big a cowards as we are." He asked Ransom if he was taking care of the girls, and he thought that he would take caligraphy when he got back home. The letters are written with black ink, his hand writing was good.

About three quarters of a mile down the creek was the Quary place. The house wasn't close to the creek, it was up on the ridge but there was a good spring there. When Knox bought the place he built a big house north of the spring on the top of the hill.

My dad told me this story. Issac Query was one of the boys. He was an old bachelor when Dad was a little boy in the 1890's. He lived with my Grandpa and was sort of a hired hand. He liked to hunt.

Issac was training the dog to not be gun shy. One day Issac told Dad to come and go with him and the dog squirrel hunting. Dad didn't want to go, but he went anyway. Dad said that Issac really knew what it took to break a dog of gunshyness. Dad said he never knew when his gun shyness was broken. As long as I knew him he could shoot with the experts. He taught "we boys" how to use a gun.

In August of 1970, I pulled my trailer to Fruitland from Albequergue and parked it in my Dad's backyard. The next morning just at daylight a charge went off right over our trailer. Wanda jumped out of bed, I was beginning to think I was back in the old Army and that was the reville cannon. I got out to see what was going on. Dad was standing in the yard with the shotgun in one hand and a starling in the other. He said he was just getting his exercise. He threw the bird down on a pile of birds in a flower bed next to a tree. Ther were 32 birds and 33 empty shells. He said, "I must have missed one." I always figured that he got his basic training from Issac Query.

The next place north of the Quary place was that of Thomas Wilson. He had a section or more of land (all ridge land) away from the creek.

Appleton was about five miles north of this settlement. That was where everyone went to get their mail. When anyone was there they picked up the mail for all that were close around them. Thomas Wilson was there when the news came that Lincoln was elected President. When he came back and passed out the mail he said, "Lincoln was elected and I'm ready to fight". He was one that had slaves.

The Wallace place was bottom land along the creek between the Quary place and the 80 acres that Mitchell Fleming gave to Robert McFarland when he married his daughter Agness.

The McFarland place was mostly bottom land. He didn't want the house in the bottom so he bought ten acres from Thomas Wilson and built a big two story log house away from the creek. There wasn't a spring close so they dug a well. The old house and log barn stood there for well over a hundred years. All that is there now to mark the place is the well.

My Great-grandfather bought the place from McFarland when he moved to Illinois. This is where Alexander K. Stevenson raised his family.

by Meredith Stevenson