From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 373-374, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
William Stevenson, of township 17, range 10, section 26, Little
Indian post office is an honored pioneer of Cass county. He was born in
Scott county, Kentucky, December 2, 1813, a son of James and Mary
(Elliott) Stevenson, the former a native of Ohio, and the latter of
Kentucky. To them were born nine children, of whom three are living at
this writing (1892), viz.: Sarah, now Mrs. W. A. Bennett, of
Springfield; Louisa, wife of Anthony Boston, residing near
Jacksonville, Illinois; and William of this notice. Those deceased are
Wesley, Eliza J., Harriet, James, Robert and Augustus. In 1829, Mrs.
Stevenson died, and the same year Mr. Stevenson brought his family of
children to Illinois, settling in Morgan county, on the three mile
strip that afterward became a part of Cass county.
Our subject spent his boyhood in his native State, and there
received such educational advantages as the common schools of the time
afforded, which was supplemented by a few months' schooling after
coming to Illinois. While a resident of Kentucky he was well acquainted
with that somewhat noted soldier and philanthropist, Colonel Richard
Johnson, who claimed the honor of having slain the celebrated Indian
chief and warrior, Tecumseh, at the battle of Moraviantown in 1814.
William Stevenson was reared on a farm and farming has been his
occupation all through life. On February 11, 1830, he was united in
marriage to Miss Frances, daughter of William and Rachel (Roe) Berry,
who came from Virginia to Cass county in 1832, and settled on a farm
near the Stevenson homestead.
Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson were the parents of seven children, four
of whom are still living: Mary Eliza, died in 1838; Thomas, in 1839;
Rachel became the wife of William E. Martin, and died in 1879; Robert
Roe, married Mary J. Scott, and resides in Jacksonville, Illinois;
Sarah Cornelia is the wife of John J. Bergan, a prosperous merchant of
Virginia city, Illinois; Joseph B. wedded Dora Vandeventer, and lives
in Springfield, Illinois; and Charles married Mary Epler, and resides
on the home farm. Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson also reared two orphan
In 1884, when in his seventy-first year, Mr. Stevenson contested
for the prize of a gold-headed cane offered by the county fair
association for horse-back riding, which he won, and shows with a
On February 11, 1886, Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson celebrated the
fiftieth anniversary of their married life, which joyous event was
participated in by all the living relations. Many handsome and valuable
testimonials of affection were presented to them on this occasion by
their admiring friends.
Mrs. Stevenson died at her home July 13, 1891, after a happy
married life of fifty-five years, being in the eighty-eighth year of
her age. She was a woman possessing many excellencies of character, a
faithful wife, loving mother, kind neighbor, and devout Christian,
whose many acts of kindness endeared her to a large circle of friends.
By reason of a robust constitution and good habits she attained nearly
fourscore years, and passed away as peacefully as the coming dawn, in
the full consciousness of an immortality beyond the grave.
Mr. Stevenson has been a resident of Cass county for sixty-three
years, and has resided on the same section of land since 1829. He has
not only witnessed the wonderful change in the country but has actively
participated in transforming the wilderness and unbroken prairie into
fertile farms. Every enterprise for the material or moral advancement
of the community has received his cordial support. He and his family
are Presbyterians, and have contributed liberally in support of the
church. He was a Whig until the formation of the Republican party, when
he joined that organization and has since supported its principles. He
has never sought public office, preferring the quiet pursuits of farm
life. By honest industry he has been successful in acquiring a handsome
competence. He has assisted his children to good starts in life and
still owns a fine farm of 375 acres, which is supplied with good
buildings and all modern conveniences. In addition to his duties of
superintending his farm, he was until recently agent for the
Jacksonville Southeastern Railroad which runs through his farm, on
which Little Indian station is located. He was for twenty-four years
agent for the Wabash, Peoria, Pekin & Jacksonville and the
Jacksonville & Southeastern Railroad Companies, but resigned that
position in August, 1892.