John S. Stevens Page 400-401 Portrait and Biographical Album Peoria Co. copyright 1890
John S. Stevens, attorney-at-law, and a present senior member of the first of Stevens & Horton, has for the past twenty-five years been a prominent member of the bar in Peoria. He has a fine literary and classical education, is entitled to write several initials after his name, and prior to his admission to the bar did some excellent work as a teacher. His character is a thoroughly honorable one, and for years he has been identified with church work, and manifested an interest in all that is for the good of the people. He has fairly earned the high reputation which has been bestowed upon him, and the sincere friendship of his many well-wishers.
The parents of our subject were Joshua and Abigail (Walker) Stevens, who lived in Bath, N.H. where he was born, Sept. 16, 1838. During his boyhood they removed to Hardwick, Vt. Which was his home until he reached mans estate. After pursuing his elementary studies he entered Dartmouth college, from which he was graduated with the degree of A. B. in the class of 62. The degree of M.A. was afterward conferred upon him by his Alma Mater. He came to Peoria in 1862, began teaching in the Peoria High School and reading law with Alexander McCoy. He was admitted to the bar in June, 1865, and at once formed a partnership with his former preceptor, which continued until Mr. McCoy went to Chicago, in 1871.
Mr. Stevens then formed a partnership with Judge McCulloch, the two practicing together until our subject was appointed Postmaster by President Grant. At that time he had formed a legal connection with John s. Lee, which continued until the death of Mr. Lee in February, 1889. For four years previous to that date, Mr. Horton had also been a member of the firm, and he and our subject have since continued the business. Mr. Stevens is now one of the four oldest attorneys in the city, and probably stands foremost in the success which has attended his labors. His whole time is given to the practice of his profession, and for the past fifteen years his business has largely been corporation work.
Mr. Stevens was city Postmaster four years, filling the office with satisfaction to all concerned. When he began practicing law, he made up his mind to keep free from political aspirations, to which legal labors so frequently point. He works with the Republican party, and has frequently been a delegate to county and State conventions, but so far he has carried out his purpose of working only for the good of the party and the election of others. He is one of the original members of the Reformed Episcopal Church in this city, and has been Vestryman since its organization in 1876. He is also one of the organizers of the Farmers Saving, Loan & Homestead Association, of which he has been President since its institution.
The legal acumen of Mr. Stevens has been called into requisition by various corporations of which he is or has been attorney. Among them are the Peoples Loan & Homestead Association, the First national and commercial national Banks, and the central Railroad Company. He is also general counsel for the Distilling & Cattle-Feeding Association, for Kingman & Co., the largest agricultural implement house in the West, and for George M. Moore & Co., these tow also being corporations. He likewise acts as general counsel for the Peoria, Decatur & Evansville Railroad, and the Peoria and Pekin Union Railroad company. His partner is general counsel for the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railroad, and the firm are local attorneys for the Lake Erie & Western, and the Chicago, Santa Fe & California. In fact they do nearly all the railroad business here, and have done so for a number of years.
The wife of Mr. Stevens is a native of this city and daughter of Amos P. and Sarah M. Bartlett, the father being one fo the oldest living citizens and a brother of President Bartlett, of Dartmouth college. Her mother is also living. Miss Sarah Bartlett was the recipient of good educational advantages and careful home training, by which her mind and heart became the seat of intelligence, fine principles and loving deeds. She became the wife of Mr. Stevens in 1868, and their happiness has been unmarred save by the loss of their two children, both of whom died young.
Submitted by Londie Benson.