Tarrant County TXGenWeb
Contributed by Marlene
Newton Stephenson, a self-made man and one of the prosperous wheat farmers of Tarrant County, Texas, forms the subject of this article.
Newton Stephenson was born in Alabama, April 2, 1836 and, when about ten years of age, came with his parents and the rest of the family to Texas. They made their journey hither with horse teams, a part of the way having to cut their own road, and landed in Lamar County in the early part of 1848. In that country, he grew to manhood, and, as there were few if any schools on the frontier, his educational advantages were limited. He was employed in work on the home farm until the outbreak of the civil war, when he enlisted in Ross's Brigade, Army of the Tennessee, and went to the front, where he continued on active duty four years. He participated in many skirmishes and battles, being with General Forrest in all his campaigns and during the whole of his service was never wounded or captured. At the time of the surrender, he was at home on furlough.
The war over, young Stephenson took himself a wife, and then, without any capital, save his own strong arm and his determination to succeed, began the struggle of life. He cleared some land for his father, and was variously employed in the vicinity of his home in Lamar County for two years.
In 1868 he came west to Tarrant County. Here he leased a tract of land for three years, and at the expiration of the lease purchased the property upon which he now lives, this property at the time of purchase being partly improved, having a log cabin on it, and some of the land broken. This farm comprises 160 acres. He carried on the work of improvement and continued to reside here until 1877, when he returned to Lamar County to take care of his mother and remained there four years, meanwhile having his place rented. Since then he has purchased two other farms, both improved, and now has 290 acres under cultivation, wheat being his chief product. He also raises oats and corn, and keeps enough stock for the support of his land. With the exception of one year, he has never had a failure in wheat. That year his crop was destroyed by bugs.
Mr. Stephenson was the sixth born in a family of eleven children, ten sons and one daughter, the latter dying in infancy. Five of the sons were all through the late war and reached home in safety. Nine of the family reached maturity, and of all of them we make record as follows: George, who died in 1851, left a widow; William died in 1878; James W. is engaged in farming in Lamar county; Louis is deceased; Jasper is deceased; Newton, the subject of this article; Kendrick C. is a resident of Delta county, Texas; David is a resident of Lamar county and Robert G. resides in Fort Worth. The parents, Logan Stephenson and Polly (Stinson) Stephenson, were born and married in Kentucky, whence, some years after their marriage, they removed to Alabama, and from there as above stated, came to Texas and settled in Lamar County. The father was a prominent farmer and slave-owner. He died about 1875. The mother survived him until 1880, when she, too, died at the old homestead.
Newton Stephenson was married June 15, 1865, to Miss M. Fanny Biard, who was born in Lamar county, Texas, December 20, 1846, daughter of J. G. and Nancy C. (Claudine) Biard. Her parents were natives of Alabama, of Scotch descent and early settlers of Texas. Her father came to Texas when a young man, and helped haul logs for the court-house at Clarksville, Red River County. He returned to Alabama for his bride and came back to Texas, and settled in Lamar county, where he spent the rest of his life. He was a stone-mason by trade, but for a number of years was engaged in farming. He was twice married, by his wife having three children, the two besides Mrs. Stephenson, being Manerva and Henrietta. The former is deceased and the latter is the wife of Joseph Price, and resides in Lamar County. The mother of these three died in 1848. By his second wife, who survives him, he had six children, John, Catherine, Harriet, Martha, James W. and Vina. The father died in March, 1891. He was a member of the Christian Church, and during the war served as Magistrate.
Mr and Mrs Stephenson have had eleven children, two of whom died young. Following are the names of the others: Gaines, who died at the age of twenty years; Claudie, wife of Charles Killgore, resides in Coleman County; Andrew, engaged in farming in Lamar County; and Washington, Thomas, Charles, Alonzo, Lee and George, at home.
Mr. Stephenson is not only a self-made man, but is also a public-spirited and generous one, affiliating with the Democratic Party and taking a laudable interest in public affairs. He is a believer in the Christian religion and a citizen of intrinsic worth in his community.
Source: "History of Texas Together with a Biographical History of Tarrant and Parker Counties, Containing a Concise History of the State, with Portraits and Biographies of Citizens of the Above Named Counties, and Personal Histories of Many of the Early Settlers" - Lewis Publishing Company Chicago 1895
Newton Stephenson was also a member of the R.E. Lee Camp #158 of Confederate Veterans.
Additional from Marlene Stephenson:
I have been trying for years to find the graves of our Newton Stephenson (1836-1899) and his wife, Mary Frances Biard Stephenson (1846-1901). Newton Stephenson came to Texas with his family from Alabama in 1846. He later married in Lamar County, TX and moved his family to the area around Old Enon (Everman), Tarrant County, in 1868. Family lore has them buried in the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church Cemetery. I have not been able to find a record of their date of death or burial anywhere in Tarrant County.
In 2004, I went to Dallas to see my husband's family. While I was there,
I went to Everman and over to the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church. At the
church I met a very nice lady, who let me into the cemetery to look around.
She told me that the church had some records of the burials, but as the cemetery
was very old and the records have not really been kept up over the years.
As a result, the information is far from complete.
In the cemetery I saw a large enclosure with the name STEPHENSON on the gate. Inside there were only shards of sandstone head stones. And I was aware that another Stephenson family, Isaac Newton Stephenson (1817-1883) and his family were living in Everman (Old Enon) about the same time as our Newton Stephenson. As far as I can tell, the two families are not related. But, because of this other Stephenson family, I cannot be sure that it is our Stephensons in that enclosure.
I learned that the current Mayor of Everman was a Stephenson from the "other" Stephenson family. I contacted the Mayor and he did not know which Stephensons were buried at the Forest Hill Cemetery, but that he and his brother would go over and take a look. They did and the Mayor sent me some pictures. He said he did not have a clue as to the identity of those Stephensons. The Mayor said that some of his Stephensons, including Isaac Newton Stephenson (1817-1883), are buried in the Crowley Cemetery and others are buried in the Everman Cemetery. They have been in the area since 1856, so there is no way to tell now where all of his family is buried.
When I received the burial records from the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, I found that although the enclosure with STEPHENSON on the gate is shown, there are no Stephenson names listed in the cemetery records.
In a narrative, "The History of a Cemetery", which accompanied the burial records, its author Rev. Willis Platt states, "Records are considered incomplete because they were compiled by copying the inscriptions from the grave stones. This was done in 1955 by representatives of the D.A.R. Minimum records and a simple plat of the cemetery was made by the same method in 1965 for the Church."
I found Weldon Hudson's inventory of the cemetery reprinted from the August 1997 issue of Footprints on this website. At the end of the inventory, Weldon Hudson wrote that "Mrs. Sue Wade McDonald copied this cemetery in 1955. The following entries in her listing cannot be found today."
I wrote to the Fort Worth D.A.R. and was told that the D.A.R./McDonald survey could be found at the Fort Worth Library. A very nice librarian in the Fort Worth Library Genealogy Department found the old D.A.R./McDonald survey and did a wonderful job of copying it for me. She made at least two copies of each page as it is very difficult to read. And.....it shows "Stephenson Lots, 6 graves, no markers."
I am telling this long story in hopes that by publishing the information I have compiled, someone will come forward with additional information about relatives buried in this cemetery. Perhaps someone can even confirm that our Newton Stephenson family is buried there.
Forest Hill is an historic cemetery and it is not in good shape. My interest in this cemetery has grown from just finding the Stephenson graves to finding as many of the people buried here as I can. It just amazes me that Preston and Jane Woody Farmer, one of the first families in the area, even before the cavalry came to Camp Worth, are buried behind the Stephenson enclosure. Who knows what other history can be recovered if we can find more old records.
Anyone having additional information on the Stephenson families or anyone else buried in Forest Hill Cemetery is asked to contact Marlene. Thank You.
This page was last modified 5 Dec 2008.
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