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Colonel Benjamin Stephenson's
1769 – 1820

Benjamin Stephenson was born on July 8, 1769, in York County Pennsylvania. He was the son of James and Mary Reed Stephenson. His father, James, was a Private in the Revolutionary War, and served as a Waggoner including a period at Valley Forge during the time of the long and severe winter of 1777. Mary was the daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel James Reed, Benjamin’s grandfather, an officer in the Revolutionary War. In the early 1790’s, James and Mary Stephenson and their seven children moved to Martinsburg, Berkeley County, Virginia.

The next record of Benjamin Stephenson is in the 1799 Augusta County, Virginia, legal records that report him married to Lucy Swearingen. The Stephensons began their family in Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, Virginia, in 1803 when their first child, Julia, was born. In 1806, James Stephenson, named after his grandfather, was born in Brooke County, Virginia, during the family’s stay while Lucy was attending to her inheritance from her father.

In 1807, the family moved to Logan County, Kentucky, awaiting the opening of the Illinois Territory. The territory opened in 1809, and by June of that year Territorial Governor Ninian Edwards had appointed Benjamin as the first sheriff of Randolph County, Illinois. Stephenson was appointed adjutant general under Commander-in-Chief Ninian Edwards during the War of 1812. In September of 1812, eight companies, totaling 570 men, were under Col. Benjamin Stephenson’s command at Ft. Russell in Edwardsville. In 1814 and 1815 he served in the United States House of Representatives as Illinois Delegate. In 1815 he accepted the appointment by President James Madison to Receiver of Moneys at the Edwardsville Land Office. He held this position until his death in 1822.

During Stephenson’s tenure as Receiver of Moneys he served as representative to the convention that framed the Illinois Constitution and was Sub-Indian Agent working with Auguste Chouteau and Edwards in negotiating the Treaty of Edwardsville to purchase land from the Kickapoo Indians. Stephenson was President of the Bank of Edwardsville and was appointed to the first Board of Trustees for the town of Edwardsville. He also held various other local township offices. Benjamin Stephenson was a true servant of the people.

Benjamin Stephenson died October 12, 1822, and is buried in Lusk Cemetery, Edwardsville, Illinois.

© 2007 The Friends of the Benjamin Stephenson House