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Inside the
Stephenson House
Henry's Maze
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Inside the Stephenson House

as Published in the Edwardsville Intelligencer
Newsletter #119 - March 7, 2007
Henry reminisces about the many good times at the Stephenson House during the restoration. The restoration is now complete and the educational tours and activities for the school kids are up and running. Carol, the Board and Director RoxAnn have done an outstanding job. Henry has listened to and remembered a lot of conversations to keep you all updated on the progress at the house and updated on the Stephenson family history. Now,Henry is going to be hanging out in Lower Town and drop by the house to enjoy the events - especially those with food! Henry is now a retired mouse.
Newsletter #118 - February 16, 2007
It is difficult to keep warm - but, how did they manage to store enough food for the cold winter months? Henry has found lots of answers on food storage.
Newsletter #117 - January 31, 2007
It is cold! Ol' Henry tells all about the fabrics and types of clothing that helped keep the folks on the Illinois frontier warm.
Newsletter #116 - January 17, 2007
The Friends have the educational program up and running. They have accomplished their goal and the school kids on tours are having fun and learning! Henry had learned more about the Black Hawk War and continues his stories about Capt. Wheeler's Company and tells of a letter Joseph Gillespie writes home about an encounter with the Indians. Gillespie later became a Madison County judge.
Newsletter #115 - January 3, 2007
New winter hours have been posted for the Stephenson House. Henry has learned much more about Benjamin V. Stephenson in the Black Hawk War and tells us some stories.
Newsletter #114 - December 21, 2006
Henry learns about and explains how the Scotch-Irish became known by that name.
Newsletter #113 - December 8, 2006
In 1815 the Stephenson family stopped at Ferguson's Ferry on return trip from Washington, D.C. Now we know the ferry was located at Golconda, IL. The first owners were the parents of John Lusk. John later came to Edwardsville where he was an active citizen.
Newsletter #112 - November 22, 2006
Answers are found to questions about places named in letter Col. Ben wrote in 1815. Summerset is in Pennsylvania and Ferguson's Ferry is in Golconda, Illinois! The researchers were busy.
Newsletter #111 - November 9, 2006
Gardener Bob builds a mousetrap and Henry is scared! He later learns that Bob knows Henry is too smart to get caught! Edwardsville is Third Oldest City in Illinois.
Newsletter #110 - October 25, 2006
Ol' Henry tells what Lucy wrote in the letter she sent in 1831 to Patty Canal.
Newsletter #109 - October 11, 2006
On The Death of Col. Stephenson, by unknown poet appeared in Spectator and has recently has been located. Stephenson House has mourning customs exhibits during October.
Newsletter #108 - August 9, 2006
Henry tells about the Stephenson House receiving the loan of a letter written by Lucy Stephenson. Dotty from Austin has loaned the letter to the Stephenson House. Lucy wrote the letter in 1831 in her house here in Edwardsville to Patty Canal. Henry tells all about how this "meant to be" came about. Children's Day at the House was fun day for the many children who stopped by.
Newsletter #107 - July 26, 2006
We learn from Bob about broomcorn and how it was made into brooms. The vegetable garden is flourishing. The greatest news is that a portrait of Col. Ben's mother, Mary Reed Stephenson, has been loaned to the Stephenson House! And, the glass bowl that his mother carried across the Allegheny Mountains from Berkeley County Virginia to Knoxville, Tennessee has also been loaned to the Stephenson House. These wonderful loans have been made by Julie who is a descendant of Col. Ben's sister, Isabella Stephenson Boyd.
Newsletter #106 - July 8, 2006
Henry tells about the activities at the Dedication and Celebration of the Stephenson House held on July 1 and 2.
Newsletter #105 - June 21, 2006
Master Gardeners Tour is a success and our gardens are beautiful! Some folks enjoyed lunch on the porch where they enjoyed the breeze. Bev and Caryl, nieces of the Berry sisters, Stella and Ione, share their memories with us.
Newsletter #104 - June 7, 2006
The gardeners have planted broom corn that will be made into brooms! New information on the early life of Palemon Winchester who was the son of Stephen Winchester and the nephew of James of Cragfont, TN. Taste of Downtown coming up soon!
Newsletter #103 - May 24, 2006
The gardeners have planted okra, tomatoes and pole beans. Henry talks about how the choice of books that Col. Ben and Palemon Winchester reflects their individual personalities and education. The Stephenson, Boyd, and Winchester families were all well educated.
Newsletter #102 - May 10, 2006
Gardens are underway and the school kids are arriving for tours and fun and games at Col. Ben's house. Keith and Jack have finished all the construction and have left for other work. Professional genealogist did not find any additional information about Col. Ben's eight slaves/indentured servants.
Newsletter #101 - April 26, 2006
Corner stones set by Jeff, the surveyor, have added historic authenticity to Col. Ben's house. Information has been found about First Presbyterian Church organized in 1819 in Edwardsville. Lucy and Elizabeth F. Smith, widow of prominent Presbyterian minister, are active in the Female Sunday School Society.
Newsletter #100 - April 12, 2006
A split rail fence has been built at Col. Ben's house. Henry learns that Col. Ben's house was the very same size as the house is today. The two-story Wolf Addition/1845 was built on the original kitchen foundation. The restoration made it clear that the 1820 and 1845 bricks were different from the floor level up. The foundation bricks, to the floor level, were all from 1820.
Newsletter #99 - March 29, 2006
The Stephenson House now has clothes racks with wooden pegs and a rack for hanging kitchen ware that was made from an antique rake. St. Louis artist Lon Brauer has created a portrait of Col. Ben from the likeness in the 1800 watercolor on ivory miniature. Sure looks good in the parlor! Henry learns about the squaring ax used to make logs into beams, the metal 'dogs' used to steady the log and about split rail fences. The kitchen is so good. last week the ladies made stew, bread and apple crisp over the hearth and in the bustle oven.
Newsletter #98 - March 15, 2006
Henry talks about the wonderful kitchen and how it attracts folks with the great smell of bread baked by RoxAnn in the bustle oven. There have been lots of tours with the volunteers leading the way and there are folks just "around" reading or sharpening tools, just like in the old days. Henry has learned about beds with rope spring, ticking stuffed with hay and feather beds! Outside the shade garden is almost finished and pickets identical to the original found in the attic are ready to be made into a fence. The ladies are busy making clothing for the volunteers.
Newsletter #97 - March 1, 2006
The 1820 Col. Benjamin Stephenson House opens to the public March 2, 2006
with hours of 10 to 4 Thursday through Saturday and Sundays from noon to 4. Everyone is busy! Back to the courthouse and jail. situation in 1821. County Commissioners will accept low bid for new jail. Job went to W. Seeley with bid of $2800 that was higher than bids of Stephenson, Smith and Edwards. Seeley had great difficulty getting payment from County. The proposal of the group who pledged donations for the courthouse was also accepted by the County in 1821. The "Donation Courthouse" was finally completed in 1835 and was not much of an improvement over the first log cabin courthouse.
Newsletter #96 - February 15, 2006
Keith and Jack are constructing a flag pole, corner of original barn foundation and shade garden by the patio. In 1820 Stephenson, Smith, N. Edwards and others offered to donate the land and build new courthouse and jail at their expense. County rejected the offer. A group proposed their donations of money and material for new courthouse. To be continued!
Newsletter #95 - February 1, 2006
Henry learns that Stephensons and Meriwether Lewis were in Harpers Ferry at same time. Lewis getting guns and ironwork from the US Armory. The Stephenson House now also owns a slide lid candle box that is intended to keep tallow and beeswax candles from mice. Henry is not too happy about that.
Newsletter #94 - January 19, 2006
Privy is ready for the brickwork. Henry visits with Cousin Jake and his buddies in Lower Town. They tell Henry the story of Daniel Cook, a young lawyer from Kentucky, who lived in Edwardsville for 3 or 4 years, married Julia, Ninian Edwards daughter, and served Illinois in many positions including first Attorney General and finally Representative to U.S.Congress for 8 years. He was responsible for getting the Illinois-Michigan Canal Act passed. Cook County is named for him.
Newsletter #93 - January 4, 2006
Keith is working on the kitchen and someone has "borrowed" his cement mixer. Henry is asking the borrower to return mixer when finished with his project. Director RoxAnn tells about traditions and customs of welcoming in new years day. Event schedule for 2006 will be on the website soon.
Newsletter #92 - December 14, 2005
A privy will be built at the Stephenson House. It will be large, just like the Stephensons and construction will start soon. This will conclude construction at "my" house. The family of Merrill "Rosey" Rosenthal has donated a sample stitched by Martha Swearingen at age 10 years. She was Lucy's second cousin. Thank you to the Rosenthals! Henry tells the story of Mistletoe!
Newsletter #91 - December 7, 2005
Progress on the kitchen, a donation of a settle dating from 1790 to 1810 by a friend in memory of his wife. Holiday Open House for members and donors was a beautiful event. The house was magnificent. Researchers have located records on Benjamin from 1804 to 1807. He was in Jefferson County, Virginia with his family and was buying property.
Newsletter #90 - November 23, 2005
The Paint Crew has painted cabinets for the Museum Shop. There was a dinner in honor of Keith and Karen and Jack. They have been here for almost five years, restoring Col. Ben's house and have become family to all of us. Soon the construction will be complete and we will lose them. The Stephenson House has gained some wonderful neighbors through the construction work! Henry tells about the first hanging in Madison County in 1824.
Newsletter #89 - November 9, 2005
Volunteer docents are attending training sessions in preparation for the March opening of the Stephenson House. Keith cooked great beans in the kitchen fireplace! Henry tells about the punishment for fighting and stealing in 1820 Edwardsville.
Newsletter #88 - October 26, 2005
Volunteers for docents are needed, call RoxAnn 695-1818 and sign up. Training sessions will be held in November. Social life in 1820 Edwardsville is explored by Henry.
Newsletter #87 - October 13, 2005
Tea for Lucy is an elegant event with guests served tea and dainty sandwiches on the porch. Each guest purchased a piece of Lucy's Spode china pattern as a gift to her. Henry tells the story of Benaiah Robinson, one of Edwardsville's first surveyors.
Newsletter #86 -October 4, 2005
Master Gardeners from the Illinois State Convention tour Stephenson House gardens and house. The beehive over in the kitchen is almost completed. The Paint Crew talks about early surveyors, including George Washington and tomahawk land claims.
Newsletter #85 - September 14, 2005
Good neighbors at the Stephenson House and many people drop in to say hello, including Bob Coomer, Director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Henry gives us a reminder about why Col Ben was an important person in Federal, state of Illinois and the town of Edwardsville government. 50/50 Auction is coming up on Oct 2 - please find your items to donate!!
Newsletter #84 - August 24, 2005
Construction of the summer kitchen has begun. Stephenson House now has a telephone 618-692-1818 and the email is stephensonhouse@sbcglobal.net. Henry tells about the 4th of July celebrations in 1810 and 1819.
Newsletter #83 - August 10, 2005
Construction of the summer kitchen has begun and should be completed by end of October. Henry tells all about the garden. Many of the seeds planted are harvested from Thomas Jefferson's gardens at Monticello. Henry assures us that the produce is very tasty!
Newsletter #82 - July 28, 2005
RoxAnn begins her position as the first director of the Stephenson House. Property deeds and Kentucky tax list provide information on whereabouts of Stephensons from 1803 until 1809.
Newsletter #81 - July 13, 2005
A big welcome to the Director of the Stephenson House! RoxAnn has been hired as our first Director. Sid and SIUE students excavate large dump at "my" house and find many Stephenson artifacts. Excavation was to determine if Col. Ben had an office at his new house. No evidence of an office was found.
Newsletter #80 - June 29, 2005
He talks about the people who appeared in period dress for the filming of an orientation video in preparation for the opening of the Stephenson House. R. Maynard filmed scenes of a 4th of July parade, Col. Ben and John McKee meeting on Land Office business, indentured servants working in the garden with Lucy, cooking, doing laundry and doing carpentry work. Also scenes of a Stephenson family dinner and bedtime scenes with the children were filmed. Information has been found showing that Lucy sold the homeplace in V/WV in 1832. A hard decision as this was also the burial place of her father. She evidently needed the money in an effort to keep the house that Col. Ben built. She sold the house two years later to Elvira Edwards who was helping her friend in need.
Newsletter #79 - June 15, 2005
Conclusion of how the Land Offices were developed by the U.S. government.
Newsletter #78 - June 1, 2005
Update on the garden committee's work. Henry begins to explain how the Land Office's developed. He will finish this long story later.
Newsletter #77 - May 18, 2005
Taste of Downtown on June 11 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm at Madison County Transit Center. Henry talks about what kind of life it was for Julia Stephenson Winchester in Carlinville, Macoupin County, IL in 1830. This was the new frontier!
Newsletter #76 - May 4, 2005
Sig Ep Fraternity helped with spring yard work. The newly installed floors are receiving finish coats by The Paint Crew. Door and window trim has been installed and is being glazed by Keith the painter. Stories from the 1811-1812 earthquake. Reports of the damage at Kaskaskia have been sent to Henry.
Newsletter #75 - April 20, 2005
1811 and 1812 earthquake damage learned. Looking for more about damage at Kaskaskia.
Newsletter #74 - April 7, 2005
A story about Hooper Warren and Theophilus Smith and the slavery issue.
Newsletter #73 - March 23, 2005
All the new details at the Stephenson House. Delft tile from Holland on front parlor fireplace, The Paint Crew and painting of walls and floor restoration, handmade door and closet hardware made as close as possible to original in appearance and mechanism's.
Newsletter #72 - March 10, 2005
Lower Town is where it all began for Edwardsville, the area around Rusty's and to the Klingel House. Edwardsville was a starting place for many of the young politicians, doctors and lawyers. Dr. John Bowers. Dr. John Todd, Dr. Benjamin F. Edwards and Judge Joseph Gillespie are mentioned.
Newsletter #71 - February 23, 2005
Getting ready for wallpaper and paint at the house. The Paint Crew is working away at the paint projects and the floor. Wallpapers are documented papers. Benjamin Stephenson and Palemon Winchester donated books to the first Edwardsville Library. B. Stephenson donated volume 3 of "A Defense of the Constitution of the United State of America" write by John Adams around 1786. The signature of B. Stephenson is this book and five other volumes of "The History of Modern Europe" that he donated. The Friends have received a $5000 grant from the Ferguson Foundation of Freeport, Il. for repair and construction of floors in the 1820s section of Col. Ben's house.
Newsletter #70 - February 9, 2005
New authentic hardware for outside doors. a view of all that has been accomplished in five years at the Stephenson House. A thank you to those who have been so supportive with time, money and materials.
Newsletter #69 - January 19, 2005
Work progressing on the house, getting ready to paint or wallpaper rooms. Talk about how the Stephenson/Swearingen families were educated.
Newsletter #68 - January 5, 2005
Henry talks about how Christmas is celebrated in Wellsburg when Lucy was a child, and when she was in Kaskaskia and in Edwardsville. The Friends of The Stephenson House plan to open to the public in this coming fall.
Newsletter #67 - December 16, 2004
Beautiful staircase with walnut handrail has been installed and tulip bulbs have been planted. Henry traces the lineal descendants of Col. Ben and Lucy.
Newsletter #66 - December 2, 2004
House and grounds have been readied for winter. 1820's paint/glaze colors have been selected for the millwork based on the Wollenberg paint analysis.
Newsletter #65 - November 17, 2004
Stairway is to arrive end of November. Paint colors for interior to be selected soon, paint crew painting ceilings. Opening scheduled for October of 2005.
Newsletter #64 - November 4, 2004
The eighth grade class from St. Mary's School rakes leaves at Col. Ben's house and they donate $75 they raised at candy sucker sale. Henry tell how the portraits of Col. Ben and Lucy were saved and restored.
Newsletter #63 - October 22, 2004
The Stephenson mouse cousins in Columbia Mo. told Henry about Lucy and the Indian threat during her youth. Tobe,the mulatto boy that was left to the children of Van Swearingen, Lucy's father, gains freedom at age 28.
Newsletter #62 - October 7, 2004
50/50 Auction is a success. Lot of plastering going on and the 1820's method of plastering is explained.
Newsletter #61 - September 23, 2004
Henry and Cousin Jake have returned from vacation Tell about brief look at all going on - gardens, changes inside and outside the house. Henry needs new hidey places.
Newsletter #60 - May 14, 2004
Update on gardens and ground work and interior of house Henry is going on vacation! Should return in September after he visits cousins as he searches for more information and fun!
Newsletter #59 - April 14, 2004
Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity boys dig and plant trees at Stephenson House William, Col. Ben's older brother and Sarah, his younger sister in Knoxville in 1820's Berkeley County, Virginia House Tax and Slave Tax Record of 1798 shows William Stephenson there in 1798
Newsletter #58 - March 31, 2004
Mechanics Planing Mill makes great donation of millwork needed for restoration How past owners cared for the house is pointed out
Newsletter #57 - March 18, 2004
Belle Boyd, Confederate Spy who was the grand-niece of Col. Benjamin Stephenson
Newsletter #56 - March 4, 2004
Local guys are painting millwork at the house Portrait of Col. Ben's mother located Have also located picture of his sister Isabella and husband John Boyd
Newsletter #55 - February 19, 2004
Stephenson House privy and dump during Wolf family ownership. Stephenson dinnerware identified
Newsletter #54 - February 5, 2004
Stephenson privy. Construction and artifacts found
Newsletter #53 - January 8, 2004
Stores and goods they advertised in "The Spectator" in 1820's
Newsletter #52 - December 23, , 2003
Jacque Mette - he hauled barrel, wood and meat to the Stephenson's new house. Stephenson's moved into their new home on Dec. 15, 1821, according to Probate Records
Newsletter #51 - December 10, , 2003
New found relative tells that Col. Ben's mother moved to Knoxville in 1804 with his sister and husband Mother died there and so did Maria, sister of Ben and Isabella Stephenson Both sisters had married Boyds
Newsletter #50 - November 26, , 2003
Columns are up on porch Courtyard has beautiful brick work What the well dressed man in Edwardsville wore in 1820
Newsletter #49 - November 12, , 2003
Restoration work currently taking place Clothing owned by man in Washington during the early 1800's
Newsletter #48 - October 30, , 2003
Burgoo Excavation of privy Size of Stephenson farm People of 1820's lifestyle
Newsletter #47 - October 15, , 2003
Discovery of Stephenson privy on the property Excavation to occur Elvira's obituary tells so much about the Stephenson's and their life style
Newsletter #46 - October 1, , 2003
Discovery of Stephenson barn foundation Starr's obit is found and also the obit of his wife, Elvira Stephenson Burgoo coming up soon
Newsletter #45 - September 18, , 2003
50/50 auction fun and successful Obit of artist Maria Von Pohl who died in 1823 House at 328 S. Kansas has columns of Stephenhouse rennovation in early 1900s
Newsletter #44 - September 4, , 2003
Lucy's death Relatives there Benjamin V. in California
Newsletter #43 - August 21, , 2003
Wm. E. Crawford's reply to Lucy Restoration-lot and yard graded
Newsletter #42 - August 8, , 2003
Lucy's letter to U.S. Secretary of Treasury Wm. E. Crawford , 2003
visit by IL mayors
Newsletter #41 - July 23, , 2003
Col. Ben's letter-family was in Washington area in 1814 Ben's Birthday Party
Newsletter #40 - July 9, , 2003
Note from Bank of Edwardsville signed by Benjamin Stephenson Restoration-fill for lot, smokehouse, millwork being stripped.
Newsletter #39 - June 27, , 2003
Women's property rights in 1820's Taste of Downtown Edwardsville
Newsletter #38 - June 11, , 2003
Watercolor on ivory miniature of Col. Ben Restoration-front door, porch with roof
Newsletter #37 - May 29, , 2003
Col. Ben and Circuit Courts-resigns from Congress Appointed Receiver of Public Moneys in Edwardsville Land Office
Newsletter #36 - May 14, , 2003
Condition of Washington in 1814 Travel time-housing
Newsletter #35 - April 30, , 2003
Col. Ben, Congress, Salines-SWAP Restoration -sheathing and pine rafters
Newsletter #34 - April 16, , 2003
Col. Ben in Congress Restoration-smoke house started
Newsletter #33 - April 3, , 2003
Short stories-Stephenson House ghost-Dr. Benjamin Edwards-ear wax Restoration-floor and electrical work
Newsletter #32 - March 19, , 2003
Congress and resolutions introduced by Col. Ben Restoration-gift of money to 1820's house
Newsletter #31 - March 5, , 2003
Obituary of Col. Benjamin Stephenson
Newsletter #30 - February 20, , 2003
Col. Ben's election to Congress Daniel Cook and Col. Ben
Newsletter #29 - February 5, , 2003
Patty Canal's notes 1830 Census information
Newsletter #28 - January 23, , 2003
Second annual meeting Lucy's letter to Patty Canal
Newsletter #27 - January 9, , 2003
Lucy and Ben's 1799 marriage Restoration-plans for Stephenson house and lot
Newsletter #26 - December 27, , 2002
More about Col. Ben and Congress Restoration-upstairs windows installed
Newsletter #25 - December 12, , 2002
Col. Ben in Congress 1814-1816
Newsletter #24 - November 27, , 2002
Col. Ben's death Restoration - scaffolding removed
Newsletter #23 - November 14, , 2002
Winchester Trial
Newsletter #22 - November 1, , 2002
Burgoo Palemon Winchester accused of murder-First half of trial
Newsletter #21 - October 10, , 2002
Owners Frank Dickmann-Elmer Waltrip-Berry sisters-Rev. Stephen Weissman, Sigma Phi Epsilon-HPC and City of Edwardsville. Senator Bowles
Newsletter #20 - September 25, , 2002
Owners Philip Fix and Frederick Wolf
Newsletter #19 - September 11, , 2002
Chamber of Commerce After Hours Elvira Edwards buys house Residents' Eaton, Birks and Fix
Newsletter #18 - August 29, , 2002
Owners and dates of ownership of Col. Ben's 1820's house
Newsletter #17 - August 16, , 2002
Cause of Col. Ben's death Restoration work -some windows installed, tuckpointing begins
Newsletter #16 - July 31, , 2002
Son Benjamin V. Stephenson Stephenson crops - livestock-entertaining
Newsletter #15 - July 18, , 2002
Daughter Elvira Stephenson Starr and family , 2002
Edwardsville Township gift
Newsletter #14 - July 8, , 2002
Son James William Stephenson and family , 2002
visit by IL State Treasurer
Newsletter #13 - June 20, , 2002
Daughter Julia Stephenson Winchester and family
Newsletter #12 - June 06, , 2002
Berry sisters-mantels Col. Ben's N. Main house Take-A-Peek
Newsletter #11 - May 22, , 2002
Stephenson's in Columbia, Mo. Brief facts on Stephenson children
Newsletter #10 - May 8, , 2002
Col. Ben's early years-Cuba Belle Boyd-parents - brother-Kentucky
Newsletter #9 - April 25, , 2002
Lucy's youth -stores Col. Ben's death Lucy to Carlinville Restoration - paint removal
Newsletter #8 - April 11, , 2002
Kaskaskia-Lucy's sale of land Map Col. Ben's Homestead Restoration - Clark Station razed
Newsletter #7 - March 20, , 2002
50/50 Auction Land Grant Office Col. Ben's N. Main St. house Restoration- floors
Newsletter #6 - February 27, , 2002
Lucy Stephenson's father, Van "Indian" Swearingen
Newsletter #5 - February 13, , 2002
Kaskaskia -War of 1812 Edwards and Col. Ben and Congress Restoration - windows and doorways
Newsletter #4 - January 30, , 2002
Ben's early life Stephenson & Edwards - Kaskaskia Restoration work
Newsletter #3 - January 24, , 2002
Col. Ben's 1817 house on N. Main Bricks and other costs of 1820 House
Newsletter #2 - January 16, , 2002
Brief history Stephenson family Update on restoration work
Newsletter #1 - January 9, , 2002
Meet Henry Update on Stephenson House

© 2007 The Friends of the Benjamin Stephenson House