One of the FaceBook communites that I’m in for Ancestry, has had Jane writing letters to her ancestors. She is awesome and after reading her letters, I started mentally writing mine. I finally decided to put mine in print. I’m hoping it will help me, like it helps Jane.
Dear William J. Stephens,
If… that is your real name? I’m not sure anymore. You are very elusive in records and there are many with the generic name William J. Stephens or maybe’s it’s spelled STEVENS or STEAPHENS. What does your middle initial stand for James, Jacob, Joseph, John or any other J name? You are my 3rd great grandpa. What is your story? Who were your parents? Did they die of disease? In the 1880 census, Illinois is listed as your father’s place of birth and Ohio was listed as your mother’s place of birth. Is it true or did you even know or did somebody guess? You are not listed in the 1850 census. I believe you were living with Risdon Kirby and Elizabeth RUSSELL VAUGHN/VAUGHAN KIRBY in the 1855 census in Henderson County, Illinois. I know that is you listed in the 1860 census with them and Elizabeth’s son William and his wife Mary. Elizabeth is Anna’s, your wife’s; great aunt and William who married his first cousin Mary are also cousins to Anna. I can only imagine how you met Anna at a RUSSELL family gathering. It seems like the RUSSELL’s arrived in bulk from Dorchester, Maryland to Henderson and Hancock counties in Illinois. In the 1870 census you had already married Anna RUSSELL and are living near William Asbury VAUGHAN/VAUGHN. You named your 5th child after him in 1880. Where did you and Anna get married? Was it in Illinois or Iowa? You and your family are listed in the 1880 census with the STEAPHENS spelling. Then, you and your family head to southern Illinois…I’m guessing to be near the RUSSELL’s. They lived down in White and Saline County, Illinois. Would you have died in your 40’s if you had stayed in Northern Illinois? Did you die in Illinois or Indiana? Did they come to Indiana sooner than I think? Where are you buried? Are some of your children buried with you? Only your son, my 2nd great grandpa, LeRoy lived to an old age. Your oldest son Jacob lived until his 40’s. Jacob had 2 daughters, Anna and Edna. I tracked Edna’s family but Anna’s seemed to disappear. I wonder if there was a name change? She married multiple times. Another question, why didn’t Jacob put his last name on the marriage license when he married Hannah Coleman? He just put Jacob Lester. Was he mad at you? Why the secrets? The government gave me security clearance.
I’ve often wondered what you looked like. I’m assuming you sported a beard. At least your wife Anna was kind enough to leave her photo.
Where.. Oh, where… are you? That is the question…
Your 3rd Great Granddaughter