Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
WILLIAM M. STEPHENS. Among the old and honored families of Springfield was the Stephenses, who cast their lot here nearly seventy years ago when this was a mere village on the frontier and the country round about practically a wilderness, only an improved place here and there, and from that remote day to the present, members of this family have played no inconspicuous role in the local drama of civilization, having led upright and helpful lives, assisting in the general development of the community in every way practicable. One of the best known of the family is William H. Stephens, who has been content to spend his life in his native locality, forty years of which have been spent in the piano business, during which time he has become widely known in his special vocation.
Mr. Stephens was born in Springfield, Missouri, September 22, 1848. He is a son of John A. and Pamelia C. Stephens, and is one of a family of six children, four of whom survive at this writing. John A Stephens was born in Ohio. He received a good education and was graduated from Princeton College in Kentucky. He removed to Springfield, Missouri, in 1845. He taught school for some time, was a civil engineer of ability, but he devoted most of his active life to mercantile pursuits, operating a drug store, hardware store and dry goods store. He was a good business man and had rare mental gifts; was an honest and industrious man, and did much toward the early development of this city. During the Civil war he joined the home guards, and met death by accident, in 1862, being killed by his own men, who mistook him for one of the enemy. His wife was a native of Henderson, Kentucky, and they were married in that state.
William M. Stephens, oldest of the children, was reared in his native city and educated here. During the Civil war he was in the employ of the government, then worked in the local post office four years, then worked in the office of the circuit clerk, then turned his attention to the piano business, which he has continued to the present time, a period of forty years, during which he sold pianos and employed a piano salesman for several years, and he has also been regarded as an expert piano tuner; in fact, being musically inclined, mastered the various phases of this business in a few years, and has long been one of the best known piano men in southwest Missouri.
Mr. Stephens was married on September 22, 1870, to Eva C. Sawyer, a daughter of Thomas L. Sawyer, a school teacher, whose family consisted of five children.
To Mr. and Mrs. Stephens seven children have born, namely; George A. died at the age of thirty-eight years; Maud married Dr. A. P. Evans; they reside in Concord, New Hampshire, and have one child; William A. died at the age of twenty-eight years, leaving a widow; Margaret married H. A. Thompson, a merchant of Beatrice, Nebraska, and they have one daughter and one son; Laura is married and lives in Beatrice, Nebraska, and has one child; two children died in infancy.
Politically, Mr. Stephens is a Democrat, and, while never active in politics, has always been loyal in his support of the party. He attends the Christian Science church.
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