William Stephens: 1813 – 1885
1850 – 1859
In 1850, there are 2 census records for this family. The Federal Census for Marion Co, Alabama (just across the state line and slightly south of Tishomingo Co) shows William Stephens, age 44, farmer, value 100, b. in North Carolina; Dorothy – age 36, b. in South Carolina; George W – age 14, b. in Alabama; Andrew J – age 12, b. Mississippi; Mary Ann – age 8, b. in Mississippi; Caroline – age 5, b. in Mississippi and Martha J – age 1, b. in Mississippi.
By 1860, Martha J. is listed as being born in Alabama, but because the birth of Martha would have been relatively new in the 1850 census, I believe Mississippi is correct, which would indicate a move from Mississippi to Alabama around 1849 or 1850. It is important to note that there is a 2nd William Stephens family in Marion County as well. In the Federal Census, the names and ages of all children are given. In the State Census records, only the number of males and females are given. The “William Stephens” in the State census has a total of 12 people in the household, while “W C Stephens” has 7 members, all of the appropriate age range for “my” William Stephens family.
John G. Stephens was listed as 10 years old and born in Alabama in the 1860 census, but was not listed in the 1850 census. I would look for his birth late in the year 1850 in Marion Co, Alabama. It could be helpful to see the instructions to enumerators about the date to use for age calculation. James S. Stephens was born around 1853.
There was a state census taken in Alabama in 1855. No census exists for Marion County, but there is one for Franklin Co, where I find William’s family in 1860. I cannot find William in this census, so I believe the family must have moved between 1855 and 1860.
1860 – 1869
In the 1860 Federal Census, William Stephens and his family are found in Franklin Co, Alabama. (Franklin Co. is directly North of Marion Co. and directly West of Lawrence Co.) This was a tricky one to find because of the name being spelled “Steavens”. William’s five youngest children are still living at home as well as his 2nd son, Andrew with his wife, Lucy and their daughter Nancy E. who had just come from Missouri. (Andrew and Lucy were married in Ripley County, Missouri.) I would love to find George Stephens in the 1860 census, but I have had no luck finding him after the 1850 census. This family is not found in the 1866 state census for Franklin County or in the 1867 voters’ registration for Franklin OR Marion County. At some point during this decade, the Stephens family moved to Russell County, Kentucky, where William’s father and siblings had been living since before 1830. Russell County tax records are pretty consistent as a yearly resource between 1826 and 1858 with only 3 years missing. Because I know where the family was in 1860, these tax records will not help me.
Next week, I’ll wrap this up and develop my research plan for moving forward in my research.