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Stephens Surname

The surname Stephens is usually of English origin. It is a derivation of the given name Stephen, meaning crown, wreath or garland. By tradition, our line of Stephens is Scottish. Unfortunately, we have not been able to trace our family beyond the late 1700's, when they were in North Carolina. The spelling of the name has often been interchanged as Stevens. Any help on this family is greatly appreciated.

1st Generation:

James Stephens was born circa 1798 in North Carolina 2. He died in July 1880 (*see below) in Houston County, Tennessee 1.

It is said that as a youth, James moved with his family from North Carolina to Tennessee. Eventually, he had gone to Sumner Co., Tennessee, where he married Nancy Head in 1823. They did dot remain there long and sometime between 1823 and 1830, they had settled permanently in nearby Montgomery Co., Tennessee. James and his family apparently settled somewhere southeast of the city of Clarksville and they were probably members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in that area. James was a farmer by trade and also a shoemaker. It seems though that he was never very successful or wealthy. After his wife's death in 1856 and his remarriage in 1858, James decided to move away. In 1860 he was living with his second wife in Waverly, Humphreys Co., Tennessee. Sometime during the 1860s they moved permanently to the part of Stewart Co., Tennessee, that is now Houston County.

* Even though one source indicates that James died in July of 1880, the 1880 census (enumerated on June 7, 1880) indicates that James was by that time deceased. He may have been the blacksmith named James Stephens who died in August 1879 in Houston County from pleurisy (according to the 1880 mortality schedule for Houston County), although the age listed for that James is not correct.

James married Nancy Head (or Forest) on March 26, 1823 in Sumner Co., Tennessee 10. Nancy was born circa 1802 in Tennessee or Kentucky 2. She died on June 6, 1856 in Montgomery Co., Tennessee 1.
In her marriage record of 1823, she is listed as "Nancy Head." The 1884, History of Christian County, Kentucky indicates that her name was Nancy Forest, and that she was born in Stewart County, Tennessee. It is possible that she was born Nancy Forest and that she was married to someone with the last name Head before her marriage to James Stephens. There has been extensive research on the Forest and Head families in both the Stewart and Sumner Co., Tennessee areas and it appears that she fits in to none of those families. One clue might be that in several later census records of her children (1880 census of Elizabeth, 1880 census of John, 1910 census of Amanda) their mother's birthplace was listed as Kentucky. Perhaps she came from a Kentucky county bordering either Stewart or Sumner Counties, Tennessee.

They had the following children:

1 Elizabeth Theresa Stephens was born on May 26, 1823 in Tennessee 8 and died on December 22, 1899 in Dickson Co., Tennessee 8. She is buried in the Freeman Cemetery, Dickson Co., Tennessee.
She married James S. Jobe on November 13, 1845 in Montgomery Co., Tennessee 8. (He was born circa 1805 in Virginia 2. Died on November 19, 1861 in Dickson Co., Tennessee 8)
They had the following children:
James S. Jobe (1846-1924)
md. 1st. Rebecca O. Boyd
md. 2nd. Bettie B. Osborn
William Henry Jobe (1848-1922)
md. Catherine Texas Gray
Mandorah Udora Jobe (1849-1905)
Bellfield Newell Jobe (1851-1917)
md. Mary Susan Gray
Francis A. Jobe (1852-1932)
Elizabeth Catherine Jobe (1854-1914)
md. James Thomas Wall
John M. Jobe (c. 1856-1939)
Robert P. Jobe (1859-1883)
Eldridge T. Jobe (1861-1888)
Elizabeth moved with her family to Dickson Co., TN sometime between 1845 and 1850.
2 Sophronia Jane Stephens was born on March 12, 1825 in Tennessee 8. She died on September 26, 1896 in McCracken Co., Kentucky 8.
She married Frederick Grimes on May 8, 1851 in Montgomery Co., Tennessee 6. (He was born circa 1823 in Kentucky. He died on September 17, 1869 in Kentucky? 8.)
They had the following children:
Thelbert Grimes (1852-???)
Emily Grimes (1853-???)
Ellen Grimes (1855-???)
Rufus Grimes (1858-???)
Albert Grimes (1861-???)
Fannie Grimes (1862-???)
James Grimes (1864-???)
Eudora Grimes (1866-???)
She was living in McCracken Co., KY, in 1880. In 1884, she was listed as a resident of Graves Co., KY.
3 John W. B. Stephens was born in March 1829 in Tennessee 2. He died in 1909 15 in Florida. He is buried in the Oakdale Cemetery, De Land, Volusia Co., Florida.
John married first to Malinda C. Brawner on February 27, 1861 6 or March 27, 1861 12 in Montgomery Co., Tennessee. (She was born March 8, 1843 in Tennessee 8,18. She died August 12, 1882 8 or August 18, 1883 18 in Montgomery Co., Tennessee. She is buried in the Sango Cemetery, Montgomery Co., Tennessee.)
They had the following children:
James Walter Stephens (1863-1927)
William Russell Stephens (1869-1917)
md. Mary I
infant Stephens (c. 1876-1876)
John married second to Ann W. Carney on March 11, 1886 in Montgomery Co., Tennessee 12. (She was born in March 1845 in Tennessee 2 and died after 1900, probably in Kentucky or Florida.)
They had no children.
John was a farmer. He was living in Montgomery Co., Tennessee as late as 1886 and was in Todd Co., Kentucky in 1900.
4 Francis M. Stephens was born circa 1831 in Montgomery Co., Tennessee 2. He died after 1900, possibly in Carlisle Co., Kentucky.
Francis married first Mary Jane McKinnon on September 27, 1856 in Stewart Co., Tennessee 9. (She was born circa 1835 in Tennessee and died circa 1864 in Kentucky.)
They had the following children:
Alice "Allie" S. Stephens (c. 1858-1935)
md. Unit Ural Magraw
Margaret J. Stephens (c. 1860-???)
Eva Christian Stephens (1862-1938)
md. Robert P. Anderson
James A. Stephens (c. 1864-???)
He married second Jane "Jennie" M. Campbell, widow of Henry Dawson Wheatly, on November 13, 1866 in Christian Co., Kentucky. (She was born in 1836 in Tennessee and died after 1900.)
They had one child:
Nancy "Nannie" F. Stephens (1869-1948)
md. Robert Bedford Carey
James was a wheelwright and a blacksmith. He and his family settled in Trigg Co., Kentucky by 1860. He was living there in 1884. Sometime during the 1880s he apparently moved to Carlisle Co., Kentucky, where he remained.
5 Margaret M. Stephens was born circa 1833 in Montgomery Co., Tennessee 2. She died between 1850 and 1884.
Some researchers indicate that she married to Absalam Davidson in 1847, but that Margaret Stephens was a different person. She probably died during the early 1850's.
6 James Harvey Stephens was born on September 23, 1835 16 in Montgomery Co., Tennessee. He died on September 28, 1919 in Chattahoochee, Gadsden Co., Florida 16,17. He is buried in the Oakdale Cemetery, De Land, Volusia Co., Florida.
James first married Lou N. Blair on October 4, 1866 in Christian Co., Kentucky 7. (She was born circa 1837 in Tennessee 2. She died between 1870-1875.)
They had two children:
Susan Ella Stephens (1867-1950)
md. Edward T. Summerhill
Nannie P. Stephens (1870-1934)
md. Gus Longstreet Hord
James married second to Mary E. Ballard on December 28, 1875 8. (She was born in January 1853 in Kentucky 2. She died in 1948 in Palm Beach, Florida. She is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Co., Florida.)
They had three children:
James Harvey Stephens (1879-1966)
md. Beulah B. Carroll
Mary Wilmoth Stephens (1885-1936)
md. Posey Henderson McClendon
Bertha Jane Stephens (1888-1948)
md. Robert Emmett Goodman
James served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He was by occupation a house carpenter. In 1870 he was living with his family in Graves Co., KY. By 1880, they had settled in southern Christian Co., KY. In 1910, James and his family were living in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. They moved to Florida during the 1910s. In 1920, his widow was living in Palm Beach, Florida.
Bobby Taylor at is a researcher/descendant in this line.
7 Amanda Ann Stephens
8 Eldridge T. Stephens was born on February 20, 1841 in Montgomery Co., Tennessee 1. He died on July 18, 1905 in Nashville, Davidson Co., Tennessee 20. He is buried in the Tennessee Confederate Soldiers Home Cemetery, Nashville, Davidson Co., Tennessee.
Eldridge married Mary Jane Reves, widow of James William Coleman, on March 28, 1867 in Christian Co., Kentucky 1. (She was born on February 9, 1821 in Virginia 1. She died on October 8, 1884 in Christian Co., Kentucky 1.)

They had no children.

At the age of 14 (about 1855) he began apprenticeship as a carpenter. In May 1861, Elridge enlisted in the Tennessee Infantry for the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He was wounded during the Battle of Manassas. In 1867, he decided to take up farming and in that year moved to Christian Co., Kentucky. He was a Methodist, a Democrat and also a Mason.

In 1867, Eldridge was married to a widow named Mary Coleman, who was 20 years older than him and who had two sons who were about his age. Sometime between 1884 and 1900, he moved to Montgomery Co., Tenn., where he lived with his nephew Christopher C. Brown. After 1900, he had moved to Nashville, Tennessee where he entered the Tennessee Confederate Soldiers' Home, where he died.

9 Eginarra Stephens was born circa 1844 in Montgomery Co., Tennessee 2. She died sometime between 1858 and 1884.
She married James T. Smith on November 25, 1858 in Montgomery Co., Tennessee 12.

She was probably the E. Smith who died at the age of 16 in February 1860 from pneumonia (according to the 1860 mortality schedule for Montgomery County, Tennessee).
James married secondly to Ann McKinnon on February 28, 1858 in Montgomery Co., Tennessee 6. Ann was born circa 1820 in North Carolina 2. She died after 1880 in Houston Co., Tennessee.
There were no children born to this second marriage.

2nd Generation:

Amanda Ann Stephens was born on June 9, 1838 in Montgomery County, Tennessee 3. She died on November 10, 1923 in Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee 3,5. She is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery, Clarksville, Montgomery Co., Tennessee.

Father: James Stephens
Mother: Nancy Head/Forest

Amanda was raised in rural Montgomery Co., Tennessee. She probably met her husband, William R. Brown, because both of their families lived in the same general area and attended the McAdoo Cumberland Presbyterian Church southeast of Clarksville, Tennessee. There is a possibility that Amanda and William Brown may have been involved in some kind of relationship that necessitated a "shotgun marriage." She was about two months pregnant at the time of her marriage. Afterwards, they began married life together living with William's parents at their farmhouse. Sometime in the early 1860's, they were able to acquire their own farm, which was near the McAdoo community, southeast of Clarksville. Amanda's husband was a farmer and a produce broker and they were mildly successful. Amanda and her family continued in attendance at the McAdoo Cumberland Presbyterian Church near their home. They were living at their rural farmhouse when William died in 1904 and sometime after 1910, she moved in with her son Robert Brown. On one source she is listed with the name "Mandy," which must have been a nickname since childhood. According to descendants, Amanda was a very healthy woman, and she never needed glasses or had any cavities.
Amanda married William Riley Brown on December 15, 1859 in Montgomery County, Tennessee 6.
For information on their children, see his page.


1. Perrin, William H., History of Christian County, Kentucky. (Chicago and Louisville: F. A. Battey Publishing Co., 1884).
2. Assorted Federal census records
3. Tombstone Inscriptions, Greenwood Cemetery, Montgomery Co., TN
4. Information from Carolyn Smithfield at ----
5. Obituary of Amanda Brown, Clarksville Leaf Chronicle, Nov. 10, 1923, Pg. 1
6. Tennessee Marriages, 1851-1900,
7. Kentucky Marriages, 1851-1900,
8. Online gedcom family files
9. International Genealogical Index
10. Marriage records, Sumner Co., TN
11. Obituary of Christopher C. Brown, Clarksville Leaf Chronicle, October 11, 1938
12. Marriage records, Montgomery Co., TN
13. Death Certificate of Georgia Current Brown, Montgomery Co., TN
14. Illinois Death Index
15. Tombstone inscriptions, Oakdale Cemetery, De Land, Florida.
16. Online cemetery index, Oakdale Cemetery, De Land, Florida.
17. Florida Death Index, 1877-1939.
18. Tombstone inscriptions, Sango Cemetery, Montgomery Co., Tennessee.
19. Death notice of Mrs. E. T. Stephens, Semi-Weekly South Kentuckian [Hopkinsville, KY], Oct. 14, 1884, Pg. 2
20. Online death index - Davidson Co., TN, 1900-1913. Tennessee State Library and Archives.