The diary of Alepheus Cowan, known more commonly as AC, and the essay written by his son Hugh Roy from the perspective of a marble washstand details the decades-long commitment to family, and the land, churches, and schools around Pocahontas, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. AC is one of five brothers and three sisters whose grandfather was James Stevenson Jr., who along with the Flemings, Foster, McNeely, and Clodfelter families arrived from North Carolina in the 1820s.
James Stevenson met with others on May 21, 1821 to organize the Old Apple Creek Church—thereby establishing deep roots into this community. James’ son, Alexander Kennedy (AK), (died 1881) with his second wife Elizabeth Leonard Clodfelter (died 1901) reared seven of their eight children to adulthood in the same location.
Twin sons Amos Kennedy and Theodore Phillip homesteaded in southeast Kansas in 1870. Evidence, including AC’s diary written on a trip in 1875, shows that AK’s sons frequently travelled from Rock, Cowley County, Kansas, to their father’s farm to assist their elderly parents, and marry women they’ve known all their lives. AC (who married Julia Boren upon his return and to whom he writes while traveling) remained on his father’s lands until his death in 1942 at age 90. Theodore remained in Kansas, where he died in 1932 at age 83. His daughter Nola is the baby, two years old and born in Kansas that AC refers to in his diary with her mother Julia Hinkle Stevenson. I descend from baby Nola’s younger sister Bertha Rose Stevenson, who is my great grandmother.
(As an aside, Julia’s grandfather Charles Hinkle was murdered in Appleton in 1827. Extensive court records and an interesting look into how crimes were investigated in the settlement are available. Someday we hope to have yet another story of Cape Girardeau County to share.)
We are thankful to Karon Jahn for donating the following documents to be shared.. Karon is descended from the Stevenson family.
Typewritten diary of A.C. Stevenson journey taken in 1875, starting in Old Appleton, Missouri.
Handwritten narrative from H.R. Stevenson, about life in northern Cape County as told from the perspective of a wash stand.