George H. Stephens

    Submitted by PHGS member: Pam Davis

    George H. Stephens and Harriet (Baker) Stephens

    George H. Stephens was born in Canisteo, on the place where he now resides, June 19, 1803. His grandfather, Uriah Stephens was a native of Litchfield County, town of Canaan, Conn.; married Martha Rathbone/Rathbun, a native of Stonington, Connecticut. Of this union were born before leaving that State: Benjamin, died in the Revolutionary war; Mrs. Solomon Bennett, Mrs. Daniel McHenry, Uriah Jr., John, Mrs. Judge George Hornell, Phineas, Elias, Elijah, William, and Benjamin. The family left Connecticut in 1766, and settled in Stillwater, N.Y.; afterwards in Northumberland Co. PA, thence to Tioga Point; thence to Newtown, now Elmira, and in 1789 the father and his sons, Uriah and John, explored the Canisteo Valley, accompanied by his son-in-law, Solomon Bennett, and James Hadley. That year, with others, they purchased the upper and lower Canisteo, now Canisteo and Hornellsville, and the same year Uriah Stephens Sr., settled here with his family; the others settled the following year.
    Uriah Stephens, Sr, was a soldier of the French and Indian War, and in the Revolutionary war his son Uriah Jr., took his place, and served through the entire war on the Indian Frontier in Pennsylvania. Phineas Stephens was in the war of 1812, and ranked as major. Uriah Stephens Sr., settled on the place now owned by Thomas Hallett, which remained in the family about eighty years, and on which he died, as also did his wife, and they were buried on the farm.
    He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, his wife a member of the Baptist Church, and both assisted in the organization of the first church and school in the town. This family, whose posterity has become so numerous in the county, was the first to settle and begin the various enterprises of the Canisteo Valley.
    His father, Uriah Stephens was very closely allied to the most important public interests of the town and county, was town clerk for several years, justice of the peace for eighteen years, supervisor for twenty years, and associate judge of the county for six years. He was a man of good business ability, temperate habits, and ranked among the prominent men of Steuben County; and his integrity of character, and faithfulness to duty as an officer of the public, won the esteem of all who knew him. His early education was very meager, but he possessed much native ability and good, sound common sense. He married Elizabeth Jones in 1785, while in the Wyoming country, of which union were born three sons, and five daughters; John R., Mrs. John Ayers, Mrs. Abbott, afterwards Mrs. Bazey Baker, Mrs. Silas Corey, Mrs. Joshua Stephens, Matthew, George H., and Mrs. Jerathmell Powers. Of these children only the subject of this sketch is living. The father died August 2, 1849, aged eighty-three.
    George H. Stephens has followed farming during his life on the farm settled by his father on the Canisteo River. He married Harriet, daughter of Daniel Baker, September 5, 1825. She was born September 6, 1802. Their children are George, Caleb, Paulina (deceased), Shirene, Elizabeth (deceased), Mary, Rhoda (deceased), Mrs. Edwin Foster, and Matthew. Like his father before him, Mr. Stephens is a staunch member of the Democratic party, and for some fifteen years has served the people of his town as assessor. He was the first man who joined the Morning Star Mason Lodge in Canisteo, and has been a member of that lodge for over half a century. 
    Mr. And Mrs. Stephens have lived happily together for upwards of fifty years, and for some twenty years of that time have been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and contributors to that and kindred interests. They are now among the old landmarks that point back to the early days in the history of the town, and have lived to see schools and churches established, railroads, the telegraph, and modern machinery take their places in advancing civilization.


    *The above information was obtained from the book, History of Steuben County, New York by Clayton (1879).

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