Stephen Tam was the fourth child of James and Ellen (White) Tam and also the youngest son. He was born in Delaware in 1801. In 1819 he was eighteen year of age, and in that year he married Mary Lingo a native of New York State and of English parentage. Mary was born in 1803.
Stephen was of a restless nature and by 1828 he and Mary had moved to Ohio. Still restless he pushed on west to Illinois. This was in 1830, and a poor time to settle there for Black Hawk and his warriors were beginning to get uneasy. Black Hawk was the leader of a band of Sac Indians of northwestern Illinois, and through he had himself "touched the pen" as the Indians called signing a treaty, when they ceded their lands to the government, they resented the white man's presence. During the winter of 1830, Black Hawk had been on an extended hunting trip to Iowa, and when he got back to his own lands in the spring of 1831, he found that the government surveyors and settlers occupying his lands. The settlers had taken over his fields and had even plowed some of the sacred soil of his ancestors. This was too much for the grizzly old warrior. He first warned the settlers including Stephen Tam and his family, to get out. With a band of followers, he then went to Detroit to see if his friends the English. He received some poor advice from them and the Black Hawk War soon followed.
When Black Hawk warned the squatters to leave, Gov. John Reynolds of Illinois took the warning as a declaration of war, and at once he called out the Illinois State Militia, and notified the people that the Sacs and the Pottawatomies were on the warpath. This notice touched off a mad scramble to get out of Illinois as fast as possible.
At midnight Sunday, May 21, 1832 Captain Newell of Warren County, Indiana militia was called out of bed and was told was told that the Indians were at the state line and approaching fast. He was told that the settlers west of Pine Creek in Warren County were fleeing and that the Indians would be at the Big Pine by morning of no help arrived.
By eight o'clock the next morning Capt. Newell was at the head of fifty mounted men, and by eleven o'clock he was at Parish Grove eighteen miles on his way. Here he met his first fleeing refugees. Roads were few and the terror-stricken pioneers completely blocked the way, and more were coming. Somewhere in the mad rush were Stephen Tam and his family.
A son was born to Stephen and Mary in 1829 while they were in they were still in Ohio. At the time of the Big Scare and a wild rush to leave Illinois, he would have been about two years old, but he was not with his parents. He had been killed and scalped by some renegade Indians, and was buried in a unmarked grave on the prairie just west of the Indiana line.
Stephen and Mary came on to the Wabash where they took up some land on Wea Plains between Lockport and Georgetown, and settled down to life as farmers. Here in March of 1845, Mary, the mother, passed away and was buried in the old cemetery at Georgetown.
The next year their second son Mathias Burton Tam died at the age of twenty-one.This was on March 8, 1846, and he is also buried in Georgetown Cemetery. When Stephen put up the grave stones for his wife and son, Mathias, he also put up a small slab at the side of them in memory of the son that lay in a lonely unmarked grave on the prairie in Illinois. On the slab was carved the name and the words "Scalped by Indians 1832".
When my father bought a farm about two miles west, but still on the tow path of the Canal, and moved there in 1916, he visited and saw these stones. When I went to the cemetery in 1946, not one of these stones of the many Tams that were buried there could be found. Upon looking around, it is easily to seen why they were no longer there. The cemetery was on a high bank of the river and a huge gully was now cut through the western part of the cemetery. When I talked to a native, he told me what I already knew, that the erosion had washed out many of the graves and the stones had fallen into a great gully. Some of these stones had even fallen to the road far below which skirts the southern side.
After the death of his wife and sons, Stephen grew dissatisfied with life on the farm and moved to Logansport. He was not as rugged as his brothers and after a four- day illness, he died there in 1847.
Stephen and Mary (Lingo) Tam had eight children:
Celac Hazard Tam
..Born Nov. 8, 1821
Died Oct. 23,1874
Mathias Burton Tam
..Born Nov. 8, 1824
Died Mar 8, 1846
Lemuel Harris Tam
Died Jan 22, 1882
..Born Nov. 16, 1836
Col. Joesph Stephen Tam
Born Apr. 3, 1841
John Livingston Tam
.Born Apr. 3, 1841
Alfred Campbell Tam
.Born Apr. 8, 1847
Died Jan. 25, 1905
Mary Lingo Tam (1803 - 1845)
Celac Hazzard Tam (1821 - 1874)*
Mathias Tam (1825 - 1846)*
Lemuel Harris Tam (1827 - 1882)*
Sarah Tam Dritt (1836 - 1857)*
Joseph Stephen Tam (1841 - 1905)*
John Livingston Tam (1841 - 1898)*
Alfred Campbell Tam (1843 - 1905)*
Created by: Deb Minniear Rush
Record added: Oct 26, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 12171784
Stephen Tam born 1801 in DE died 1847. Son of James Tam and Ellen (White), husband of Mary (Lingo).|
Added: Oct. 29, 2008