|Birth: ||Apr. 15, 1754|
|Death: ||Sep. 7, 1839|
The lineage of Benjamin Stephens is shrouded in mystery. His mother was Blessing Stephens, daughter of William & Sarah Stephens of Orange county, Virginia. Her father died there in 1767.
Blessing became the second wife of Stephen Smith on July 4, 1773 when Benjamin was 19. Court documents show that Smith & his two brothers were also known by the last name of Noblet. The day before their marriage Blessing & Stephen entered into a more or less equal contract where in each agreed to respect one another's property and to manage and dispose of it as each saw fit. Stephen Smith was 58 and Blessing was about 20 years younger than he. Many efforts have been made to determine Smith's exact relation to Benjamin Stephens. None have been successful. Speculation is not helpful.
Benjamin married Dorothy Jemima Waller in 1775. They lived on a hilltop near the home of Stephen & Blessing Smith on Riga Run, about one mile north of Orange Springs in Orange county, Virginia. In 1779 the legislature of Virginia appointed Dr. Thomas Walker & Daniel Smith to join with Richard Henderson & William Bailey Smith of North Carolina to draw the boundary of the territories of Kentucky & Tennessee westward. The two components parted in dispute & Walker ran the line to the Tennessee River. The boundary deflected 17 miles north of true & there was much ado about this for many years. Benjamin Stephens was appointed as a guard for this expedition & disappeared into the wilderness, leaving his wife with 3 or 4 little sons. It was a bitterly cold winter, and a ruptured endeavor. It is not known how long he stayed on the job. (We know that in September 1757, two individuals, Stephen Smith & Stephen I.K. Smith of Orange County were employed to survey a road past Pine Stake Church to the Spotsylvania line. It is not altogether surprising to see than Benjamin Stephens was appointed to serve with the Walker party. His step-father was a surveyor.
Meanwhile, there was a migration from Orange & Spotsylvania to South Carolina & Georgia. Two of Dorothy Stephens' brothers, John Waller & Leonard James Mourning Waller were Baptist preachers who joined a group of impressive size. The intent was to tame & settle this section of the new nation. The Wallers, Nelsons & others left Virginia about 1793. Four sons of Benjamin & Dorothy Stephens followed within a few years: Richard Stephens, Waller Stephens, Edmund Waller Stephens, & Benjamin Stephens, Jr.
Most of what is known about this period was told by a Stephens slave, Aunt Milly. Shortly after the younger Benjamin & his wife Agnes Nelson Stephens arrived in South Carolina there was what Milly termed "serious trouble". Benjamin, Sr. & and his youngest son, Leonard, went south on the Great National Road to "bring them out." The nature of the trouble has never been determined, but it is known that Agnes Robinson Stephens, wife of Edmund Waller Stephens died there. It is also known that members of the first group of settlers suffered for years from a disease similar to malaria.
Edmund Waller Stephens & Benjamin, Jr. did not return to Virginia but settled northern Kentucky. Their father returned to Orange county where, on October 6, 1805 he sold his land on the Riga and settled the estate of Stephen Smith. Probate documents suggest his mother had also died. Very soon after this Benjamin & Dorothy emigrated to Kentucky, staying for about two years in the vicinity of Bryan's Station in Fayette county before deciding to take land in that part of Campbell county which became Kenton county in 1840. Their children John, Nancy Jane Waller, Mary Waller & Leonard Stephens were with them.
Dorothy Jemima Waller Stephens (1756 - 1836)
Edmund Waller Stephens (1777 - 1864)*
Benjamin Stephens (1779 - 1855)*
William R. Stephens (1782 - 1873)*
John Stephens (1785 - 1856)*
Nancy Jane Waller Stephens Sanford (1787 - 1877)*
Mary Waller Stephens Herndon (1789 - 1868)*
Leonard Stephens (1791 - 1873)*
Stephens Family Cemetery
Maintained by: Robert H
Originally Created by: Anna Jaech
Record added: Sep 03, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 96467884
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