John's granddaughter Edna has told me that John was killed during the 1915 McCaysville/Copperhill Flood. He drown while assisting people out of a building. Debris in the water hit him and washed him down river. He was found 2 days later. There are no records of floods in the Copperhill region during 1915, so this family story cannot be confirmed at this time.
Another granddaughter was always told he died while working in the copper mines. There are no records of John Stephens working in the copper mines, so this family story cannot be confirmed at this time.