Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Stevens Family

July 4 1930 The State Register  (Laurel Delaware)

J. Fred Stevens who was injured several weeks ago in the railroad yards at Jersey City, after spending most of the time since then in the hospital, has improved so as to be brought to his home here, and while he is still wearing a cast, due to spinal injuries, he appears to be resting comfortably.

In 1930 Fred Stevens was a brakeman for the railroad.  It was a different occupation for him from the others that he had, such as bookkeeper or salesman over the years.

John Frederick Theodore Stevens (1891-1945) would marry Cara Leigh Spivey (1890-1978) of Spring Hope, North Carolina in 1910.  At that time Fred and his parents were living in North Carolina tending to their timber business, saw mill and box factory.   She was the daughter of J. J. Spivey a prominent merchant in the town, and Martha Adaline Owens Spivey.

His mother, Ida Mae Florence Lynch, was from Delmar.  Ida Mae’s brother was Frank E. Lynch a prominent person in Delmar.  After WW1 the Stevens family returned to live in Delmar. 

Fred’s sister, Florence Mae Stevens, would married William Griffith Rowe of Seaford in 1919.  They lived in Brooklyn, NY.

With family between North Carolina and New York the family traveled often.  Cara Leigh’s cousins would stay with them in the house on the north side of Grove Street and Second street in Delmar during the summer. The property was put in Cara Leigh name by way of a transfer from Frank E. Lynch and was part of the old Sermon sawmill property. Fred and Cara had no children.  Cara was an accomplished pianist and played at a number of weddings in Delmar and North Carolina.  Cara Leigh also has a number of properties in Sussex County in her name.  It may have been a business arrangement to have the assets in her name.

Fred would die at age 53 in 1945.  They had been living in Georgetown for about five years and he was a bookkeeper for the State Highway commission.  He would be buried in St. Stephens cemetery.

Cara Leigh would return to live in North Carolina by 1950 and she would die, at age 78, in a nursing home in Rocky Mount North Carolina and be buried in North Carolina

J. Fred Stevens was the son of Solomon Francis Stevens (1858-1921) and Ida Mae Florence Lynch (1866-1938).  Solomon Stevens was a lumberman and with that came the associated saw mills and box factories.

In that period if you were a lumberman of any status you would have timberland in North Carolina. Solomon Stevens worked the timber and had factories in North Carolina for over twenty years. He would either lived there or travel back and forth between Delmar and Spring Hope.

Solomon was the son of John W. Stevens of Bridgeville.  Solomon married Ida Mae Florence Lynch of Delmar and after their marriage they lived in Bridgeville, Ellendale, and Georgetown. They finally lived in Delmar

In 1893 while the Stevens were living in Georgetown, Delaware a fire occurred in their house.  The Stevens were away at the time.  The townspeople were able to put out the fire before it spread to the rest of the town.  Charles H. Wilson, an employee of Solomon Stevens, was found to have set the fire.  He said Solomon Stevens had promised to set him up on a farm if he burnt the house for him.  When Stevens returned to Georgetown 500 to 600 townspeople came to his house and pulled him out yelling Hang him!, Tar and Feather him! Take him out! Had the fire gotten a headway most of Georgetown would have burn.  He was put in jail on a charge of arson. They found later that all the valuables in the house had been removed prior to the fire.  The house was insured for $4,100 but only had a real value of $2,000.

In researching the fire they found Solomon Stevens prior to moving to Georgetown had built a new house Ellendale.  The night they moved from Ellendale to Georgetown the house burnt to the ground.

Stevens hired a defense team of John Biggs of Wilmington, Charles W. Cullen, Robert C. White and William H. Boyce.  His lawyers said the Stevens home was not joined nor adjoin another property and as such Solomon was not liable under the arson law. It is not arson for a man to burn his own property. And he escaped the charge and decided moving his family and him to Delmar would be best for him.

Solomon Stevens and his family were living in Delmar by 1896 and had a house there.  They moved to Spring Hope, North Carolina about 1907 where Solomon started a box factory and worked his timberland there. 

Fire insurance claims would continue for Mr. Stevens when his box factory in Spring Hope, NC burnt and he had to sue the fire Insurance company in 1911 to collect.


Spring Hope Special – A very destructive fire visited the town Sunday morning between 1 and 2 o’clock and as a result the Stevens Box factory almost in the very heart of the town was burnt to the ground…..The origin of the fire is unknown.

From the Randolph Bulletin (Ashboro NC) 29 Jul 1909

The Nashville Graphic reported Mr. Stevens had worked late the night of the fire.

After WW1 Solomon Stevens and his family would return to Delmar where he continued to manage his timber business.

Solomon would have a stroke leaving him paralyzed and a few days later he would die at age 62 in 1921.

Ida Mae Florence Lynch Stevens would die at age 65 in 1938. Both Ida and Solomon are buried in St. Stephens Cemetery.

1 comment:

  1. I am very impressed by this story. Ida Mae Lynch was my second cousin 2x removed which made it especially interesting for me.Thanks so much for posting this.