Stephens family came from North Carolina

Published 12:03 am Saturday, July 25, 2015

It appears there has been more than one main Stephens family line to settle in Covington County. The subject of today’s writing is Joshua Stephens and his descendants. He was a minister of the gospel who served in several localities before coming to Covington County during the early 1870s and his death in 1875.

Joshua Stephens was born in 1800 in Johnston, N.C. He was married circa 1824 to Delila Petty who was born in 1813. This would have made her quite young and several years younger than her husband. She was also a native of the same state, so they most likely began their marriage there. Census records suggest their first five children were born in North Carolina and that they were in Alabama by 1839 when the sixth child was born.

By 1850 and after all their children were born, they were settled in Pike County, Ala., where they remained for most of their additional years. They first lived near the current Zubulon Church and Sandfield Cemetery. Joshua patented some land near Wingard, Youngblood and Ansley communities. There he engaged in farming and various community activities until 1859. During that year he helped organize the Good Hope Baptist Church, which was located north of U.S. 29 about one and one half miles on Pike County Road 25 and one quarter of a mile west of what was known as Fish Trap Bridge. They remained here during the war years and until near the end of his death in 1875. Some records indicate they both died in 1975 and that she died in Goshen in Pike County, and he, in Covington County.

Joshua and Delila Stephens reared the following nine children: John W., b. 1825, d. 1890, m. (1) Harriet Altman (2) Louisa Motes; Newton, b. 1826, d. 1868 from an illness he contracted during service in the Confederate Army; Daniel J., b. 1829, m. Mariah E. Pugh; Nancy C., b. 1833, m. ? who may have been a Stephens cousin; Patience, b. 1837, single; Joseph H., b. 1839, d. 1909, m. Martha Catherine Youngblood; Leonard, b. 1842; Rebecca Ann, b. 1844, d. 1922, m. Norman McLeod; and Mary Ester, b. 1849, m. Hugh Morrison.

Most of these sons rendered service in the Confederate Army. The oldest son, John W. Stephens, was active in the 18th Alabama Infantry Regiment, probably in Company H, the one which two of his brothers were in. The second son, Newton Stephens’s, company was not identified, but family records indicate he died in 1868 from wounds received during the war. The third son, Daniel J. Stephens, was assigned to Company F, 15th Alabama Infantry Regiment. He enlisted in Brundidge on March 1, 1862, and served bravely until he was severely wounded at the Battle of Mountain, Virginia, on October 27, 1864. He was not able to serve any longer after this incident. The next son, Joseph H. Stephens, enlisted on June 29, 1861, at Troy and was assigned to Company H, 18th Alabama Infantry Regiment. He advanced to sergeant and served in this role for about two years and was then elected second lieutenant for his company. He was captured in December 1864 at Franklin, Tenn., and imprisoned at Louisville, Ky., and Johnson’s Island, Ohio. The youngest brother, Leonard Stephens, enlisted along with his brother, Joseph H., on July 29, 1861. He was last paid on November 30, 1861, so he most likely died soon afterwards.

The oldest son, John W. Stephens, was born in Columbus, NC and lived until his death in 1890 in Santa Rosa County, Fla. He was married to his first wife, Harriet Altman, in 1844, and they had the following five children before her death in 1853: Joshua W., b. 1845, d. 1912, m. Elizabeth “Lizzie” ? (1846-1905); Jesse R., b. 1848-1914; Jane, b. 1848, d. 1860; John W. Jr., b. 1849, d. 1886; and Joseph A., b. 1853.

John W. was married second to Louisa J. Motes (1829-1894) in 1855. In addition to John’s five young children, they reared the following 11 children of their own: Alma; Buck; Jesse; Jonathan; Molly; Sallie; James P, b. 1856, d. 1926; Marshall B., b. 1859, d. 1860; Mary E., b. 1861; Emily R., b. 1866; and Laurietta A., b. 1870.

More information was found on Joshua’s sixth child, Joseph H. Stephens, who was a minister of the gospel as his father was. His Confederate service is reported above, and it appears he married soon after the war ended. He married Martha Catherine Youngblood, daughter of David Youngblood (1813-1887) and Matilda Talbot (1825-1883). Martha was born in 1846 in Pike County and died there in 1900. Joseph was still residing in the Orion community of Pike County in 1900, he moved to Covington County circa 1906 and before his death in 1909. He and Martha were both buried by the Orion Lodge at Chapel Hill Baptist Church in Pike County.

Joseph and Martha Stephens reared the following 11 children: Leonard F., b. 1866; Jacob D., b. 1869; David A., b. 1871; Ida, b. 1874; Lillie, b. 1876; Lee Andrew, b. 1879, d. 1910, m. Eula Kansas Mills (1882-1915); Lee Anna, b. 1879; Robert Reynolds, b. 1882, d. 1949; Joseph Wheeler, b. 1884, d. 1955; Bettie, b. 1886; and Joe, b. 1888.

It is stated in records that the third son, Lee Andrew Reynolds, was killed by bootleggers in 1910. He was only about 31 at that time, and his wife, Eula (Mills), died young also at the age of 33 in 1915. This would have left their children as orphans. These included the following: Charles Luther, b. 1898, d. 1965; Cecil Franklin, b. 1901, d. 1970; Thelma Lee, b. 1903; Paxton Wyatt, b. 1905, d. 1972; Eva Elizabeth, b. 1907; Carmen Weedon, b. 1909, d. 1961; and Alex Edmonson, b. 1911, d. 1978.

There should be much more Stephens family genealogy for those interested in researching it. This writer requests that anyone having genealogy on other Stephens lines in this are communicate that to him. It would be greatly appreciated.

The sources for today’s story include, Alabama Archives and History’s Civil War Soldiers Data Base, and a family story by Barney Stephens, which was published in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama.

Anyone who might find any error in the above facts is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email:



The Covington Historical Society will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Guests are encouraged to attend.