Stevenson family descendant leaves mark on Florida

Published 1:56 am Saturday, January 20, 2018

The name Stevenson brings to mind a popular former principal at Florala High School. Charles Gordon Stevenson Jr. came to the school circa 1961 to teach and become the football coach. He later became principal and served the school for many years until his retirement in 1998. Failing health forced him to leave a career he genuinely loved, but he continued to support the students and various school activities. On March 17, 2000, he was honored posthumously at a ceremony during which the Florala High School baseball field was renamed as the Stevenson Field.

Charles was educated in the Barbour County School System, and upon being graduated, he attended Troy State University where he earned a B.S. in education. He completed a Master of Science in education from the University of South Alabama in Mobile, and later, an AA certificate from Auburn University in Montgomery. He began his teaching as the football coach at Midland City, Ala., and later transferred to Leesburg, Fla. From there he went to Florala High School where he remained for 37 years. He was known for “his dedication to students and commitment to their education.”

The earliest Stevenson ancestor found on was Alexander Stephenson who was born 1755 in Virginia or Pennsylvania. He was most likely a veteran of the Revolutionary War. The maiden name of his wife, Ann (1755-1820), was not identified. They appear to have settled in Anderson County, S.C. They had a son named Samuel Stephenson who was born in 1775 in Anderson County.

Samuel Stephenson was first married to Rachel Macon who was born in 1780. He and she had several children. He later married Patience Ray (1797-1859) with whom he had several other children. One of his and Rachel’s sons was named John Stevenson. (Note the name changed from Stephenson to Stevenson from this generation to the present.) John was born in 1810 in Anderson County and later married Civel, a native of Georgia, whose maiden name was not listed. She was born circa 1815 and died in 1893. John was the ancestor who migrated with his family to Alabama and settled in Barbour County.

John and Civel Stevenson were the parents of the following children: Nancy, b. 1835, d. 1924; Sarah Elizabeth, b. 1838; Joseph, b. 1841; Duncan, b. 1842; Willoughoby Babe, b. 1845; James Alexander, b. 1847; Elizabeth, b. 1847; Narcissa Elizabeth, b. 1849; Charles Arthur, b. 1851, d. 1914; Moses, b. 1858, d. 1898; and William, b. 1862. John died in 1865 in Barbour County, Ala., and Civel died in 1893.

The third from the youngest son, Charles Arthur Stevenson, is the line to be followed in this narrative. He was born in 1851 in the State of Alabama. He was married to Louisa Anna “Annie” Applin/Apling who was born in 1859. He died in 1914, and she, in 1936. They were buried in the Clayton Cemetery in the Town of Clayton in Barbour County, Ala.

Charles Arthur and Annie Stevenson were the parents of the following children: Ruth Elizabeth “Lizzy” or “Sis,” b. 1879, d. 1956, m. Zachery “Zack” Thomas Peak (1881-1913); Leila “Dot,” b. 1885, m. John R. Seales (1864-1943); Mary, b. 1887, d. 1960, m. (1) James Jefferson Bradley (1846-1922) (2) Fred Kennedy (1886-1968); Sam Rolin, b. 1890, d. 1957, m. Dora Norton; William “Bill,” b. 1892; Annie Belle, b. 1892, m. Justice Guy Watkins (1879-1961); Catherine “Kate,” b. 1894, d. 1980; Eunice Clyde, b. 1898, d. 1981, m. (private); Charles Gordon, b. 1900, d. 1987, m. Ruby Gene Spires (1915-1995); and Grace, b. 1902, d. 1964, m. Alex Leonard Martin (1895-1968).

The youngest son, Charles Gordon Stevenson, was residing with his mother in Clayton, Ala., when the 1930 census was enumerated. He was married during the 1930s to Ruby Gene Spires, daughter of Joel Spires Jr. and wife, Alice. By 1940, they owned their home and were living in Clayton where Charles Gordon was farming. He died in 1981 in Clayton, but Ruby Gene lived until 1995 when she was residing in Walton County, Fla.

Charles Gordon Stevenson Jr. was the only son of Charles Gordon Stevenson Sr. and Ruby Gene Spires (1915-1995). He was born in 1938 in Barbour County and grew up in the area of Midland City. He was married there to Diane Daniel, daughter of Johnie Wilburn Daniel (1905-1981) and Rena Mae Edwards (1904-1999). Diane was graduated from Midland City High School and later earned a B.S. in elementary education from Auburn University.

Diane (Daniel) Stevenson began her career in education in February 1965 at the Florala City School. The following year, she was employed as a teacher at W.S. Harlan Elementary School in Lockhart. She continued in that role until her retirement in 1998. She was an active member of the Theta Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma, a society for outstanding women educators. During the years of 1984-1986, she served the chapter as president. She as well as her husband, Charles, were active members of the First Baptist Church of Florala. He served as a deacon, and she remains active in that church.

Charles Gordon and Diane Stevenson had two children: Charles Gordon Stevenson III and Suane Stevenson. Charles “Chuck” earned a degree from Auburn University and later his Doctor of Optometry from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He resides and has a practice in DeFuniak Springs, Fla. He and his wife Jill (Evans), are the parents of three children: Betsy Morgan, Charles Gordon IV and John Evans. Suane and her husband, Joe Robert Evans, and their two children, Joe Robert III and Emily Ann, live in Florala. Suane earned a B.S. degree in early childhood education and taught kindergarten at W.S. Harlan Elementary School in Lockhart.

Sources for this writing were for the early generations and a family story on the Stevensons, which was written by Diane Stevenson and published in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama.

Anyone who might find an error in the above is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 34620; 334-804-1442; or Email:




The Covington Historical Society will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., Jan. 25, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Guests are encouraged to attend and consider becoming members.