Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


George W. Stephens

Over fifty years ago George W. Stephens came with his parents to Iowa and after arriving at maturity was connected for many years with the newspaper interests of Crawford county. Today he is living retired at Denison in the enjoyment of the fruits of his well directed labors.

He was born at Holidays Cove, West Virginia, March 18, 1846, a son of John and Elizabeth (Lytle) Stephens, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. The father learned the wagonmaker's trade but later engaged in farming. He removed to Nevada, Iowa, with his family in 1857 and died there seven years later, being then fifty-seven years of age. His wife also died at the age of fifty-seven years in 1866. They were both consistent members of the Presbyterian church and possessed many characteristics which attracted friends. There were twelve children in their family, seven of whom are now living.

The paternal grandfather of our subject, David Stephens, was a native of Pennsylvania and was of Scotch-Irish ancestry. He was a farmer and served in the war of 1812, being under Commodore Perry, who had charge of the land marine at Fort Erie. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Nancy Kennedy, died at the age of seventy-three years but her husband passed away at the age of sixty-nine. There were nine children in their family.

The great-grandfather was Isaac Stephens, of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, who married Rachel Johnson. The maternal grandfather was Hugh Lytle, a native of Washington county, Pennsylvania, and of Scotch descent. He engaged in farming and served for a short time in the war of 1812, being at Fort Erie under Perry. His wife was Eleanor Boyd. They lived to the ages of eighty-eight and eighty-five years respectively and were the parents of nine children. Our subject's grandmother Kennedy was of Welsh descent.

George W. Stephens removed with his parents when he was a child to Ohio, the family making their home near Steubenville for several years. At eleven years of age he came with his parents to Nevada, Iowa, and grew to manhood in that place, receiving his education in the public schools. After laying his books aside he learned the printer's trade, and on February 16, 1867, carne to Denison and founded the Denison Review, of which he had charge for two years. He then worked as journeyman printer at Denison and also at Jefferson, but returning to Denison founded the Crawford County Bulletin, which he conducted in partnership with T. G. Dannels for one year and then with A. B. Keith for one and one-half years, at the end of which time Mr. Keith assumed control of the newspaper and Mr. Stephens of the job office. A year later he merged the job department with the Review, a paper published by J. Fred Myers.

On the 16th of October, 1870, Mr. Stephens was united in marriage to Miss Eliza S. Burk, a native of Greensburg, Indiana, and a daughter of B. W. and Mary A. (Blackmore) Burk. Her parents were born in Kentucky and carne to Denison about 180. There were seven children in their family, four of whom are now living. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Stephens was brightened by the birth of three children, namely: Blanche, Edna Belle and Charles L.

Mr. Stephens has many friends throughout this portion of the state, with which he has been intimately identified almost from boyhood. He came to Denison when it was a village and has been a witness of its growth and also of the development of Crawford county until it is one of the most flourishing parts of the state. His mind is stored with many interesting reminiscences and few men are more intimately acquainted with the history of this section since the Civil war. He has voted with the republican party ever since arriving at manhood and has contributed to the extent of his ability toward its success. Fraternally he belongs to Sylvan Lodge, No. 507, A. F. & A. M., of Denison, and served most acceptably as secretary of the lodge for seven years, from 1903 to 1910.

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.