James Roswell Stevens

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James Roswell Stevens

Birthdate: (89)
Birthplace: Willard, Box Elder, Utah, United States
Death: December 9, 1945 (89)
Bridger, Carbon, Montana, United States
Place of Burial: Anacortes, Skagit , Washington, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Alexander Roswell Stevens and Rebecca Welker Stevens
Husband of Sarah Alsea Stevens and Letitia Jannette Bee Stevens
Father of Alexander Stevens; Laura Stevens; John Milan Stevens; Edson Stevens; Agnes Emma Reamy and 5 others
Brother of Alexander Alvin Stevens; Rebecca Malinda Stevens Dustin; Elizabeth Maria Stevens; Juliann Malina Stevens and Malinda Stevens

Managed by: Della Dale Smith-Pistelli
Last Updated:

About James Roswell Stevens

James Roswell Stevens (or Stephens) was born August 16, 1856, in Willard, Box Elder, Utah, to Alexander Roswell Stevens and his wife, Rebecca Welker Stevens. In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Box Elder, Utah Territory, James was 4 years old, living with his parents, Alex, 23, and Rebecca, 24, and his older brother, Alex A., 6, and younger sister, Rebecca Malinda, 1 year old. Sadly, three years later, James' mother, Rebecca, passed away in 1863 after the birth of her fifth child, Julia Ann, leaving James and his father and siblings to fend for themselves. Alexander moved the family to Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, to be near Rebecca's family members, the Welkers, who had been sent by the LDS church from Utah to settle that area in about 1863.

Alexander was living there with his two sons, Alex and James, and his daughter, Rebecca Malinda, went to live with Rebecca Welker Stevens brother, John Welker, and his wife, Roxana Mahala Dustin Welker, since they had only two children of their own. Their daughter, Roxana Louisa, was born in Iowa in 1851 as her parents were coming to Utah, and in 1863 she was 12 years old when Rebecca Malinda came to live with them. Roxana was probably glad to have her four-year old cousin come to live with the family, since she never had a sister. Her brother, John Eller Welker, as about 10 years old at the time.

In the 1870 U.S. Census for Bloomington, Rich, Utah (later to be Bear Lake County, Idaho), Rebecca M. Stephens, 11, is living with her uncle, John Welker, 44, and aunt, Roxana M., 36, cousin, Roxana L., 19, and her brother, John Eller, 17, and another cousin, Levi J. Dustin, 5, one of Roxana Mahala Dustin Welker's nephews.

Other family members were living nearby and were listed on the same census page, including: James Wilburn Welker,45, John's and Rebecca Welker Stevens brother, with his two wives, Ann Pugh Welker, 49, and their children, James A., 19, Adam, 17, Gilbert, 15, Weber, 13, Ephraim, 10, Rebecca, 6, and Susan Caroline Stephenson Welker, 37, his plural wife, and her children, Alice, 12, Isabella, 5, Evaline, 4, Sarah, 2, and Marion, 6 months old. Also nearby was Hettie Welker Dunn, 21, (James Wilburn Welker's daughter), and her husband, Harry Alvaro Dunn, 21, and their one year old son, Harry Alvaro Dunn, Jr.

Next door were George Osmond, 32, and his wife, Georgianna, 33, and their daughter, Clara, 14, (who would later marry one of the Welker's sons), and other children, George, 12, Alma, 9, Rosa, 7, Iva, 5, and Ida, 4. George and Georgianna were the great grandparents of Donny and Marie Osmond of the famous singing family popular in the 1970's.

Next door to them was Christian Madsen, 24, and his wife, Roxana Louisa Welker Madsen, 18, and their 1 year old daughter, Dortha Roxana (my great grandmother). Strangely, Roxana was listed in both the home of her father, John Welker, and the home of her husband, Christian Madsen, in this census, and was listed as being 19 in the home of her father and 18 in the home of her husband. Since she was born in August of 1851, she would have been just shy of her 19th birthday by about one month, since the census was taken on July 22, in 1870.

In 1870, also living in Bloormington were Alexander Roswell Stevens, 37, who was working as a farmer and his two sons, Alexander, 16, and James, 14, were farm laborers. Alexander's real estate was valued at $200 and his personal estate at $250. He was born in Western Canada, and both of his sons in Utah. The name in this census record was spelled as "Stephens" not Stevens.

By 1880, James Roswell Stevens (not Stephens) was 23, living with his wife Jannette Bee Stevens, 18, and their 2 month old daughter, Georgianna, in Bloomington, Idaho. Sadly, however, Janette passed away May 31, 1888. The census records for 1890 were destroyed in a fire, so I don't know when James married his second wife, Sarah, but it was probably around 1889 or 1890.

In the 1900 census, James R. Stephens (not Stevens), 43, and his second wife Sarah Asea Barney Stevens, 37, were living in Clarks Fork, Carbon County, Montana, with children: James R., 18, Letitia J., 15, Alexander, 9, Laura, 6, John, 5, Edyson, 3, Agnes, 9 months and also living in the home was James' father, Alexander, 66, and three others, Buran Moody, 17, William C. Moody, 15, and Theodore H. Moody, 13, who were listed as step-sons. They must have been children of Sarah's from a previous marriage. This census record indicated that James married Sarah in 1878 and that they had been married for 22 years, but that would mean James married to Sarah 10 years before his first wife, Janette, passed away in 1888. However, the 1910 census indicates they were married in 1888 or 1889. This census record indicates they had 10 children 9 of whom were still living. James was still farming and his son James, 18, was a farm laborer.

In 1910 they were still living in Carbon County, Montana, James, 53, Sara A., 48, and their children: Alexander, 19, John, 15, Edson, 18, Agnes, 11, Albert, 8, Rex, 6, and James' widowed father Alexander, 77 was still living with them. James and Sarah have been married for 21 years and have had 12 children, 11 of whom were still living. James was still farming and his son Alex, was a laborer on the home farm.

Twenty years later in the 1930 U.S. Census for Dewey, Skagit, Washington, there was an Albert E. Stevens, 73, and his wife, Sarah A. Stevens, 66, living with their children, Albert E., 27, and Rex, 25, in a home they owned valued at $700. Albert was a farmer, his son Albert a laborer in a box factory and Rex was also working as a laborer. But where was James Roswell Stevens? In 1930, James would have been 73, so perhaps the census taker got the names wrong, and the head of the family should have been listed as James Roswell Stevens, 73, and not Albert E. Stevens, his son. Sarah passed away six years later at the age of 72 in December of 1936.

In 1940 James R. Stevens, 83, was living with his sons Albert, 37, and Rex, 35, on Gibocota Road in Dewey, Skagit County, Washington, in a home they owned valued at $100. Albert was working as a laborer in a saw mill and Rex as a laborer for the WPA Project. James passed away five years later at the age of 89 on December 19, 1945, and was buried in the Fern Hill Cemetery in Anacortes, Skagit County, Washington.

James' son Alexander Stevens, born in 1890, in Safford, Arizona, passed away December 30, 1972, in Eugene, Lane, Oregon. Here is an obituary for him:

Alexander Stevens, age 82, of 1735 Adkins Street, Eugene, passed away December 30, 1972. A resident of this vicinity for over 60 years, he was born November 20, 1890, at Safford, Arizona, and was married to Mary R. Baker August 31, 1912, at Springfield, Oregon. Mr. Stevens was a member of the First Christian Church of Springfield and had been a mail carrier prior to his retirement. Surviving besides his wife, Mary of Eugene, are 4 brothers: John, Rex, Bert and Ed Stevens all of Washington and a sister, Laura Thomas of Lavina, Montana; numerous nieces and nephews. Private funeral services will be held at the Burns-Fredericksen Funeral Home, Springfield, Wednesday, January 3, 1973, at 1:30 p.m. with Reverend Earl Gibbs officiating. Private interment Rest Haven Memorial Park. The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, Monday, 01 Jan. 1973.

James' son John Milan Stevens, born in 1894, in Safford, Arizona, passed away July 2, 1973, in Bellingham, Washington, and was buried in the Fern Hill Cemetery with his father, and his wife, Hannah Stevens, 1900-1988.

James' son Edson, born 1897 in Safford, passed away October 30, 1997, and is buried at the Fern Hill Cemetery as well. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I.

James' son Albert E., born 1902 in Bridger, Carbon county, Montana, passed away March 25, 1989, and also buried at the Fern Hill Cemetery.

James' son Rex R. Stevens, born in 1904, in Bridger, Carbon county, Montana, passed away October 13, 1992, and is also buried at the Fern Hill Cemetery.

James' sister, Rebecca Malinda Stevens, married her cousin, Hyrum Nephi Dustin, (1855-1931) who was a nephew of Rebecca's aunt, Roxana Mahala Dustin Welker, who helped raise Rebecca, along with Roxana's husband, John Welker, Rebecca's uncle and the brother of Rebecca Malinda's mother, Rebecca Welker Stevens, who died in 1863 when Rebecca Malinda was just 4 or 5 years old. Hyrum Nephi Dustin was the son of Hannah Loveland Dustin and her husband Seth Dustin, the brother of Roxana Mahala Dustin Welker.

Although Roxana Mahala Dustin Welker and John Welker and their children, Dortha Roxana and John Eller Welker, moved to Arizona in 1883, Rebecca Malinda did not go to Arizona with them at the time, since she had married Hyrum Nephi Dustin, January 14, 1876, in Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho. Their children were: Hyrum Alexander Dustin, born 1876 in Bloomington, Seth, born 1879 in Garden City, Rich, Utah, James Levi Dustin, born 1882, in Garden City, Hannah Rebecca, born 1886 in Safford, Graham, Arizona, Julia Alnora, born 1888, in Garden City, Vilda, born 1891, in Garden City, and Viola, born and died June 10, 1893, in Garden City. Based on the above information, it appears that Rebecca Malinda and Hyrum Nehi Dustin moved to Safford about 1886, but returned to Utah before 1888. Rebecca and her husband, Hyrum, both passed away while living in Garden City, Rebecca in 1902 and Hyrum in 1931.

In the 1900 U.S. Census for Garden, Rich, Utah, Nephi Hyrum Dustin, 44, and his wife, Rebecca M., 42, were living with their children: Hyrum A., 23, Seth C., 20, James L., 17, Hannah R., 14, Julia A., 10, and Vilda, 9. They had been married for 25 years, had 7 children, 6 of whom were still living. Hyrum was working as a farmer and his two oldest sons as farm laborers. They owned their own farm free from a mortgage.

Sadly, two years later, Rebecca Malinda Stevens Dustin passed away at the young age of 44 years old in September of 1902, her youngest daughter, Vilda, being only 11 years old at the time of her mother's death. In 1910 the family was still living in Garden City, Utah, and with Hyrum N., 54, were his children, Hyrum A., 33, James L., 27, Vilda, 19, and Hannah R., 23, who had married Earl Shakespere Hall, 26, and they had two children, Elizabeth, 3 and Luella, 1 year old. Hyrum was still farming, and his sons Hyrum and James were laborers working at odd jobs, and his son-in-law, Earl, was a laborer and sheep herder.

In the 1920 census for Garden City, Rich, Utah, Hyrum N. Dustin was a 64-year old widow, living with his "daughter" Alta Brooker, 2 years old, and John Shannon, 66, who is listed as a "herder". Hyrum was still farming and John was a herder on a stock farm. But why did Hyrum have a 2 year old daughter? Maybe this was someone he "adopted" or was caring for at the request of a family member.

By the 1930 census, Hyrum N. was 74, and living with his son, Hyrum A., 53, still in Garden City, and they were both farming. The following July, Hyrum Nephi Dustin passed away in Garden City, Utah, at the age of 75 years, 9 months and 4 days old from "old age" per his death certificate. His death certificate lists him as a farmer and the husband of Rebecca Malinda Dustin. He was buried in the Garden City Cemetery.

Rebecca and Hyrum's youngest daughter, Vilda Dustin married Ezra Louie Kunz, and here is her obituary:

Sandy-Vilda Dustin Kunz, 95, died Sept. 26, 1986, in Murray, Utah. Born April 10, 1891, in Garden City to Hyrum Nephi and Rebecca Melinda Stevens Dustin. She married Ezra Louie Kunz Sept. 29, 1910, in the Logan LDS Temple. He preceded her in death Dec. 29, 1985. She was very active in the LDS church including genealogy, Primary and Relief Society. Survived by sons and daughters, Ivan D., Herbert L., Marlon E., Mrs. Lawrence (Bernice) Nelson, all Sandy; Mrs. Earl (Thekla) Walk, West Valley; Everett A., Murray; Loyal E. Phoenix, Arizona; 37 grandchildren; 129 great grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren. Preceded in death by one son, David N. Funeral service Monday, Sept. 29, noon, Sandy 21st Ward, 8950 So. 400 East. Friends may call Sunday, 7-8 p.m. at Goff Mortuary, 8090 So. State, and Monday at the church one hour prior to the service. Interment, Sandy City Cemetery." Obituary Courtesy of the Deseret News 09/28/1986.

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James Roswell Stevens's Timeline

August 16, 1856
Willard, Box Elder, Utah, United States
April 21, 1880
Age 23
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, United States
November 27, 1881
Age 25
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, United States
March 15, 1884
Age 27
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, United States
November 20, 1890
Age 34
Safford, Graham, Arizona, United States
December 3, 1894
Age 38
Safford, Graham, Arizona, United States
Age 37
May 27, 1897
Age 40
Safford, Graham, Arizona, United States
August 31, 1899
Age 43
Bridger, Montana, United States
July 22, 1902
Age 45
Bridger, Carbon, Montana, United States