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An American Family History

The Stevens Families in Leeds County, Ontario

  also spelled Stephens  

Leeds County, Ontario, Canada was first surveyed in 1792 in preparation for the United Empire Loyalists settlers. In 1850, Leeds County merged with Grenville to create the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.

Roger Stevens was born on May 25, 1730 in Quaker Hill, Dutchess County, New York. He was the son of Simeon Stevens and Hannah Roswell.

Roger married Mary Doolittle. Mary was born on February 16, 1729 in Palmer, Hampden, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Samuel Doolittle and Jane Wheeler.

Roger and Mary's children probably included:

Roger Stevens, Jr. (1753),
Abel Stevens (1755)
Amy Stevens (1756, married Parshall Terry),
Ephriam Stevens (1757)
Abigail Stevens (1759)
Mary Stevens (1762),
Elihu Stevens (1764),
Elizabeth Stevens (1765),
Thomas Stevens (1766),
Moses K. Stevens ( 1768),
Henry Stevens (1770)
Daniel Stevens (1772)
Abraham Stevens (1775, married Ruth Andrews),
Dedemia Stevens (1777, married David Haskins).

During the American Revolution, Roger remained loyal to the crown.

Shortly after the outbreak of the American revolution Roger Stevens, a large landowner in Pittsford, aroused the wrath of local rebels by refusing to renounce his allegiance to the crown – an act of defiance that led to his arrest and imprisonment and the confiscation of his property.

Somehow managing to escape, Roger [Jr.?] gained employment as a guide for a brigade of German troops serving under Major-General John Burgoyne. Imprisoned again after Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga (near Schuylerville, N.Y.)

In 1781 Roger was a spy for British troops stationed in Vermont... (from Dictionary of Canadian Biography by Curtis Fahey)

Mary died on December 3, 1803 and Roger, Sr. died in 1808 in Leeds County, Ontario.

The American Flag was adopted in 1777.

Dutchess County, New York patriots forced colonists loyal to the British government to flee north into what became Ontario.

 
 

The first European settlements in Ontario were after the American Revolution when 5,000 loyalists left the new United States.

Abel Stevens was born about 1755 in Quaker Hill, Dutchess County, New York.

He married Eunice Buck.

Clarissa Stevens (1774-adopted),
Uriah Stevens (1776, married Mary Ann Gilbert),
Abel Stevens, Jr. (1779, married Ruth Huntley and Phoebe Knowlton),
Elizabeth Stevens (1782),
Eunice Stevens (1786),
Mariam Stevens (1786),
Isaac Stevens (1787, married Elizabeth Day),
David Stevens (1790),
Sarah Ann Stevens (1792),
Alfred Stevens (1796, married Ruby Halladay),
Elihu Stevens
Henry Stevens (1801),
Horace Stevens (1802).

During the revolution Abel remained loyal to the crown and assisted his father, Roger, as a spy.

In 1794 he brought a group of Baptist families to Leeds County, Ontario.

He was fundamental in establishing a Baptist church in Leeds County. In 1800

Abel Stevens, an elder of the Baptist Church, and the first settler of the Township of Bastard, appeared before the Court and asked permission to solemnize marriages. (History of Leeds Grenville)

 

 
 
 
 

Henry Stevens was born about 1770.

He married Chloe Parish who was born 1775 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont.

They made their home in Bastard, Leeds County Ontario.

Chloe and Henry's children included:

Hannah Stevens (about 1805),
Alemeda Stevens (about 1809), and
Henry Stevens (1812).

 
 

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from Dictionary of Canadian Biography by Curtis Fahey

Abel Stevens, colonizer and Baptist preacher; b. in Pittsford (Vt), son of Roger Stevens and Mary Doolittle; m. 1779 Eunice Buck of Pittsford, and they had at least ten children; d. in 1825 or 1826, probably in Steventown (near Delta), Upper Canada.

Abel Stevens’s early life was closely intertwined with the exploits of his elder brother Roger. ... in October 1777, Roger engineered a second escape with the assistance of his brother Abel, then farming in the Pittsford area and known chiefly as a skilful hunter and courageous Indian-fighter. ...

Unfortunately, although Roger was satisfied with Abel’s work, the British military was less than enthusiastic. One officer complained that Abel’s reports were "not near Adequate to our expectations, nor the expence paid him and his brother in money and furrs, &c." He also claimed that Abel could not keep a secret and practised the "art of pretending to many important Secrets which had never any other foundation than in his own Brain."

....Abel, however, remained in Vermont until 1792, when he and a few other Pittsford residents conceived the idea of establishing a settlement in the new colony of Upper Canada. ... in February 1794, he led six Baptist families back to Leeds County, where they immediately set to work laying the foundations of a community known, appropriately enough, as Steventown...

Stevens was also a key figure in the province’s early religious life. ...

 
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©Roberta Tuller 2018
tuller.roberta@gmail.com
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