Samuel Walter Stephenson

by Lila Murphree and Mamie Martin (Sisters to Mrs. Stephenson)
Taken from History of Dickens County, by Fred Arrington, 1971, pp. 325-326

At the age of 26, Walter Stephenson came from Woodruff County, Arkansas, by train to Quannah, Texas, then traveled on the mail hack on to Tap, Texas in Dickens County. From Tap he rode three miles on horseback to the home of Clint Garrett where he claimed as his bride the second daughter of Mr. Garrett, a pioneer of Dickens County.

The wedding ceremony was performed November 15, 1905, after Walter and Annie had ridden four miles on horseback to the home of a friend and minister of the gospel, W. E. Cross, in the Red-mud community.

Annie had expected a few close friends to be present for her wedding, but was surprised when they got in sight of the preacher's house to see the whole countryside dotted with buggies and horsebackers. There were many congratulations and good-bys exchanged that day. For in a few days Walter was to return with his young bride to Augusta, Arkansas to make their home.

The second year of the Mr. And Mrs. Stephenson's marriage a little ray of sunshine came into their lives, little Bennie was born to their pride and joy for six short years. Then, God chose him to join his little angels.

Annie never could accept Arkansas as their home, so in a few years, they brought their three older children, Edna, Annie Grace, and Nath to west Texas to live, and lived the first few years on a farm eight miles west of Spur.

Walter also brought along an Uncle Ben Stephenson to live with them, but the west didn't appeal to Ben, so he soon returned to his old home in Woodruff County, Arkansas, near Grays to live.

Opportunities seemed better on the plains to Walter, so he bought a farm two miles east of McAdoo, where the other children were born (except John, he had been born west of Spur). Jim, Lucille, Charlie and Robena were born and reared. Nath still operates the farm.

Some of the close neighbors were: the Hickmans, Formbys, Bartons, Pullens, Eldridges, Ethridges, Cyphers, McLaughlins, Tookes, and Mr. Rumfield and others.

Mr. And Mrs. Stephenson spent most of their life in helping others. In the twenties his brother Vick, became ill and Walter thought the West may be a more suitable climate for Vick, so persuaded Vick and his family to move to McAdoo on a farm so he could assist in his illness. With Walter's large family and Vick's large family, he had a large crew of farmers. Vick's family later moved to Ft. Worth, except two daughters Helen and Annie T. had married Dickens County boys and are residents of Dickens County.

Again when his half-brother Jim Garrett became ill in Arkansas, he moved him west to McAdoo in hopes of better health conditions. He spent his remaining days in Walter's home and he is buried in the McAdoo cemetery.

He also gave three orphaned nephews the Yarbrough boys, Jenk, Minor and Marvin, home for a time, and Mrs. Stephenson's niece Rachel Johnson spent a school term in their home in the early 1920s.

As mentioned before, Mr. Stephenson was a cotton farmer and during the harvest season, in those days, all cotton was picked by hand, so many families would stop by to pick cotton in the fall of the year. It will be remembered that one year a family by the name of Waldrop, picked during a season when they left their little five-year-old boy, Roland with them. Mr. And Mrs. Stephenson gave him a home and sent to school and reared him to be grown. They treated him like their own and Roland loved them dearly. Their eight children are (Edna) Mrs. M. J. McCoy, Lubbock; (Annie Grace) Mrs. Carmie Findley, Port Lavaca; Nath, McAdoo; John, California; Jim, Paducah; (Lucille) Mrs. Kermit Stanley, Paducah; Charlie, Lubbock; and (Robena) Mrs. Bamey Watts, Lubbock.

As a boy, Mr. Stephenson's one desire was to be a doctor, and he was in school studying medicine when his father passed away. He was of great assistance to his neighbors and family in assisting with minor illnesses for doctors were far apart and scarce in the early days.

Mr. Stephenson was a talented musician, one of the best old time fiddlers in this area. Some of his children followed in his footsteps. He had a string band of this own. Mrs. Stephenson had a beautiful voice. In the early days, neighbors and friends gathered in their home for an evening of music, singing and fun. Their home was well known for its gracious hospitality and never a dull moment there.

Mr. Stephenson was a Methodist, Mrs. Stephenson a member of the Church of Christ. Both remained true to their faith.

They are buried in the McAdoo cemetery.