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  Athens Township, Bradford County ~ Biographies

Chester Stephens

Chester Stephens, one of the earliest settlers of Tioga Point, was born March 12, 1785, at Kingston, Luzerne County, and came to Athens (Tioga Point), with his father, Ira Stephens, in 1788. Ira Stephens was born at Stonington, Connecticut, July 24, 1760. Jedediah Stephens, father of Ira Stephens, was born in 1703, and died in 1790, and was among the first persons buried in the old grave-yard in Athens. To Ira Stephens, July 12, 1812, was patented the property since known as the "Tyler farm," at Milltown. Chester Stephens lived, upon his arrival in Milltown, in the old homestead of William Matthewson, at the foot of Spanish hill. The deed of the other heirs of the Tyler property, formerly the Stephens patent, to Ira Stephens bears date of June 27, 1817; the property contained 176 acres and 3 perches. In 1817, Chester Stephens bought of John Arnot the present residence of the survivors of this family, in Athens borough. The lot is 99 feet fronton Main Street, and the consideration paid was $1200. He married, October 10, 1811, Lucinda Grant, of Stonington, Connecticut; the ceremony took place in the old Simon Spalding house, in Milltown, formerly occupied by John Shephard. Lucinda Grant was born March 13, 1794. She was the niece of John Shephard.

At the time of the removal of Chester Stephens to Athens and the purchase of the Arnot property, the lot contained "a low, rambling building," to which a store was attached. It was considered at the time the most valuable property in the settlement; in earlier times it had been occupied by an Indian cabin. At this place Mr. Stephens subsequently engaged in mercantile business. The house still remains in the family, and at the present writing (1878) is the residence of his surviving daughter. Miss Caroline B. Stephens, and her maternal grandfather. Mr. Stephens had three children, Clara H., Caroline B., and a son, W. G. Stephens. The eldest, Clara H., was a woman of literary tastes, and contributed to the periodicals of the day. Her last contribution bears date of August 10, 1860, in the Masonic Review, published in Cincinnati, Ohio. A few days after this appeared she died. She is described as an exceptionally amiable, refined, and intelligent woman.

The closing years of Mr. Stephens' life were attended by severe physical affliction. During this time, a period of about ten years, he was constantly attended and ministered to by his devoted younger daughter, who survives him.

Mr. Stephens was an ardent Mason, and of this order was made an honorary member, December 26, 1854. He was among the very last survivors of the "early times" and primeval periods of the Susquehanna valley, and from his remembrance of that day many interesting memoranda have been published in the publication of his kinswoman, Mrs. G. E. Perkins, "Early Times on the Susquehanna."

Athens Township

Bradford County Biographies

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Created May 2014 by Judy White