Pages 860-862, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




In no profession is there a career more open to talent than in that of the law, and in no field of endeavor is there demanded a more careful preparation, a more thorough appreciation of the absolute ethics of life, or of the underlying principles which form the basis of all human rights and privileges. Unflagging application and intuitive wisdom and a determination to fully utilize the means at hand, are the concomitants which insure personal success and prestige in this great profession which stands as the stern conservator of justice; and it is one which none should enter without a recognition of the obstacles to be overcome and the battles to be won, for success does not perch on the falchion of every person who enters the competitive fray, but comes only as the direct result of capability. Possessing all the requisite qualities of the able lawyer, George R. Stephenson is now an honored and prominent member of the bar of Woodson County, residing in Yates Center.

A native of Geauga County, Ohio, Mr. Stephenson was born in 1851, and is a representative of one of the old colonial families. His paternal grandfather, the Rev. Thomas B. Stephenson, was a descendant of one of the members of the "Boston tea party." James E. Stephenson, the father of our subject, was born on Staten Island, New York, in 1819, and in 1825, when a child became a resident of Geauga County, Ohio. He now resides in Chardon, that state. He followed merchandising during much of his active business career, but after attaining the age of fifty-five years he studied law and was admitted to the bar, becoming a successful legal practitioner. During the war he served as a draft commissioner. His wife, Lavinia Stephenson, was born in Geauga County, Ohio, in 1819, and was a daughter of Lebbeus Norton, who located in that county at a very early day. He was


a native of Killingsworth, Connecticut, born in 1788. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Stephenson were born four children: James P., a minister of the gospel who is now a member of the faculty of the Baptist College, in Des Moines, Iowa; Herbert N., who is now connected with a banking house in Minneapolis, Minnesota; George R., and Charles F., who resides in Chardon, Ohio.

In the schools of his native state Mr. Stephenson of this review acquired his education and later studied law in the office of his father. Admitted to the bar he practiced for one year in Chardon before coming to Kansas, but since July 18, 1879, he has resided in Yates Center, and has won distinction as an attorney in the county seat, nor is his reputation limited by the confines of Woodson County for he is one of the recognized leaders among the legal fraternity in this section of the state and his remarkable success in the higher courts has demonstrated his ability as a pleader and given evidence of his profound knowledge of the law. He is noted as a lawmaker and in the celebrated case of Briggs versus the Chicago, Kansas & Western Railroad Company he established a precedent that when railways acquire a right of way over mortgaged land by deed from the owner of the fee and the same is sold under the mortgage, the sale includes all improvements placed on said property by the said railroad company prior to the sale.

While a strong Republican at all times and active in the interests of his party, Mr. Stephenson's legal ability and integrity were such as to overcome all political prejudice and he was appointed justice of the peace by Governor Glick which is an unmistakable evidence of the esteem in which he is held regardless of his political affiliations. In 1893 he was appointed receiver of the Woodson State Bank. The fact that his bond for fifty thousand dollars was readily signed by fifty sureties in a time of universal financial distress showed clearly the confidence reposed in his business integrity. In his practice he is particularly prominent and fortunate, fortunate because of his pronounced ability, his thorough understanding of the principles of jurisprudence and the correctness with which he applies the law to the points in litigation.

In December, 1878, Mr. Stephenson married Miss Maria L. Peter, a daughter of Edward Peter, of Tuscarawas County, Ohio. She died in September, 1887, leaving three children: Bertha S., James E. and Oliver H. In October, 1888 Mr. Stephenson was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Laura Carpenter, widow of George D. Carpenter, who was one of the leading citizens of Woodson County in the early epoch of her history. The second marriage was celebrated in Emporia, Kansas, and has been blessed with one son, George E.

In the first half of the nineteenth century the Stephensons were Whigs, but since 1856 representatives of the name have supported Republican principles and since casting his first vote for General Grant our subject has deposited a ballot for each presidential nominee of the Republican party. He now gives the greater part of his time to his legal practice which extends


to all the courts of the state and is of a distinctively representative character and involves many important interests. He is a man of unquestioned honesty of purpose, despising all unworthy means to secure success in any undertaking or for any purpose, or to promote his own advancement in any direction, whether political or otherwise.

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