Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The
Big Bend Country, embracing Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties,
State of Washington", published by Western Historical Publishing
JOHN W. STEPHENS is one of the
oldest citizens in Douglas county and has so wrought here during the years
of his long residence that he is highly esteemed by all who know him.
He has done much for the improvement of the county in both a private and
a public capacity and is counted by all a real benefactor.
John W. Stephens was born in Wood county,
in what is now West Virginia, on January 22, 1842, the son of George and
Louisa (Lee) Stephens, natives of Virginia, and of English and Scotch extraction,
respectively. The public schools of his native county contributed
the educational training of our subject and when he was nineteen he enlisted
in Company F, Seventeenth Virginia Cavalry, under Captain J. H. Crawford.
This was in 1862, and Mr. Stephens served throughout the entire war.
He participated in the battles of Winchester, Gettysburg, and many others,
until he was captured in Lura Valley and sent to Point Lookout as a prisoner
of war, remaining until the war closed. In 1866 Mr. Stephens went
to Missouri, whence he journeyed to Montana and there operated in the wood
business for two years. From there he went to Virginia and in 1871
came west to Humboldt county, California, and there farmed for seven years.
In the spring of 1877 he made his way to Spokane Falls, and on Moran Prairie,
eight miles southeast from that now flourishing city, he located and proved
up on a homestead. In 1883 he operated in the shingle business at
Clarkfork, Idaho, and the same year brought a sawmill to Douglas county,
locating the same on Badger Mountain, some four miles south of where Waterville
stands today. In 1889 he brought in a second mill, establishing it
near the first one, and continued to operate the two until one was destroyed
by fire. In 1893 Mr. Stephens leased his mill and moved to one of
his farms, of which he owns several in Douglas county. In 1897 he
went to Seattle and was there connected with the hotel business for four
years. In 1903 he returned to Waterville, where he now resides.
In 1885 Mr. Stephens was chosen by the people
as county commissioner and served as chairman of the board in Douglas county.
His ability and excellent service were rewarded by a re-election in 1887.
His administration in this important office with his colleagues was accompanied
by much good to the county, owing to his keen foresight and wisdom, which
were always accompanied by the integrity which characterize the man.
Mr. Stephens has the following named brothers
and sisters: Abednego, Jared, Betty Ann, Frances, Minerva Victory.
He belongs to the A. F. and A. M., having been one of the organizers and
charter members of the first lodge in Spokane and also in Waterville.
Mr. Stephens is a man of reliability and excellent standing wherever he
is known and numbers his friends from every quarter.