In 1850, William Nelson STEPHENS age 34 and Elizabeth HEMPHILL STEPHENS age 30 lived in Madison County, GA with their children Levi age 17, Arminda age 15, Arcadia age 13, Ezekiel age 11, Rebecca age 7 and Susan age 2. They would go on to have another son, William.
William and Elizabeth were married in Madison County GA on the 7th of July 1833. William spent a lot of time in Madison County since its formation in 1811. Creek and Cherokee Indians lived in the area before they ceded the land to the English in 1773 when it became a frontier for American settler’s. Danielsville is where the STEPHENS family lived and where it is believed William was born. Of interest is the town of Athens, about 16 miles from Danielsville, which is the location of the University of Georgia.
The official history of UGA states: “When the University of Georgia was incorporated by an act of the General Assembly on January 27, 1785, Georgia became the first state to charter a state-supported university. In 1784 the General Assembly had set aside 40,000 acres of land to endow a college or seminary of learning.”
In spite of the close proximity to William’s birth town, there is no evidence that William or any of his family attended the University although he was educated enough to read, as recorded in the 1850 U.S. Census. From the census records we know that he was a carpenter. He turned to the land as a farmer later on.
Looking at the pattern of the children’s ages, it could be that there is a lost child between Rebecca age 7 and Susan age 2. Also note that Arcadia’s name (3rd child) is difficult to read and was actually transcribed as ‘Seckta’ but knowing the real name, the census taker’s handwriting is understandable even with the blotted mistake.