Biography of Homer Stephenson
Riverside County, CA Biographies





HOMER STEPHENSON
An increasing identification with the horticultural activities of Riverside places Mr. Stephenson in a position of importance ands gives him prestige as an orange grower. Shortly after his removal to this city from Kansas during the year 1893 he bought a tract of five acres and began to raise oranges. The business was conducted on a small scale at first, but as he found himself more and more interested in the occupation and increasingly successful in its prosecution he bought adjacent tracts and now owns sixteen acres of valuable orange land. Coming to the west from the great grain fields and corn lands of Kansas, he entered upon an occupation radically different from that in which he had engaged, but one requiring equally with agriculture skill, industry, good judgment and watchfulness. As a farmer in Kansas he was successful and the same may be said of his experiences in California, for here as there he has exhibited intelligence in the conduct of his land and skill in its cultivation.

Born in Trumbull county, Ohio, March 27, 1844, Homer Stephenson is a son of Decatur and Phoebe Stephenson and as a boy received such advantages as the country schools afforded. At the opening of the Civil war he was eager to go to the front and serve under the stars and stripes. When only eighteen years of age, in 1862, he was accepted as a volunteer in the Union service and became a private in Company B, One Hundred and Fifth Ohio Infantry. With his regiment he went to the south and fought for the Union on many a sanguinary and fiercely contested battlefield, always serving faithfully and well. When the war had come to an end and the need of soldiers no longer existed he received an honorable discharge in June of 1865 and returned to his home with a record for bravery of which he and his might well be proud.

The need of more extended educational opportunities than the public schools afforded had impressed itself upon the mind of the young soldier, who upon his return from the army entered the Normal Institute at Orwell, Ashtabula county, Ohio, and for the three ensuing years carried on the regular studies of that school. On his return to Trumbull county he engaged in teaching school, but in 1869 removed to Illinois and for one year taught near Aurora. The course of travel took him westward to Kansas, where he settled in Sedgwick county and took up a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres. While holding the claim he earned a livelihood by teaching school. Little by little the claim was put under cultivation and improvements were made. As his means increased and the returns from the farm justified enlarged expansion he bought a tract of two hundred and forty acres and this too he brought under cultivation. For a long period he tilled the soil of his landed possessions in Kansas. When eventually he sold the land, amounting to four hundred acres, it was at a large advance over its cost and he was enabled to leave the state with a neat capital for investment in California, where he settled in 1893. Since then he has been contentedly pursuing the occupation of a horticulturist in Riverside and has identified himself with civic affairs to an extent indicative of his progressive spirit and loyal devotion.

Ever since the organization of the Grand Army of the Republic in the country Mr. Stephenson has maintained a warm interest in its enterprises and his connection with the post at Riverside has been one of the most pleasant incidents of his life in this city. Pleasant also has been his share in the work of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Riverside. The denomination has in him a liberal contributor to its missionary movements and a warm believer in its doctrines. Although not active in local politics, he stanchly upholds Republican principles. While residing in Kansas he was married in Harvey county, that state, in May of 1876, his wife being Miss Dora Morgan, a native of Ohio. They became the parents of ten children, eight of whom are living, two having died in infancy. Those living are: Mrs. Stella Ayres, of Highgrove; Decatur, on his father's ranch; Laura Stocking, of Riverside; H. Bruce, a graduate of the University of California and now a lieutenant in the constabulary in the Philippine Islands; Morgan, of Arlington; Lillian, Beulah and Gladys, at home with their parents.

From:
History of Riverside County, California
With a Biographical Review
History by Elmer Wallace Holmes
And other well known writers
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1912


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