Dr. Robert Bruce Stephenson, engaged in the practice of medicine for more than a quarter of a century, in which
period he has ever been conscientious and faithful in the performance of his professional duties, was born in Lockridge
township, Jefferson county, on the loth of December, 1857, his parents being Robert and Elizabeth (Hopkirk) Stephenson,
the mother the only daughter of Hon. William Hopkirk. She was born in New York, and is now a resident of Fairfield.
The father, Robert Stephenson, was a native of England, and died in Fairfield, February 14, 1909, at the age of
seventy seven years. He was eight years of age when he accompanied his parents on the voyage across the Atlantic,
the family home being established in West Virginia, whence they afterward removed to Indiana and subsequently to
Iowa, settling in Jefferson county before the state was admitted to the Union. Robert Stephenson was engaged in
farming in this county prior to the Civil war. After the outbreak of hostilities between the north and the south
he joined the Union army and lost his right leg in battle. He afterward engaged in raising fruit and also filled
several local offices, serving as justice of the peace and postmaster at Lockridge, while for four years he was
county recorder. In the family were nine children, of whom five have passed away, three dying with diptheria during
the war and the other two dying in infancy since the close of hostilities. The four yet living are: Robert Bruce;
Ralph, who is at the head of the Iowa Telephone Company in Des Moines; John, acting as rural mail carrier out of
Fairfield; and Flora, the wife of Oscar Baltz, of Fairfield.
Dr. Stephenson made his start in life working by the month as a farm hand and also in early manhood engaged in
teaching in the district schools. He supplemented his early education by a course in Parsons College, at Fairfield,
from which he was graduated with the class of 1883, and thus with a good literary education to serve as a foundation
upon which to build the superstructure of his professional learning, he entered the Starling Medical College at
Columbus, Ohio, and was there graduated in the class of 1885. Returning to this county he then practiced for seven
years in Lockridge and for two years thereafter in Mystic. In 1894 he came to Libertyville, where he has since
remained and a growing and extensive practice has been accorded hint He possesses marked ability in the field of
his chosen calling because he is continually studying and his perusal of the best medical journals and works, keeps
him in touch with the advanced thought and methods of practice of the present day.
In 1886 Dr. Stephenson was married to Miss Laura Effie Jenks, who was born in Buchanan township, this county, and
is a daughter of Samuel and D. A. Jenks. She is a graduate of Parsons College and taught school. They now have
two children: Laurence B. and Edwin J., both graduates of Parsons College. The elder completed his course in 19o2
and is now a student in the engineering department of the Iowa State University. Edwin J., was graduated from Parsons
College in 1911, and in the fall of the same year entered the engineering department at Iowa City. Both sons are
good ball players, as was the Doctor before them, and were leaders in the baseball, the basket ball and football
teams at Parsons College. Dr. Stephenson has always encouraged his sons in manly athletic and outdoor sports. His
political allegiance is given to the republican party and he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of
the day, serving for some time as a member of the county central committee but never seeking political office.
He holds membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America
and is a faithful and devoted member of the Presbyterian church, in which he has filled the offices of elder and
also superintendent of the Sunday school. His influence is always on the side of right and progress, of reform,
justice and truth, and his nobility of character, his public spirited citizenship and his professional skill have
gained him a most creditable position in the regard of his fellowmen.
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Jefferson County, IA
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