Biography of Capt. Robert W. Stephenson
North Central Ohio Biographies

Capt. Robert W. Stephenson, of the Richland County Bar, has had a wide and successful practice in Mansfield for a number of years, and is a member of one of the most prominent pioneer families of Ohio. He is also a veteran of the World War. Mr. Stephenson was born at Sidney, Ohio, Oct. 7, 1874, the son of Judge John Gowdy and Anna Margaret (Thorne) Stephenson.

Judge John Gowdy Stephenson was born at Xenia, Ohio, July 9, 1823. He was educated there and when a young man located at Sidney, where he studied law and taught school. He went to California in 1850 and was fairly successful in gold prospecting. He was a member of the old Vigilante committee of California and was admitted to the California bar. He engaged in practice there until 1868, when he returned to Ohio and practiced law. While a resident of California Mr. Stephenson met with a serious accident, which resulted in the amputation of a leg. Upon his return to Sidney he served as mayor for two terms, and was elected as probate judge for three terms. He removed to Somerset, Ky., in 1882, and engaged in the practice of law and farming there until his death. Mr. Stephenson died Sept. 7, 1902, and his wife died April 4, 1918. Both are buried at Sidney. She was born there, Nov. 10, 1842, the daughter of Henry and Eliza Ann (Jones) Thorne, natives of Philadelphia and early settlers of Sidney. Mr. Thorne was the proprietor of popular hotels at Sidney and Wapakoneta, Ohio. To John Gowdy and Anna Margaret (Thorne) Stephenson were born five children: Gertrude, deceased; Robert W., the subject of this sketch; Mary, married Harry Waite, lives at Burnside, Ky.; John G., Jr., deceased; and Charles Edwin, lives at Mansfield. Judge Stephenson was a Democrat, a member of the Presbyterian Church, and belonged to Temperance Lodge, F. & A. M., No. 129, Sidney Chapter, R. A. M., and Sidney Council, R. & S. M. M.

Judge John Gowdy Stephenson was the son of Captain Robert W. and Abigail (Gowdy) Stephenson. He was born at Harrisburg, Mercer County, Pa., in 1792, and his wife was also a native of Kentucky. He served throughout the War of 1812 with the rank of captain, and participated in numerous Ohio campaigns. Both he and his wife are buried at Sidney.

Robert W. Stephenson, the subject of this sketch, received his early education in the public schools of Somerset, Ky. He attended Centre Preparatory School, and was graduated from Centre College in 1898, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He enlisted for service in the Spanish-American War, July 15, 1898, and was sent to Knoxville, Tenn., as a member of the Sixth United States Volunteer Infantry. He saw active service in Porto Rico, and participated in numerous skirmishes. He was discharged with the rank of first sergeant at Savannah, Ga., March 15, 1899. Upon his return to Centre College he took charge of the military department, and attended the College of Law. Mr. Stephenson attended Ohio State University during 1903, after which he came to Mansfield and read law in the offices of Cummings, McBride & Wolfe. He was admitted to the Ohio State bar in 1906. From 1909 until 1917 Mr. Stephenson was identified with the legal department of the Aultman Taylor Manufacturing Company, and on August 25th resigned from his position to enter the Second Officers Training School, at Fort Benjamin Harrison. He was commissioned a captain of infantry and assigned to the 331st Infantry, 83rd Division, Camp Sherman, Ohio. Later he was transferred to the 29th Infantry at Camp Perry, Ohio, and subsequently was sent with this outfit to Fort Henning, Ga. While there he served as acting Judge Advocate on General Farnsworth's staff. Captain Stephenson was discharged at Camp Sherman, Ohio, Sept. 25, 1919, and has since successfully engaged in practice at Mansfield. He served as city solicitor from 1926 until 1930. Mr. Stephenson has offices in the Walpark Building.

In 1917 Mr. Stephenson married Miss Mary A. Walker, the daughter of L. J. and Clara (McCammon) Walker, natives of Morrow County. Both are deceased and are buried at Mansfield. Mr. and Mrs. Stephenson have a daughter, Dorothy.

Mr. Stephenson is a Democrat, an elder of the Presbyterian Church, and belongs to Mansfield Lodge, F. & A. M., No. 35; Mansfield Chapter, R. A. M., No. 28; Mansfield Council, R. & S. M. M., No. 94; Mansfield Commandery, K. T., No. 21; Al Koran Temple; and Amima Club. He also belongs to the United Spanish War Veterans, Charles Dick Camp, No. 17, past commander; and American Legion, McVey Post, No. 16, past commander.

Mr. Stephenson is a member of the Richland County, Ohio State, and American Bar associations.

History of North Central Ohio
Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne,
Medina, Lorin, Huron and Knox Counties
BY: William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1931

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