Stevens was born February 11, 1846 in Harris County, Georgia. He
was the fifth child of Fleet Cooper Stevens and Elizabeth Ann
Dorrough.The census of 1850 shows that James is about 4
years of age. He is living with his parents in District #19, of
Harris County, Georgia. His father was a farmer at this time. The land
that the family owned was valued
at $450.00. He is also living by his grandparents on his
mother's side of family; Joseph T. and Jane Dorrough. The
Dorrough Family has at least 13 children. James' grandfather has an
estate valued at $3500 .00 at this time.
The next family record found was the 1860 census when James is
still living in the home of his parents in Shelby County,
Alabama. He is about 14 years of age at this time. Fleet Cooper
Stevens, his father has a real estate value of $2500.00 and a
personal Value of $2500.00. His father's occupation is
listed as a farmer. The Dorrough family has also, moved with the
family in Shelby County, Alabama. They are again living next door.
Harder times are to come. On January 06, 1864, James Alexander
Stevens and his brother, Joseph Theophilus, enlisted into the 18th
Alabama Infantry of Company C. After only 10 days (January
06, 1864) of service, he was one of the 100 that were
captured in Franklin, Tennessee. James was only 17 years, 10
months and 26 days of age at this time. We are unsure of his
brother's capture but we know that he came back from the war and
moved to Texas later on in his life.
Olan ( grandson) remembered his grandfather's account while he was a
prisoner. He was told that the prisoners were herded into trains like
cattle. Prisoners were sick, wounded, some screaming in pain, some
dying, and he remembered that the stench was horrible. He remembers
that they had little food and some of their clothing was taken
away from them for the Union
Troops. They were cold, hungry and sick.
Then they were sent to the Union camp of Chase, Ohio. ( See below the
article on the conditions of Camp Chase.) James Alexander, said
that due to over crowding every day they would have to go into the
yard. The Union soldiers would have a pile of pebbles. All the
prisoners were required to pick up a pebble and turn it over . If their
pebble had an X on the bottom, they would be shot that day. James
Alexander said that he had drawn an X on his pebble and he was waiting
to be shot. That day, they got word that the war was over, so he was
One year, 3 months, and 16 days after James' capture the
prisoners were engaged in a prisoner exchange. This exchange occurred
Vicksburg, Mississippi. He was released with his rank noted as
being a Private. James recalled that when he was released he had to
from Mississippi to his home in Alabama. He remembered being
barefooted . The Union soldiers had taken his shoes. He remembered that
his feet were cut
and bleeding. He found some feed sacks and a rope and tied them around
his feet. He continued home. He came home in such bad physical and
condition that when he came up to his home his mother didn't recognize
In 1870 James is now 24 years of age. He is living at the
P.O. of Shelby Springs, in Shelby County, Alabama. There he is living
his brother Fleet Cooper Stevens. His brother's occupation is listed as
a farmer. His brother has a wife and 2 children. James is employed as a
farm laborer there. James' mother and father live also in Shelby
county, but at the
Hillsboro P.O. His father has now become a Baptist preacher.
The family surname is misspelled as Stephens instead of Stevens on this
On March 16, 1873 in Cumberland, Sumner County, Mississippi. James
marries the love of his life, Eliza Jane Davis. James is now 27
years, 10 months, and 14 days of age. Eliza Jane is only15 years, 5
and 18 days of age. Even with the age differences their
love, and devotion lasted 67 years, 2 months, and 22 days.
On June 16, 1874, they are blessed with their first child which is a
daughter. They named her Annie Elizabeth (Annie). They
are naming her after James' mother Elizabeth Ann. Then on May 13, 1876
second child and first son is born. They name him after James'
him Fleet Cooper Stevens (Fleet). Within the next 19 years they
have 9 more
children. Annie, Fleet, and James were born in Cumberland County,
Sumner, Mississippi. Sarah Della was born in Webster County,
Mississippi. John will be the first of their children to be born
in Texas, followed by the births of Will, Hedley, Charles, Lillie,
Carrie, and Effie. This made
James Alexander & Eliza Jane parents of 11 children. These children
were 5 daughters and 6 sons.
On the June 11, 1880 census, the family is shown to
be living in Cumberland, Sumner County, Mississippi . Eliza Jane is
months pregnant . Annie is 6 , Fleet is 4, and James David is 2 years
occupation is still listed as a farmer. It notes that Eliza Jane can't
or write. James can read and write. James and his family move
to Webster County, Mississippi within the next 5 months. Their 4th
Della is born there (November 12, 1880 ).
On May 04, 1892, James & Eliza Jane submited letters of their
faith to the Union Primitive Baptist Church of Lamkin, Texas. This
letter was from the Shiloh Church of Leon County, Texas. They
accepted, and James was elected as a clerk. On July 1892 , he helped to
into place the adopted Articles of Faith and Rules of Decorum which
records of the Church. In June 1898 James was ordained. He
served faithfully throughout the remainder of his life. In 1912
Lamkin Church was torn down. The present Union Primitive Baptist Church
structure was erected on the same site. James' son, John, and
daughter in law
donated the grant of land.
June 23 , 1900, the family is found on the census in the Justice
Precinct #3 in Comanche County. His occupation is listed as a farmer.
In the home are James, Eliza Jane, James D., Sarah D., John, William
Aaron H., Charlie L., Lillie A., Caroline A., and Ethel O. Those not
in the home are Annie and Fleet. All family members can read and
write including Eliza Jane.
April 29, 1910 census shows James, Eliza Jane, Della,
Charles L., Lillie A., Carrie A. and Ethel O. are all in the home.
James' occupation is still a farmer. He owns his home and it is debt
free. His home is identified as being on the Comanche and Gentry Road.
His name is
listed as Jim A. Stevens.
January 27, 1920 census shows that James, Eliza Jane, and Effie
are the only ones in the home. Their beloved sister, Sarah Della,
died only 3 months and 24 days before ( October 03, 1919). Della was
of James and Eliza Jane's 11 children to die. Sarah lived to
be 38 years, 10 months, 11 days of age. She was never married. The
lived in Justice Precinct #3 . The road was labeled as being on the
Comanche Hamilton, North Road , in the village of Lamkin. James
noted as owning the farm. He was also, noted as being a farmer .
On February 03, 1926 in Comanche County, Texas, James filed a soldier's
application for a pension. His application states that he was
honorably discharged. It states his enlistment, capture, exchange
His name was not found on the unit's muster roll so James had to
confirm his enlistment. He had to get affidavits from several
confirm his enlistment. His brothers F. C. Stevens and J. H. Stevens
signed the affidavits. W. L.Davis and W. H. Herren stated that James
was a creditable
citizen. The state and county assessor confirmed the value of
James' homestead as
being $2,750.00. His application was approved 12 days later on
February 15, 1926. He was granted a back pay for December 01, 1925 to
the current date
of being on February 15, 1926.
April 03, 1930, Ethel O. (Effie) is listed as the head of the
home. Effie is 33 years of age, James is 84, and Eliza Jane is 73.
Effie's occupation is listed as a farmer. James and Eliza Jane's sons,
Will, and their daughter, Lillie, live only a few houses down from them.
Della Fay ( granddaughter) remembers little about James, but
that when he wanted to talk to her, he would get his cane and pull her
to him with the hook . She also remembered that one day she saw
him take his cane and put it out into the yard . He set it upright into
. She remembers that she was playing. Della remembers that she
started to pull the cane out of the ground for him. He promptly told
her to leave
it there so that he could tell what time it was. So, he must have
used it as a poor man's sun dial. James and Eliza Jane were
in the Lamkin area. James was known to be a farmer and a blacksmith. He
would make caskets. Eliza Jane with her sewing skills would make
linings and embellishments for them.
William Theophilus (Will), their sixth child would die 7 years, 11
months, 1 day after the 1930 census (on March 04, 1938).
Then 1 year, 1 month, and 8 days after Will's death, their
son, James David (Jim) would die (on April 12, 1939).
James died the following year on June 07, 1940 in Lamkin, Texas in
Comanche County. His death was 1 year, 1 month, and 26 days
after his son, Jim's death. He lived to be 94 years, 3 months, and 27
days of age. Eliza Jane died 1 year, 1 month, 13 days after James
Alexander's death July 20, 1941 . She lived to be 83 years, 9
months and 24 days
of age. Both James and Eliza Jane were buried in Toliver Cemetery in
Comanche County, Texas. This brought for 4 consecutive years a death
of a family member every year, with it being Will (1938), Jim (1939),
James Alexander (1940), and Eliza Jane (1941).
James and Eliza Jane were some of our early pioneers. Both
worked together and sometimes they worked apart. Times were hard, even
at times was unyielding. I find that they were living the
that they could one day at a time. They pushed on to bring the
family together and
fulfill the family's many needs. The focus of their life was doing
God's will, loving
family and others. They demonstrated these characteristics by
their lives until their death.
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