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IRA MARVIN STEDMAN

IRA MARVIN STEDMAN, (deceased). No community is so fortunately situated that it can spare its men of public worth, and in the death of Ira Marvin Stedman, Savanna, Ill., lost a citizen whose efforts and example had, for years been factors in advancing the best interests of the place. He was born on a farm in Savanna township, Carroll county, Ill., June 19, 1858, and died December 29, 1908. His parents were Albert and Jane (Buchanan) Stedman, the former of whom was born near Canandaigua, N. Y., March 17, 1811, and the latter, May 21, 1816. Albert Stedman died February 1, 1878, his widow surviving him but eight days. They had eleven children, Ira Martin being the tenth in order of birth, and the following members of the family survive: Franklin, who was born October 30, 1835, is assistant cashier of the First National Bank of Savanna; Mrs. Caroline Smith, who was born in Michigan, December 31, 1837, is a widow and resides at Savanna; Mrs. Louisa Robinson, who was born in Stephenson county, Ill., March 28, 1846, resides at Savanna; and Lincoln Stedman, who was born at Savanna, November 23, 1860, resides at Portland, Ore. From New York Albert Stedman and family moved to Lima, now Chelsea, Mich. In 1836, prior to this, he had worked in a paper mill in New York, but after reaching Michigan followed the cooper trade, having learned the same in his native state. In May, 1840, the Stedmans moved to Oneco, in Stephenson county, Ill., by a trade securing a claim on the Pecatonica River two miles south of Winslow. In 1846 Mr. Stedman moved from the farm to Savanna, where he worked at the cooper trade until 1849, when he made a trip to California and remained two years in the far west. The outward journey was made overland with ox-teams, and the homeward, in 1851, by way of the Isthmus of Panama. About this time Mr. Stedman and Dr. Cochran opened the first drug store in Savanna, in which Mr. Stedman continued his interest for two years and then sold and bought a farm in Savanna township, subsequently acquiring additional land and lived on his property until the close of his life.

Ira Marvin Stedman was afforded exceptional educational advantages, including attendance at the Mt. Carroll Academy, the Aurora College and a college at Winfield, Kans., and all these opportunities he turned to good account. After putting his school books aside he became a clerk in a grocery store at Savanna and continued in that line for ten years. In 1894 he entered the employ of the Adams Express Company, becoming their agent at Savanna, and continued in this relation until death. In November, 1905 he opened a novelty store at Savanna and continued this enterprise as long as he lived. He was a Prohibitionist in his views and was a man who set an example in temperance as he did in other directions. Early united with the M. E. church he frequently was a member of its official board and was constantly interested in Sunday school work, serving for eighteen years as Sunday school superintendent, during thirteen of these being thus connected with the Chestnut Park school. Mr. Stedman was largely instrumental in securing the Carnegie Library for Savanna, was elected president of the first board of directors and was a member of the same at the time of death. He was identified with the Masonic fraternity and also belonged to the Eastern Star, as does Mrs. Stedman.

On November 10, 1903, Mr. Stedman was married to Miss Beulah B. Shepard, born in Savanna township, Carroll county, Ill., December 9, 1874, a daughter of Martin and Adelia J. (Bennett) Shepard, the former of whom was born near Auburn, N. Y., February 23, 1835, and the latter near Burlington, Vt., June 12, 1835. Mrs. Shepard was a daughter of Charles and Sally (Hill) Bennett. They were natives of Vermont who came to Carroll county in the fall of 1837, traveling by water as far as the then village of Chicago and overland from there to Savanna township, Carroll county, settling on Plum River. Charles Bennett subsequently served several terms as sheriff of Carroll county. Martin Shepard, father of Mrs. Stedman, was a son of Simeon and Polly (Eddy) Shepard, who came from New York to Carroll county in 1851, locating in Elkhorn township. In 1854 Martin Shepard and Adelia J. Bennett were united in marriage and they lived for one year in Savanna and then moved to Iowa but returned at the close of one year of pioneering there and at first rented land but later purchased and subsequently owned 600 acres in Carroll county. In 1891 Martin Shepard and wife retired to Savanna, where he died March 1, 1903. Mrs. Shepard survives. They had nine children, seven of whom are living, as follows: Mrs. Addie R. Edgerly, of Ellendale, N. Dak.; John E., of Towner, Col.; Martin W., of Los Angeles, Calif.; Grant, of Ellendale, N. Dak.; Mrs. Anna L. Connell, of Savanna; Mrs. Beulah B. Stedman, of Savanna; and Mrs. Adelia J. Thill, Savanna, Ill. Mr. and Mrs. Stedman had three children born to them, namely: Ruth Amelia, who was born December 21, 1904, Ralph who died August 9, 1906, aged eight days, and Louise Adelia, who was born October 17, 1907. Mrs. Stedman was a teacher in the public schools of Carroll county from 1892 to 1901 and later taught in Dickey county, N. Dak. She graduated from Savanna high school in 1891. Mrs. Stedman and daughters reside with Mrs. Shepard. These families and kindred have many pleasant social connections at Savanna and are well known in Carroll county.

Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Carroll County, Vol. II, Munsell Publishing Company, 1913

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