JOHN M. STEPHENS, one of the prominent and highly respected farmers of McLean County, is a resident on section
9, Hudson Township, and first located in this county in 1851. He was born in Highland County, Ohio. Feb. 12, 1829.
His parents, Philip and Nancy (Meyers) Stephens, were natives of Virginia, but both moved with their respective
families to Ohio when they were young. John Stephens is the eldest in order of birth of his parents' children.
He was reared to manhood on his father's farm and educated in the district school, and in 1849 was united in marriage
with Eleanor Kerns. She was born in Ross County, Ohio, Nov. 30, 1829. Living in Ohio until 1851, they then came
to this State, making the journey overland with wagons, and settled in White Oak Township, this county.
In 1852 Mr. Stephens purchased a farm of fifty-five acres in White Oak Township, on which he lived and farmed for two years and then sold. He subsequently owned two other farms in that township and also disposed of them by sale. In the fall of 1854, he purchased eighty acres of his present farm, together with twenty acres of timbered land, and neither of the tracts were much improved. Mr. Stephens still continues to reside on the latter purchase and by strict economy, good judgment and hard labor, he has added to his landed interests until he is now the proprietor of over 600 acres, over 400 of which is in cultivation. His place is one of the finest in Hudson Township and in addition to the cultivation of the cereals, our subject has and is devoting considerable of his time to the raising of stock. He deserves great credit for the competency he has acquired, considering that when he first came here he was comparatively a poor man, having only $200 in cash. During the war he purchased eighty acres of land and putting the same in wheat, realized for his product an amount equal to $40 per acre, and it has been by taking advantage of such opportunities and laboring hard to accomplish his aims, that he has succeeded. For twenty years he owned and operated threshing-machines and was highly successful in that business. In fact, he realized his start in life by the following of that vocation. In politics Mr. Stephens is Democratic and has held some of the local offices of his township. In religion he holds fellowship with the Christian Church.
Mr. and Mrs. Stephens have become the parents of eight children. Two died in youth and six are yet living. The living are William; Ada, wife of William A. Hogaboom, a resident of Lincoln County, Kan.; Hulda A., wife of Walter Stotler of Hudson Township; Rosa J., who was united in marriage with J. Messer and now resides in El Paso, this State; Minerva, who became the wife of Amos P. Johnston, a resident of Bloomington, and Kery, who married Belinda Blough, and resides in Hudson Township.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 639. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.