Stead Pioneer Family

Contributed by Sandi Donaldson
Divider Line
The History of the first three generation of the Stead Family
by George A. Stead
(Oakland, Calif., June 15, 1987)
(Edited and updated by Delaine Donaldson, August 2007)

Matthias and Ann Maud Stead, natives of Leeds, Yorkshire County, England, came to Griggsville in 1856 after living eight years in St. Louis. Like other Yorkshire immigrants they had taken the sea route from Liverpool to New Orleans and a steamboat up the rivers from there. Matthias had come ahead in 1847 to St. Louis, where his brother John Stead (John was killed in an accident in St. Louis about 1855 when a furniture van tipped over on the levy) had preceded him. Ann Maud Stead followed a year later with their two little girls, the first Maud Mary age 2 and Elizabeth Ann age 1. The first Maud Mary died in St. Louis of cholera at the age of 5, and Elizabeth Ann died in Griggsville of typhoid at the age of 12. Three sons were born in St. Louis or its suburb, Kirkwood, so that the Stead family numbered six when they came up the rivers to Griggsville. Elizabeth Ann was 9, John Waddington 7, Marriott Matthias 4 and George Frederick 1. Four more children were born in Griggsville: Sarah Hanna who died at the age of 5, the second Maud Mary, Charles Ellison and Samuel Maud. In Leeds, Matthias bad served a seven years apprenticeship is the woolen mills to become a skilled cloth finisher. His father, John Stead, likewise was a cloth finisher after serving as a young man in a British infantry regiment during the Napoleonic Wars. Ann Maud's father, Samuel Maud, owned a cabinet shop which made shuttles for the woolen mills, was a city official having to do with "collecting the poor rate," and an elder in Mill Hill Chapel, largest and oldest Unitarian church in England, This was the church of Benjamin Franklin's fellow-scientist and friend, J. B. Priestly. Matthias Stead and Ann Maud were married in Mill Hill Chapel in 1845. They left England because work was slack in the woolen mills. Since a new neo-Gothic church was being built in 1848 to replace the original Mill Hill structure, Ann was given the communion chest to bring with her to America because the new building was to have a new communion chest. Matthias's mother, Mary Wood Stead joined them in St. Louis and died there in 1854, her husband having died in 1832. In St. Louis, Matthias worked at Biglow & Main as a dry goods clerk; in Griggsville he worked in Hatch's general store. When Col. Hatch closed the store during the Civil War to go into the commissary, a civilian branch of the Union army, Matthias went with him, working on the “wharf boats” supplying the troops on the lower Mississippi and in Arkansas. Returning to Griggsville in 1866, he packed eggs, apples, etc. and shipped them to Quincy, St. Louis and Chicago. For several years before his death in 1896 he was the express agent in Griggsville. Matthias and Ann bought and lived in one of the houses in "Riderville" in the north part of town. They were Episcopalian's, there being no Unitarian church in Griggsville. Matthias Stead met Lincoln when the latter was campaigning in Griggsville and staying with the Tylers. On April 17, 1865 the two oldest boys, John (15) and Matt (12) were loafing around Griggsville Landing watching the steamboat come in from St. Louis when they learned that Lincoln had been assassinated two days before. They borrowed a "shin plaster" (25 cents) from a teamster, bought a newspaper and ran the four miles to Griggsville, beating the Naples to Pittsfield stage with the first news of Lincoln's death. They gave the paper to a Mr. Elder who read it to a gathering in the town square.

John Waddington Stead, oldest son of Matthias and Ann Maud Stead, married Mary Lasbury in the first wedding in St. James Episcopal Church in 1884. They bad two sons and two daughters: John Walter Stead was an attorney in Chicago, and William Stead drowned in the Illinois River in August 1908 when home from college after his freshmen year. Ann Elizabeth married George Cadwell and their son, Stead Cadwell, a banker in Minneapolis, is well known to many Griggsville people. Winifred Louise died at the age of 22, unmarried. John Waddington Stead with his brothers George Frederick and Charles Ellison had a slaughter house and meat market. He bought out his brothers after several years and operated the business alone until retirement. Active in community affairs he was a county supervisor, a director of the National Bank, etc.

Marriott Matthias Stead with his wife Henrietta Mirfield, daughter of a farmer from Yorkshire, migrated to Pratt County, Kansas where they raised wheat near Hutchinson for many years. They had two sons: Samuel George Stead (banker, died young) and James Ellison Stead (died young) and two daughters: Marie Granger Stead, RN (unmarried) and Henrietta Maud (Retta) Lillibridge (gave birth to 6 children).

George Frederick Stead in 1892 married Ella Dyke of Quincy, Illinois, whose father James Dyke, a mason contractor built the piers for the Quincy railroad bridge and the tower of St. John's cathedral. George and Ella Stead, after selling their partnership in the meat business to John Stead left Griggsville and settled in the Pacific Northwest about 1901, where George engaged in logging, mining and farming, part of the time in Alaska. Their three children were Arthur, a civil engineer, Maude and Edith. The latter two raised families in Seattle.

Maud Mary Stead (the 2nd, b. 1858) married William E. Ludlow, son, of Mary McWilliams and Robert McK Ludlow, who was killed in a hunting accident when their "little Willie" was 14 months old. After her husband's tragic death, Mary McWilliams Ludlow became a Civil War nurse taking her little son with her to the battlefields. William E. Ludlow managed Freye's flour mill, owned at that time by his grandfather, James McWilliams. Later he was postmaster for a number of years. About 1913 the family moved to a cotton ranch in Texas. There were two daughters, Mary and Anne, and three sons, Robert McK, Fred and Frank. Fred's widow, Sybil Ludlow lived near El Paso. A cousin on the McWilliams side is Julia Childs, the "French Chef" on Television.

Charles Ellison Stead (b. 1860) married Harriet Ann (Hattie) Elledge related to the Daniel Boone family. Their two children were Katherine and Matthew Boone Stead. Katherine (Katie), unmarried, worked for Ferguson's drug store for many years. Boone was a telegrapher and station master for the Wabash Railroad for fifty years. His two sons were Wesley Napier Stead(1916-2000), retired store manager who lived in Effingham, Illinois, and Wendall Allan (Red) Stead, electrical contractor, business man and farmer who lived with his wife, Norma (Lightle) in Griggsville(Norma died in 2004). Charles Ellison Stead was a partner with his brothers John and George in the slaughter house and meat market business. After selling out to John he continued as a butcher.

Samuel Maud Stead (b. 1862) married Ellen Mason Baldwin. Their five children. were: Charles Baldwin Stead (d. 1863) , Samuel Wayne (d. 1860), Miriam Ellen (who lived in Seattle, died in 1990), George Albert (who lived in Oakland, California, died in 1990) and Gwendolyn, (who lived in Menlo Park, California, died in 1995). Samuel M. Stead was a grocer and farmer in Griggsville, selling out his store to Fred C. Hall and his farm to the Ellises, grandparents of Norma Lightle Stead. For several years during WWI and following, he raised wheat in Saskatchewan. The family retired to Covina, California, in 1924. Ellen Baldwin Stead, born in Perry, taught school for nine years, starting in a country school and subsequently in the Griggsville grade schools. Her grandfather, David Baldwin, was a New York contractor who came to Perry in 1835 where he built houses in the Baldwin Addition, giving the site for the Presbyterian church and later building the Perry flour mill. Her father, George Washington Baldwin with his brother David and Levi McMahan built and operated the Pike flour mill in Griggsville. He represented Perry on the county board of supervisors in 1861. Her mother was Sarah Jane (Jennie) Mason, daughter of Charles Mason of Barry, a farmer, and a cousin of Frances E. Willard, founder of the W, C. T. U. The Masons were a New England family dating from the Puritan Migration. An ancestral home was the Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts built in 1636, the oldest standing frame house in the United States. Charles Baldwin Stead (1895-1963) was colonel, AAF and civil engineer, one daughter; Samuel Wayne Stead (1897-1960), merchant, Covina, Calif.; Miriam Ellen (Attebery) Hendrickson (1899-1990) Seattle, first husband was a Methodist minister and divisional chaplain who died in South Pacific during WWII, one daughter and three sons (one son KIA France WWII; George Albert Stead (1901-1990) Oakland, retired, State of California, training consultant and administrator, one son; Gwendolyn Stead Eldred (1907-1995) Menlo Park, California(husband, deceased, was executive vice president of Hewlett Packard); two sons, one daughter.

Divider Line Griggsville - Boomtown of the Frontier

Researched and Written by George A. Stead
(Oakland, Calif., June 15, 1987)