George L. Stevens
1906 A Twentieth Century History of Berrien County Michigan
By Judge Orville W. Coolidge
George L. Stevens, a veteran of the Civil war, equally loyal in citizenship as in times of peace, is one of the enterprising business men of the village of Three Oaks, being identified with various enterprises here. He is now engaged in dealing in wool, seeds and grain, to which business he has devoted his energies for the past sixteen years. He was born in Mason township, Cass county, Michigan, June 30, 1847, his parents being David R. and Eleanor E., (Roberts) Stevens, the former a native of Oswego county, and the latter of Oneida county, New York. They came to Michigan with their respective parents about 1835, and settled in Cass county, where they became acquainted and were married in Mason township. For many years the father there devoted his life to general agricultural pursuits. At the time of their marriage they began housekeeping in the midst of the green woods. The paternal grandfather, Lyman Stevens, had entered land from the government and upon his claim spent the remainder of his days. David Stevens gave his time and energies to general agricultural pursuits and reached the ripe old age of seventy-six years, his birth having occurred in 1822. His wife was born in 1827. In their family were three children: Harriet E., the wife of John Ashley, of Concordia, Kansas; George L., of this review; and John L., who is living upon the old homestead farm in Mason township, Cass county.
No event of special importance occurred to vary the routine of farm life for George L. Stevens in his boyhood days. He remained on the old homestead until twenty two years ago and his mother still resides there. She is now the head of five generations. The home place comprises two hundred acres of land, and through the period of his youth and early manhood George L. Stevens gave his time and energies to the cultivation and development of the fields. At the time of the Civil war, however, when a youth of seventeen years, he put aside all personal considerations and with patriotic zeal responded to the country's call for aid, enlisting as a member of Company A, Second Michigan Cavalry. The regiment was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland and he proceeded as far south as Macon, Georgia. After one year's active service he returned to the farm, where he resided until twenty-two years ago, when he removed from Cass county to Three Oaks and established the first creamery here. He organized the Three Oaks Creamery Company, and was connected therewith for four years as owner. On the expiration of that period he sold out and turned his attention to dealing in grain, wool and seeds. He has now been engaged in this line of trade for sixteen years and has built up a good business, which is proving a profitable source of income. He was also a director of the Three Oaks Bank for four years and is a man of sound business judgment and keen discrimination, who recognizes and improves his opportunities and has therefore made steady progress. He owns two good business houses in the village and also his residences in the town.
In Ohio, in 1870, George L. Stevens was united in marriage to Miss Harriet E. Beals, who was born in Cuyahoga county, near the city of Cleveland, in 1846, a daughter of Abner and Jane (Shepard) Beals. Her grandfather was a soldier of the Revolutionary war, lived to the remarkable old age of one hundred and eighteen years, and died in Cuyahoga county, Ohio. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Stevens has been born a daughter, Gertrude, who is now the wife of Morris McGawn, of Three Oaks, and they have two children, Ethel E., and Alice G.
In his political views Mr. Stevens is a stalwart Republican, having given his support to the party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. He has served as supervisor of his township for threeterms and is now filling the office of township treasurer. He has also been a member of the town council for two terms and as a public official has exercised his prerogatives for the support of all progressive public measures. He is active in the party councils and conventions and his influence has been of no restricted order in local party ranks. He is a member of the Congregational church, -takes a helpful interest in its work and has held various offices therein. He has also been an office holder in Charles Woodruff Post, No. 85, G. A. R., at ThreeOaks, and is a member of the Knights of the Maccabees and the Modern Woodmen camp. In these organizations he is a valued representative, and is in hearty sympathy with the teachings and tenets of the different fraternities which are based upon mutual helpfulness and brotherly kindness. Having spent his entire life in southwestern Michigan he has a wide acquaintance, and during the twenty-two years of his residence in Three Oaks has become known as a substantial and representative citizen, making steady progress toward the objective point of success by reason of his determination and capable methods.
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