Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

William Stevens (1630-1687)
MSA SC 3520-1186

Biography:

STEVENS (STEPHENS), WLLLLAM (1630—1687).
BORN: in 1630 in Buckinghamshire, England; eld­est son.
IMMIGRATED: by 1665 as a free adult from Northampton County, Virginia, where he had settled by 1664/65.
RESIDED: at “Rehoboth,” Po­comoke Hundred, Somerset County.
FAMILY BACKGROUND.
FATHER: John Stevens of Liebourne, Buckinghamshire, England.
BROTHER:  Richard (?—1667).
MARRIED Elizabeth (?—ca. 1695), probably the daughter of George Keyser. Her brother was probably Benjamin (?—1691’i. Her sister was probably Sarah, who married John White (?—1685). Elizabeth subsequently married Ca. 1689 George Layfield (?—1703).
CHILDREN:  Died without progeny.
PRIVATE CAREER. EDUCATION: literate.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Anglican, but was largely responsible for introduction of Presbyterian ministers into Somerset County and was also a close friend of Quakers.
SOCIAL STATUS AND ACTIVITIES: Mr., by 1666; Gent., by 1676; Esq., by 1679; brought two others on arrival in Maryland; one of the few Protestants appointed to high provincial office by Charles Calvert, 3rd Lord Baltimore (1637—1714/15).
OCCUPATIONAL PROFILE: called “tormerly of London, ironmon­ger,” 1687; planter; merchant; land speculator.
PUBLIC CAREER. LEGISLATIVE SERVICE: Lower House, Somerset County, 1669, 1676—1678 (Ac­Counts 1; appointed to the Council by the 3rd session of the 1676—1682 Assembly); Upper House, 1681—1682 (appointed by the 3rd session of the
1676—1782 Assembly; Accounts 3), 1682—1684 (Accounts 1, 2; Laws, chairman 3), 1686 (died before the 2nd session of the 1686—1688 Assem­bly).
OTHER PROVINCIAL OFFICES: Council, 1679— 1687; justice, Provincial Court, 1679—1687; Board of Deputy Governors, 1684—1687.
LOCAL OFFICES: quorum justice of the Eastern Shore, 1665— 1666; justice, Somerset County, 1666—1687 (quorum); coroner, Somerset County, 1666; keeper of weights and measures, Somerset County, 1671.
MILITARY SERVICE: commander of horse, Som­erset and Dorchester counties, 1681—1687; colo­nel. 1681—1687.
STANDS ON PUBLIC/PRIVATE ISSUES: valued proprietary supporter who was influential in settling the Eastern Shore for the Lords Baltimore.
WEALTH DURING LIFETIME. LAND AT FIRST ELECTION: Ca. 3,000 acres. SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN LAND BETWEEN FIRST ELECTION AND DEATH:  sold 2,000 acres, 1670.
WEALTH AT DEATH.
DIED: on December 23, 1687, in Somerset County.
PERSONAL PROPERTY: TEV, at least £468. 12.10, plus 467,070 pounds of tobacco, 5,120 feet of plank, 5,688 pounds of pork, and £297.17.8 in debts due the estate (including 3 servants, 10 slaves, 20 books, plate worth £19.90, and goods and livestock found in 4 plantation houses and 1 townhouse).
LAND:  over 1,000 acres.

Source:  Papenfuse, Edward C., et al. A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789, Vol. I, I-Z.  (Baltimore:  The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985).

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