As a youth, Steve Stephenson, Lars and Ann’s oldest son worked as a farm hand and helped his father on the family farm.

In 1888 Steve took a trip to South Dakota to visit his aunt and Uncle Sin and Austin Larson in Hetland. While Steve was visiting, a severe blizzard hit that area of South Dakota. Trains got stuck in snow drifts. The area didn’t have many trees for firewood so the people twisted hay into tight bundles and burned them for fuel. If Steve had considered moving to the area, the severe weather probably changed his mind.

On February 11, 1891, Steve Stephenson, who was twenty seven, married Bertha Serina Nelson, a twenty-year old woman who had immigrated from Noratrans, Norway, three years earlier. She was the daughter of Nils and Sin Amensen. They were married by the Rev. Nilsen at the Hauges Lutheran Church In northern Grundy County.

Christmas Day 1891 was a tragic day for the Stephenson family. Bertha succumbed to peritonitis, which developed from childbirth complications. The child also died. Steve and Bertha had only been married ten and one-half months. A neighbor woman, Sadie Johnson, and her two-year old daughter, Susan, attended Bertha’s funeral. Sadie had recently lost her husband, Andrew in a hunting accident. During the year of 1892, Steve and Sadie, who had both lost their spouses became friends. They were married on October 1, 1892, by Reverend D. A. Rasmussen at the home of Steve’s parents. After the wedding, Steve and Sadie moved to Yorkville where they purchased a home. While living in yorkville, Steve worked at various jobs jncluding the cutting, storing, and de1ivering of ice.

In the summer of 1893 the young couple took some time to visit the Columbian world Exposition in Chicago. The highlight of this visit for Steve and Sadie was their ride on the fantastic, newly_invented attraction called the Ferris wheel.

Sadly, the family’s string of bad luck seemed to continue. On December 6, 1893, their four month old son Andrew Bennett died. He had been born August 13, 1893. However, on April 5, 1894, Steve and Sadie had another son, whom they named Henry RudOlf in remembrance of Steve’s brother, who had died shortly before. On August 29, 1898, another son named joseph Lawrence was born. In 1900, Earl H., their fourth son was born, however, Earl lived only a few weeks.

When Steve’s father retired and sold his farm in 1903, Steve and his family moved onto the farm and rented it from the new owner. In the spring of 1907, the family moved to Lisbon and Steve worked as a farmhand, hiring on for a month at a time. In early 1909 the family moved again to a farm west of Newark, while Steve continued to work as a hired hand. it was at this farm that Sadie died in 1909. After his second wife’s death, Steve moved his family to Helmar.

On January 11, 1911, Steve married Malinda Svelland and in 1912 he purchased a twenty-acre farm of his own between Newark and  Sheridan. In 1917, Steve sold this farm, bought a building in Newark, and retired there. While Steve and Nalinda lived in the back of the building, they rented the front of the building to Dr. Freeman, who had his medical office there.

Steve Stephenson died on September 24, 1924 at the age of sixty-six. He was buried in Saratoga Cemetery in Grundy County. Click here to see his gravestone on the Find A Grave site

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