Mrs Lucy (Wells) Stevens
From an article by T. U. Taylor in J. Marvin Hunter’s Frontier Times Magazine, Sep., 1940]
This pioneer woman of Bandera county was born in 1847 and was four years old when she arrived in Atascosa county, Texas. Here, She grew to young womanhood, and in the course of human events after the soldiers returned from the, war, there came into Atascosa county, from Tennessee, February 6, 1838, young Jack Stevens, who fought in the 32nd Texas Cavalry Co. I for the whole period of the Civil War, and his activities were confined largely to Texas and Louisiana. After the War was over he found himself in Atascosa county and there he met the beautiful Lucy Wells. Young Jack escaped many bullets during the Civil War, but young Cupid fired a shot at him from the eyes of Lucy Wells that had a fatal effect. Lucy Wells and Jack Stevens were married in 1866, and the young couple took their honeymoon from Atascosa county to Bandera through the country in an oxwagon, and it took them five days to make the trip, probably traveling at the break-neck speed of 12 to 15 miles per day over almost trackless prairies. They located on Hicks' Creek, nine miles from Bandera. The first thing to do was to erect a house. While Jack Stevens was building this house, his bride attended to the camp equipment. Until this house was covered, erected, and roofed, the couple lived under a wagon sheet, and this is typical of nearly all the homes of the pioneer. Near them there were some families by the name of Taylor, four Pue brothers, and on Laxson's Creek two miles to the west, there were the Laxson's, Arnold's, Merritts, Walkers, and Buckelew's. Here, the family grew and like all the pioneer families replenished the earth with 13 offsprings, and today twelve of these are living, six boys and six girls.
Indians were a constant threat, and while none of the families were ever killed, the Indians drove off all of the horses and left them afoot. The result was that the crops were cultivated with oxen, and the crops raised consisted largely of corn and feed stuffs. The house was equipped like practically all the frontier houses. Jack Stevens had the foresight to locate his house near a beautiful spring that was just a short distance from the house and was not two thirds of a mile away like that of Aunt Ollie Peril in Gillespie county.
Lucy (Wells) Stevens died July 5, 1940, at the age of 93 years. In her younger days she had her old loons, her spinning wheel, and irr the early days, they cooked on the old-fashioned fire place with a Dutch oven, a skillet, a frying pan, and the pot-licker pot. They had the old ash hopper, and Lucy Wells Stevens soon learned to make the old soft soap. Her husband wore homespun and she for the time wore the lindsey woolsey. There were few shoe stores in those days.
An astonishing thing in the lives of some pioneer women is the fact that few of them learned to handle guns. Mrs. Stevens had no knowledge of one whatever—never learning to load one. She said her only uneasiness from Indians was for her husband when he had to be away from home and for her whole family when they were returning in an ox-wagon from Bandera after night. This small village was only ten miles distant, but to make the round trip for supplies usually took some of the night.
She had made a visit to a neighbor's two miles distant on the day before the last Indian raid in the country when they killed a Mrs. Moore on the same road and practically the same time of the day she had gone the day before.
Mr. Stevens being a staunch member of the Methodist church, she got the children ready on Sunday morning and the father took them to a school house to Sunday school, about five miles above the present town of Medina. This made a distance of ten miles. Of course the mother had no time to go, for usually there was a small baby to stay home and care for. Her home was always open to strangers, traveling through this strange land, and a haven for visiting preachers of every denomination.
Mrs. Stevens' first home was built of cypress slabs and shingles sawed from huge cypress trees that grew along the banks of the Medina river. This house at first had only the earth on which it was built for floors. Lumber ones were added later. In this home her thirteen children were born. A more modern home was later built near the original home site, and this in turn gave way to a modern farm home. here, Mrs. Stevens, until her death in July, lived with an unmarried son. The most of the children lived near enough to make her frequent visits. These children are: Martha, now Mrs. R. C. Barney of California; Emma, Mrs. Jas. Hammond of Medina; J. E. Stevens of Lovington, New Mexico; Sidney A., still at home; Cora, Mrs. W. Rees of Medina; Samuel I. of Bandera; Edwin P. of Medina; Stella, Mrs. W. A. Meadows, Bandera; Mae, Mrs. W. B. Elkins, San Antonio; Homer T. of Bandera; Ida, Mrs. D. O. Tallman, Bandera; and Thomas F. of San Antonio. She also raised a grandson from infancy who is Almond E. Stevens, now in Arizona.
There was a general merchandise store in Bandera in the early days, but the things they did not carry had to be purchased from San Antonio, then only a small town, and sixty miles distant. At one time they even had to haul bread material from Port Lavaca.
In Mrs. Stevens' girlhood days she taught school some, enjoyed the social gatherings of the young people of her Atascosa neighborhood, but her migration to Bandera county ended most of her good times socially until her family grew up. These were replaced with work and family responsibilities. She had no musical talent, although she was fond of music. She was a personal friend of Big Foot Wallace.
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