Biography of Chester Stevens

Chester Stevens, representing a pioneer family in Montgomery County, had been an active factor in local affairs and in the legal profession for the past ten years. He is now serving as county auditor, and also enjoys some influential and profitable connections as a lawyer with offices in Independence.

Some of his ancestors fought in the American Revolution, and the Stevens family came from England and settled in New York in colonial times. His grandfather, Chauncey Stevens, was born in New York, and went as a pioneer to the State of Indiana, where he followed farming until his death.

Chester Stevens was born in Montgomery County, Kansas, September 15, 1882. His father, R. E. Stevens, came to Montgomery County, Kansas, in 1870. At that time the Town of Independence had hardly been started, and he was closely associated with much of the early life of this then frontier county. For about twelve years he engaged in the freighting business, before railroads were built, from Montgomery County to Fort Scott and Sedan. He spent his last years on a farm near Elk City, and his farm of eighty acres is still owned by his widow. He was born in the State of Indiana not far from Hamilton, Ohio, grew up in Indiana, but was married across the line in Ohio. He died at Elk City, Kansas, April 10, 1885. He was a republican and an active member of the Methodist Church. The maiden name of his wife was Margaret Blackford, who was born in Butler County, Ohio, in 1844, and since July 16, 1903, she had lived in Elk City. Her children are: William C., a druggist at Independence, and with his brother, Albert E., owner of the Stevens Building at 117 West Myrtle Street; Edgar C., a retired farmer at Elk City, and his mother resided in his home; Albert E., a druggist at Independence and residing at 731 North Pennsylvania Avenue; and Chester.

It was on his father’s farm in Montgomery County that Chester Stevens spent his boyhood days, and he lived there until he was twenty-one, although at the age of seventeen he had begun teaching school. His work as a school teacher covered a period of about five years.

On May 30, 1904, he entered the law office of William Dunkin of Independence, and remained at his studies until admitted to the bar June 21, 1907. He is a well-trained and talented young lawyer, and had been successful in handling a general eivil and criminal practice. For three years he lived at Cherryvale, and while there served as city attorney from May, 1909, to April, 1910. Otherwise his home had been in Independence and his law offices are in the Stevens Building on West Myrtle Street. He is a member of the Montgomery County Bar Association, and in politics is a republican. Mr. Stevens had been interested in politics for many years, and had large acquaintance over the county. On November 4. 1910, he was appointed to the office of county anditor, which he had now filled for six years. Mr. Stevens is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America at Cherryvale, is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and also belongs to the Independence Commercial Club.

He owned one of the attractive residences of Independence at 703 North Ninth Street. On May 6, 1908, at Cherryvale, he married Miss Myrtle Barber, a daughter of the late Dr. J. H. and Eliza Barber, her mother being still a resident of Cherryvale. Her father served as a surgeon in the Civil war with an Iowa regiment, and afterwards was in practice for many years in Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Stevens have one son, Chester Jr., born December 27, 1909, and now in the public schools.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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