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Mini Bios of People of Scots Descent
Biography of James Stevens - Halifax Co. VA


(Source: Virginia Magazine of History and Biography vol 30, p66)

James Stevens, who came to Virginia from Baldernock near Glasgow, Scotland, engaged in the milling business in Halifax County. Toward the close of the Revolution the British commander in America sent an expedition to the James River and vicinity, under General Phillips, whose second in command was Benedict Arnold, with instructions to destroy the mills, warehouses and sources of supply drawn upon by the patriot army. Cornwallis, coming north from the Carolinas, accompanied by Tarleton and his dragoons, carried on the work of destruction in Halifax County. The work was carried out under the guise of military necessity, but when a sergeant and a comrade robbed a house and violated a young girl Cornwallis promptly halted the column, arrested the criminals, held a drum head court martial and executed the sentence immediately by hanging the offenders at Halifax Court House. James Stevens,as did other millers, relied upon Scotland as the source of mill supplies, especially burr stones, and his voyage was undertaken to repair the damage done by the British Army. The Stevens descendants intermarried widely with the older families of halifax County. Two of James' daughters, Ann and Margaret, married Alexander and Nathaniel Carter, sons of Thedrick Carter who was sheriff of Halifax County from November 1799 to November 1801. Dr. Walter Bennett and Thedrick Carter were among the gentlemen designated to take the first census of Halifax County, since published by the government. Previous efforts had failed because of the belief that the census was connected to a scheme to increase taxes.

(Source:Virginia Magazine of History and Biography vol 29, starts on p. 385.)

Journal of James Stevens, who lived in Halifax County Virginia and went to Scotland in 1786 for the purpose of procuring millstones, bolting cloths and other stores for his flour mill and business establishment in Halifax County. The first page of the Journal has been mutilated. The Journal itself begins with his arrival at Norfolk from up the river. (note: a particularly remarkable account since it pinpoints the ancestral home of this family in the Brtitish Isles!)

"Passage in the ship Nancy to Portsmouth anf Norfolk to clear out and procure fresh flour, where we stayed that night after finishing our business at these towns. Next day we returned to the brig at Hampton, wind still at east. Next day being the 8th, saw the Harrison, Kerr from Spain, the Isabella, McCallister and the Neptune, Bell Master from Glasgow. Wind at east. The 10th the first mate and I went on board the Harrison and procured 500 lemons; the 11th we went to Hampton and got some necessarys in that town. The12th weighed anchor and took our departure from Cape Henry and got to sea - thick fog and calmings. Guelph stream ane hundred leagues off the continent, rough seas. The 16th at night much thunder and lightning, attended with heavy showers; wind at west and by south. A ship to windward next morning which semed to wish to speak with us but could not. The 20th wind N and by E with heavy seas; obliged to lay to mexr day. Dead lights up. Much rain and thunder and lightning. June 1 we spoke to Captain Brakster, the brig Providence from Ireland in Longitude 43,bound to Newfoundland, being out 26 days from Waterford. The 8th we saw a solan goose from which we expected we were nearer land than we were. The 10th wind still at east. The 17th Longitude 11 we saw a large ship, seemed to be a man-of-war and a brig to leeward, wind still at east. The 18th saw 2 brigs to windward, wind at E;saw eeds. The 19th we spoke the Aurora brig, Captain Tweed from Demarera, bound to Liverpool, out 9 weeks who desired to be put in the papers- moderate breezes. Same day saw a sloop to leeward. The 20th we spoke a sloop from Messina, out 9 weeks. Spoke the ship Boyd from Jamaica bound to Bristol, out 11 weeks, who from their reckoning judged they were near land. The same afternoon we made the norwest coast of Ireland, 11 leagues off, where we were agreebaly entertained next morning with the fishermen, who told us if we would give them a bottle of rum they would give us a fish for nothing. However we were obliged to give them 2 bottles for fish; moderate breezes and some calmings. We goit a variety of fish such as mackerel, nond, heck, lythe, haddock, cod and ling. There are vast numbers of fishing boats on this coast. The people during the fishing season live along the shore in huts. The 27th we arrived safe at Greenock (Greenock was the port of Glasgow. At that time the Clyde was only 180 feet wide andf 3 feet deep). Sunday the 16th I set out for Baldernock, six miles distant, attended by Mr Buchanan and his lady, where Had the pleasure of hearing the Reverend Mr Cooper preach on the 2nd Epistle of Paul to Timothy 1-10. Here I had a view of the ruins of my ancestors which are all interred in this churchyard." (note:St. Ninians
churchyard).


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