Biography of Mrs. Louisa Jane Stevinson

Louisa J Stevenson
Louisa J Stevenson

One of the oldest living of the pioneer women of Merced County is Mrs. Louisa Jane Stevinson, daughter of that pioneer Isham J. Cox, of Cox’s Ferry fame on the Merced River and one of the stanch upbuilders of the county from its beginning. Isham J. Cox was born in Tennessee, went to Shelby County, 111., and thence to Texas, and with ox-teams and wagons came overland to California, arriving at Hill’s Ferry in March, 1850. He went to the gold mines on Sherlock’s Creek, Mariposa County, and met with more than ordinary good luck; and when he returned to his family, they moved to a place four miles below Snelling, where he settled on the Merced River and built a ferry, which was operated as Cox’s Ferry for many years. His wife was Rebecca Chisenhall in maidenhood and was of Scotch descent. Her progenitors were early settlers in Virginia and were large planters.

Louisa Jane (Cox) Stevinson was born in Shelby County, Ill., over eighty-five years ago, and was only two years old when she was taken across the plains by her parents to Texas, where they lived during 1846-1847. In 1849 they came to California via the southern route to San Diego, where they spent the winter of 1849-1850. She was ten years old at the time and well remembers the journey from Texas and the early-day history of this section of country, where she grew to womanhood. She attended school at Quartzberg, Mariposa County.

The marriage of Louisa Jane Cox and James J. Stevinson was solemnized on December 27, 1855. Of this union the following children were born: Samuel, Mary E., and Fannie B. Samuel married Alice Reed and had three boys: Archibald, in the cattle business in the Stevinson Colony, is married and has two children; Howard, who married Blanche DeGraff, by whom two children were born, died in 1917; Floyd I., a rancher, married Carmella Sorensen, and they have five children. Mary E. became the wife of Charles P Harris of San Francisco, who died in 1899, and she is now living with her mother. Fannie B. married Howard H. Hogan, promoter of the Stevinson Colony, and had two children: Paul Iribe, art designer with Cecil De Mille at Culver City; and Judith B., wife of George Hatfield, an attorney in San Francisco. Mr. Hogan died in 1917.

Mr. and Mrs. Stevinson worked hand in hand and in time accumulated 25,000 acres of land, upon which they became independent. Together they planned their home and made extensive improvements on their property; and at the same time they did their full duty as citizens of their county. Their home has always been the center of a delightful California hospitality to their many friends. The commodious house was completed in 1891. It is fitted with all conveniences and is surrounded by a spacious lawn, which is decorated with flowering shrubs and trees. Here, amid the surroundings so dear to her, Mrs. Stevinson is living in peace and contentment, the center of a large circle of dear friends, and her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Mr. Stevinson, an account of whose life is given on another page, passed away on November 13, 1907, when seventy-nine years of age.

Source: Outcalt, John. A history of Merced County, California : with a biographical review of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present; Los Angeles, Calif. : Historic Record Company, 1925.

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