The following biographical sketch of Rev. Benjamin Franklin Stevens  appears at page 996 in the History of Marion County, Missouri written in 1884:

  This gentleman is a son of Benjamin and Sarah (Holson) Stevens, both natives of Sussex County, England, where his father was a merchant and farmer.  Young Benjamin was born in the same county as his parents, October 22, 1801.  In 1803 his parents moved to Chatham, England, where he received a good education, and learned gardening and horticulture.  In 1823 he married Miss Sarah, daughter of William and Sarah Foster, Chatham, England.  After his marriage he engaged in merchandising in Chatham, which he continued till 1831.  When 24 years old he joined the Independent Church in England, doing missionary work as preacher on the Sabbath.  He became a believer in baptism by immersion, and after he came to the United States, in 1831, joined the Baptist Church.  In 1832 he moved to Pittsburgh, Pa., where he resided three years, and taught school.  He then settled on a farm near Hannibal, where he farmed and preached, having been ordained in 1837.  He was pastor of the Baptist Church in Hannibal, and for two years had charge of  Crooked Creek Church, in Monroe County.  He was pastor of Ebenezer Church, in Shelby County, and Bethel Church, in Ralls County, seven years.  He was one of the pioneer preachers who farmed during week-days and preached on Sunday.  In 1839-40 he preached to one church, riding thirty-two miles to fill the appointment, and all the pay he received was jeans enough for a suit of clothes; one person gave the wool, another spun it, another wove it, others made up the cloth, etc.  In 1849 he went to California, across the plains.  He returned in 1851, but was so poor that he gave up preaching and turned his attention to farming.  He also engaged in the manufacture of lime, and afterward engaged in the real estate business, and has accumulated a competency for his declining years.  He is a man of remarkable energy, for his age, and is much venerated and respected.  Mr. and Mrs. Stevens have had fourteen children; six are living; Henry H., dentist, in San Francisco, Cal.; Mrs. Annie E. Pickens (widow), in St. Louis; Benjamin Q., dentist, in Hannibal; Edward, dentist, in Cameron, Mo.; Laura, wife of Oscar Pennell, of Hannibal; Louisa, wife of John W. Edward, of Nebraska.

  In 1849, lured by the prospect of gold and wealth, he went to California.  Mr. Roberts, who was leading a wagon party offered to pay his expenses, and those of his son Henry, for services rendered as a pastor.  When Rev. Stevens returned to Hannibal in 1851, his son Henry remained in San Francisco and became a dentist.  His wife, Sarah, remained on the farm with the other children during his California trip.

He kept a journal or diary of his trip to California by covered wagon during the gold rush.  It was transcribed by J. Hurley Hagood.  Mr. Hagood also added the footnotes and appendix.   Rev. Benjamin Franklin Stevens had a granddaughter named Luna Stevens, who came into possession of the handwritten diary.  Harriett Holme Hickman, the daughter of Luna Stevens, inherited the diary from her mother.  Harriett Holme Hickman gave the diary to one of her grandchildren a few years before she died. 

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Final Note