Ask the Experts
THE ISLAND GRAVE OF REV. JOSIAH STEVENS
HE DIED ON THE ISLES
I'm interested in any information that may be available on Josiah Stevens. He was a Congregational minister that moved to the Isles just after the Revolution and was there until his death. Can you tell me which island he is buried on and if there are any photos of the area? Do you get many genealogy questions?
BOB TUTTLE'S DETAILED RESPONSE:
The information I have is from an annotated copy of The Isles of Shoals: An Historical Sketch. This was a fourth edition of the book and published in 1888. Dr. Joseph Warren, a long-time visitor to the Isles of Shoals, annotated the copy by hand on additional pages. This was done sometime around the turn of this century.
From the original text (page 156):
"Mr. Josiah Stevens, one of the first of the missionaries, married, in 1802, Susanna, daughter of Mr. Samuel Haley, Jr. of Smutty Nose [one of the nine islands], and in consequence of this connection and his interest in the people, he was willing to be engaged as a permanent minister. From the 'Society for Propagating the Gospel', and from individuals, he received a salary of $300 per annum. By the exertions of Mr. Tyng, money enough was raised, and articles given by the charitable, in the town and elsewhere, to build and furnish a parsonage house on the very spot where the house of Mr. Tucke [the Rev. John Tucke who served as minister on Star from 1731 to 1773] had stood. Mr. Stevens received a commission from the State of New Hampshire, as a Justice of the Peace; and appears to have acted with vigor in his office. In one of his letters to Mr. Tyng, he asks for a pair of 'stocks', and from a subsequent communication to the same gentleman, we learn that he received and used, with good effect, those now antiquated instruments of punishment for evildoers. But he was removed in the midst of his usefulness by death, July 3rd, 1804, aged 64."
In this paragraph, Dr. Warren had circled the "Jr." after the name of Samuel Haley and placed an asterisk in the margin. In a footnote he noted that this must be an error. It was. Susanna (also Susannah) was the sister of Samuel Haley, Jr. (aka Captain Samuel Haley). They were the children of Samuel Haley [Sr.].
In a Haley family genealogy provided to me by Margaret Schori, a Haley descendent, it is noted that Susannah (born November 19, 1754, at the Shoals - probably Smuttynose - died December 7, 1810) was the daughter of Samuel Haley (1727-1811) and Mary Orne Haley (1732-1812). Susannah married Josiah Stephens, but no date for this is given. She was 48 years old at the time of her marriage in 1802.
In the annotated copy there is a picture that may have been from a newspaper or book or magazine that Dr. Warren had added. It shows two graves on Star, each topped by a large stone slab. I have made a scan of this and will attach it - it didn't come out too well, but will give you an idea. One grave is that of John Tucke. That grave is now under the huge Tucke monument that was erected in 1914 in his memory. The other grave is that of Josiah Stephens. It is still there, but I have never taken a picture of it. Inscribed on it are these words:
The Rev. Josiah Stevens
A faithful Instructor of Youth, and pious
Minister of Jesus Christ
Supported on this Island by the
Society for Propagating the Gospel,
who died July 2, 1804.
Actually, she was 56 years old.
In another annotation, it is noted that Josiah Stephens served as minister on Star from 1800 to 1804.
In the book by Lyman Rutledge, The Isles of Shoals in Lore and Legend, he has a section on Josiah Stevens [sic]. In the Gosport Town Records:
"Gosport, May 27, 1801. This day Mr. Josiah Stevens was married to Miss Susanna Haley of the Isles of Shoals, having been published as the law directs so far as the situation of things here admit, by William Pidgin V.D.M."
Rutledge then wrote:
"Mr. Stevens had gone to live with the Haleys on Smuttynose early that spring and must have fallen in love with the place. Susanna was the daughter of Samuel Haley, Sr. This was too much for the Star Islanders, who lost no time in building a parsonage on the bleaching foundations abandoned by the Tucke descendents. The new parsonage was destroyed by fire in 1905.
The happy home was soon broken by the death of Mr. Stevens, and his beloved wife soon followed him. They lie buried a few yards south of the Tucke monument."
There are, as you see, some small date discrepancies. Despite this, I hope it is some help. Holler if I can help further.
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