Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Stevens House

About a year ago I published an elevation of a house which came from a collection of sketches gathered by a young William Waters Jr.  I had no information about the house but concluded that the dwelling dated from the 1870's.  A few months back an astute reader recognized the house as being on Merritt Avenue in Oshkosh.  I'm not one to pass up a good mystery so I started my search with State Historical Society and photos from a 1983 building survey of Oshkosh.  There I found a photograph of  919 Merritt Ave, formerly numbered 274 before 1957.  A comparison of the two show them to be similar but not identical.  Perhaps the house was the work of William Waters or perhaps not, it's hard to say.  
Next I searched old Oshkosh City Directories and made an interesting discovery.  In the 1891 directory, the first one to publish a street directory, Edward P. Stevens, a builder and contractor in list as the resident of 274 Merritt Ave.  Further the 1866 directory lists Mrs. Stevens, (sic) s s Merritt b Bowen and Hazel and indeed 274 cum 919 Merritt is on the south side of the street between Bowen and Hazel.  Rosella Stevens was widow of Hiram Stevens who in 1852 moved his family from Waldo County, Maine to the village of Oshkosh.  Hiram became a dealer of wood and lime, operating a kiln across the lake at Clifton (High Cliff).
In 1861 he and his eldest son William enlisted in Oshkosh Company B, Third Wisconsin Cavalry and served a three year attachment with Western army in Missouri, his younger son Edward joined the next year.  The riggers of service took a harsh toll on Hiram and he returned to Oshkosh and died in March of 1863.
Rosella had twelve children four of whom died as infants the rest grew to be adults.  William O. Stevens survived the war and became a successful stone cutter and mason.  Edward P. also a war survivor was a mason, builder and contractor.  Daughters Addie and Lilly married and moved to Milwaukee and Missouri, respectively. Sons Fredrick B. and Charles O. moved to Suamico in Brown county, while George a lumberman lived in Menominee, Michigan.  Ephraim Eldorus Stevens worked as a carpenter, mason and apprenticed with architect with D. M. Harteau of Green Bay, later forming a partnership.  In 1878 he returned to Oshkosh to open his own office.  There is so much to tell of E. E. Stevens, I intend to devote more posts him and his work. 


  1. E.E. Stevens is my great grand uncle. Frederick B Stevens is actually Franklin B Stevens, my great grandfather. I would like to add your blog address to my information on Ancestry.com if you would give me permission. I would note your name and copywright information. No problem if you decline. Thanks so much, True

  2. Thanks so much. I will credit you in my documentation