James Steadman was of English descent and is thought to have come to the Strawberry River Valley from South Carolina in l815. He is listed on the Territorial Tax List of 1815, thought to be the first year a tax list was compiled in Lawrence County. At that time it was a part of New Madrid County, Missouri. He acquired 280 acres of land one quarter mile south of what was later the town of Smithville, adjoining the Nathaniel McCarroll farm. James was listed in the Territorial Census of 1829 in Strawberry Township (along with the various Raney, McCarroll, Fortenberry, Wayland, and other families). In his household of 1829 are listed one male over 21 and two males under 21, one female over 14 and four females under 14; and 4 slaves. The census of 1830 lists James, but the census of 1840 does not, so he probably died between 1830 and 1840. His wife's name was Elizabeth, born in Kentucky in 1805. There is much evidence but no proof that she was the daughter of Nathaniel McCARROLL who came to the Strawberry River Valley in 1808. By 1850 the census listed names of members of the household, not just sex and age as had been done previously. The children of James and Elizabeth were:
1. John, born about 1820, who married Lucy Finley on October 3, 1839. Died on or about March 25, 1853, and Elizabeth was appointed administratrix of his estate. On December 8, 1853 Thomas G. Steadman was appointed guardian of his son, James H. a minor under the age of 14. James served in the Civil War, married Mary Raney, a daughter of Morgan Raney, on December 17, 1865. They had 5 children, John, Nancy, Lucy, Maggie and Willie. James died about 1878.
2. Margaret, born about 1821, who married John Williams on June 7,1845.
3. Nathaniel G. born about 1821. Apparently he never married. He was Clerk of Lawrence County from 1850 until his death August 31, 1853.
4. Martha, born about 1824, married Francis Wayland in February, 1846.
5. Mary (I do not have birth date for her) married Andrew Jackson Raney. We also do not have date of marriage or death for her but believe that she died prior to 1850, as the Census of 1850 lists Margaret Raney age 10 (she married James Sloan and later to Colonel Baber and lived until the 1930's). Andrew Raney, age 7 and Jackson Raney, age l, as being part of the household of Elizabeth Steadman.
6. Thomas C. born May 2, 1829, died October 1870. More about him below.
7. William Henry, born 1833. He died before January 22, 1867, as Thomas C. was appointed administrator of Lucilla Steadman, daughter of Wm. H. Steadman deceased. Henry's wife is listed in the Census of 1860 as Sarah C.
Elizabeth Steadman died in 1853, and
her son Thomas C. was appointed administrator of her estate. Her mark in
lieu of signature was usually included on legal documents, and it is assumed
that she could not write. But she left a detailed will and a considerable
estate and had bought and sold property after her husband's death. In 1845
she sold to her son Nathaniel for the sum of $800 (a lot of money in those days) "1 yellow boy named Orange about 23 years and 1 girl named Soap about 15 years" On October 28, 1845 Elizabeth and James McCarroll and John McCarroll sold land from the estate of Thomas McCarroll, deceased. Elizabeth had been named
administrator, along with James McCarroll, of The estate of Thomas McCarroll after his death in 1844. (Evidence that Elizabeth was the daughter of Nathaniel McCarroll, but no proof).
After his mother's death Thomas C. came into possession of the family farm. In 1854 he married Eunissa Peebles, daughter of Jesse Burgess Peebles, who owned an adjoining farm. To them were born: James Lacy (1855-1868) and Thomas C. Hindman (1856-1857). Eunissa died in 1856. Thomas C. then married Mary Elizabeth West on January 2, 1861. She was a native of Alabama and the daughter of Dr. Thomas West and Nancy Jones West. Their son William Nathaniel was · born December 26, 1861 and was about seven months old when his father enlisted in the Confederate Army in Smithville on July l2, 1862 and was sworn in by Colonel Baber. He served in the 38th Arkansas Calvary for the duration of the war. Family tradition says that his death on October 18, 1870 was caused by a wound he received in the war, which never healed. Other children were Thomas West (1863- 1873), Ida Elizabeth (1865-1960), Elvira (1866-1925), Lillie (1868-1951), Henry Carroll (1869-1918) and Mary M. 1871-1958).
After the death of his father, William Nathaniel at the age of 9 worked the family farm with the aid of a few slaves who remained with the family. The slaves probably left in a few years, as W.A. Sloan gave 40 acres of land, located 5 miles south of Lynn, to each former slave family in the county and a Steadman family accepted the acreage. Slaves usually took the name of the family who owned them. But Tom Lusk, a man without a family, was hired to work on the Steadman farm and later made his home with them. When the family moved to their new house in town several years before the 1900's, a room was reserved for Tom at the farm when the house was rented. "Will" as he was called was the only one of the children to attend school in the Old Soloman log school house. In 1872 Jasper N. Hillhouse continued to teach subscription school in the new large one room frame building, and later Dr. John W. Townsend taught for some time. In order to have the advantages offered in La Cross County, Will and many other young men in the Smithville area followed the Hillhouse family to LaCross where he taught in La Cross Collegiate Institute, presided over by M. Shelby Kennard, one of Arkansas' greatest educators. Will married Gertrude Stuart on September 30, 1894. They had one daughter, Adelaidie Lucile, born December 11, 1895, who married Richard C. Waldron. Will was Lawrence County Clerk from 1894 to 1896. He lived for a time at Powhatan and Batesville but spent most of his life in Black Rock. He owned a farm on Black River near Powhatan, and he managed the Smithville farm after the death of his brother, Henry, in 1918. He died in 1945 and is buried with his wife and others of the Stuart family in Powhatan Cemetery.
Ida attended the Smithville school which continued to improve due to the very capable teachers. She passed the teachers' examination and taught at Walnut Ridge, Portia, and Black Rock. She taught a few years in St. Louis but came home in 1906 and married James "Jim" Fortenberry. They had one child who was born dead. His work took him from Smithville to Batesville and Imboden.
Elvira called "Vida" married Quint Janes
who was a successful dealer in livestock in Imboden, where they spent their
lives. Miss Mary is thought to have taught her first school
at a nearby rural school called Anchor. She
also taught primary grades at Smithville and Portia
before going to Imboden where she taught until she retired and lived with
her widowed sister, Vida Janes. With some of the first money she made she
purchased factory built pews for the Methodist Church in the early 1890's
which continue to be used in the
Smithville Community Building.
Miss Lilly continued to manage the home for her elderly mother and brother, Henry, who worked and managed the near by farm. Miss Lilly was very devoted to her Methodist Church. She rang the church bell twice each Sunday to remind people of Sunday School and Church service. She was the first to arrive at every meeting to be sure all was in order as planned. Henry died at the age of 49 in 1918 from the killer disease of that day, pneumonia. After her mother's death in 1920 Miss Lilly went to Imboden to live with her sisters, Vida and Mary.
Thomas C. Steadman, his wife Mary Elizabeth, their son, Thomas West, Mary Elizabeth's mother, Nancy Jones West, and Thomas' sons by his first wife are all buried in the Hillhouse Cemetery. Henry is buried in the Smithville Cemetery with his trusted friend, Tom Lusk. Ida, Vida, Lilly and Mary are buried in Hope Cemetery at Imboden.
Thomas Steadman's widow Mary Elizabeth and her family were successful in business, and she must have stressed the importance of the church and education. The home in Smithville has been replaced. A magnolia tree that was planted in the yard soon after the family moved there appears about the same as 70 years ago. It is now in the street south of the intersection of Highways 115 and 117 in Smithville.
The children of Adelaide Lucile and Richard C. Waldron are Camille Ellis (Mrs. Clyde T.), Inez Riggs (Mrs. Orval E.) and Thomas Steadman Waldron of Walnut Ridge, who is the only descendent living in Lawrence County.
Charles McVey is the present owner of the greater part of the Steadman farm. He is the fourth owner in 167 years.
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