Robert Stinson Stephenson 1 2 3 4
- Born: Abt 1723, ScotlandMarriage: Agnes McClelland about 1743
- Died: , , Northumberland, England
Name: Robert STEPHENSON 1 2 Sex: M Birth: 1723 in Roxburshire, Scotland 2 Death: AFT. 1772 in England 2 _NAMS: Pronounced Stinson, spelled Stinson in some SC records Emigration: 1740 Age 18, To Ballymoney, county Antrim, North Ireland,Ulster 2 Emigration: 1772 Robert, about 50 years old, returns to Roxburgh,Scotland with young son, Robert Jr., then aged 20. 3 2 Emigration: 1773 Father and son crossed border into CountyNorthumberland, England seeking work. 2 Religion: ABT. 1743 Covenanters (Reformed Presbyterian) 2 Religion: 1753 Presbytery disrupted, no Covenanter minister 2 Religion: 1757 Rev. Wm. Martin, Univ. of Glasgow, arrived 2 PROP: 1770 Earl of Donegal's leases expired. He raised rents so highthat few people could afford to pay them. 3 2 PROP: 1772 Many evictions 2
1772: Situation acute, many evictions. "Although those who were employed in the linen industry still had some possessions, these were rapidly being reduced by the necessity of giving aid to their relatives on farms." (JeanStephenson, Scotch-Irish Migration, page 2]
Robert's eldest son, William, had married Miss R. Greene Beatty, whose brother was an elder in the Ballymoney church. Son James and daughters Elizabeth and Nancy were also married.
Rev. William Martin, their minister, had received a call from South Carolina to preach to a group of Covenanters who had come from Pennsylvania and settled at Rocky Creek in Chester County. Seeing his people reduced to poverty with no way to pay the Earl of Donegal's high rents, Martin proposed that the entire congregation emigrate with him to South Carolina where they could receive free lands without taxes to pay for a period of time. To encourage settlement in its interior, the colony had a policy to grant 100 acres to a head of family plus 50 acres for each other family member. If the grantee cleared and cultivated three acres per year out of one hundred, he was given another similar grant. These pioneers then formed a buffer between the Indians in the western section and the coastal communities.
Martin's congregation agreed to go with him, and plans were made to charter ships and sail from Belfast.
Robert, then 50, and his youngest son, Robert Jr., declined to make the voyage and returned to Scotland.
Robert Jr. crossed back over the border into England, and found work at Wyland, near New castle, where he was made foreman of a colliery engine. He married in 1778 and had six children, among them George Stephenson (1781-1848), the famous engineer, inventor and railroad promoter who began his distinguished career as assistant foreman to his father at the coal mine.
George Stephenson's son, Robert Stephenson (1803-1859), built bridges and served in the English House of Commons from 1847 until his death in 1859. A cousin, George Robert Stephenson (1819-1905), also was a noted engineer, a builder of bridges and railroads in England and abroad. So important were their accomplishments that the biographies of all three men are included in the Encyclopaidea Britannica.
Four of the children of Robert Stephenson joined the colony for the move to America, as follows: William, James, Elizabeth and husband Alexander Brady, Nancy Stephenson and her husband William Anderson.
This group under the leadership of Rev William Martin, sailed for America in 1772. After a successful crossing they settled on Rocky Creek, near the falls of the Catawba River, in Chester County, South Carolina. This area thus became historically associated with the start of the Stephenson family in America.
The children of James Stephenson did not sail for America until 1785. They settled in Fairfield County, South Carolina, a location not far from where the first group settled some thirteen years earlier.
Robert married Agnes McClelland, daughter of W. McClelland and Mary Ross, about 1743. (Agnes McClelland was born in 1730 in Antrim, County Antrim, Northern Ireland and died on 6 Jun 1832 in , Buncombe County, North Carolina.)