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Guide to the Ebenezer Stevens Papers
1739-1822
 MS 592

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Cassandra Brewer

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on May 17, 2016
Finding Aid is written in English.

Biographical/Historical Note

Ebenezer Stevens was born in Boston, Massachusetts on August 22, 1757 to Ebenezer Stevens and Elizabeth Weld Stevens. At the age of seventeen, Stevens joined a local artillery company, beginning his long military career. With this company, Stevens participated in the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Stevens left the artillery for steady employment and found work as a carpenter in Providence, Rhode Island where he married his first wife Rebecca Hodgdon in 1774. Stevens and Hodgdon had three children; Horatio Gates (named after the military hero and personal friend of Stevens), Rebecca Hodgdon and George Alexander.

After the outbreak of the Revolutionary War Stevens returned to the militia to fight in the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. Shortly after the formation of the Continental Army, Stevens was commissioned as Lieutenant in Henry Knox's artillery regiment. Under the leadership of Knox, Stevens recruited and commanded various artillery companies and worked alongside major military leaders such as Horatio Gates, Philip Schuyler and John Lamb.

In 1776, Stevens was promoted to Captain. His involvement in pivotal campaigns in Quebec, Ticonderoga, Saratoga and Stillwater led to a promotion to Major in 1777. Stevens was again promoted one year later, in 1778, to Lieutenant Colonel of the Second Artillery Regiment. In this new position, Stevens was sent to Virginia in 1778 to serve under Lafayette, where his company was present at the Siege of Yorktown.

Stevens permanently settled in New York City upon reassignment to Colonel Lamb's regiment in 1783. During the post-war years, Stevens worked with the New York State Artillery Corps on the fortification and defense of the New York harbor. In 1784, Stevens married his second wife, Lucretia Ledyard, with whom he had seven children; Samuel, William, Alexander, Byam Kerby, John Austin, Henry and Mary Lucretia.

While still involved with the New York State Artillery Corps Stevens became involved with overseas trading and established himself as a successful merchant and trader. As Stevens built a reputation for himself as an independent merchant, he also acted as an agent for the United States War Department. For the War Department, Stevens conducted business related to the purchasing and sending and receiving of goods and material for new fortification structures. In 1805, Stevens received his final promotion to Major General of Artillery in New York.

In addition to his position with the New York State Artillery Corps, Stevens was elected to a one year position in the New York State Assembly in 1799. He was also an early member of the Tammany Society as well as the New York Society of Cincinnati, where he held a vice-presidency in 1804. Additionally, he was a founding member of the New England Society in New York City, where he held the presidency from 1817 until his death in 1823.

In 1815, Stevens formally resigned from his position as Major General in the New York State Artillery Corps. He died in 1823 in Rockaway, New York.

Sources:

Derby, George and James T. White. "Ebenezer Stevens." National Cyclopedia of American Biography. J.T. White, 1906.