I found this stone in the East Side Cemetery in Dodgeville, Wisconsin and while it caught my eye, it wasn’t until I started researching this man that I was really, really glad that I had taken the photo.
The stone says he died on July 22,1871, Aged 56 years, 2 months and 19 days. The epitaph is hard to read (which makes me think that perhaps doing rubbings on stones is something I’m going to try once in a while). But who was Colonel Thomas Stephens?
This is from the Wisconsin Historical Society, which notes, “Quarter-length oval portrait of Colonel Thomas Stephens. He was born in Devonshire, England, in May of 1815. Stephens emigrated to Wisconsin in 1836, and declared his intention to become a citizen in 1839.”
Thanks to Google Books, more information shows up in “Wisconsin at Vicksburg: report of the Wisconsin-Vicksburg Monument ..” which lists Colonel Thomas Stephens as a Commander of the Second Cavalry. In regards to the Second Cavalry, I found this in “Wisconsin in Three Centuries: 1634-1905”: “The Second Cavalry was assembled at Camp Washbum, Milwaukee, but was not fully organized and mustered until March 12th, 1862, and on the 24th of that month it left for St. Louis. Its first officers were: Colonel, Cadawallader C. Washburn; Lieutenant Colonel, Thomas Stephens …”
A book called “Wisconsin in the War of the Rebellion” has a whole chapter about the Second Cavalry, and says: “The lieutenant colonel, Thomas Stephens, of Dodgeville, formerly Inspector General of Wisconsin, was a native of England, where he served two years as body-guard to Queen Victoria, and is an accomplished swordsman.”
This is just a small bit of the information that exists about this man, and admittedly, I’m curious enough to look for more.