Stevens, Isaac Ingalls

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  • Isaac Ingalls Stevens was born on March 24, 1818, a descendent of John Stevens, one of the founders of Andover. He was a small and sickly child, but, encouraged by his parents, he became strong and active.

  • He attended Franklin Academy at about 10 years old, but then asked to work at his father's farm, which his father refused. He then got permission for to work in his uncle's factory, the Cochichewick wollen mills.

  • At 15 Isaac went to study at Phillips Academy. He impressed his teachers with his mathematical abilities and became a Unitarian and a Universalist. He wanted to study law, but was discouraged from pursuing this course. It was suggested that he apply to West Point and he was accepted. He graduated first in his class n 1839 and earned a commission to the Corps of Engineers.

  • After he earned a brevet as major in the Mexican War, he returned to the Corps of Engineers. Then he joined the new U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.

  • In 1852 Stevens actively supported the candidacy of Franklin Pierce. then, when the new Washington Territory was formed, he applied to President Pierce for the governorship. He became the governor and the Superintendent of Indian Affairs on November 25, 1853.

  • Stevens created proposals for a northern route for the proposed transcontinental railroad and was given command of the survey for this route.

  • After Indians clashed with settlers in the Oregon Territory, Stevens met with the tribes before negotiating 9 treaties at 8 councils in 1854-55. These treaties followed federal guidelines to move tribes to temporary reservations, to train them in agriculture and the mechanical arts, and to educate them and instruct them in Christianity. In 1855-56 an Indian war broke out. Stevens organized volunteers to fight the Indians and quarreled with the regular army, believing that it was not protecting the settlers. He declared martial law in two counties and arrested territorial justice Edward Lander. Stevens was then reprimanded by President Pierce and arrested for contempt of court.

  • Stevens was elected as a territorial delegate to Congress in 1857 and 1858, thus ending his duties as governor and Superintendant of Indian Affairs.

  • During the Civil War Stevens was given a commission as a Brigadier General of Volunteers. He was killed in action at the Battle of Chantilly in 1862.

  • There is a commemorative marker for Major General Stevens in the Island Cemetery at Newport, Rhode Island.


by Donald J. Baxter. Andover Room R Biorgraphy Stevens, Is.

  • An Andover Man. Gen. Isaac I. Stevens. Andover Advertiser November 9, 1861, page 1.

--Leslie 19:15, January 25, 2012 (EST)--Leslie 16:56, August 22, 2012 (EDT)

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