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Elizabeth Stevenson

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At a Glance

Elizabeth Stevenson, like many Burwell School girls, awaits to be more fully discovered.


Elizabeth Stevenson of New Bern, NC is listed in the Burwell School Catalogue of 1848-51 [1], but research has thus far not located her with certainty. She was one of at least five girls to attend the Burwell School from the prosperous and historic coastal town of New Bern, NC, named so by its early Swiss settlers. Only girls from well-to-do families could have been able to make the considerable and costly journey, certainly accompanied by at least one older male relative, to Hillsborough, NC to attend school.

Martin Stevenson, [Sr.], of New Bern, NC is mentioned in records and reminiscences as one of the skilled mechanics and artificers of the city. His name occurs in connection with the construction of fine buildings, dwellings, and offices in which a good deal of ornamentation was called for.

His will, dated 1849, mentions a grandson, George S. Stevenson, whose own will, dated August 7, 1858 and probated in 1861, names his  "beloved wife Elizabeth J. Stevenson"  and Alonzo T. Jerkins as his trustees. There is no mention of a daughter, but it seems possible that Elizabeth Stevenson, the Burwell student, might have been the daughter of George S. Stevenson and Elizabeth Jerkins and the great-granddaughter of New Bern, NC's master builder Martin Stevenson, [Sr.].

A single mention of Elizabeth Stevenson at the Burwell School has come to light. Fellow Burwell classmate, Susan Moseley Murphy  of Cuwhiffle Plantation in Sampson County, NC mentions in a letter to her father, Patrick Murphy, Esq., dated April 1849, that  "Liza Stevenson is sick now."  Lizzie, or Liza, was therefore a student in the spring of 1849 and apparently well known to the Murphys of Cuwhiffle Plantation in Sampson County, NC [2].

Biographical Data

Elizabeth was called Lizzie.
She was also called Liza.

Places of Residence



  1. Burwell School Catalogue of 1848-51.
  2. Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).