Stephen Truesdell was the son of David B. F. Truesdell. David was born in New York but moved to Charleston, South Carolina prior to 1821 and was the single largest landowner on Sullivan's Island. David owned a plantation and interestingly enough, in 1837 while he was excavating some land on Sullivan's Island to build his house, he uncovered a Revolutionary War breastwork. The breastwork was believed to have been occupied by Colonel Thompson with 300 riflemen in his regiment, Colonel Clark with 200 regulars of the North Carolina line, Colonel Horry with 200 South Carolina militia, and was armed with an eighteen pounder and field pieces. The breastwork was instrumental in opposing the passage of General Clinton from Long Island while they were engaged with the fleet of Sir Peter Parker. After finding this breastwork, David Truesdell was able to collect approximately 50,000 bricks.
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Charleston, SC (1823)
Now that I have set the stage for the family, we return back to the subject of this post, Stephen P. Truesdell. Stephen was born on 24 December 1841. We know of the following siblings; Jane Elizabeth, Francis W, and David B Truesdell. The 1850 census only lists D. Truesdell, age 60 as a tavern keeper. No children are included in this household. We do know that the tavern was associated with his oyster business. Additionally, the 1850 slave schedule lists twelve slaves owned by D. Truesdell. So, where are the children? I don't yet know.
In the 1860 census, Stephen (age 20) and his brother David (age 25) are living together in Christ Church, Charleston, South Carolina and are employed as oystermen. During the Civil War, Stephen enlisted in Company M, 1st (Gregg's) South Carolina Volunteers on 22 April 1861. He then joined the 1st Regiment, Company I, South Carolina Infantry (McCreary's 1st Provisional Army) on 20 July 1861. On 17 January 1862 he transferred to the Navy where he served as a Landsman, an inexperienced sailor, on the Confederate ironclad, CSS Virginia. On 18 March 1865, Stephen Truesdell's name is included on a report of Confederate refugees and deserters from the Gunboat Charleston, being captured and taking an oath of allegiance.
After the war, Stephen returned to South Carolina and married Mary Churchill (1848-??). They had the following children: George David (1866-1932), John F (1868-1902), Wyatt Akin (1870-1936), Stephen Wyatt (1875-??) and Joseph A (1877-1948). The 1880 census lists the family as living in Moultrieville and consisting of Stephen (age 39), Mary (age 32), George (age 13), John (age 11), Wyatt (age 10), Stephen (age 4), Joseph (age 2) and Catherine Churchill (age 15) sister-in-law. Stephen's occupation is listed as Marshall. Mary died sometime after the 1880 census and Stephen then married her sister Katherine Churchill (1846-??). Stephen and Katherine had the following children: Mary A (1881-1950), Jessie Edith (1883-??) and Estelle (~1894-??). Stephen's daughter, Mary Truesdell (Truesdale) was my wife's great grandmother. She married Frederick Henry Lexow (1875-1931) at No. 5 College Street, Charleston, South Carolina on 14 February 1898. Frederick Lexow and Joseph Truesdell worked together and are listed as the patent holders for patent #1,066,683, issued on 8 July 1913 for an excavating apparatus.