Bosque County: Land and People (A History of Bosque County, Texas) Page: 699
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finished his army stint, he returned to Fort
Worth and became interested in Lake Whit-
ney. He bought a piece of property and put
in a fishing camp. When we came home for
vacations, we always spent a few days at Lake
Whitney, and the more we came the better
we liked it. We decided to acquire a place too,
thinking at the time it would be for weekends.
It has now been fourteen years and we have
no desire to leave, although we still have a
home in Fort Worth. Here we find peace and
contentment, tranquility and wonderful
friends. What more could one want? We often
say that we have the best of two worlds-the
lake and Clifton. Our son, Mike, now resides
in New Mexico but retains his place at the
lake which he loves.
by Edwin M. Stell
George Willie and Gussie Stephenson,1916.
George Willie Stephenson (1898) and
Augusta Johanna (Gussie) Kurten (1896) met
while attending Bryan Baptist Academy,
Bryan, Texas. George Willie was the oldest
son of Will Floyd Stephenson and Carrie
Ellen Chandler Stephenson; being born and
reared in Plantersville, Texas, Grimes
County. Gussie was the oldest daughter of
Oscar Kurten and Marie Sophie Lueke
Kurten. Her grandfather, Henry Kurten, a
German immigrant was the founder of Kur-
ten, Texas, Brazos County, where she was
born and raised.
After graduation from the Academy,
George Willie attended Baylor University.
He played on Baylor's early day football
The couple was married in 1916 and lived
in Plantersville where their three children
were born: William Floyd (1917); Augusta
Lenore (1918); and Ellen Marie (1920).
William died of pneumonia, 1919.
During these early years, George Willie was
employed as a bookkeeper at a sawmill,
mercantile store, and bank.
An adventuresome opportunity came in
the spring of 1921. The Kempner Brothers,
cottonbrokers of Galveston, were in need of
a ranch foreman to manage a vast acreage
which they had recently acquired in Bosque
County, and George Willie accepted the
challenge. This holding was known as the
Allen Ranch and was located in Allen Bend
along the Brazos River.
The young couple traveled some 200 miles
by train to their new home. The train also
transported their household goods; Bess, the
Jersey cow; and Rastus, the Spitze dog. They
arrived at Nela in May amid the record spring
floods on the Brazos. The family disembar-
ked at Nela, a flag station within the bounds
of the ranch which was traversed by the
M.K.T. Railroad, the station being a conver-
ted box car.
Early days saw hardships, what with poor
roads, poor transportation (wagon or Model
T), no rural mail delivery, and practically
isolation in the "Bend".
George Willie set about making the desired
changes on the ranch. Tenant farming
acreage was converted into a working live-
stock ranch. Barns and feed lots were con-
structed and there was a large production of
beef, pork, and poultry. He rode his fine
saddled horse, Buster, to oversee the work.
A born naturalist, George Willie also loved
music and poetry. He was a leader in
community affairs. He served as school
trustee, was a member of Kopperl Masonic
Lodge and was a deacon in the Steiner
Baptist Church. A diligent church member,
he was "song leader", Sunday School teacher,
and superintendent. Each summer he assis-
ted with the building of a cedar brush arbor
along Steeles Creek for the protracted revival
meeting. Converts were baptized in the creek.
Lenore and Marie were always members of
the children's singing group called the
Gussie was a very domestic person and
devoted to her household. She was an
excellent cook, seamstress and garaener.
These interests involved her in adult 4-H
The large house afforded room to "keep"
boarders. Intermittently there were ranch-
hands as boarders, and the girls' first school
teacher, Emma Petty, lived with them.
At an early age, Lenore and Marie accepted
such responsibilities as: gathering eggs,
bringing in firewood, milking cows and
For pleasure, the girls rode horseback,
hiked on the hills and swam at "Goat Rock",
a swimming hole on Cedron Creek which ran
through the ranch. Lenore and Marie were
diligently protected by Sonny, a German
The girls attended the community two-
teacher school, New Home, during grade
school. They walked or rode their horse, Pet,
the three-and-a-half miles. Pet was tied at a
spinney of trees near the school yard. New
Home was consolidated with Kopperl
Schools in 1933; hence, Lenore and Marie
graduated from Kopperl High School, being
transported the winding twenty miles by bus.
They were piano students of Maude Burnett
and Mary Dean Adams.
George Willie met an untimely death in
1943. This followed complications which
arose from sulfa drug, being administered for
an extended length of time for a skin
problem. He was buried in the Kopperl
It being the time of World War II when her
husband died, and there being a shortage of
men on the home front, Gussie was persuaded
to take over the operation and management
of the ranch. She capably filled this need and
remained there until 1947 when plans began
developing for the building of Lake Whitney
which would cover much of the ranch. Gussie
moved to Morgan and while attending ser-
vices at the Baptist Church on Sunday night,
August 14, 1949, she suffered a fatal stroke
and is also buried in the Kopperl Cemetery.
Lenore married Weldon Odell Steen in
1936 and they had three children: Charles
Eugene (1937) of Conroe had two children,
Tiffany Lane and Bart Anthony; Stephen
Anthony (1943) resides in Austin; and Anna-
lee (1946) who married Jack Lee Rowland, Jr.
of Morgan and they have one son, Jack L.
(Jay) Rowland, III.
Like her mother, Lenore is a very domestic
person and has been devoted to her home. In
addition to rearing the three children, she has
busied herself with gardening and church
work, being a member of Kopperl Baptist
Church. Intermittently she has been publicly
employed. Lenore is now retired and she and
Odell continue to live in the Cedron Commu-
nity on the Frank Wright place which they
purchased in 1949.
Marie attended Texas Woman's Univer-
sity and received a B.S. degree in 1941. The
following fall she began a teaching career.
In 1946, Marie married Randolph (Randy)
Campbell of Morgan. They lived on his
Grandfather Morgan's ranch where Randy
was employed. A portion of this ranch later
became the Campbell Ranch, being owned by
Randy and Marie had four children: Cath-
erine (1948) married Jimmy Spitzer and they
have two sons, Larry Kurt and Clayt Scott;
Larry (1950) married Betty Allen and they
have two sons, Darel Joseph and Daniel
Allen; Carol Ann (1953) married John Heath
and they have three children, Brian Craig,
Heather Renee, and Holly Brooke; Thomas
Ross (1958) married Vicky Jenson.
In 1969, Randy and Marie were divorced.
Marie continues to live on the Campbell
Ranch and teach school. This year she
completed her 41st year in the teaching
profession; having taught 19 years in Morgan
and 22 years in Meridian Elementary
Schools. Marie was honored in 1984 by the
V.F.W. as "Teacher of the Year". She is an
active member of the United Methodist
Church of Morgan and the Delta Kappa
by Marie Stephenson Campbell
STEVENS, JOE FAMILY
Joe Theron Stevens, son of James Ike and
Lola Lee Stevens of Bandera County, Texas,
his wife Doris Jane, daughter of Ottis Frank-
lin and Leona Henderson of Austin, Texas
and their sons, Joseph Timothy and James
Ottis, moved to Bosque County in 1959.
Joe, a wildlife biologist with the Texas
Parks and Wildlife Department, was the first
professional wildlife manager to be stationed
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Bosque County History Book Committee. Bosque County: Land and People (A History of Bosque County, Texas), book, 1985; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth91038/m1/714/?q=campbell: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Denton Public Library.