Stephen Lanham was most likely born near Ft. Boonesborough, Kentucky. He was one of seventeen brothers and sisters born to Thomas Lanham and Patience Sappington, married about 1757. Thomas Lanham came from Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Stephen, like his brother Hartley, arrived in St. Louis about 1805 seeking land in the territory. Stephen married Mary “Polly” Cordell, the daughter of John Cordell and Judith Blackwell formerly from Winchester, Virginia. Mary Lanham’s sister, Harriett, married Stephen’s brother, Hartley, about 1808.

Stephen’s marriage to Mary Cordell was on 6 January 1816 on the waters of Creve Coeur Lake. Stephen and Mary had three girls: Virginia, Permelia, and Nancy Lanham.

Stephen was a captain in the 2nd Company of the 4th Battalion, 1st Regiment, in 1812. This unit saw no action in the War of 1812 as their primary mission was security in the territory.

Stephen spent his life in agriculture, and he was appointed a justice of the peace in the Bonhomme Township of St. Louis County. His first justice appointment was in 1818. Stephen, along with his brothers Hartley and Richard, were property owners together as well as separately.

After his brother Hartley’s death in 1834, Stephen became the estate administrator for their brother John Lanham. Stephen was John’s administrator until his death in 1841.

Stephen was a successful farmer in Bonhomme Township. He died on 28 September 1841 and was survived by his wife Mary. Stephen was buried on Hiram Cordell’s farm in St. Louis County, Missouri, now Bellerive Gardens Cemetery.

(Sources for the above essay include U.S. census, marriage data, books and diaries of the times, land records, and death records.)

Written by Clifford W. Lanham
December 2021

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Last Modified: 30-Mar-2022 12:16