The Stevens Thompson Norvell (S) – A Michigan Legacy

Some families have names that seem to be handed down from one generation to the next , such was Stevens Thompson Norvell. Stevens rather than Steven or Stephen might seem to be an odd first name; well there is a reason for this.

Stevens Thompson Mason (born October 27, 1811 -died January 4, 1843) served as the first Governor of Michigan. He was born in Leesburg Virginia and in 1812 he moved to Kentucky where at one time his family lived at Henry Clay’s home “Ashland.” In 1830 his father John Mason was appointed Secretary of the Michigan Territory by President Jackson. In 1831 upon the resignation of his father he assumed the post. His appointment caused some indignation for he was only 19 at the time, but he was described as “modest, courteous, affable and spoke and wrote intelligently.” When John Norvell arrived in Michigan as the new postmaster of Detroit, he and Mason quickly became good friends and political allies. In a letter dated October 13, 1833, Mason wrote somewhat tongue-in-cheek, “Mr. Norvell is improving rapidly in his Christianity he has purchased a pew and goes to Church once every Sunday.” Norvell took this kidding quite good-naturedly and the regard that he felt for Mason evidenced itself fully in the names of his sons: Stevens Thompson Norvell and John Mason Norvell.

There was only one John Mason Norvell, but the name Stevens Thompson Norvell lived on:

STEVENS THOMPSON NORVELL I    (born February 14, 1835 -died August 20, 1911, Colonel Stevens Thompson NorvellOgunquit, Maine of Bright’s Disease) enlisted in the army on January 23, 1858 as a private in Company A 5th Infantry. Duing the early part of the Civil War he served in Utah until 1860. As a first sergeant assigned to the 5th Infantry, he was engaged in battle with the Apache at Peralto, New Mexico in 1862. Later in the Civil War, he was assigned to the Military Division of Mississippi in 1865 and with the reorganization of the Army after the War was at Ft. Stevenson, Dakota Territory in 1868. After the War he was an officer with the Buffalo soldiers, U.S. Cavalry troopers who were African American. They fought in over 177 engagements. Their combat prowess, bravery, tenaciousness, and looks on the battlefield, inspired the Native Americans to call them Buffalo Soldiers. Many believe the name symbolized the Native American’s respect for the Buffalo Soldiers’ bravery and valor. He was the 10th at San Juan Hill during the Spanish Amerian War, supporting Thedore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.

Stevens T. Norvell II about 1875

Stevens T. Norvell II about 1875

STEVENS THOMPSON NORVELL II  (born October 7, 1865 in Virginia -died February 2, 1901) worked in the mining business.  He moved to Wisconsin in 1888 and was engaged in the construction of the Great Northern Railway’s eastern division into Superior and Duluth. He also was president of the Superior Improvement company, the Allouez Bay Land Company, and the Duluth and Superior Bridge and Steamship companies. He died while en route to New Orleans.

STEVENS THOMPSON NORVELL III  (born January 4, 1896 in East Aurora, New York -died June 14, 1965 in Lake Worth, Florida of Leukemia). During the First World War he served in the Rainbow Division, 3rd Engineers and after the war obtained degrees in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Chemical Engineering at Tri-State College, Angola, Indiana. On May 27, 1921, he married Cora Uvon Kellam (born October 16, 1895 in Milton, Indiana -died April 20, 1986 in Lake Worth, Florida), the daughter of Oliver M. Kellam and Adaline Whisler.

Stevens T. Norvell III in WW I

Stevens T. Norvell III in WW I

They  had three children including:

STEVENS THOMPSON NORVELL IV (born February 11, 1923 in Hinsdale, Illinois-died February 2015). In 1961 be became Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University. From July 1984 – July 1988: Full Professor, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University; From July 1988 – July 1992: Full Professor (post-retirement appointment), Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University. He held the rank of Professor Emeritus and was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada by right of examination. He did extensive writing on various medical topics and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors in Canada. During the Second World War he served from 1942-1946.

Stevens T. Norvell IV

Stevens T. Norvell IV


About jenorv

John E. Norvell is a retired Air Force Lt Colonel, decorated air combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and former Assistant Professor of American and Military History at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has written freelance for the Washington Post, the Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, and for several newspapers around the country.
This entry was posted in American History, Detroit, Detroit History, Michigan History, Military history, Norvell Family History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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