|Adam Stephens Middle School, dedicated on October
12, 1995, is named for Adam Stephens, a venerable man of many
talents and strong moral character whose descendants still live
and farm in this area. Stephens had a rather large family with
eight children: five girls and three boys. He, his family, and
several other families left Missouri in the spring of 1849.
Stephens was the wagon train leader.
The wagon train arrived in Salem in October of 1849. They camped
near the present site of Grant Elementary School in North Salem.
There were just three painted houses and one store in Salem
at that time, so Stephens opened a second store, selling general
merchandise. He was also a skilled carpenter and a cabinet maker.
He built his first house at the corner of Chemeketa and Church
Street. Stephens purchased 585 acres near Claxter for a gun,
a pony, and $30.00.
In 1878, he built a home and a sawmill near the current Claxter
Rd. interchange. One of the many public service positions
he held was that of Justice of the Peace for Polk and Marion
counties. Adam Stephens was a man of great faith as well,
serving in many capacities of church leadership. He donated
part of his land claim so that a Baptist Church could be built
on the Claxter site in 1890.
Education was very important to Stephens. In 1882 he donated
the land and the lumber so the original school could be built.
He was the first clerk at the school. He also wrote and taught
music. Stephens was so widely respected that the Hayesville
community was very nearly named Stephensville. We are proud
to bear the name of a man who embodied true pioneer spirit.
Compiled by Paul Stratman, a sixth grade teacher at Adam
Stephens Middle School.