Will L. Stephens, cashier of the Bank of Versailles, is a native of Cooper County, Mo., born in 1848, and is the son of William H. and Marie (Adams) Stephens, both natives of Cooper County, Mo. The father was reared in that county and is perhaps tho oldest native resident of the same. The paternal grandfather of our subject, Judge Lawrence C. Stephens, was among the very first settlers of his part of the State. He was a native Virginian and was one of the leading men of that section. He was a member of the Legislature, and also county judge, and in his religious views was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He died in January, 1872, at the age of sixty—two years. William H. Stephens, father of our subject, was the eldest of a family of seven children, two sons and two daughters now living. The sons, William and Thomas, are still living in Cooper County. The daughters, Cordelia and Margaret, are married, the former to Emanuel Hansburg, of Texas; and the latter to H. E. Depp, M. D., of Sedalia. W. L. Stephens, the subject of this sketch, was reared to farm life and received his education partly in a district school, also attending the Culley & Simpson Institute. At the age of sixteen he enlisted in the Confederate Army, under Gen. Price, Shelby's Division, served nine months as a private, after which (his division being the last to surrender) he returned home and entered school, where he continued until 1868. In the fall of 1868 he accepted a position in a general store at Bunceton, near his native home, for one year, with Stephens & Bunce, for $200 and his board, and the next year his uncle, Thomas Stephens, offered $300 and board to clerk for him at New Palestine and act as railroad agent. He then was offered and acoepted a position as messenger boy in the Central National Bank at Boonville, Mo., and was there employed eight years, filling every position from messenger boy to cashier, and acting cashier for about two years, During the time he put in nearly one year at California, in the Moniteau National Bank, as clerk. After that time he embarked in the stock business, feeding and shipping extensively, and making a specialty of blooded stock, Shorthorn cattle. This he continued until his removal to Versailles, when, in connection with Dr. Woods and others, he established the Bank of Versailles, of which he was made cashier, and in this capacity he has continued up to the present time. He was twice elected city treasurer of Boonville, Mo., and in 1888 he was chosen mayor of Versailles, which office he now holds. He was married in 1875 to Miss Eliza Roache, a native of Indiana, adopted daughter of Judge R. Q. Roache, of California, Mo. Mr. and Mrs. Stephens are the parents of six children -- Emma, Rebecca, Carrie, William Addison, Maria and Robert Woods. Mr. Stephens and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he having been a member for over twenty years; is steward in the same and takes an active interest in all church work. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. and is district deputy grand master of his district. He is also a member of the A. O. U. W. He is a leading man of Morgan County, Mo., and is universally liked by its people.
History of Cole, Moniteau, Morgan, Benton, Miller, Maries and Osage Counties, Missouri, Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.