Arriving in New York, he worked as a cashier before setting up
a trading operation with Cuba. He married Margaret Morris of a prominent
New York family, and took an active role in civic and business life
while building up a private library and studying the history of
Through his father, a prominent banker, John Austin Stevens met
Salmon P. Chase, the future Treasury Secretary, and many other prominent
people form New York, Philadelphia and Washington. He helped his
father organize a large rally in New York to support the election
of Abraham Lincoln.
During the Civil War, John Austin Stevens served his country in
many capacities, helping to organize logistics for the Union Army,
managing an expedition to Texas and arranging for the government
to receive a $150 million loan to finance the war. He also raised
a regiment of volunteers, then worked with others to organize a
Corps for the conquest of the Carolina coast.
Stevens, who was offered the positions of Consul General to Paris,
Commissioner of Internal Revenue and Registrar of the Treasury,
was with Lincoln on the morning before his assassination, having
visited Washington to urge the president to name a day of national
rejoicing over the peace.
In 1868, Stevens joined his family for a five-year tour of Europe,
witnessing the downfall of the French Empire, fleeing Paris during
the Franco-Russian War and then helping to organize American aid
to the French after the siege of Paris.
Stevens returned to New York to take an active role in business,
government, writing of U.S. history, and the founding of the Sons
of the Revolution.
After serving as the organization's first president, he lived the
last 20 years of his life in Newport, R.I., writing history and
cultivating roses. He died June 10, 1910 at his home. Funeral services
were held on June 18th, at his residence, followed by services at
St. Paul's Chapel in New York and a procession through the city
by the Sons of the Revolution, Chamber of Commerce and Historical
The funeral procession viewed by uncovered thousands, moved down
Broadway on its way to Broad and Pearl where Fraunces Tavern was
draped in black. The interment was in the family vault in Greenwood
Cemetery, where his Revolutionary ancestor lies.
In September 1898, Stevens had been presented by the Society of
the Sons of the Revolution with the Founder's badge, a beautiful
medal artistically wrought and inscribed. The new society president,
Frederick Tallmadge, wrote, "The noblest tribute that can be
paid to your patriotism is the fact that the Society organized by
you now numbers over two thousand members, that, of itself, is the
proudest monument you could ask for to your energy and patriotism.
Tallmadge Was Second President Of