Hon. Rome C. Stephenson. The extent and importance of the interests with which Hon. Rome C. Stephenson has been identified
within his career, and particularly since locating at South Bend in 1908, stamp him as one of the leading of the city's
financial representatives. A lawyer by profession, and at one time a member of the State Senate, he gave up his
professional vocation for the field of finance, and at this time is president of the Saint Joseph Loan and Trust Company
and vice president of the Saint Joseph Savings Bank, brother banks of South Bend with combined assets of more than
Mr. Stephenson was born at Wabash, Indiana, February 18, 1865, and is a son of Hugh M. and Maria J. (Thompson) Stephenson. He is a member of a family which had its origins in the north of Ireland and which first emigrated to Maryland and subsequently went to Carolina during colonial days. Hugh M. Stephenson was born December 29, 1818, in Irdell county, North Carolina, and when he was a youth was taken by his parents to Indiana, where he was educated in the public schools and reared to manhood. There he also met and married Maria J. Thompson, who was born May 22, 1825, near Paris, Bourbon county, Kentucky, and some time later they removed to Rochester, Indiana, where the rounded out their lives. Mr. Stephenson dying i April 25, 1889, and Mrs. Stephenson, November 8, 1913. The father followed the business of abstracting titles, and was accounted a business man of shrewdness and ability, with a reputation for absolute integrity. A republican in his political views, he was interested in the success of his party, and at various times was elected to offices of a public nature, being at one time in the early days sheriff of Wabash county. He and Mrs. Stephenson were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They had the following children: Amos L., who for years practiced dentistry and is now a retired resident of Wabash; William H., who was a retired dental practitioner, and died at Marion, Indiana, in 1913; Joseph T., who was a printer by occupation and died at Rochester, November 8, 1913; Frank M., a resident of Indianapolis, who has been probation officer of the Juvenile court of that city since its organization; and Rome C.
Rome C. Stephenson received his early education in the public schools of Wabash and Rochester. He chose the vocation of law for his life work and began the study of his profession in the law offices of George W. Holman, an attorney of Rochester, being duly admitted to the bar, May 1, 1886. He began practicing the first day of the following year, and was associated in partnership with his preceptor until November, 1914, when he retired from the practice of his calling. In the meantime in November 1908, he had removed from Rochester to South Bend, and the later city has since been his home and the scene of his activities and success. On coming to this city he became vice president of the Saint Joseph County Savings Bank, of which he was also treasurer, and took like positions with the Saint Joseph Loan and Trust company. His duties with these concerns rapidly grew in scope and importance until finally he found that he could not serve two masters and in November, 1914, ceased the practice of law to hive his entire time to his banking duties. On May 1, 1916, he was elected president of the Saint Joseph Loan and Trust Company, succeeding, J. M. Studebaker. This bank, which was organized in 1900, is one of the strongest institutions of the state, and with its brother bank, the Saint Joseph County Savings Bank, has combined resources of $8,403,363.93. The latter institution of which Mr. Stephenson is vice president. was established in 1869 and is also one of the best known banking houses in Indiana.
In his political views Mr. Stephenson is a republican and for some years was a more or less important figure in the ranks of his party. In 1904 he was the successful representative of his ticket for the State Senate and subsequently served in the sessions of 1905 and 1907 and the special session of 1908, representing Wabash and Fulton counties. He was one of the energetic and working members of the Senate, and in the session of 1905 was chairman of the committee on insurance and of the judiciary "A" committee. In the session of 1907 he was on the committees on corporations, telegraph and telephone, railroads, and codifications of laws. Senator Stephenson is a member of and elder in the Presbyterian church. He is prominent fraternally, belonging to South Bend Lodge No. 394, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; South Bend Chapter No. 29, Royal Arch Masons, and Indianapolis Consistory, thirty-second degree of Masonry; also as to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and Crusade Lodge No. 14, Knights of Pythias. He also holds membership in the Indiana Country, Rotary and Knife and Fork clubs and in the Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Stephenson was married October 16, 1889 at Upper Sandusky, Ohio, to Mills Ella J. Maxwell, daughter of Joseph J. and Martha (Edwards) Maxwell, both of whom are now deceased. Mr. Maxwell was for many years a dry goods merchant in Upper Sandusky and later cashier of the First National Bank of that place.
Mr. and Mrs. Stephenson are the parents of two children: Joseph M. a resident of South Bend and a rising young journalist, being manager of the South Bend News-Times; and Hugh R. who is an ensign in the U. S. Navy.
The Stephenson family resides in a handsome modern residence at No. 201 North Shore Drive. In addition Mr. Stephenson is the owner of a handsome farm located three and one-half miles northwest of South Bend on the Portage road. This consists of 200 acres in an excellent state of production, the property being cultivated by the latest approved methods and with the most up-to-date machinery manufactured.
Indiana and Indianans : a history of aboriginal and territorial Indiana and the century of statehood Chicago: American Historical Society, 1919, Dunn, Jacob Piatt, pg. 1268-9