Tombstone Tuesday: What Happened to Stephen Paul?

TombstoneTuesday   Stephen Paul was born in Robeson, North Carolina around 1836 to parents John H. and Mary (Wise) Paul.  John and Mary had both been born in North Carolina and after they married in 1825 they produced a large family.  By 1850 there were thirteen children enumerated, ranging from William (25) down to Catherine (3) – in the middle of the pack was Stephen, age 14.

It’s likely that the Paul family had departed North Carolina sometime between 1848 and 1850, settling in Henry County, Tennessee where they were enumerated in 1850.  Around the age of twenty, young Stephen Paul was married to fourteen year-old Narcissa Ann Gresham (spelled Grissum on their marriage record) in Carter County, Missouri, where the Paul family had migrated to following the 1850 census.


NOTE: This article is being re-purposed and will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Please check out our new site:  Samples are available by clicking magazine image.  Regular monthly issues currently available for only $1.99. – Updated 1/20/18.



  1. Stephen Paul and his brother were also arrested and taken to court, in Stewart County TN, for pulling a bowie knife on Napolean B. Joyce, and for assault and battery on Napolean.B. Joyce,

    Paul, Franklin State vs Paul, Franklin assault & battery on N. B. Joyce 1858

    Paul, Stephen State vs Paul, Stephen drawing a concealed Bowie knife on Napoleon B. Joyce 1855

    Paul, Stephen State vs Paul, Stephen drawing a Bowie knife 1857

    I have requested the court papers, as N.B. Joyce was my GGGrandfather, and it has been difficult to find records for him. it seems the Paul boys were scrappers from the start, but, the court records will tell.

    • I would be interested in finding out more when you receive the court papers. Please keep me posted. Thanks for stopping by to read my blog.

      • I FINALLY got the court papers, and they are hard to read. What basically happened is Stephen Paul was he was accused of pulling a concealed Bowie Knife on Napolean B Joyce. There are 2 Napolean B Joyce’s Sr and Jr, so I don’t know which one he attacked. There were 3 warrants sent out for him, and of course, he was long gone. The Grand Jury convened and basically stated the case, then concluded he was not in Stewart County TN anymore, and this was the end of things. What is more interesting is Franklin Paul was accused of assault and battery on NB Joice in 1858, and 8 warrants were issued for him in Stewart County, Henry County, and again, this man is nowhere to be found. So, Napoleon Joyce never got a fair trial against those that assaulted him..both times, they were Paul men…

  2. Daniel West, ggg-grandson of Narcissa Gresham, here. Maybe this is why they took off to Missouri!?!?

  3. Hi, I just got back to this post. Yes, I agree, as I see a lot of the men from Stewart County went to Missouri, the rivers were right there and great ways to travel. I just wish I could find out what happened to my Napoleon’s…

  4. Thank you for posting this information. Stephan Paul is my gr gr gr grandfather (My line: Stephan-Thomas Benton, Ida May(Paul) Livingston, Helen (Livingston) Goodson, Anna (Goodson) Laramore, and me, Sonia (Laramore) Brown.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by … I really enjoyed researching this story.


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