First Yoknapatawpha Stevens

Character Key Number: 
Display Name: 
First Yoknapatawpha Stevens
Sort Name: 
Stevens, First Yoknapatawpha
Ever Present in Yoknapatawpha?: 

There's no question that the Stevenses are one of the oldest families in Yoknapatawpha, but they may or may not be among the very first. When the most famous Stevens - Gavin - appears in Light in August, the narrator simply says his "ancestors" "owned slaves in Jefferson (444). In "Hand upon the Waters," however, one of the Knight's Gambit stories in which Gavin becomes a kind of detective, the narrator identifies the earliest "Stevens" as one of the first three white men to settle in what became Jefferson. That's a revision of the account Faulkner provides in other fictions, and the story doesn't say anything more about who this ur-Stevens might be. Some scholars identify him as the same character as the 'Lemuel' or the 'Judge' or the 'Captain' Stevens who appears elsewhere, but if he arrives at the very dawn of the county's white history he would probably have to be at least one generation older than any of these men.