Thomas Horace StevensonThomas Horace Stevenson was born to Joel Armor and Ellen Stevenson. Joel Armor was a hard man whose father had died in a steam engine explosion in 1870 and who had been taken to Kansas with his mother in 1878. Joel Armor owned a 160 acre farm in Kansas, but he relocated to Texas to raise his family.
Thomas and his younger brother, John, found their upbrining to be an unpleasant one. Thomas ran away from home when he was only eight years old. The sheriff caught him in Grayson County and returned him to his father. When he returned home, it was to find that his mother had died in his absence.
Joel Armor Stevenson remarried a widow with several beautiful daughters. She did not want his nasty boys living under the same roof with her daughters, so they began farming the boys out. When Joel Armor died, he left his inheritance to the daughters and young John ran away to Honduras in Central America where he eventually married and raised a family of his own. John never returned, but he and his brother would occasionally write letters.
Thomas ran away again at the age of twelve and stayed with a shepherder in Montana. Next he went down to Cheyane, west of Casper and became a hunter, shooting game.
Thomas was hit in the ankle during a gunfight in Wyoming in which there were bullets flying everywhere. The doctor who treated him told him to wrap it and leave it for a month and to do an Irish jig every day to keep his ankle loose. He continued to do this in later years, much to the amusement of his children.
As a young man, Thomas Horace met Rachel Catherine "Kitty" Fomby and they fell in love. When her family moved from East Texas to Sweetwater, Thomas followed.
Thomas and Rachel were very poor and in their first year of marriage they went to Kansas where he shot rabbits to make ends meet.
Thomas and Rachel were members of the Christian church and Thomas expressed a desire to go into ministry. The deacons of the church told him that they would support him and his family while he studied for the ministry, so he quit his job and made preparations for his studies. They never made good on their promise and he never did get the opportunity to enter those religious studies.
(Most of this narrative is taken from interviews with Henry Forrest Stevenson)