On this date in 1797, future Little Rock Mayor William Wilson Stevenson was born in South Carolina. In 1811, he came to Arkansas when his family settled in Batesville. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he married Ruana Trimble in 1821 and had two children. After she died, he married Maria Tongray Watkins in 1831 and had two more children.
In 1831, he ran for Mayor in the first election for the office but was defeated by Dr. Matthew Cunningham. The next year he ran to succeed Cunningham and was elected. After leaving the Mayor’s office on December 31, 1833, he continued public service. He was State Commissioner for Public Buildins in 1839.
In 1849, he delivered the funeral oration at the ceremony for Hon. Ambrose H. Seveier. Later that year, he was hired as a geologist for the Little Rock and California Association which was created to take advantage of the gold rush. He and his two oldest sons moved to California and never returned to Arkansas. He died in 1888.
No known photograph of Mayor Stevenson is known to exist.