Swansea Historical Society

Julia Ann Briggs Chace Birch Stevens


Julia Ann Briggs Chace Birch Stevens

Julia Ann Briggs Chace Birch Stevens was born April 13, 1827 to Royal Chase and Patience Luther Chase. Julia had one sibling, Mary Ann Chase (1822-1886).

Julia first married James Birch, an employee of her half-brother Otis Kelton. James and Julia had two children together - Frances Birch, a daughter, who died 7 days after her birth on March 8, 1855, and Frank S. Birch (October 14, 1856 - March 12, 1896). Frank was 39 years old at the time of his death.

The Birch Stevens Mansion was built in 1855 at 160 Elm Street. The Birches made their money in the Stage Coach business. Mr. Birch was a stagecoach line entrepreneur, founder and President of the California Stage Company. Frank S. Stevens was the Vice President. In the 1850's, it was the largest stage line in California. In 1857, months before his death, the first transcontinental mail-route in the United States was started by Birch and Stevens. It was called the Antonio - San Diego Mail Line

James Birch stoneJames Birch was killed in a ship wreck in 1857.

James E. Birch
November 30 1827- September 12, 1857
Was lost with the ill-fated Steamship Central America
“No dust have I to cover me
My grave no man may show;
My tomb is this unending sea,
And I lie far below.
My fate, O stranger, was to drown;
And where it was the ship
Went down,
Is what the sea-birds know.

In 1858, Julia remarried. She married Frank Shaw Stevens, her first husband’s business partner.

On June 14, 1859, Julia gave birth to Lucinda Stevens. Lucinda died June 27, 1859 - 13 days after her birth. Julia and Frank did not have any other children.

Julia passed away on February 18, 1871 at the age of 44. She is buried in the Christ Church Cemetery in Swansea. (source: findagrave.com)

Julia Birch stone