The original Stephenson family settled in Ohio in the early 1800s, approximately four miles west of Fort Ancient. Today, 200 years later, Todd and Becky Stephenson are working to preserve the history of that same area.
Todd and Becky’s support of historical preservation and education throughout Ohio has spanned many years. Todd’s 36-year geological career and family ties near Fort Ancient led him to begin volunteering there upon retirement in 2015, and Becky acquired a passion for genealogy. The couple were instrumental in establishing a fund to digitize the area’s newspaper, Western Star, and their love of travel has given them a deep appreciation of not only the world, but also Ohio’s gems.
Most recently, Todd and Becky’s collective experience led them to create the Ohio Earthworks Discovery Research Endowment Fund for Support of Archaeological Research at Ohio’s Ancient American Indian Earthworks and Earthwork-related Sites. The purpose of this endowment is to support research to further our understanding of the ancient earthworks and the American Indian people who built them, foster collaboration with American Indian tribes, encourage interdisciplinary research between scientific disciplines, and provide opportunities for training the next generation of archaeologists.
This endowment is unique because it supports both research and applied learning, giving students hands-on experience in the field. “Boots on the ground – that is the best education you can have. We wanted to be able to provide some of that for students,” Becky said. The focus is not just on the research itself, but testing and applying that work to make it meaningful. Todd stressed that sharing the work with the Ohio History Connection, Native American Tribes, and the public provides valuable education and insights, and is integral to the purpose of the endowment.
Through this gift, the Stephenson’s hope is that these archaeological gems throughout the state can be further understood and preserved for generations to come.
Would you like to learn more about endowments and leaving a legacy at the Ohio History Connection? Contact the Paulene Wilson at development office at [email protected]. Perhaps you are interested in supporting the Stephenson’s endowment? Give at www.ohiohistory.org/earthworksendowment.