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RG4046.AM:  Zenas Stevens, 1853-1920

Diaries:  1857-1871

Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska:  Freighter, Retail merchant

Size:  1 reel of microfilm containing 15 volumes


Zenas Stevens was born in Strikersville, New York, in 1835.  At the age of twenty he went west, stopping for a year in Chicago to stay with an uncle where he worked in a brickyard and taught school.  He next stopped in Iowa Falls with another uncle.  In 1860 he reached Omaha and began a freighting business, supplying Denver and Salt Lake City.  For a time he worked between Salt Lake City and Virginia City; one summer he drove a herd of cattle from Texas to Omaha.

In 1870 he decided to remain in Omaha and open a grocery business.  In that same year he married Mary E. Sidner, who had come to Omaha in 1868.  Stevens built a store at 913 N. 21st Street and next to it a cottage where he lived the remainder of his life.  He closed the business in 1895 during the financial depression of the mid-90’s.  Mary Stevens died on September 28, 1919.  Zenas Stevens died on May 4, 1920.  Both are buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery, Omaha, Nebraska.


This collection of the diaries of Zenas Stevens consists of fifteen volumes dating from 1857 to 1871 on one reel of microfilm.  These volumes are small and contain brief entries on Stevens’ daily activities as well as some financial accounts.  The diaries generally cover the period after he left New York but before he lived permanently in Omaha.

The diaries were loaned for microfilming in June of 1981.


Reel 1


  1. Diary, 1857

  2. Diary, 1858

  3. Diary, 1859

  4. Diary, 1860

  5. Diary, 1861

  6. Diary, 1862

  7. Diary, 1863

  8. Diary, 1865

  9. Diary, 1866-A

  10. Diary, 1866-B

  11. Diary, 1867

  12. Diary, 1868

  13. Diary, 1869

  14. Diary, 1870

  15. Diary, 1871


Subject headings:


Omaha (Nebraska) — Businesses

Overland journeys

Stevens, Zenas, 1853-1920


APD/jls                  06-21-1984