Alfred Stebbins was born 4 Sep 1834 in Vernon, VT to John Stebbins and Harriet Houghton Stebbins of the Stebbins line descending from Rowland Stebbins.

ALFRED STEBBINS graduated at Amherst College August 9, 1860, and spent several years teaching in the South and West. In 1863 he went to California, where he was employed in the custom house, and was afterwards deputy collector of internal revenue. He was a mounted rifleman in the frontier service and traveled many thousand miles. While in California, he was also librarian of the Mercantile Library at San Francisco.

Greenlee’s “The Stebbins’ Genealogy” 1904 reports Alfred’s Profession: Librarian. Politics: Republican. Religion: liberal.



Like his father, John Stebbins, Alfred wrote many letters back to his father that were published in the Vermont newspaper(s).


From the following article we translate that a Portland company failed and distributed proceeds to creditors, one of which was Alfred.

1888 Daily Alta California, Volume 42, Number 14028, 27 January 1888  , Failure in Portland.  January 26th.— To-day Leonard Brothers, dealers in boots and shoes, made an assignment to George A. Steel ; liabilities,. $2212,’. divided as follows: Buckingham & Hecht, Portland. $807 ; Boston Rubber, Co.; Portland, $85 ; Kutz & Mairr. San Francisco, $952 ‘ 81; Win.’ Leonard, Sinithfield, Ind.; $208 ; Alfred Stebbins, Oakland, $63; E. P. Dodge & C0.,- Boston, $80 20. The assets aggregate $2550, consisting of stock of goods, fixtures and book accounts.


Alfred invested in property in Spokane which included the “Crescent Block” which provided for his family after his death.

1892 Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 83, Number 3, 24 February 1892
A Three-Story Lodging-House Completely Gutted.

Special to the Record-Union, Spokane, Feb. 23.—A fire started in the basement of the Crescent block at 3:30 this morning, and before it was extinguished the building was completely gutted. The building, which is a three story brick, adjoining the Review building, was filled with lodgers and roomers. In a short time all the avenues of escape were cut off, save the windows, and the people in the building appeared there and frantically appealed for help. Ladders were at once run up by tho firemen and half-clothed men and women were assisted to the street. Wild rumors were quickly afloat of men and women unable to escape, but at this writing it appears that all occupants were rescued in safety. The losses are heavy. Alfred Stebbins’ Crescent block, gutted, $15,000, insured, Mr. Bracht, music store, $17,000, insured for $5,000; Mrs. Ford, $10,000, insurance not known; Welch, $1ooo,covered by insurance. The building was the only brick structure left standing by the fire of August, 1880

June 29, 1892 Fitchburg Sentinel: Alfred Stebbins, who has relatives in  this city, is building another large block [unintelligible]  wholesale dry goods store. It will be remembered [] Crescent block owned by Mr. Stebbns, was the only building of any importance left in Spokane after the great fire

Sheep Farming

1873 Russian River Flag, Number 12, 30 January 1873 [From the Napa Register.]

Alfalfa for Sheep. We are in receipt of a letter from Alfred Stebbins, Librarian of the M. L. Association, of San Francisco, soliciting information as to the adaptation of alfalfa to sheep grazing. We have consulted authorities, and furnished such information as could be obtained, but, for the benefit of others, think best to publish it.

Mr. Stebbins asks, First—Can alfalfa be grown without irrigation? From actual and quite extensive experiments made in this and neighboring counties, the answer is, “ Yes.” True, moisture is indispensable, but land in the vicinity of water, or land that will produce other crops without irrigation, is sufficiently moist for alfalfa. Mr. J. B. Saul’s experience is to the effect that overflowed land is too moist, and that growth will be killed by water standing any length of time. The best results within our knowledge have been obtained on loamy laud. Mr. Trubody says that good corn land is good alfalfa laud.

Second—ls alfalfa suitable feed for sheep? Upon inquiry we hear of several who have made the experiment successful on a large scale. Following are the cases mentioned : Mr. Lloyd Tevis, of San Francisco, has a large tract of land near Sacramento sown in alfalfa, upon which ho keeps several thousand head of sheep. Mr. Dodge has 100 acres of alfalfa near Stockton, upon which he keeps 2,000 head of sheep, and realizes $33 net per acre. Charles W att & Co., of Sacramento, have a sheep ranch in the foothills near that place, jiart of which has been in alfalfa two years, and the remainder of which they are now sowing. They have kept lo sheep to the acre, by changing fields, and report them thriving well. Mr. Stebbins relates that Col. Hollister, of San Luis Obispo, had put sheep on alfalfa, and they would not eat if, “ They would smell of it, nibble at it, and turn away to eat grass.” No kind of stock appears to like it well at first, but soon take to it. Mr. G. N. Cornwell, of this city, suggi-sts the following as a possible explanation of the conduct of these sheep. It is known that under conditions specially favorable, alfalfa grows very rapidly—even as much as an inch per day. It is then sappy, yielding water if crushed in the hand, distasteful or tasteless, and without nutrition. Probably Mr. H. turned his sheep on it at such a time, or I probably they had access to grass with which they were familiar, and of which they could get enough, without cultivating a new taste. The time is at hand when it is necessary to economize space for grazing purposes, and to this end we believe that alfalfa has been demonstrated a success.


Daily Alta California, Volume 21, Number 7012, 31 May 1869  reports Alfred Stebbins as a consignee.  It is unclear if it is with the company preceding or following his name, so both are listed here in context: Kaindier, Sceilier & Co; M Grass; N Curry;  Alfred Stebbins; Pacific Stone Co;

1884 In Sacramento

Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 52, Number 96, 17 December 1884 reports: Arrivals at the Golden Eagle Hotel yesterday: Sol. Caro, Edw. Swadham, San Francisco: Miss Kate Mclntosh. Mrs.Win. Mitchell, Nelson; Miss Alice “White, Alfred Stebbins, San Francisco ;

Friend of John Muir

At least one letter has been found indicating that Alfred corresponded and shared friends and experiences with John Muir.

Friend of William Keith and other Artists


Alfred is credited as one author of “Alfred Stebbins autograph collection, 1834-1872” which Consists of letters, autographs, and photographs of artists solicited by Stebbins and pasted in his copy of Henry T. Tuckerman’s BOOK OF THE ARTISTS (1867), extra illustrated edition. Among the artists are Christopher P. Cranch, F.O.C. Darley, Sanford R. Gifford, Eastman Johnson, Miner K. Kellogg, John F. Kensett, Jervis McEntee, Samuel F.B. Morse, Thomas Nast, Erastus D. Palmer, George H. Smillie, John Vanderlynand Worthington Whittredge.  


Died November 25 1901 at the sanitarium in Livermore, Cal.

STEBBINS— At the sanitarium. In Livermore, Cal., November 25, 1901. Alfred Stebbins, beloved husband of Edith L. Stebbins and • father of Elwyn W. and Londa L. Stebbins, a native of Vermont, aged 67 years (San Francisco Call, Volume 90, Number 180, 27 November 1901)