Benjamin Stephenson as born in Pennsylvania on July 8, 1769. He moved to Virginia in 1788, and then to the Illinois Territory. He became sheriff of Randolph County, Illinois in 1809.
Stephenson became a colonel in the Illinois militia, and commanded a regiment in the War of 1812. He served as the representative of the Illinois Territory in the United States Congress from 1814 to 1816. He was a representative to the convention that wrote the first constitution for the State of Illinois in 1818.
Stephenson built a house in Edwardsville, Illinois. This is one of the oldest houses still standing in the State.
Stephenson died on October 10, 1822, and is buried in Edwardsville. Stephenson County, Illinois was named for him.