He was a banker who worked his way from bookkeeper to the presidency of his father’s bank. He was twenty-nine when he became the receiver for the Fifth National Bank of St. Louis when that bank went under. He straightened out its affairs so well that depositors got back 96 to 98 percent of their money in a day when depositors of a bankrupt bank were lucky to get back one-third Lon Stephens’ work with that bank opened the doors for him to state politics. By the twentieth century Lon Stephens was governor. His term was marked by progressive legislation and penny-pitching.