John Stephenson was born in County Armagh on the 4th of July 1809.
As a small child, he emigrated to the United States with his parents James and Grace. He was educated in New York City and Weslyan University.
In May 1831, Stephenson established his own business. He named it the John Stephenson Company. The company built omnibus cars, but his greatest acheivement was the invention of the streetcar. On the 26th of November 1832, the streetcars made their debut journey. They were modelled on English four wheeled passenger railroad cars, but with a lower body. The first one was pulled by four horses and could carry up to 30 passengers.
John Stephenson died in 1893 in New Rochelle, New York.