Stevens attended Franklin Academy, a public school in North Andover. He graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, in 1842. He attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire for one year in 1842 and 1843.
Stevens married Charlotte Emeline Osgood in 1853. He served in the Massachusetts State Senate in 1868. He also served as president of the Andover National Bank.
In 1876 Stevens dissolved Nathaniel Stevens & Son.
Stevens was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-second and Fifty-third Congresses (March 4, 1891 – March 3, 1895). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1894 to the Fifty-fourth Congress.
After retiring from Congress, Stevens resumed his interests in the manufacturing business. He died in North Andover on March 25, 1907, and was interred in Ridgewood Cemetery.
His estate, Osgood Hill, was saved from destruction and is now owned by the town of North Andover.
Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it serves as a conference center.
Stevens served as member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1861. He served as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.