There is no indication given when Steven was born or where he came from. The name of William Steven occurs in the Matriculation Albums of Glasgow University, where he is said to be a dyer's son from Kilmarnock. Steven was licensed at Pentland on January 4, 1775. In the following year he was called to Antrim, in Ireland, but declined the invitation. Next year the counties of Ayr and Renfrew were declared a separate congregation and on March 19, 1777, they called William Steven. He was ordained at Bridge of Weir on September 4. When the whole district was divided into two separate congregations in 1785, Steven chose Ayrshire. Preaching stations were settled at Crookedholm near Kilmarnock, Darvel and Fenwick. He took up residence at Crookedholm, and died on December 22, 1796.