Select Stone Surname Genealogy

Here are some Stone stories and accounts over the years:

Nicholas Stone, Master Mason

Nicholas Stone was born in 1586 in Devon, probably at Woodbury near Exeter, the son of a quarryman.  His father died in 1617, according to this plaque in Sidbury church: 

“An epitaph upon the life and death of John Stone, freemason,
Who departed this life on the first of January, 1617
And lyeth here under buried. 
On our great corner stone this Stone relied,
For blessing to his building loving most, 
To build God’s Temples, in which works he died, and lived the Temple, of the Holy Ghost,
In whose loved life is proved and honest fame, God can of Stones raise seed to Abraham.” 

Nicholas moved to London and served for two years as an apprentice and for a further year as a journeyman under the sculptor Isaac James.  Then he quickly established a successful workshop in London.  He was appointed master mason to James I in 1619 and to Charles I in 1626.  He was the mason responsible for the building of Inigo Jones’ Banqueting Hall in Whitehall. 

By the end of the 1620’s he had become England's leading sculptor in stone and marble.  He retained this pre-eminence until the end of his working life at the outbreak of the Civil War in the 1640's.

Stones in Wedmore, Somerset

The villagers of Wedmore were keen single stick players.  Single stick could be a brutal game as the stick was used to beat the opponent’s head which he tried to protect with the guard on his left hand. 

Among the players were the sons of Edward Stone, the village butcher who lived between 1760 and 1840. There were also the brothers William and John Stone Wall, the offspring of the marriage of Jeremiah Wall and Ann Stone. 

The Stone name in Wedmore can be traced back to the early 1400's.

Edward Stone of Princes Risborough

The Stones had been farming in Princes Risborough in Buckinghamshire from the time of Ralph Stone in 1580. They might be described as well-to-do gentleman farmers, affluent enough to be able to send their son to Oxford University.  Edward Stone graduated there in 1720 and later served as a chaplain and Justice of the Peace in Oxfordshire. 

He had a scientific bent to him, which he used to experiment with wild barks.  He gathered and dried a pound of willow bark, creating a powder which he gave to about fifty persons.  It was consistently found to be a ‘powerful astringent and very efficacious in curing agues and intermitting disorders.’  He had discovered salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin.   In 1763 he sent a letter announcing his discovery to the President of the Royal Society.   The letter survives to this day.

William Stone's Escapades in Maryland

William Stone and his wife Verlinda came to Maryland in 1648.  With civil war still raging in England and with many new Protestant settlers in Maryland, Lord Baltimore wanted to appoint a Protestant Governor.  He chose William Stone, probably to reward Stone for promising to bring hundreds of settlers to Maryland.  Stone served as Governor for six years until the time the radical Puritans gained control of the government and began to pass laws which restricted religious freedom. 

Stone decided to fight back.  He organized about a hundred supporters and marched against the rebels in the Battle of Severn.  He was greatly outnumbered and, after losing nearly half his men and being wounded in the shoulder, Stone surrendered.  He was made a prisoner and held for over a month. 

While he was in captivity, his wife Verlinda tried to help him by writing to Lord Baltimore.  She made sure the proprietor knew exactly what happened so he could protect both her husband and the colony.  Stone was eventually released from prison and resumed his position as Governor.  He died in 1660, leaving 14,950 pounds of tobacco for his wife and seven children.

Hugh Stone of Andover

Hugh Stone of Andover had a record for drunkenness.  The records of Essex county, Massachusetts showed him fined on three occasions between 1682 and 1685 for being drunk.  In 1689 he went too far.  The following was an account of what happened, written by the Rev. Cotton Mather in 1698: 

“One Hugh Stone, upon a quarrel between himself and his wife about selling a piece of land, having some words as they were walking together on a certain evening, very barbarously reached a stroke at her throat with a sharp knife; and by that one stroke fetched away the soul of her who had made him a father of several children and would have yet brought another to him if she had lived a few weeks longer in the world.  The wretched man was too soon surprised by his neighbors to be capable of denying the fact and so he pleaded guilty at his trial. 

There was a minister that walked with him to his execution.  He was by the prayers of the minister recommended for divine mercy.  Which being done the poor man poured out a few broken ejaculations, in the midst of which he was turned over into that eternity which we must leave him in."

A Murder Case Recalled by Sir Edward Stone

Edward Stone was a long-serving judge of the colony of Western Australia, and later its Lieutenant Governor.  His memoirs included the following gruesome case: 

“On a later occasion, when I visited Geraldton as a puisne judge to hold circuit court, a tribal murder case came up for judgment.  The late Mr. Bob Skinner was my associate.  There was a most abominable stench in the court and I told Mr. Skinner I could sit there no longer unless the nuisance was removed, whatever it might be. 

Mr. Skinner replied: "Please your Honor, they have the native's remains in a bag under my table." 

Presumably the corpse of the dead black fellow had been brought along on the same principle as the half brick is produced in an assault case.  At any rate both the remains and the accused were soon disposed of, the latter being acquitted on some technical point."

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