Pictorial and Genealogical Record
of Greene County, Missouri

Together with Bibliographies of Prominent Men of Other Portions of the State, Both Living and Dead


GOV. WILLIAM J. STONE. The family of which Gov. William J. Stone is a member came originally.from England, emigrating to and settling in the ancient colony of Virginia, at Jamestown, during the early history of that place. Three generations of the Stones have been born and reared in the grand old commonwealth. The great-grandfather of William J. Stone was born there, was a tried and. true soldier of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and after the close of that conflict devoted his attention to tilling the soil. His son, John Stone, was born in Culpeper County, of the same State, and, with his four brothers, emigrated to Madison County, Ky., in the early part of the present century, at which time the region was wild, unsettled and abounded with wild animals and the no less savage red man. He filled the position of county surveyor for many years, and died in 1863 at about the age of ninety-four years. William Stone, the son of John Stone, and the father of the subject of this biography, first saw the light in Madison County, Ky., in 1843, and farmed there until the breaking out of the war. He then removed to Washington, Daviess Co., Ind., where he remained until 1871, when he settled in Waco, Tex. He was married to Miss Mildred Phelps, a product also of Madison County, Ky., her-death occurring in 1852, when in her thirty-fifth year. Their son, William J. Stone, was born on May 7, 1846, in the County and State in which his parents were born, being the youngest of their four children, and until 1863 assisted his father in the numerous and laborious duties of the farm and attended school in the vicinity of his rural home. He then went to live with his sister in Columbia, Boone Co., Mo., where be enjoyed the advantages of the State University for three years, and subsequently received a thorough commercial education in Stewart's Commercial College, at St. Louis. Upon his return to Columbia he entered the law office of his brother-in-law, 'Squire Turner, with whom he studied for two years and was then admitted to the bar. Immediately thereafter be removed to Bedford, Lawrence Co., Ind., and entered into partnership with Judge A. B. Carleton, but this connection lasted but one year. In 1870 Mr. Stone settled in Vernon County, Mo., at Nevada, and entered upon the successful practice of his profession. His ability, his knowledge of his calling and his popularity soon led to his election to the office of prosecuting attorney of Vernon County, the duties of which he successfully discharged during 1872-3. In the latter year he formed a partnership with C. R. Scott, and the firm of Scott & Stone was in existence for many years. In 1877 Mr. Stone purchased an interest in the Vernon County Democrat, of which be was long one of its most efficient editors. He was a member of the Democratic State Conventions of 1872-6, and in the first-mentioned year he was a delegate to the Democratic Congressional Convention. In 1874 be was before the convention for nomination as candidate for Congress, but after the fifth ballot was defeated. In 1876 he was elected a presidential elector. His career in the political arena has been one of the greatest honor and finally resulted in his election to the highest position within the gift of the State, in 1891. His characteristics are embraced in the words simplicity and earnestness. Plain in dress and manner, reserved in disposition, he is frank, positive, direct in purpose and unyielding in his advocacy of the right. As the chief executive of his State the interests of the people are his; as a lawyer be is studious, as a practitioner careful and prudent; as an advocate he is precise in statement, terse in argument, vehement in denunciation and eloquent in the cause of justice and right. He is much beloved and respected by the citizens of Missouri, and in the responsible position of Governor he has not been only true to those be serves but also to his own conscience and to his ideas of right. He has shown his approval of secret organizations by becoming a member of the A. F. & A. M., the I. O. O. F. and the Knights of Pythias. He was married April 2, 1874, to Miss Sarah Louise Winston, daughter of Col. W. K. and Catherine Winston, of Cole County, Mo., which union has resulted in the birth of several children.

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