Santa Cruz County History - People



Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

STONE, GEORGE W (1840-1923)

Santa Cruz Surf (April 11, 1911)

Portrait of George W Stone
Portrait of George W. Stone

To the Voters of Santa Cruz

Ordinarily I should not thin of calling public attention to the record of my life. But under the peculiar circumstances of my present candidacy it does seem only fair that attention should be called to the fact that by far the larger part of my life has been devoted to business pursuits. I have been many times informed that the general impression is that I was educated for the ministry, and that I have had only the experiences that usually go with that profession. That the truth may be known generally, concerning this matter I venture to submit a brief record of the kind of work that has fallen to my lot in a somewhat strenuous life. It is unnecessary to dwell upon detains, and I dislike to present a matter so intensely personal, but I don not feel like resting under any misapprehension concerning a matter that relates directly to my candidacy.

Since the age of fourteen I have supported myself, except for three years that I lived in my childhood home while completing my education in one of the oldest academies in Central New York. The Civil War found me a student in a law office in my home town. After serving during the entire war, first in the three months’ service of the army, and after that in the navy. I took up residence temporarily in Virginia, where I engaged in the practice of the law, and also in the insurance business which I conducted for nearly twenty five years. Passing this business over to one of my sons, I accepted appointment as National Bank Examiner, under Pres. Harrison, and continued it under the administration of Pres. Cleveland. In 1895 I resigned this position to accept election as Treasurer of the American Unitarian Association, the official body of that denomination, and removed to Boston, where I remained for three years taking care of the funds of the denomination, and securing financial support for its work. Becoming interested in the promotion of the missionary work of the church, I received ordination as a minister n the year 1898, and entered the work as a Field Secretary. My first assignment was in the Missouri Valley, with headquarters at Kansas City. After two years service there I was assigned to the department of the Pacific Coast, having all the territory west of the Rocky Mountains, as my new department. I served in this capacity for nine years, during which time, in addition to my duties of caring for weak and struggling churches, I founded nine new churches, the church in Santa Cruz being among the first. Then desiring to be relieved from the burden of traveling almost constantly, I resigned my post and after a brief rest I returned to Santa Cruz, where I had already lived twenty one months, and assumed my first charge of a church as a settled minister. Everybody in Santa Cruz knows the rest.

I may say, in explanation of the character of my life work, that in Wilmington where the bulk of my activities life was spent, I was the secretary of the Board of Trade, and gave much of my time to the promotion of new industries in that city. Wilmington had a population of about 26,000 when I went there to live, and when I removed to Boston it had grown to a population of over 70,000. IN that growth I had an active part. I also took an active part in the politics of the state and in the Garfield and Blaine campaigns was the chairman of the Republican County Committee. In the Garfield we carried the county for the Republicans for the first time in twelve years. I was for many years the Pres. of the Philharmonic Society and active in the musical affairs of the city.

Though often solicited to do so, I never was a candidate for an elective office, never being able to leave my business for that purpose. I have never before been so situated that I could really afford to give all my time to any office. I do it now, chiefly with the desire to serve the city and to help it grow in the right way, if I can. I have asked no man to vote for me, and shall not do so. I do not believe in doing that, but shall do my best to serve the public good if the voters shall call me to the office.

I believe with all my heart in direct legislation by the people, and shall never oppose any measure which receives the approval of a majority of my fellow citizens. I regard the office of Mayor as an executive office. It is his duty to enforce the laws and ordinances as he finds them. No man who is abiding by the law need have any concern as to my action should I be called to the office. All questions must be decided by the voters, untrammeled by any interference on the part of the executive officers of the city. This is democracy, as I understand it, and by these views I shall stand or fall.....George W. Stone

Santa Cruz Sentinel (March 20, 1923)

DIED: STONE- In Santa Cruz March 19, George Whitfield Stone Aged 83 years, 19 days , a native of New York.

Former Mayor, One Prominent in Public, Dies

George Whitefield Stone, prominent in public life for many years, one who served his country during the days of the Civil war, his state as a member of the state board of education, his city as mayor and his church as a clergyman of the Unitarian faith, passed away at his beautiful home on High street, a spot he loved, and where he has had the devotion of his wife during his last days.

His passing was from heart failure following pneumonia. Mr. Stone was born 83 years ago. He had only celebrated forty birthdays, as he was born on leap year February 29, 1840. New York was his native state and during the Civil war he served as judge advocate. After the war Mr. Stone became identified with banking and financial activities and for a long time was bank examiner of the state of Delaware.

Though consecrated to the Baptist faith in early life, he later became interested in the Unitarian movement and was appointed field secretary on the Pacific coast for the American Unitarian association, locating in this city in 1901. He was ordained a Unitarian clergyman by Charles Gordon Adams of Santa Cruz when 55 years of age, and organized a Unitarian society in 1902, which held its first services in the Native Sons hall in March, 1902.

During the following summer with funds provided by an esteemed and wealthy friend, Mrs. Hackley of New York, the present Unitarian church was erected.

Hackley hall was to be a community center, as Mr. Stone was greatly interested in social questions and this he hoped to be a means of solving those of Santa Cruz.

His pastorate was distinguished by large congregations of those to whom his intellectual grasp on Christian teachings appealed. He stood high in the councils of his church.

In 1908 Mr. Stone again assumed leadership of the Unitarian society here and with funds furnished by the same lady, Mrs. Hackley, Hackley hall was erected and an organ installed in the church.

After serving his pastorate with All Souls church, and being progressive in spirit, he became greatly interested in all that pertained to the community life. He was a strong advocate for the Santa Cruz city charter and was the first mayor of this city under the commission form of government.

Other civic betterment’s during his term of office included purchase of the corporation yards, addition of the Liddell springs to the water supply, and extension and improvement of streets and sidewalks.

His inauguration as mayor occurred during the term of governor Hiram Johnson, and while Johnson was in this city to dedicate the new post office, in the presence of one of the largest assemblages ever known in this city, at the armory on Front Street.

In politics he was a progressive and Mr. Stone's position on every question was known and was appointed by Governor Johnson to the state board of education and reappointed by Governor Stephens.

Mr. Stone leaves beside his widow, three sons, all prominent in the eastern business world- Ralph Stone, vice president of the Detroit Trust Co., Detroit, Mich.; Frederick E. Stone, Wilmington, Del., and Seymour H. Stone, West Roxbury, Mass. Funeral arrangements will await advises from the three sons, all of whom have been advised by wire of the father's death. The body has been taken in charge of Wessendorf and Sons.

He served in the paymaster’s department on a government ship during the civil war and witnessed the great battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac at Hampton Roads.....T.E. Blanchard.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (March 24, 1923)

Funeral of George W. Stone

Mr. and Ms. Ralph Stone arrived last evening from Detroit, Mich., and made arrangements for the funeral of Mr. Stone's father George Whitefield Stone.

The funeral procession will leave Wessendorf & Son's undertaking parlors on Monday at 2:15 o'clock for all Souls Unitarian church, where services will be held at 2:30 p.m. under the Masons.

The body will be shipped Tuesday to Cypress Lawn for cremation.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (March 27, 1923)

Funeral Over George W. Stone

Funeral services over the late George W. Stone were held yesterday afternoon from Wessendorf and Son's undertaking parlors, thence to All Souls Unitarian church a church organized by him of which he as the first pastor, where people of all walks in life had gathered to pay their last respects.

The Masonic fraternity attended in a body and in the pulpit where he had delivered many sermons and addresses were lovely floral pieces including emblematic pieces of the Masons and of the Order of Eastern Star.

The Masonic service was conducted by Worthy Master John W. Crow and Rev. J.C. Colyer as chaplain.

G.A. Bond of the All Souls church choir while Dr. was pastor as Mrs. Anne Boyd sang a favorite hymn of the deceased, Harried Beecher Stowe's "Abide in Me," and Harry Murray sang "Lead Kindly Light" and "Face to Face" Mrs.. Hope Swinford at the pipe organ.

Among those who came from away were three members of the state board of education, Will C. Wood, Stanley B. Wilson and Mrs. Bryant.

The pallbearers were J.W. Linscott, J.A. Gayton, S. Leask, C.C. Kratzenstein, Henry Willey and W.T. Jeter. The body will be shipped today to Cypress Lawn.

Editorial Notes from Robert L. Nelson

The American Civil War Research Database from Historic Data Systems records a George W. Stone, Residence not listed, 21 years old as enlisting of 04/28/1861 at Homer NY. He was commissioned as a Capt in Co D 12 NY Inf on 05/23/1861, and resigned on July 9, 1861. This matches the age, location and length of service of the above George Stone.


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