The march of improvement and progress is accelerated day by day and each successive moment seems to demand a man of braoder intelligence and a keener discernment than the preceding. The successful men must be live men in this day, active, strong to plan and perform and with a recognition of opportunity that enables them to grasp and utilize the possibilities of the moment. Such a class finds a worth representative in George Stone.
a native of Delaware county, New York, Mr. Stone was born May 30, 1843, and is a son of Robert Stone, who was born in Connecticut and represented an old American family whose history in America dates back to the seventeenth century, the first ancestor coming from England. Robert Stone was a farmer by occupation and when at an early age removed to Delaware county, New York, where he died at the age of forty-nine years. He hadmarried Caroline Griffin, who was a native of Dutchess county, New York, and was of Holland Dutch lineage. Her father was a musician in the war of 1812. Mrs. Stone passed away in 1876 at the age of sixty-seven years, in the family were six sons and five daughters.
George Stone pursued his early education in the public schools of Delaware county, New York, attending through the winter months while in the summer seasons he clerked in a store. He put aside his text-books, however, at the age of fourteen years and was employed in a country store from that time until the outbreak of the Civil war, when, in response to his country's call for aid, he enlisted as a private in July, 1861, becoming a member of Company E, Third Regiment of New York Cavalry. He was promoted to first sergeant in August, 1861, became second lieutenant on the 25th of December, 1862, and first lieutenant of the Fourteenth New York Cavalry in June, 1863. He was on duty in New York city during the great draft riots, in command of the headquarters guard and patrol. He went with his company to New Orleans in August, 1863, and was appointed lieutenant colonel of the Eighty-third Regiment of the United States Colored Troops in December of that year, thus serving until February, 1864, when he resigned. He was reappointed first lieutenant and commissary in the Fourteenth New York Cavalry and was attached to the staff of General Lucas, commanding the Cavalry Brigade. In the Red River campaign he was taken prisoner in the battle of Mansfield, April 8, 1864, and was incarcerated to Camp Ford in Tyler, Texas, until the following November, when he was exchanged. In the same month he was appointed a captain in the Eighteenth New York Cavalry, and was detailed for service in General Canby's staff as ordnance officer of the Department of the Gulf. He was in command at the San Antonio arsenal on the staff of General Wesley Merritt from September, 1865, until June, 1866, when he was mustered out of service. He participated in a number of important battles, including the engagements at Ball's Bluff, Berryville, Winchester, Kingston, Tarborough, Washington, North Carolina, cummit and Greenville, Mississippi, Fort De Rossey, Alexander, Fort Jessup, Sabine Crossroads and Mansfield.
Following the close of the war Mr. Stone was engaged in civil engineering on the Union Pacific Railroad until its completion in 1869. The following year he came to California, where he has since continuously made his home, and has been actively engaged in railroad construction as superintendent or contractor, doing work on the Union Pacific, the Denver & Rio Grande, the Burlington & Missouri River, the Chicago & Rock Island, the Oregon Shortline, the Rio Grande Western and the Southern Pacific railroads. The work which he did on the Southern Pacific as contractor extended from Santo Marguerita to Elwood, this portion of the coast line being all constructed by him and requiring nine years for its completion. In this connection he has contributed largely to the development of the state, for there is, perhaps, no other one agency that has done as much for general progress and the opening up of any district as the building of railroads.
In 1901, in connection with two or three local citizens, Mr. Stone organized the Pacific Portland Cement Company, establishing a factory in Solano county, which has been in operation since August, 1902, with the capacity of 350,000 barrels of cement annually. Mr. Stone was chosen president of the corporation which controls the first industry of this kind established on a large scale in California. Chronologically it is the second cement works in the state, a small one having been in operation at Colton, San Bernardino county. The output of the plant is fourteen hundred barrels in twenty-four hours, and the factory was erected and equipped at an expense of three-fourths of a million dollars. Heretofore nearly all of the cement used in California was imported from European points, and the establishing of this industry has supplied a long-felt want in this direction, placing upon the market an article equal in grade to the European product. Mr. Stone is likewise interested in extensive mining operations in Nevada and Amador counties of California.
In May, 1873, in Oakland, California, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Stone and Miss Annie Burr Jennings, a native of Connecticutt, and a daughter of John S. and Mary (Wheeler) Jennings, representatives of a prominent family of Connecticut, the paternal ancestry being traced back to the sixteenth century. To Mr. and Mrs. Stone have been born three daughters, Marea, Leona and Louise. In his fraternal relations Mr. Stone is a Mason, and he also belongs to the Loyal Legion and the Grand Army of the Republic. He holds membership with the Bohemian Club, the Union League, the Sutter Club, the Merchants' Club of St. Louis, Missouri, and the Hamilton Club of Chicago, Illinois. He was department commander of the Grand Army of the Republic for California and Nevada in 1902, and in 1903, was chairman of the general and executive committee having entire charge of the arrangements for the national encampment held in San Francisco in that year. His political allegiance is given to the Republican party and he is one of its distinguished leaders in this state. He is past president of the National League of Republican Clubs, past president of the State League of Republican Clubs, has been a member of the Republican state committee for six years and served two years as its chairman. He has studied closely the conditions existing in political circles with a view to the success of his party, and has so directed the work in various parts of the state that the combined forces of the leaders in different districts have contributed to the general success, thus reflecting credit upon his management and keen foresight. He is also well known in military circles and was engineering officer on the division staff of Generals Diamond and James. He was also appointed adjutant general of the National Guard of California in January, 1902. His leadership has been manifest in many lines, and he has seldom failed of accomplishment in whatever he has undertaken. He stands to-day as one of the strong men of California, strong in his honor and his good name, in the extent of his influence and in the result of his accomplishments.
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