William Stone (Maryland governor)

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William Stone
William stone cropped.jpg
William Stone, Governor of Maryland
3rd Proprietary Governor of Province of Maryland
In office
Preceded by Thomas Greene
Succeeded by Josias Fendall
Personal details
Born c. 1603
Northamptonshire, England
Died c. 1660
Charles County, Maryland
Profession governor

William Stone, 3rd Proprietary Governor of Maryland (c. 1603 – c. 1660) was an English pioneer and an early settler in Maryland. He was governor of the colony of Maryland from 1649 to 1655.

Early life[edit]

Stone was born in Northamptonshire, England.[1]

On 15 Sept 1619 William Stone set sail for Virginia on the Margaret of Bristol, and was one of the people being sent to Berkeley Hundred to work under Captain John Woodlief's supervision. William was supposed to serve the Society of Berkeley Hundred's investors for six years in exchange for 30 acres of land. Sometime prior to 9 February 1629, he received a tobacco bill from Richard Wheeler. By 4 June 1635, William had patented 1,800 acres in Accomack. Local court records reveal that he was the brother to Andrew Stone and Captain John Stone, who had been trading on the Eastern Shore since 1626. By 1634 William Stone had become a commissioner of the county court. Some time prior to February 1636, he married Verlinda, the daughter of Captain Thomas Graves. William went on to become sheriff and vestryman. In 1645 he was residing on the Eastern Shore, in what had become Northampton County. By 1648 he had become the third proprietary governor of Maryland.[2] Stone came to America in 1628 with a group of Puritans who settled in the Eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. Their settlement thrived, but eventually came into conflict with Virginia's established Episcopal Church.

In 1648, Stone reached an agreement with Cecilius Calvert, the 2nd Lord Baltimore to resettle the group in central Maryland.

Governor of the Maryland colony[edit]

On August 8, 1648, Lord Baltimore named Stone the Governor of his colony. He was the first Protestant Governor. The Assembly sought a confirmation of their religious liberty and in 1649 Governor Stone signed the Religious Toleration Act, which permitted liberty to all Christian denominations.

In 1649, Stone and Puritan exiles from Virginia founded the town of Providence on the north shore of the Severn River and across from what is today the Maryland state capital of Annapolis.

In 1654, after the Third English Civil War (1649–51), Parliamentary forces assumed control of Maryland and Stone went into exile in Virginia. Per orders from Lord Baltimore, Stone returned the following spring at the head of a Cavalier force. But, in what is known as the Battle of the Severn (March 25, 1655), Stone was defeated and taken prisoner.

Stone was replaced as Governor by Josias Fendall (1628–87), and took no further part in public affairs.

William Stone wrote his will on 3 Dec 1659, and it was proved in Charles Co. Maryland on 21 Dec 1660. Verlinda Graves Stone wrote her will on 3 March 1674-5, and the will was proved on 13 July 1675 in Charles Co., MD.[3]

Restoration and land grant[edit]

In 1660, the monarchy in England and the proprietor's government in Maryland were restored. Lord Baltimore granted Stone as much land as he could ride around in a day, as a reward for Stone's faithful service. Stone concentrated on developing his plantation at Poynton Manor in what is now Charles County, Maryland, where he died in about 1660.[1]


Stone's great-grandson, David (born 1709), greatly expanded the value of the estate at Poynton and returned the family to prominence.[4] William Stone's great-great-grandsons made major contributions to the foundation of Maryland as an American state: Thomas Stone signed the Declaration of Independence, Michael Jenifer Stone represented Maryland in the First United States Congress, John Hoskins Stone was Governor of Maryland 1794–97, and William Murray Stone was the Episcopal Bishop of Baltimore. A great-great-great grandson, Barton W. Stone, was a prominent early leader of the Restoration Movement.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Concise Dictionary of American Biography, p. 1018. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons/London: Oxford University Press, 1964.
  2. ^ Martha W. McCartney (2007). Virginia Immigrants & Adventurers 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary. Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore. p. 672. 
  3. ^ Jane Baldwin (1988). The Maryland Calendar of Wills I. Family LIne Publications, Westminster, MD. pp. 12, 111. 
  4. ^ David Stone died intestate on March 18, 1773, at the age of 64
  5. ^ Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant, The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Churches of Christ, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004, ISBN 0-8028-3898-7, ISBN 978-0-8028-3898-8, 854 pages, entry on "Stone, Barton Warren"

Further reading[edit]