Biography of Joshua A. Stone

Joshua A. Stone. One of the old time citizens of Montgomery County was the late Joshua A. Stone, who identified himself with Independence and that locality soon after the country was open to settlement, and who impressed his ability and energy upon many local business activities. He was especially prominent in the coal mining industry. Mr. Stone died at his home in Independence April 30, 1914. Mrs. Stone, who is executrix of his estate, has proved herself a very competent business manager, and is one of the highly esteemed women of Montgomery County.

Born in Centerville, Michigan, in March, 1846, Joshua A. Stone was sixty-eight years old at the time of his death. His father, George W. Stone, was born in Scotland in 1800. He came to this country a young man, and at Schenectady, New York, married Mary Jane Minders, who was a native of that city. From New York they went to Centerville, Michigan, and in 1849 he joined in the general exodus to the California gold fields. About 1870 he located in Kansas, homesteading a claim of 160 acres one mile north of Independence. He operated that as a farm for some years, but in 1886 retired to Cherryvale, where he died in 1889. He was a republican, and a very active and influential member in the Methodist Episcopal Church, which he served as a deacon. His wife died in California.

Joshua A. Stone was reared in Michigan, and was a vigorous young man when he came to Independence in 1872. In his early years he followed various lines of employment, being a dry goods salesman and a clerk in Camenga & Anderson’s drygoods store at Independence. In 1874 he went back to his father’s farm, and conducted it and took care of his father for ten years. In 1884 Mr. Stone engaged in the coal business at Independence. For some years he mined the coal off his father’s farm, shoveling it out of the hills after stripping the shallow surface from the vein. That farm of 160 acres, the father’s old homestead, was situated one mile north of Independence. Mr. Stone was also the first party to ship coal from shaft or deep mines into Independence from the outside. While engaged in mining he operated a mine at Oolagah, Oklahoma. He also had the distinction of being the first man to prospect for gas in Montgomery County, sinking a well on Rock Creek. He was active in the coal trade until 1902, in which year he turned his attention to the ice business, and three years later established a broom factory, and was manufacturing brooms at Independence until his death. He built a factory at the corner of Twelfth and Sycamore streets, and Mrs. Stone still owns that plant. Mr. Stone attended the Episcopal Church, was affiliated with Camp No. 649, Modern Woodmen of America, at Independence, Lodge No. 780, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and was one of the founders of the Commercial Club.

Mrs. Stone before her marriage was Miss Minerva A. Yates. She was born near Bushnell, Illinois, December 24, 1858, a daughter of Robert and Maria (Hey) Yates. The Yates family originated in Germany and on coming to America settled in Ohio. Her grandfather Richard Yates was a pioneer emigrant, a farmer, and died while a soldier in the Union army in the Civil war. Mrs. Stone’s maternal grandfather, Morris Hey, was born in London, England, was a school teacher, and was drowned while crossing a creek on his return home from school. Robert Yates, father of Mrs. Stone, was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1826, was reared there, and was married in Illinois to Miss Hey, who was born in Ohio in 1835. She died at Bushnell, Illinois, in 1874. In the early days Robert Yates dealt extensively in cattle, and drove them over the Allegheny mountains from Ohio and Illinois to Pittsburg and other markets. In 1876 after the death of his wife he moved to Kansas and was an early settler near Independence, establishing his farm a quarter of a mile north of the city, where he owned 160 acres. He sold this land before his death, which occurred in Independence in August, 1902. Politically he was a democrat. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Yates had the following children; Sarah J., wife of S. T. Doggett, of Independence; Mary E., who lives at Tamora, Nebraska, the widow of S. Wallick; Minerva A., Mrs. Stone; Orabell, who lives at Independence, the widow of Carl Hattan, who died at Independence in May, 1915; Martha J., who died at the age of eighteen months; McClellan, a master mechanic in the King Con mines at Park City, Utah; Emma, wife of J. W. Pitts, a farmer eighteen miles west of Independence; Josie Adaline, who lives on a farm southwest of Independence, married B. L. Frost; Robert Wilson, who is an engineer on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad with headquarters at Lumberton, New Mexico; and Willard L., who was game warden at Silverton, Colorado, at the time of his death in 1915.

Mrs. Stone was educated in her native city of Illinois and after coming to Kansas taught in Montgomery County schools for five years prior to her marriage. She has always taken much interest and an active part in the Methodist Episcopal Church and has taught for years a class of the Sunday school. Mr. Stone during his lifetime built the residence in which his widow now resides, and it is surrounded by twenty-seven acres of ground. She also owns another residence in the city and 200 acres of farming land north of Grabham Station in Montgomery County.

Mrs. Stone has three children: Edna May, who died at the age of eighteen years; Nola Beatrice, who married John Stichman, a clerk in Baden’s dry goods store at Independence and residing at 715 Washington Street; and Rollo Alphonso, aged twenty-one years and six months who is now a member of Company K, Kansas National Guard. To defend the flag of his country he left an excellent automobile business which he had built up in Independence.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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