Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

ALBION’S LITTLE DRUMMER BOY, Part 2

Morning Star, May 27, 2001, pg. 2

We continue from last week. Following the War, Stone returned to Albion to recover from his war-related illnesses and lived with his friend and former Captain, George N. Davis. He attended the Albion Public Schools and subsequently two terms at Albion College. He then opened a local dry goods and grocery store in 1869 in partnership with C. J. Comstock. Stone married 16-year old Kittie Rice (1854-1906) here on August 10, 1870. A native of Oswego Co., N.Y., she was the daughter of Osman Rice who worked for Albion pioneer Jesse Crowell.

Following their marriage, the new couple moved to Petersburg, Virginia, George’s old War battleground. He engaged in the lumber business there for three years. It was then on to Buffalo, New York where George ran a lumber transporting business, and then to Lapeer, Michigan where George worked as a grocer and agricultural implement dealer until he suffered a stroke in 1883. While in Lapeer he served as city clerk in 1880.

Moving to Lansing, Michigan, George became a clerk in the state auditor-general’s office for two years. In 1885 he moved to the Dakota Territory and founded the town of Hoskins (the county seat of McIntosh Co. in North Dakota), serving as clerk of the U.S. District Court that year. After a successful business run in Hoskins, Stone returned to Michigan and was partner in the lumber manufacturing firm of Wilson, Stone & Wilson in Harrison until 1894. He served as county clerk of Clare County 1888-90.

Returning to Lansing, Stone was elected auditor general of Michigan in 1890 and served a two-year term under Governor Begole. Stone was the only Democrat ever elected to that office in 42 years. Former Sharpshooter General William Henry Harrison Beadle once declared of Stone, "he served his country with courage and marked distinction and has shown the same worth and honorable success in private business and high official station." In Lansing Stone was a member of the board of police and fire commissioners, and was receiver of the Central Michigan Savings Bank.

Stone was very active in Civil War veteran activities, particularly in the Grand Army of the Republic as a member of Foster Post No. 45 (Lansing). He served in various capacities, including assistant adjutant general of the Michigan GAR. He was commander of the Michigan GAR in 1911 and served as secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Sharpshooter’s Association. He kept members of the group in touch with each other and helped organize various reunions. Stone also was a member of the commission that managed the state soldiers’ home in Grand Rapids. He was a charter member of the Lansing Elks chapter (1891). In a 1918 letter, Stone wrote, "Their [Elks] ritual is my religion. Their teachings, if lived up to, cover all that I would ask for and the emblem they adopted. Old Glory, is first in my heart. It will always win when right and it will always be right." No doubt the religious differences of his natural parents that caused their breakup had a negative influence upon George towards traditional religion.

On Armistice Day (November 11) 1921 at age 72, Stone came to Lansing from Battle Creek to march and play the drum in the parade with the Foster GAR Post drum and fife corps. After marching from the Grand Trunk railroad depot to the GAR hall, Stone looked tired. One comrade asked him if he was still going to march. "I’m going to drum until I die," he replied. The old soldiers played and marched on together, and while serenading some nearby disabled comrades, Stone dropped dead of a heart attack.

Stone was buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Lansing next to his wife. He was survived by a son, Fred G. Stone of Alhambra, California, who had served as chief clerk in the Detroit U.S. pension office in 1900. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of an elderly George W. Stone as commander of the Michigan GAR, wearing his GAR hat and badge. Photograph courtesy State Archives in Lansing. As we celebrate Memorial Day tomorrow, let us not forget its origins with General Logan and the GAR following the Civil War, and the soldiers who fought to preserve the Union in the "War Between the States," including George W. Stone--Albion’s "little drummer boy."


George W. Stone, adult

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