HON. CHARLES W. STONE, Representative from Newaygo County, was born June 2, 1833, in Warrensburg, Warren Co., N.Y., and is the eldest son of Samuel and Sally (Moore) Stone. The father was a son of John and Mary (Collins) Stone, and grew to maturity in Warrensburg, married there and reared a family of 10 children. He was a native of New Hampshire, and died in Warrensburg in 1878. The mother was born in Eastern New York and died in Warrensburg, in February, 1883. The elder Stone was an honest, ahrdworking man, and left to his sons a better heritage than most men do, who earn for them immunity from effort and freedom from the struggle necessary to humanity in order to develop its greatest and best. The boasted glory of the West was made possible by the stringencies which held former generations at the East. John Stone was born in the old Granite State, and resided some years at Weare, Hillsborough Co., N.H., removing thence to Cambridge, N.Y., and, later, to Warrensburg, where he spent his life in honor and usefulness and died at the age of 92 years. His wife was also a nonogenarian at the time of her death.
The boyhood of Mr. Stone was passed in the manner common to the children of the place, period and generation in which he was born. Industry, grugality and the necessity of utilizing every moment were so impressed upon him as to become a sense instinctive traits. He obtained little educational discipline in the schools, and, when he found himself in undisputed possession of the privilege of making his own way in the world. His years of labor during his minority had trained him in a complete knowledge of every detail in the manufacture of lumber; and in the early summer, when independent manhood brought with it the added need of immediate effort, he began to seek a service with which he was familiar. An opening in Florida attracted his attention, and he found encouragement in the project, but must wait until November before he could go to a tropical climate with safety. Opportunity mets her ardent seekers more than half way, and intelligence soon reached him that a company at Glens Falls were engaging men for the lumber woods of Northern Michigan, and he made his way to that place. He applied to Albert M. Cheney who, with Lewis L. Arms, of Glens Falls, and Eliphalet Wood, of Chicago, had established the business and intrests still known under the style of the Newaygo Company. To Mr. Cheney young Stone stated his case, but he was received with a shake of the head. He accepted the repulse without comment and reached the door, but before he opened it he was re-called. "I think there is something in you and will give you a chance," was Mr. Cheney's sententious remark; and in a few days he was on his way to Newaygo County. the village of that name consisted of only a few houses, and its principal business interests were in the hands of John A. Brooks and the Newaygo Company.
Nine dollars represented the cash capital of Mr. Stone when he found himself in the field he had sought. His first work was scaling logs for the Newaygo Company on the land belonging to James and William Barton. He continued in the employ of the Company twelve years. emgaged mostly in utilizing his time for the best interests of his employers. The following year his settlement in Newaygo County (1855), he bought 160 acres of unimproved land in what was then Fremont Township. He made his purchase under the Graduation Act, paying 75 cents per acre therefor, and in it invested his first earnings in Michigan. The entire tract is still in his possession; and, under the changes in the municipal condition incident to the settlement and organization of the county, its described location is now on section six, Garfield Township. At the time of Mr. Stone's settlement Fremont comprised the territory now included in the townships of Dayton, Sherman, Sheridan and the western half of Garfield, then belonging to Sherman. The division and several organizations were made in 1866, and Mr. Stone was made first Supervisor of Sherman, and, with the exception of one year, held the position successively until his nomination for County Treasurer, in 1878.
He was married May 10, 1858, in Caldwell, Warren Co., N.Y., to Mary, daughter of John Eddy. Two children - Frederick C. and Clara J. - have been born of this union. The family resided in the village of Newaygo about 15 years, when they removed to the farm, of which 100 acres is cleared and in admirable condition, with farm fixtures and general arrangement of a character which puts the place in the front rank among the best in the county. On being elected to a county office, he removed to the village, where he resided until the summer of 1883, when he again removed to his farm. Besides his homestead and house and lot in Newaygo village, he owns 400 acres of timber land in the county.
Until the organization of the National Greenback party Mr. Stone was a Democrat and pursued a straightforward, well-defined, but non-aggressive policy, that secured the respect of his peers and the confidence of all parties. He never possessed the peculiar instincts of a wire-puller, nor exhibited the traits which characterize a ring politician of the period. Nor is he a man of the stamp, so common to the nineteenth century, of such marvelous type that the contingencies of decades of public affairs seem to have been created expressly to develop. Verily, the possibilities within the range of political ingenuity increase in direct proportion to the lapse of time! Mr. Stone's election to the positions he has held and is still holding present a feature in Newaygo County local politics, which do the good sense and sound judgment of her voting community eminent credit. The county officers as a rule are selected for peculiar ability and fitness for the work to be accomplished. In 1878 Mr. Stone was elected County Treasurer and was re-elected in 1880. He was nominated in 1882, before the expiration of his second term, by the National Greenback element of the county as its Representative in the Legislature of Michigan. the campaign and its results were most flattering to the candidate and satisfactory to the constituency who presented him for the position, without knowledge or effort of his own. His election was secured soley through the general confidence in his character and abilities, and was pecularily significant from the fact that he ran against two candidates, - Edward E. Edwards, the then incumbent and Republican nominee, and George W. Nafe, the candidate of the Democrats. In the House he was made member of Committees on the State School for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb, on Supplies and Expenditures; and, in the varied servies to which he was called, distinguished himself as the protector of the interests of his constituency and by the consistency of his actions as a representative of the class to which he considers it his best perogative to belong.
Mr. Stone was first Master of the Grange at Fremont when it was organized, and also of the first County Grange. He has been a member of the Masonic Lodge of Newaygo over 20 years. On the organization of the Patrons' Mutual Fire Insurance Company for the counties of Newaygo, Muskegon and Oceana, Mr. Stone was made its first President and Treasurer. He discharged the duties of the latter position until January, 1883.
Mr. Stone's portrait may be found on page 340. Its fitness as an accompaniment to this sketch (plain and matter-of-fact as the latter is necessarily, from the modest pretensions and the unassuming charachter of the gentleman whose life and similitude are here perpetuated), will be acknowledged by all, and both will be a source of satisfaction to the people of Newaygo County, among whom he has expended the best years and energies of his life.