"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Colonel John Hoskins Stone

John Hoskins Stone
Colonel in the Continental Army
1st Maryland Regiment
Governor of Maryland
Federalist Party

(Editor's Note - For a change of pace this winter we will do profiles of some of the Federalists who helped create this great nation. They gave us Liberty. But would they even recognize the centralized authoritarian and socialistic Big Brother nation that calls itself the United States?)

John Hoskins Stone (1750 – October 5, 1804) was an American planter, soldier, and politician from Charles County, Maryland. During the Revolutionary War he led the 1st Maryland Regiment of the Continental Army. After the war he served in the state legislature and was the seventh Governor from 1794 to 1797.

Personal life

Stone was born at his father's plantation of Poynton Manor in Charles County. His family had been prominent since early colonial days when William Stone had served as governor a hundred years before his birth. His parents were David and Elizabeth (Jenifer) Stone. His elder brothers included Thomas who signed the Declaration of Independence and Michael who represented Maryland in the U.S. Congress.

Stone had been baptized in the Anglican Church. After the split caused by the revolution he was an active Episcopalian. He married Anne Couden in February 1781, and the couple would have six children, five of whom lived to adulthood: Couden, Anne, Elizabeth, Robert Couden, and Thomas.

Revolutionary War

In 1775, Stone joined the newly organized Maryland Battalion led by Colonel William Smallwood as a Lieutenant. He was soon promoted to Captain of the battalion's first company. The battalion became part of the 1st Maryland Regiment of the Continental Army, and went north to fight in the war.

They fought in the Battles of Brooklyn (where Captain Stone was especially distinguished) and White Plains. Then, in late 1776, when Smallwood was promoted to Brigadier General, Stone became the Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment.

When the Continental Line was re-organized early in 1777, General Smallwood had earned additional responsibility as a brigade commander. Stone was made Colonel and commander of the 1st Maryland. He led the regiment in the Battles of Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown. He was wounded at Germantown.  He was shot through the ankle, a severe wound that plagued him for the rest of his life.

Colonel Stone was back in active command by the Battle of Monmouth. His unit was active in the continuing defense of New Jersey. His career ended when he was wounded again in the Battle of Stony Point on July 14, 1779. This time his wounds were more serious and he resigned his commission on August 1.

1st Maryland Regiment
 It was organized in the spring at Baltimore, Maryland (three companies) and Annapolis, Maryland (six companies).  Consisting of eight companies and one light infantry company from the northern and western counties of the colony of Maryland.  Colonel Stone was made commander in 1777.

Political Career

Stone returned home to Maryland and was made a member of the state's Executive Council. He served there from 1779 until 1785. Charles County elected him to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1785. He was returned annually until 1787, and again in 1790. Stone was then returned to the state Council in 1791 and 1792.

In 1792 he was a candidate in a special election for Maryland's seat in the U.S. Senate.  He received 39% of the vote but lost the election.

Stone was elected to a single three year term as Governor of Maryland, and served from 1794 to 1797.

Stone may also be remembered for his efforts to persuade the Legislature to loan the national government sufficient funds to enable it to erect public buildings in the new capital.

After unsuccessful attempts to borrow money, George Washington almost in desperation, wrote a personal appeal on December 7, 1796 to Governor Stone for funds. 'If the State has it in its power to lend the money which is solicited, I persuade myself it will be done; and the more especially at this time when a loan is so indispensable, that without it not only very great and many impediments must be induced in the prosecution of the work now in hand, but inevitable loss must be sustained by the funds of the city in consequence of premature sales of public property. I have thought I ought not to omit to state, for the information of the General Assembly, as well the difficulty of obtaining money on loan as the present necessity for it, which I must request the favor of you most respectfully to communicate.'

In response to Washington’s appeal, the State initially loaned the federal government the sum of one hundred thousand dollars. Later it increased the amount to a total of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Without that loan, the construction o the public buildings might have been indefinitely delayed.

Maryland, under Stone, supported his fellow Federalist, George Washington, at a time when the latter’s enemies were making bitter attacks upon him.  The Maryland Assembly on November 25, 1795, went on record as supporting Washington’s administration to the fullest. It also indicated its opposition to those who sought to discredit him.

In 1796 Washington was again subjected to attack and in December of that year, the Legislature once more expressed its faith in Washington by the passage of a resolution. Governor Stone wrote Washington, on December 16, 1796, that he considered it 'the most agreeable and honorable circumstance of my life that during my administering the government of Maryland I should have been twice gratified in communicating to you the unanimous and unreserved approbation of my countrymen of your public conduct, as well as their gratitude for your eminent services.

He died in 1804 at Annapolis, Maryland and was buried there.

'Year after year the grave hides from our view some of the remaining patriots who shed their blood in support of American Independence, and soon they will be seen no more,' commented the Maryland Gazette at his death.'

(msa.maryland.gov)          (John Hoskins Stone)          (Our Campaigns.com)

Also see our article on Revolutionary War General Henry Lee.

Battle of Germantown
Colonel Stone and the 1st Maryland fought in the battle.  The conflict took place on October 4, 1777 at Germantown, Pennsylvania.  A 9,000 man army of Hessian mercenaries and British were led by Sir William Howe and the 11,000 man American army was under George Washington. The British victory in this battle ensured that Philadelphia, the capital of the self-proclaimed United States of America, would remain in British hands throughout the winter of 1777–1778.
 Colonel Stone was wounded at Germantown. He was shot through the ankle, a severe wound that plagued him for the rest of his life.

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