Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Stone, William

STONE, WILLIAM (1603?–1661?), colonist, born in Northamptonshire about 1603, was nephew of Thomas Stone, a London haberdasher. He was a Roman catholic. He emigrated to America, and on 6 Aug. 1648 was appointed governor of Maryland by the proprietor, Cecil Calvert, second lord Baltimore. In 1652 the commissioners who were appointed by parliament to reduce Maryland to obedience to its authority deprived Stone of his office, but in the same year restored him by request of the inhabitants, on the understanding that henceforth writs should run in Maryland as in England in the name of the keepers of the liberties of England, instead of, as hitherto, in that of the crown. Two years later Stone reasserted the authority of the proprietor by requiring the inhabitants to take an oath of fidelity to the proprietor, and to take out their patents in his name, and by ordering that writs should run as before 1652. But before long (May 1654) Stone issued a proclamation accepting, on behalf of Baltimore, the authority of the Commonwealth. Nevertheless, the parliamentary commissioners, Clayborne and Bennet, treated Stone's action as a defiance of their authority. They resumed the government, disfranchised Baltimore's co-religionists, the Roman catholics, and declared Stone's proclamation requiring an oath of fidelity to the proprietor null and void. Armed hostilities followed. Stone was wounded and taken prisoner, and, with some of his associates, condemned to death, but he was afterwards pardoned. In 1659, when Lord Baltimore came to terms with his enemies, and eventually recovered his authority, Stone was again appointed a councillor. He died in 1660 or 1661.

[State Papers; Archives of Maryland (Maryland Hist. Soc.); Pamphlets enumerated in Winsor's History of America, vol. iii.; Bozman's History of Maryland; Neill's Founders of Maryland.]

J. A. D.