Henry Dessex Stone
Colonel Henry Dessex Stone

By Spessard Stone

Henry D. Stone, a pioneer settler of Jackson and Calhoun counties, was a merchant, jurist, and president of the first elected legislative council of Florida in 1826.

Thomas Stone, father of Henry, was born January 10, 1735, Charleston, South Carolina. On May 3, 1759, he married Frances Guerin, daughter of Mathurin, Jr. and Elizabeth (Sandiford) Guerin. At the time of marriage, Thomas lived on Tradd Street, Charleston. On August 18, 1768 the scooner Mary with passengers Thomas Stone and family embarked for St. Augustine, Florida. Later the family settled in St. Philip's Parish (now Bryan County), Georgia. On March 7, 1774, Thomas took the oath as a Justice of the Peace of St. Philip's Parish and served to 1778. In 1782, he was elected as a Representative from Chatham County to the Commons House of Assembly. He gave material aid and support to the cause of the colonies in the Revolutionary War. Thomas Stone, planter, died in 1806 in Glynn County, Georgia.

Henry Dessex Stone was born circa 1767 in Charleston, South Carolina. His middle name also appears as Dassex.

On November 11, 1788 in Liberty County, Georgia, Henry married Susannah McClelland, born ca. 1770, Midway, Georgia, daughter of Brice McClelland and Mary (Cooper) McClelland. Their marriage contract, recorded in Liberty County Deed Book B, pages 148-149, concerned principally the trust to be set up for Susannah's dowry of ten negro slaves, Jack, Isaac, Bess, Cumber, Ania, Hannah, Alleck, Prince, Adams and Joe. Following the birth of her son, Thomas McClelland Stone, Susannah died January 16, 1790 at Stone Vale, Georgia.

On September 15, 1791 in Liberty County, Georgia, Henry married (2) Ann (Maxwell) Oswald, daughter of Thomas Maxwell and Sarah Persianna (Slade) Donnom Maxwell, widow of Thomas H. Oswald. Henry and Ann had five sons and a daughter. The last found record of Henry and Ann together was on November 15, 1804 when they sold some property in Glynn County, Georgia. Ann Stone died circa 1804-06.

Henry “Dassex” Stone, a lumber measurer, was a member from McIntosh County to the Georgia Constitutional Convention of 1795. He served as Sheriff, Glynn County, Georgia, October 28, 1799 to November 20, 1801.

Henry married (3) ca. 1807/08 in Morgan County, Georgia Elizabeth Hansford, born 1786, Orange County, Virginia, daughter of Benoni Hansford and Grace (Proctor) Hansford. The will of Benoni Hansford of January 9, 1812, Morgan County, Georgia, probated February 10, 1816, Jones County, Georgia, proved the marriage with Elizabeth being mentioned twice "...To the heirs of my daughter Elizabeth by her present husband Henry D Stone a negro woman named Fan and her issue..." and "...to my beloved wife I give during her widowhood the balance of my negroes and the tract of land whereon I now reside and in case she should marry my will and desire is that she retain during her life a negro woman named Jude and the land to be vested in my son John and the negroes to be equally divided between my children Sally, William and heirs of Elizabeth by her husband Henry D Stone, Matilda, George the heirs of Polly by her husband Jno. P. Ryan and John..."

Henry and Elizabeth lived in Jones County, Georgia from 1813-1815. They, thereafter, moved to the Mississippi Territory. In 1816, Henry was enumerated in the census for Mississippi Territory and became a resident of Alabama in 1817 with division of the territory.

Alabama Archives document Henry's judicial career and residency in Montgomery County, Alabama: Official Bonds, Mississippi Territory, bond of Phillip Fitzpatrick as Tax Collector, Montgomery County, June 16, 1817 recorded Libre A Fol. 1 of Record of Bonds, June 17, 1817, shows H. D. Stone, Chief Justice of Orphans Court, Montgomery County, Mississippi Territory. He is also listed on bonds of October 27, 1817. “Petition to Governor Bibb to appoint Elias Spencer as Justice of the Peace," dated May 9, 1818, shows H. D. Stone, Line Creek Settlement, Alabama Territory-Citizen. A list of Civil and Military Appointments for Alabama Territory by Governor Holmes 1818, shows Henry D. Stone, Montgomery County, Alabama Territory, Chief Justice of Orphans Court, May 23, 1817. A letter from Samuel Hanies to Honorable Henry Hitchcock, dated August 17, 1818, shows Henry D. Stone, Montgomery County, Alabama Territory, Chief Justice of Orphan's Court. (Edward S. Stone cited October 2, 1817 for his appointment as Chief Justice of Orphans Court.) He was appointed Justice of City, Montgomery County, December 18, 1820.

Miscellaneous Alabama records and Anita Eakin, family historian, provide additional data. Chief Justice of Orphans Court H. D. Stone held the first court in June 1817 at Ft. Jackson (old Ft. Toulouse) and served until least January 22, 1821. The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 6, 1944, listed that Henry D. Stone was commissioned Colonel on March 28, 1820. He had been elected Colonel of Alabama Militia, 24th Regiment of Infantry, Montgomery County. He was mentioned in July 1821 as Colonel commanding the Regt. of Augusta Militia (formerly Pleasant Level). He later moved to Mobile, Alabama. Mobile, Alabama, U. S. District Court Minutes, respectively, January 22, 1824 for November term, 1824, and 1824-27, showed that in the case of Postmaster-General vs. H. D. Stone and T. Coker, page 248, defendants failed to appear in court when called and forfeited the case, suit being for $631.29 plus costs, while in the latter, page 6, Mobile, Alabama, E. Ervin, Jr. vs. H. D. Stone and J. H. Stone, no plea was made and the defendants lost. Henry was then in Florida.

- Henry D. Stone and family about 1824 moved to Florida and settled on the Upper Chipola, near the future town of Webbville. In a memorial to Congress by citizens of Jackson County, to "renumerate the early settlers in the county," dated November 1824, the signers included: H. D. Stone, L. M. Stone, John H. Stone, and Silas Wood.

On July 11, 1825, for the county seat, the county surveyor was ordered "to lay out the Town of Chipola according to the plan laid down by Col. Henry D. Stone," which was done and received August 1, 1825, only to become immersed in controversy, with the result Webbville became the temporary county seat January 20, 1827. On October 20, 1828, Rep. Lackland M. Stone secured passage of a bill to establish Marianna as the county seat, which was annulled in January 1829 by Congress, which in March 1829 granted Webbville authority to lay out a town. An act of the Legislative Council on November 20, 1829, however, made Marianna the de facto county seat.

John Lee Williams in 1825 visited the Arch Cave in Jackson County, about three miles west of the Chipola River, and noted: "In the neighborhood of this cave, Col. Stone attempted in three several places to dig wells, but in every instance the workmen came to hollow spaces in the earth, and at length became frightened at the danger of falling into some fathomless abyss, and the project was abandoned."

In a memorial to Congress by citizens of Jackson and Walton Counties, dated December 27, 1825 "that a port of entry may be established at the Bay of St. Andrew's" signers included: H. D. Stone, L. M. Stone, James M. Stone.

An act of Congress of May 15, 1826 provided for the election of members of the Legislative Council of Florida. From Jackson County, Henry D. Stone and John Brett, Sr. were elected in 1826 as members of the first elected thirteen-man Council. Col. Henry D. Stone served as the president of the Council 1826-1827. On December 14, 1826 in a memorial to President John Quincy Adams by the Legislative Council, signed by H. D. Stone, President of the Legislative Council, they reported, "The present Indian hostilities having called them from their homes and compelled them to take up arms in the defence of their county...that under the circumstances your memorialists are of the opinion that a postponement of the Land Sales at this time would prove highly beneficial to the interests of the Territory." On January 6, 1827, a memorial to Congress by the Legislative Council, signed by H. D. Stone, President of the Legislative Council, stated in part, "Your memorialists represent as the most serious grievance which afflicts our Territory the present location of the Indian tribes within our boundary..." In a resolution to the President by the Legislative Council, dated January 20, 1827, signed by H. D. Stone, President of the Legislative Council, they asserted, "Resolved that the President of the United States be requested to cause to be offered for sale at the next Land Sales in this Territory all the Lands South of Township Six, Range Seven, eight, nine and ten."

Henry served in several local offices. He served as clerk of the Superior Court at Marianna for a number of years. He was also appointed a Justice of the Peace of the short-lived Fayette County on February 17, 1833 and a Justice of the Peace of Jackson County, along with Silas Wood, on February 13, 1834. Terms of the offices aren't known. Fayette County was established February 9, 1832 from that part of Jackson County lying east of the Chipola River. In 1833, the north half of Fayette County was returned to Jackson County while the south half was reattached when the county was abolished January 20, 1834.

Following the birth of a son, Elizabeth Hansford Stone, in the fortieth year of her age, died March 5, 1826 at Chipola, Florida. Survivors included Henry and nine children. She was buried at the meeting house near Maj. Montfort.

Henry married in 1830 (4) Sarah N. _______. Henry on January 21, 1834 petitioned the Legislative Council of Florida for a divorce from Sarah N. Stone, who had left him more than two years earlier. The divorce was granted Saturday, February 1, 1834.

Henry became a resident of Calhoun County, Florida when it was established on January 26, 1838 from Franklin County, west of the river, and parts of Washington and Jackson counties. H. D. Stone served as an election inspector at the Iola precinct in the election in Calhoun County on October 14, 1839. The 1840 Calhoun County census identified him as 70-80 years old. Living with him were two males 20-30 years old.

The St. Joseph Times of February 20, 1841 advertised:        

"For sale or lease - That valuable place known as Stone's Wood Yard, four miles by water and three by land above the Town of Iola, on the Apalachicola River. Also, oxen stock, Cattle and Hogs, fodder, corn, hay, potatoes, pease, etc., a wagon and cart can be had if wished. Fifty acres of open and an hundred acres under fence, located in as healthy a situation as any on the river, having two good springs of water, one mineral. Apply to the subscriber on the premises. Iola, Dec. 2, 1840 H. D. Stone"

Colonel Henry D. Stone died December 24, 1840 at his residence in Calhoun County, Florida. He was buried in the Iola Cemetery.

On April 13, 2002, Dewey E. Stone commented on Iola Cemetery: "There is a huge cemetery in Iola but it is overgrown and on a hunting preserve owned by Neal Lumber Co. It is posted for hunting. We found the grave of H.D. Stone and several hundred others. We'd like to see the Heritage Cemetery of Iola restored by State order. The graves are sunken several feet at each gravesite due to the type of small iron caskets used or wooden boxes which decayed and fell in. If you sit at ground level and look, you will see hundreds of sunken graves, some head stones visible. The cemetery is located near a Hunting Lodge on a cove of water. It is not cared for in any way."

A definitive list of the children of Henry D. Stone has not been established. According to various family sources, however, it is known that Henry D. and Susannah (McClelland) Stone had child # 1, while Henry D. and Ann (Maxwell) Stone are believed to have had children # 2-7 and Henry and Elizabeth (Hansford) Stone children # 8-16 as follows:

1. Thomas McClelland Stone, born Jan. 1790; died 1828, McIntosh Co., Ga..; married on June 30, 1814 in Liberty Co., Ga. Susannah Jurdine.
2. William DeSaix Stone, born Oct. 6, 1793; died Jan. 10, 1855, Mobile, Ala.; married on Sept. 17, 1818 Elizabeth Lewis.
3. David Cruger Stone, born 1795; died ca. 1845 in Calhoun Co., Fla.; married on March 19, 1818 in Montgomery Co., Ala. Lucinda Evans.
4. John Henry Stone, born 1797; died Nov. 2, 1825, Chipola, Fla.; married Louisianna Washington.
5. Sarah Ann Stone, born 1799; died Sept. 13, 1800, Brunswick, Glynn County, Ga.
6. Lachlan McIntosh Stone, born Sept. 11, 1801; died April 11, 1842, St. Joseph, Fla.; married on July 24, 1819 in Montgomery Co, Ala. Hannah Dilahunt Loftin. (His given name was spelled “Lachlan” in Georgia, but “Lackland” in Florida.)
7. James Marcellus Stone, born Nov. 9, 1803; died Feb. 11, 1893, probably Noxubee Co., Miss.; married in Jackson Co., Fla. on Aug. 31, 1827 Sarah Martha Bradley.
8. Benoni Hansford Stone, born 1808; died June 22, 1894, Calhoun Co., Fla.; married (1) Lucinda S. Ball, Oct. 19, 1837 Monroe Co., Ga.; (2) Sept. 19, 1848 at Tallahassee, Fla. Margaret DeVane.
9. Isaac Hugh Stone, born 1809; died Dec. 1852, Franklin Co., Fla.; married (1) Caroline Wood; (2) Frances Sansom; (3) Elizabeth English, July 18, 1850 in Monroe Co., Ga.
10. George Franklin Stone, born ca. 1811; died ca. 1852, Tallapoosa Co., Ala.; married ca. 1850 Atimacy Emeline Wood, daughter of Silas Wood.
11. Charles Stone, born 1813; died in 1865 (1866?), Lafayette, Ala.; married (1) Araminta Dorman Loftin; (2) March 7, 1839 Mary S. Griffin.
12. Napoleon Bonaparte Stone, born 1817; married ca. 1849 Mary Ann “Nancy” Louise Grant.
13. Jesse H. Stone, born 1819.
14. Matilda Liza Stone, born ca 1821; died Feb. 10, 1899, Warwick, Worth Co., Ga.; married (1) William G. Kelley ca. 1843, Iola, Fla.; (2) Soloman Carr, March 20, 1855.
15. Sheppard Henry Stone, born ca. 1823; died Sept. 1, 1889, Macon, Ga.; married (1) March 1843 Artimacy Emeline Eood, daughter of Silas Wood;(2) Oct. 24, 1850 in Monroe Co., Ga. Julia H. Rogers; (3) ca. 1878/79 Permelia Jane Barkley Goodrun.
16. _______ Stone (son), born March 2, 1826.

References: Family records of Edward S. Stone and Pebble C. Stone, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984; Dewey E. Stone, 1997, Steve Jordan; "Stone Family Data Received," The Sun-American, August 24, 1930; State of Georgia, Department of Archives and History; Civil Service record of Henry D. Stone, photocopy April 1980; State of Alabama, Department of Archives and History, letter from Milo B Howard Jr., Director, April 2, 1980; The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 6, 1944, pp. 130, 214, 302; J. Randall Stanley, History of Jackson County (Florida), 1950; Jerrell H. Shofner, Jackson County, Florida-A History, 1985; "The Florida Intelligencer," 17 March 1826; Clarence Edwin Carter, The Territorial Papers the United States The Territory of Florida, Vol. XX111, 1824-1828, 1958, Vol. XXVI, 1839-1845, 1962; John Lee Williams, The Territory of Florida facsimile reproduction of the 1837 edition, Gainesville, 1962, p. 150; Apalachicolean, January 16, 1841; St. Joseph Times, February 20, 1841; U.S. Original Census Schedules: 6th Census 1840, Calhoun County, Florida; Nathan Matthews, Aug. 13, 2009.

This profile is adapted from the author's Lineage of John Stone, Blockmaker.

January 15, 2001, April 13, 2002, Sept. 5, 2009