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William Maximillian Stone, 3rd Proprietary Governor of Province of Maryland (c. 1603 – c. 1660) was an early, English settler in Maryland. He was governor of the colony of Maryland from 1649 to 1655.

William Stone
William stone cropped.jpg
3rd Proprietary Governor of Province of Maryland
In office
Preceded byThomas Greene
Succeeded byJosias Fendall
Personal details
William Maximillian Stone

c. 1603
Northamptonshire, England
Diedc. 1660
Charles County, Maryland
Professionbusinessman, planter, land owner, colonial government official, colonial governor
The Maryland Toleration Act, passed in 1649

Early lifeEdit

William Maximillian Stone was born in Northamptonshire, England.[1]

Business dealings in Virginia ColonyEdit

On 15 Sept 1619, William Stone set sail for the Virginia Colony, on the ship, Margaret of Bristol and was one of the new colonists, being sent to Berkeley Hundred, to work under Captain John Woodlief's supervision. Stone was supposed to serve the Society of Berkeley Hundred's investors for six years in exchange for 30 acres of land. Sometime, prior to 9 February 1629, he received a tobacco bill from Richard Wheeler. By 4 June 1635, William had patented 1,800 acres in Accomack.

Catholic noble, Cecil Calvert, presenting the official document, of the 1649 Acts of Toleration, to the first Protestant, Maryland colonial governor, William Stone, who proclaimed religious protection, to Puritans, in the Province of Maryland

Family, marriage, and colonial government officialEdit

Coat of Arms of William Stone

Local court records revealed, that he was the brother of Andrew Stone and Captain John Stone, who had been trading, on the Eastern Shore, since 1626. By 1634, William Stone had become a commissioner of the county court. Sometime, prior to February 1636, he married Verlinda Graves, the daughter of Captain Thomas Graves. William went on to become sheriff and vestryman. In 1645 he was residing on the Eastern Shore, in what had become Northampton County.

By 1648, he had become the third proprietary governor of Maryland.[2]

First Puritan settlement in VirginiaEdit

Stone came to America, in 1619, with a group of Puritans, who settled on the Eastern shore, of Chesapeake Bay, in the colony of Virginia. The first Puritan settlement, in Virginia, thrived, but eventually came into conflict with the established Episcopal Church.

In 1648, William Stone reached an agreement, with Cecilius Calvert, the 2nd Lord Baltimore to resettle the Virginia Puritan colonists, in the central region of the Province of Maryland.

Governor of Province of MarylandEdit

On August 8, 1648, Lord Baltimore named Stone the Governor of his colony. He was the first Protestant Governor. The Assembly sought a confirmation of their religious liberty and in 1649 Governor Stone signed the Religious Toleration Act, which permitted liberty to all Christian denominations.

In 1649, William Stone and Puritan exiles, from Virginia, founded the town of Providence, now Annapolis, Maryland, on the north shore, of the Severn River and across from, the future site of, the Maryland state capital of Annapolis.

In 1654, after the Third English Civil War (1649–51), the victorious, Parliamentary forces assumed control of Maryland and Stone went into exile in Virginia. Per orders from Lord Baltimore, Stone returned the following spring at the head of a Cavalier force. But, in what is known as the Battle of the Severn (March 25, 1655), Stone was defeated and taken prisoner.

William Stone was later replaced as Governor by Josias Fendall (1628–87), and took no further part in public affairs.

Post-governor yearsEdit

William Stone wrote his will on 3 Dec 1659, and it was proved in Charles County, Maryland, on 21 Dec 1660. Verlinda Graves Stone wrote her will, on 3 March 1674-5 and the will was proved, on 13 July 1675, in Charles County.[3]

Restoration, land grant, and deathEdit

In 1660, the monarchy in England and the proprietor's government in Maryland were restored. Lord Baltimore granted William Stone as much land as he could ride, by horseback, in a day, as a reward for Stone's faithful service. Stone concentrated on developing his plantation at Poynton Manor in what is now Charles County, Maryland, where he died in about 1660.[1]


Stone's great-grandson, David (born 1709), greatly expanded the value of the estate at Poynton and returned the family to prominence.[4] William Stone's great-great-grandsons made major contributions to the foundation of Maryland as an American state: Thomas Stone signed the Declaration of Independence, Michael Jenifer Stone represented Maryland in the First United States Congress, John Hoskins Stone was Governor of Maryland 1794–97, and William Murray Stone was the Episcopal Bishop of Baltimore. A great-great-great grandson, Barton W. Stone, was a prominent early leader of the Restoration Movement.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Concise Dictionary of American Biography, p. 1018. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons/London: Oxford University Press, 1964.
  2. ^ Martha W. McCartney (2007). Virginia Immigrants & Adventurers 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary. Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore. p. 672.
  3. ^ Jane Baldwin (1988). The Maryland Calendar of Wills. I. Family LIne Publications, Westminster, MD. pp. 12, 111.
  4. ^ David Stone died intestate on March 18, 1773, at the age of 64
  5. ^ Douglas Allen Foster and Anthony L. Dunnavant, The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, Churches of Christ, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004, ISBN 0-8028-3898-7, ISBN 978-0-8028-3898-8, 854 pages, entry on "Stone, Barton Warren"

External linksEdit