Biography of John W. Stone
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

JOHN WESLEY STONE. The career of John Wesley Stone, one of Cleveland's successful merchants, was for years a progressive overcoming of difficulties, and a gradual advancement and improvement of his abilities for the responsibilities of the next higher plane. Mr. Stone for thirty years was in business in Cleveland, coming here after spending several years in general merchandising.

He was born at Ashland, Ashland County, Ohio, June 22, 1865, son of Richard R. and Elizabeth (Winemiller) Stone. His father was born in Canada, of English parents. His mother was a native of Ohio, of German ancestry. Richard R. Stone came to Ohio in 1860, and married in Ashland County, but subsequently returned to Canada.

John Wesley Stone in 1872 returned to Ohio from Toronto, Canada, and for several years made his home with his maternal grandfather, Jacob Winemiller, who lived on a farm between Galion and Mansfield. At the age of ten years Mr. Stone went to the home of James Crow in the same neighborhood. With this man it was arranged that he was to work for wages of eight dollars a month during the summer, and while attending school in the winter would pay his board by doing chores. That winter he walked night and morning to a country school house two miles away. The following spring he was working on the farm of Jacob Pletcher in the same neighborhood, at wages of $12 a month, and with similar school privileges, though with his new employer he had to walk three and one half miles to school. In 1878, being then thirteen years of age, he went to work for L. T. Ross, a farmer in Lorain County. Mr. Ross paid him $15 a month, and during the winter he milked cows for a dairy farmer for his board and schooling. The year 1879 found him on the farm of E. C. Winchel, a mile and one half from Wellington, and during the next winter he attended the Wellington High School. During the summer he worked on the farm of William P. Ledgard in Lorain County, and in the fall went to live with his uncle, Samuel Davis, at Ashland, and during the winter completed a course and received a diploma at the Ashland Business College. While in college he worked pn Saturdays in the dry good store of J. J. Shumacher, who later offered him a permanent place in the store. He remained with that establishment a year and a half, spending much of his spare time in the office of Doctor Sampsell, reading medicine. At that time he was making an effort by experiment to determine a permanent choice between a professional or a business career. In the fall of 1886 Mr. Stone and his cousin, Samuel Davis, Jr., engaged in merchandising at Rows, Ashland County. For two years they conducted a general store, handling all the goods required in a country community. They supplemented their local business by operating a wagon over the rural district, trading merchandise for butter and eggs.

In 1888 Mr. Stone sold his interest to his partner, and, going to Mansfield, had practically accepted a position with the Boston Dry Goods Company. Before beginning duties he took a brief vacation in Cleveland, and in passing the store of John Meckes on Pearl Street his attention was attracted by a display of goods, and going inside to look around he met the manager, with the result that a week later he was at work in that store. This was the beginning of his Cleveland experience, and he remained with the Meckes store until 1893.

While that year was the culmination of a great panic, Mr. Stone embarked his modest capital in a business of his own. He established a small general store in a room 20 by 45 feet at 9606 Madison Avenue. He was well fortified by long experience with the knowledge iequired of a successful merchant, and his establishment was increased from year to year in proportion to the expanding trade. Finally he was occupying the entire building, and also erected a $600 addition. This was his business home for ten years. In the meantime Mr. Stone had purchased ground and in 1904 erected a four story brick block, 80x125 feet, at 9702-10 Madison Avenue. This is one of the substantial business structures in that section of the city and also contains twelve apartments on the upper floors. Mr. Stone disposed of his business in March, 1923.

While building up this successful business concern Mr. Stone did not neglect his obligations to the community. He is a charter member of the Chamber of Industry, has served as its vice president, and for three years represented Ward No. 1 on the Board of Directors. In all committee work of the Chamber he has taken an active part, and has labored faithfully for the success of the various movements and the plans inaugurated by that organization for the benefit of the West and South sides. Mr. Stone is a member of the Rotary and Advertising clubs and the Lakewood Christian Science Church.

September 5, 1889, soon after coming to Cleveland, Mr. Stone married Miss Lillie May Lucas. She was born at Rows in Ashland County, daughter of Hiram H. Lucas. Mr. and Mrs. Stone have two daughters: Helen Caroline Lucas, who assisted her father in the merchandise business ; and Bertha May Lucas, wife of Nelson Parker Waits, of Cleveland.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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