JOHN STONE: Of VIRGINIA
The Notorious Captain John Stone
John Stone was the son of another John Stone of Bretherton, Lancashire. John Stone, Sr. was the son of Richard and Isabel (Girdler) Stone of the same place. (For more information on this family use “Google” search on the home page for Bretherton and or Croston Stones. (Links will be found on the UK Stones page as well).
John Stone, Jr. was a merchant/mariner along with his uncle Thomas and brothers Andrew, Richard and Gov. William Stone, first Governor of Maryland. He is noted as "well connected" in London yet often referred to as barbarous, scurrilous, disreputable; John Stone is an interesting dichotomy.
John Stone is often identified as Captain John Stone. Stone is best remembered for his bad behavior and death, (murdered by the Pequot Indians along the Connecticut River). Captain John Stone shipped goods and commodities between the West Indies, Virginia, New England and London. In New England he developed a reputation amongst the Puritans as "a drunkard, lecher, braggart, bully, and blasphemer." He was called a smuggler, a privateer, even a pirate and it was reported by deVries that he had engaged in cannibalism while shipwrecked on St. Christophers. Stone was in continual legal trouble with both Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, and was finally banished on penalty of death. Shortly there after he met his own at the hands of the Pequot Indians.
John’s involvement with trade is documented through many primary sources.
In “Voyages from Holland to America” David deVries records (after his having met Capt. John Stone in St.Christopher):
“He (John Stone) was well connected. He was very well received by the Governor. He was from London, from the Great House”. (deVries59)
Sir Thomas WARNER, Thomas COMBES, Thomas STONE, and Robert WILDING for the purpose of establishing a Plantation at St. Kitt's for the tobacco and provisioning trade; 1626-1628. [A.P.C. Col. 1613-1680, p. 22; PRO, C. 2/Ch. I/T.24/64; Bodleian Library, Rawlinson MSS C. 94, fols. 8-9]
And records from Virginia State Library: From Privy Council records 1625/26: Survey report 4754ff.264ro&vo
30 March 1626 An open warrant with general directions. John Stone, gentleman, is employed for the King's Service in Virginia. He needs 30 servants who are now being taken away by service to the Low Countries and for service at sea. Order all commanders, captains and officers both on land and sea not to take away any of John Stone's servants
John Stoner- VSLA Survey Report # 00629- page 3, 29.Sept.1634 -sent by King to Virginia re: tobacco and staple commodities.
John Stoner- VSLASurvey Report # 00629-page 4, 27.Jan. 1634 -Newes Mr. Stoner died on the voyage to Virginia.
From the Complete Works of Captain John Smith (1580-1631) by Barbour:
“Never the lesse he is gone against this present yeare 1629, with a ship of about three hundred tunnes, and very neere two hundred people, with Sir William Tuffton, Governor for the Barbados, and divers gentlemen, and all manner of commodities fit for a plantation.
“ Captaine Prinne, Caotaine Stone and divers others came in about Christmas; so that this last yeare there hath beene about thirtie saile of English French, and Ditch ships, and all the Indians forced out the Ils (sic ilands)…”
From Winthrop’s Journal (pg 62)
3 September 1633: "Mr. John Barcrofte doeth acknowledge to owe unto our Sovereign, the King, the sum of £xl, & Mr. Samuel Maverick the sum of £xx, &c. The condition of this recognizance is, that Jane Barcrofte, wife of the said John, shall be of good behavior towards all persons" [MBCR 1:108]. (Jane's offense was to be "found upon the bed in the night" with Capt. JOHN STONE [WJ 1:132].)
“January 21,1634: “ News came from Plymouth that Captain Stone, who this last summer went out of the Bay, putting in at the mouth of Connecticut on his return to Virginia, where the Pequins inhabitate, was there cut off by them with all his company, being (10 or 12). The manner was thus: 3 of his men being gone ashore to kill fowle, were cut off. Then the satchem with some of his men, coming aboard, and stayed with Captain Stone in his cabin (being alone with him) fell on sleep. Then he knocked him on the head, and the the rest of the English being in the cook room, the indians took such pieces as they found there ready charge, and bent them at the English. Whereupon one took a firestick __piece and a __by accident_gave fire to the powder, which blew up the deck. But most of the Indian’s perceiving what they went about, shifted overboard, and after they returned, and killed such as remained and burned the pinnacle. We agreed to write to the governor of Virginia (because Stone was of that colony) to move him to revenge it, and upon his answer to take further counsel.”
Mentioned by Roger Clapp:
There was also one Capt. (John) Stone, about the year 1633 or 1634, who carried himself very proudly and spoke contemptuously of our magistrates, and carried it lewdly in his conversation. For his misdemeanor, his ship was stayed, but he fled and would not obey authority. And there came warrants to Dorchester to take him dead or alive. So all our soldiers were in arms, and sentinels were set in divers places, and at length he was found in a great cornfield where we took him and carried him to Boston. But for want of one witness when he came to his trial, he escaped with his life. He was said to be a man of great relation, and had great favor in England, and he gave out threatening speeches.
Though he escaped with his life, not being hanged for adultery, there being but one witness, yet for other crimes he was fined, and paid it. And being dismissed, he went toward Virginia. But by the way putting into the Pequot country to trade with them, the Pequots cut off both him and his men, took his goods, and burnt his ship. Some of the Indians reported that they roasted him alive. Thus did God destroy him that so proudly threatened to ruin us by complaining against us when he came to England.
Thus God destroyed him, and delivered us at that time also.” (Roger Clapp; The Memoir of Capt. Roger Clapp of Dorchester 1630-1680)
In the Maryland archives a letter to Gov. (then Capt) William Stone dated Maryland 3rd Jan. 1644, signed by Thomas Weston and written to William Stone, Weston mentions a parcel of tobacco “which your brother Mr. John Stone had of me many past”.
(Archives of MD, Vol. 4, pp. 375-378)
John Stones death has been discussed in many publications. Often times it is theorized to be one of the incidents that instigated the Pequot War.
From Plymouh Plantation : Living Breathing History:
Captain John Stone, West Indian trader and pirate, is killed in retaliation for the death of Tatobem. The Pequots are blamed although West Niantics were involved. The English consider this act the beginning of the war.
October and November 1634
The Pequots negotiate for peace with Massachusetts Bay. They sign a treaty agreeing to hand over Stone’s killers and “yield up Connecticut,” but it is never ratified by Pequot leaders.
To date, research has not turned up a wife or children for John Stone.