John Marshall Stone: Thirty-first and Thirty-third Governor of Mississippi: 1876-1882; 1890-1896
In July 1894, Governor John Marshall Stone, who was inaugurated as governor on three separate occasions, and served as governor longer than any other man in Mississippi history, was arrested by Secret Service agents for counterfeiting the currency of the United States. The accusation of counterfeiting resulted from the fact that the state of Mississippi had issued a special state warrant that was similar in color, size, shape, and appearance to United States currency. The federal agents had acted in haste and the charges were later dropped, but Governor Stone was infuriated by what he called “a most outrageous proceeding.”
Stone was born in Milan, Tennessee, on April 30, 1830. After teaching school in his native state for several years, he moved to Eastport, a village near Iuka in old Tishomingo County. Before the Civil War, Stone was the station agent for the Mississippi and Ohio Railroad at Iuka and returned to that position after the Civil War.
In 1869, Stone, a Democrat, was elected to the Mississippi Senate and served continuously until 1876. When Governor Ames resigned in 1876, Stone was president pro tempore. Because Lieutenant Governor Alexander K. Davis had already been impeached and removed from office, Stone was next in the line of succession and became governor on March 29, 1876.
In the bitter political climate of 1877, the Republican Party did not
nominate a candidate for governor. Consequently, Governor Stone was re-elected
governor by the astounding margin of 97,729 votes to 47. The state’s
Reconstruction constitution, which had been adopted in 1869, lengthened
the governor’s term to four years and allowed the governor to succeed
himself. That provision made Governor Stone’s first period of servicesix
years – the two years of Ames’s unexpired term and the four-year
term to which he was elected in 1877.
David Sansing, Ph.D., is history professor emeritus, University of Mississippi.
Posted December 2003
Mississippi Official and Statistical Register (1912), 77.
Rowland, Dunbar. Mississippi Comprising Sketches in Cyclopedic Form II. 735-746.
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