The Hometown History column is presented by the Fenton History Center and The Post-Journal. Each Friday, a distinct item from the Fenton History Center collections or archival special collections will be featured. Learn about your hometown history through parts of its past.
If one of the items featured brings back some memories or brings up a question, please contact the Fenton History Center at 664-6256 or firstname.lastname@example.org to share your memory or get an answer to your question.
By Phoebe Forbes
Rev. M.V. Stone’s GAR hat and a souvenir canteen from 1892 are part of the collection of the Fenton History Center. The items were owned by men who served in the Civil War.
Not long after the Fenton Historical Society was formed, we were given a Grand Army of the Republic hat which had belonged to The Rev. Martin V. Stone, by one of his sons, Harold Stone of Jamestown. The GAR was the veterans' organization for the veterans of the Civil War. At the time of his death, on Saturday, Feb. 18, 1939, Stone left only three Civil War veterans still alive in Chautauqua County.
Rev. Stone was born on Frew Run in the town of Carroll on Dec. 6, 1845. At the age of 18, he enlisted as a private in Company A, 112th New York Infantry and joined his company at the front at Petersburg, Va. He served until being mustered out in June 1865.
After the war, he worked in a shingle mill and attended the Chamberlain Institute at Randolph in 1868, 1869 and 1870. Following that, he returned to the shingle mill until in 1871 a district elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church persuaded him to take up ministerial work in Pennsylvania. At that year's Methodist Episcopal Conference session in Meadville he was appointed to the charge of the territory between Kane and Sheffield, Pa., as a junior minister. Once a month he and the senior minister each covered the entire circuit of 134 miles on foot; thus each congregation was served twice a month. Stone later served in Warren and Venango counties. He was ordained in 1873. Throughout his career, he served churches both in Pennsylvania and Chautauqua County. He moved back to Frewsburg in about 1921, retiring after 50 years of service.
According to his obituary, printed in the Feb. 20, 1939, edition of the Jamestown Post, "He walked considerably and was a familiar figure on the streets. His step until the last was brisk for a man of his years and he carried himself with a dignity that would have been a credit to men many years his junior. He was an immaculate dresser."
The Rev. Stone was active in the GAR in Frewsburg, as commander of the James M. Brown Post and chaplain for life, commander and chaplain for life of the Chautauqua County Veterans Union, state commander of the GAR and was the adjutant general of the national GAR at the time of his death in February 1939.
Stone was survived by a sister, a brother, four sons and a daughter. His wife, whom he married in Union City, Pa., on July 2, 1872, died in March 1924.
At his funeral, Samuel L. Willard, commander of the Samuel M. Brown Post GAR, the only one of the three local surviving Civil War veterans who was able to attend, saluted his fallen comrade. Many other veterans attended in groups, and a large contingent of his ministerial colleagues was also present.
The Rev. Martin V. Stone is buried in Union City, Pa.
1892 REUNION SOUVENIR
"Personal War Sketches, Grand Army of the Republic," presented to the James M. Brown Post No. 285, Jamestown, Department of New York, by the James M. Brown Women's Relief Corps No. 73, 1893, is a large book in which information about the members of the Post and the activities of the Post was recorded. According to this book, in 1892, "During the week of Sept. 20, a large delegation from James M. Brown Post attended National Encampment at Washington." Most likely it was someone in this large delegation who brought back the souvenir canteen that is now in the collection of the Fenton History Center.
The cork stopper is still intact with its keeper chain. The blue and red twisted cord is still attached to one of the side rings but has deteriorated with time. It is one of the many items offered for sale as souvenirs with the proceeds helping to fund the encampment.
The Fenton History Center is holding its annual Civil War encampment this weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with a special commemoration of the site of Camp Brown at Brown and Prospect streets at 9 a.m. Saturday morning.
The purpose of the Fenton History Center is to gather and teach about southern Chautauqua County's history through artifacts, ephemeral and oral histories, and other pieces of the past.
Visit www.fentonhistorycenter.org for more information on upcoming events.
If you would like to donate to the collections or support the work of the Fenton History Center, call 664-6256 or visit the center at 67 Washington St., just south of the Washington Street Bridge.