John William Stone- September 16, 1867- August 28, 1934

April 23, 2020 1:43 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Taken with permission from the Wichita County Heritage Society June 2007 Riverside Cemetery Tour book. They are a wealth of information- learn more about them at www.wichita-heritage.org!

J.W. Stone from Virginia married Florence Seymour, originally from Georgia, in Denton, Texas in 1889. They moved to Wichita Falls (lived at the St. James Hotel) shortly after the marriage and had five sons and one daughter. They were both active in the community. She was a charter member in the Civic League, D.A.R., U.D.C, and WWI work group. She died in 1924 and the street north of the high school was named in her memory.

J.W. worked as dispatcher and Western Union operator for the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad and personally telegraphed Captain Bill McDonald for the return of the Rangers after the ( 1896 City National) bank robbery. He was also the dispatcher who side-tracked the special Theodore Roosevelt train at Bowie and let the regular train go through. As a result, he was fired as Chief Dispatcher by J.V. Goode, the Division Superintendent. When Roosevelt heard this happened, he wrote a letter and had him reinstated, but Stone refused to return. He then went into the real estate business with C.W. Bean and was very successful.

He and C.W. were the general agents for sales of the Burnett ranch lands and the firm sold most of the farms from Burkburnett to Electra. In 1907 he had the Jackson Auto Agency, and sold the first cars in Wichita Falls. Their first shipment of three cars (two cylinder, chain drive) went to T.B. Noble, Mayor, Frank Kell, and J.W. Stone. It was interesting to note that none of the three knew how to drive! Around 1908, J.W. and Bean organized a company to build an opera house, which later became the Wichita Theater, and is open for special presentations today. He also served as an agent for J.B. Marlow and R.M. Moore in the development of the Floral Heights Addition in 1923.

About 1909, it was Stone’s office at the real estate group where the plan was made to break the Wichita drought by dynamiting. Public money was raised and a carload of dynamite ordered. It was set off at 100 yard intervals in the present Flora Heights Addition area of town. It took all day and sounded like a battle zone. Later that afternoon clouds appeared, but only a few drops materialized. However, there was a severe rainstorm that fell between Bellevue and Bowie that afternoon!

In 1912 Stone and Marlow owned land at the west end of 9th which included part of Beverly Drive and organized the first golf club in Wichita Falls. It was said they should have rough land and a lake so they built a lake. Many joined but no one knew how to play and the project lapsed. Stone died years later in Wichita Falls at the age of 66.

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This post was written by Christine Heidebrecht

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