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William Stone papers


William Stone papers
Stone, William B.
Collection number:
0.25 linear feet (75 items)
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
State of Maryland and Historical Collections
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

William B. Stone, Charles County, Maryland, lawyer and landowner, counted among his ancestors a number of influential Maryland politicians, including a proprietary governor from the early seventeenth century. Stone himself was at one time considered by the U.S. Senate for a federal judge's seat. National politics, slavery, individual slaves, legal and financial settlements are among the topics covered in Stone's papers, which consist of correspondence between Stone and relatives or business associates.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


This collection is open for research.

Preferred citation:

William Stone papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

William B[riscoe] Stone was born on April 13, 1797, in Charles County, Maryland. As an adult he practiced law in Charles County, and at one point was even considered by the U. S. Senate for a judgeship. In 1825 he married Sarah Anne Caroline Brown. William and Sarah had four children: Margaret Wade, Thomas, Mary, and Catherine. The family resided at an estate called "Haber de Venture," which passed to the children upon William's death on December 1, 1872. The property remained in the family until 1936, when financial difficulties forced the owner to sell.

Stone came from a long line of influential men who participated actively in public life and politics in the state of Maryland. Stone's paternal great-great-great-grandfather was William Stone (1603-1660), who served as Maryland's third Proprietary Governor. The Governor's son John held various public offices in Charles County, among them Gentleman Justice of the Quorom and Commissioner of the Peace. Michael Jenifer Stone (William Briscoe Stone's father) served as a lieutenant in the militia and later as a Delegate, a member of the Maryland Constitutional Congress, a Maryland Representative in the First United States Congress, and judge of the First Judicial District.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The William B. Stone Papers contain material that dates from 1762 through 1876; most of the material falls within the years 1821 through 1845. The collection consists of correspondence, most of which was written to Stone for business purposes. Also included are letters from various correspondents to Stone's uncles Walter, Daniel, and Frederick, and one letter to Stone's father, Michael Jennifer Stone.

Important subjects documented in the collection include slavery and individual slaves, legal and financial settlements, and national politics.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the Papers of William B. Stone from Charles Apfelbaum in December 1990.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Nancy Esau, July 1991.

Processing note:

All materials have been placed in acid-free folders and all folders have been placed in acid-free box.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Jennie A. Levine, February 2006.

Arrangement of Collection

The collection has been organized as one series.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Correspondence, 1762-1876 and undated (0.25 linear feet)

This series consists primarily of letters written to William B. Stone by various friends, colleagues, and clients. Also included are a few business letters written to Stone's uncles Walter, Daniel, and Frederick, as well as one letter written to Stone's father, Michael J. Stone.

Most of the letters to William B. Stone deal with legal matters such as claim and estate settlements, debt collection, and court cases. Some of these letters, however -- especially those from William Plater -- are of a much more personal nature. The Plater letters reveal much about the long-lived friendship that existed between Stone and Plater. Plater, for instance, speaks frankly about his financial straits, the death of his beloved wife, and his child's serious illness. Like Stone, Plater came from an important Maryland family; Plater's father, George, was Maryland's sixth governor.

One letter in particular within the collection stands out as a valuable account of political events in the nation's capital. A letter written by H. G. S. Key and dated 29 January 1845 mentions the Senate's rejection of Stone as a candidate for a judgeship and goes on to discuss the activities of various political parties, President Polk's new government, and Texas' admission to the Union.

The collection also contains a letter from Thomas Fielder Bowie (1808-1869), who has heavily involved in county, state, and national politics. Bowie, an attorney who practiced in Upper Marlboro, served as Deputy Attorney General in Prince George's County and later went on to participate in the Maryland State Constitutional Convention of 1851. He was a member of the judicial committee that assisted in framing Maryland's new constitution, and he was elected as the U. S. House of Representatives for the Thirty-Fourth and Thirty-Fifth Congresses (1855-1859).

Several of the letters are interesting also for their treatment of slavery. Plater's letters of 5 January and 19 February 1839, for example, matter-of-factly discuss the price and physical condition of certain slave women.

This series of correspondence has been arranged chronologically. A detailed listing of the letters (as prepared by the manuscript dealer) is available at

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Correspondence, December 24, 1762 to July 1, 1876 and undated series 1box 1folder 1
Correspondence, December 24, 1762 to July 1, 1876 and undated series 1box 1folder 2
Correspondence, December 24, 1762 to July 1, 1876 and undated series 1box 1folder 3
Correspondence, December 24, 1762 to July 1, 1876 and undated series 1box 1folder 4
Correspondence, December 24, 1762 to July 1, 1876 and undated series 1box 1folder 5
Correspondence, December 24, 1762 to July 1, 1876 and undated series 1box 1folder 6

Related Material

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