The Stoneman Family
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the Stoneman family
The Stoneman family is a very distinguished and remarkable
family. Beginning with George Stoneman, Sr., the Stonemans
inhabited Busti. In 1810, George Stoneman settled on Lot 16.
He later married Catherine Rebecca Cheney and had eight children:
George, Byron, John T., Rebecca, Kate, Charlotte, Mary Jane,
and Richard. George Stoneman, Sr. was a prominent lumberman
and for many years, he was justice of the peace.
Major General George Stoneman, Jr. retired colonel of the
United States Army and ex-governor of California, was born
August 8, 1822.
When attending school at Jamestown Academy, he was a successful
competition for the vacant cadetship then existing at West
Point, and the appointment was accordingly presented to him
by the Honorable Staly N. Clark, the member of Congress from
that district. George Stoneman entered the Military Academy
on July 1, 1842. His personal associates esteemed him as a
generous-hearted companion. His roommate was T.J. (Stonewall)
Our country was at war with Mexico when the class of 1846
graduated, and Brevent Second Lieutenant Stoneman, of the
First Dragoons, began his active field career. He marched
across the country to California where he assisted in securing
California to the United States. Afterwards, in recognition
of his services and distinguished character, George Stoneman,
Jr. was elected chief magistracy of the state.
Having become a major of the First Cavalry, he was called
to Washington to aid in the preservation of the union. During
the Civil War, Stoneman was appointed to the head of the Third
Army Corps. Soon after, he was promoted to the ranks of Major-General
of Volunteers. At the battle of Chancellorsville, Stoneman
effectively held of Confederate forces with his "raids".
He continued to be a driving force of the union army and was
extremely successful in his endeavors.
After the war, General Stoneman commanded different departments
and districts until 1871 (when he was retired as Colonel of
the Twenty-first Infantry and Major-General of Volunteers)
and settled on a ranch near Los Angeles, California. In 1882,
he was elected Democratic Governor of the State of California
by a large majority. He also helped to form the constitution
of that state.
General George Stoneman, Jr. died in 1894 while visiting a
daughter in Buffalo, and was buried with full military honors
in the Lakewood Cemetery. The inscription on his tombstone
Chief of Cavalry
Army of Potomac
Commander Third Army Corps
Pensioner of Mexican and Civil Wars
Kate Stoneman was born on the Stoneman farm in Lakewood in
April 1841. Pursuing her ambition to graduate from a teacher's
college, Kate left Busti for Albany in 1864 to attend the
New York State Normal College. While a student there, she
worked as a copyist for the state reporter of the Court of
Appeals. She graduated in 1866 and began a teaching career
that spanned 40 years. She taught one term at Glen's Falls
Seminary before moving on to her alma matter, the State Normal
College, where she served as teacher of Geography, Drawing
In the early days of her teaching career, Kate took an interest
in woman suffrage, temperance and world peace movements. She
and other women formed a society called the Woman's Suffrage
Society of Albany.
An educator by day, the revered teacher spent her evenings
and weekends studying law. After three years of diligent study,
Kate made up her mind to take the New York State bar examination.
She was aware that only one other woman had previously taken
the exam and had failed.
Kate Stoneman made history by passing both the writing and
oral examinations. But, because of the times, she was refused
admission to the bar because she was a woman. The reason given
by the three Supreme Court justices who denied her admission
were "No precedent," "No English precedent,"
and "No necessity."
In late May, 1886, Kate visited the governor and the secretary
of state who signed a bill that would allow her to practice
law. The next morning, on the day of the Supreme Court adjourned,
Kate went before the justices with the signed bill and was
duly admitted to the bar.
Following her admission to the bar, Kate attended Albany Law
School. The first woman to graduate from that institution,
she received her Bachelor of Laws degree in 1898.
Kate Stoneman passed away on May 19, 1924, and is buried in
the Albany Rural Cemetery.
Clara Stoneman married Gilbert D. Harris, 1864-1952,
of Chautauqua County. Mr. Harris graduated from Cornell University
in 1886. In 1933 he became Emeritus Professor of Cornell University
in the Department of Geology. In 1932 he had founded the Paleontological
Research Institution of Ithaca, N.Y. He was a member of various
geological surveys and conducted scientific expeditions chiefly
in the southerly states and in Venezuela and Trinidad. He
was for several years State Geologist of Louisiana. They had
one daughter, Rebecca Stoneman.
Bertha Stoneman had a Ph.D. in Botany from Cornell
University. Then she joined the staff of the Huguenot College
in Wellington, South Africa. She wrote a widely used textbook
on Botany and later became president of Huguenot College.
She died there in April, 1943, in a small home she had built
at Bain's Kloff, Wellington, after she had retired in 1933
and which she called "Stonemansion". After World
War II he ashes were brought back to Lakewood Cemetery and
placed near her mother as she had wished.
John T. Stoneman, born in 1831, married Caroline W.
Southland, 1833-1902, daughter of another pioneer family in
Town of Busti. They moved to Iowa where he was twice senator
of that state and judge of the Iowa Superior Court.