Governor William J. Stone is Born: May 7, 1848

William J. Stone portrait
Library of Congress

Missouri’s 28th governor William Joel Stone was born on this date in 1848. Stone is the only figure to have served as Representative, Senator, and Governor of Missouri.

William Joel Stone was an influential political figure in late 19th and early 20th century America, serving as the Governor of Missouri and a United States Senator. Born on May 7, 1848, in Madison County, Kentucky, Stone moved with his family to Missouri during his childhood, where they settled in Vernon County.

Stone pursued an education in law at the University of Missouri, and graduated in 1867. He was admitted to the bar in 1869 and quickly became active in politics as a member of the Democratic Party. His early political career included serving as city attorney in Columbia, prosecuting attorney of Vernon County, and a member of the Missouri House of Representatives. Stone’s political rise was marked by his staunch advocacy for agricultural interests and his support for the silver standard, aligning him with the populist wing of the Democratic Party.

In 1884, Stone was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served until 1891. He then served as Governor of Missouri from 1893 to 1897, during which he championed progressive reforms and sought to regulate railroads and combat monopolistic practices. His tenure as governor was noted for its emphasis on fiscal responsibility and education reform.

After his governorship, Stone returned to his law practice but remained a key figure in state and national politics. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1902 and served until his death in 1918. During his Senate career, Stone was involved in major legislative efforts, including debates over antitrust laws and World War I policies. He was known for his eloquent oratory and his commitment to the principles of Jeffersonian democracy. Stone’s legacy includes his significant contributions to both Missouri state governance and national legislative affairs. He is buried in Deepwood Cemetery, in Nevada, Missouri.