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General Roy Stone and The New York Times
Portrait of a General discussed the origins of the Spanish-American War and General Stone's participation in it. In short, the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana harbor, attributed to the Spanish military, prompted President McKinley to ask Congress on April 11, 1898, for permission to use American forces to end Spanish rule in Cuba. He also asked for 125,000 volunteers for the war, and would need officers to lead them.
General Stone requested a leave of absence to serve under General Nelson A. Miles, the Commanding General of the United States Army. On May 12, 1898, the Times reported that General Stone had offered his services and that General Miles had recommended that they be accepted. Secretary Wilson "heartily acquiesced in the suggestion." As a result, "Gen. Stone is now installed for temporary duty in the War Department." The article continued:
The Agricultural Department owns road-making machinery with which it has experimented, and this outfit has been placed at the disposal of the War Department. Nothing definite will be done by Gen. Stone until word is received from Col. Ludlow of the Engineer Corps, who is now at Tampa, and is being consulted as to what is necessary.
General Miles, the article stated, considered it "especially important" to be "fully equipped with supplies and the most improved machinery for the construction of roads and railroads, and also with experts in the use of such machinery and construction."
General Stone was appointed Brigadier General of United States Volunteers on June 8, consistent with his rank during the Civil War. He accepted the appointment on June 14. While he was away, President McKinley brought his friend and former associate in Ohio, Martin Dodge, to Washington as Acting Director of the ORI.
On June 24, the Times reported that General Stone, serving on General Miles' staff, "has prepared a manual for the use of troops operating in Cuba, covering the most expeditious means of cutting military roads through the tangled tropical vegetation, swamps, and underbrush" the army would encounter. In preparing the manual, General Stone had studied Cuban soil, vegetation, and timber growth. In addition to "having a personal acquaintance with the country," he had collected photographs and maps showing the topography of the island. (The Rambler does not known when General Stone had visited Cuba.)
He emphasized the use of the guava tree or bush, "which grows in luxurious abundance" throughout Cuba:
He gives diagrams by which this is to be cut and the boughs bound upward, making a compact roll, about the size of a small log. These guava bundles, known as fascines, are laid lengthwise, one row of bundles lapping over another, like shingles. There are successive layers of these bound together, making a serviceable roadway strong enough for troops, and even for field ordnance.
The article quoted the pamphlet:
If the road is an important one, it should have about sixteen feet of travelway, and, to allow for ditches on either side, the ground should be cleared at least thirty feet wide. Running through a wooded country, the advance or clearing party should be equipped with axes, machetes, bush scythes, and a few forks, and should be instructed to cut and clear away all vines, weeds, and small undergrowth, and to bind up into bundles all small bushes less than an inch in diameter at the ground, these bundles to be kept for repairs of roads. If there is heavy timber, the second gang, equipped with axes and saws, will chop out all trees, leaving the roots in the ground, and saw the trees into such lengths as will allow the logs to be hauled or rolled off the roadway.
A third gang would then go through the area with axes, hatchets, and twine to create the fascines for the roadbed. The article stated that in crossing swampy ground, the gang should first place a layer of poles or canes lengthwise on the road, with the fascines on top. "While these bush roads might seem insecure, they are, as a matter of fact, more solid than an ordinary corduroy road, the bundles of bushes being crowded together with crowbars until they lie with the solidity of baled hay."
The manual also provided details on grubbing out timber, making sluiceways, and using sugar cane "as one of the best layers for improving the sandy roads." The bark of the palm tree also could be used for this purpose. However, General Stone warned against using pine needles "as they work to the surface and are liable to be burned off," according to the Times article.
General Stone was still in Washington on July 3 when the U.S. Navy destroyed the Spanish fleet as it tried to escape a blockade of the harbor of Santiago in Cuba. On July 8, 1898, the Times reported that General Miles and his party, including General Stone, had left Washington on the Southern Railway for Charleston, South Carolina. General Miles intended to go on to Santiago to take charge of operations.
Shipping supplies from the harbor to troops in Cuba was a problem. According to an article in the Times on July 14, 1898, the Army imported stevedores from Tampa, Florida, to help unload the ships and move supplies to where they were needed. Additional help was on the way:
When Gen. Miles sailed from Charleston for Cuba he left Gen. Roy Stone of his staff in that city to engage several hundred negro laborers to be taken to Santiago to build roads, dig trenches, and help generally in making easy the path of the American Army. This work in ordinary circumstances is done by the soldiers themselves, and the men at Santiago have done a vast amount of it uncomplainingly, but it is recognized that the extraordinary conditions at Santiago make unusual methods necessary and that a few hundred negroes will be able to relieve the men of some of the hardships to which they have been exposed.
Gen. Stone has succeeded in hiring the men he wants and they are now at Charleston awaiting transportation. They will be hurried forward as soon as possible, and as soon as they get there will be put to work under the direction of Gen. Stone, who, as an expert road builder, will be able to make effective use of them in that work.
Neither the laborers nor General Stone made it to Cuba.
["Roadmakers for the Army," May 12, 1898
In Puerto Rico
When the fight for control of Cuba ended a few days later, on July 17, General Miles turned his attention to Puerto Rico.
His first problem was getting there from Cuba. Despite detailed plans for his transportation to Puerto Rico with an escort of warships, his departure was delayed, as the Times reported on July 21, 1898 (dateline July 20):
Gen. Miles failed to get away from Guantanamo last night with the vanguard of the Puerto Rico expedition, and he lays the blame for the delay on the navy . . . . No light is shed by either army or navy officials here [in Washington] on the puzzling question as to why there should have been any delay in the providing of a naval escort for this advance guard of this expedition. In view of the fact that nearly the entire strength of the navy is massed in the vicinity of Santiago and that the need of a convoy has been known for a week, the present delay, which War Department officials of the highest grade unhesitatingly blame the navy for, is felt to be unnecessary, to say the least.
The article outlined the forces General Miles intended to use during the invasion. In addition to the usual combat forces, a large engineering corps would be accompanying the General "and he has assigned to the expeditionary force full complements of hospital and signal detachments." The article continued:
To make the outfit still more complete, 600 negro laborers engaged at Charleston will be sent along to build docks, clear and mend roads, unload transports, and do such other heavy labor as they may be called on for.
Because the plan was to take and occupy the entire island, not just the capital, the road and rail network and the harbors were critical:
For the execution of such a scheme the preliminary seizure of one of the fine harbors on the south coast, near Ponce, the second city to San Juan in size and importance, is considered desirable, and this is what the advance guard under Gen. Miles is expected to do.
The best road in [sic] the island runs from Ponce to the capital, and the march of the invading army along this highway would drive the Spanish force gradually back upon San Juan, whose capture after a combined land assault from the rear and bombardment from the front by the warships would be a matter of hours only.
San Juan so lies that the fleet can remain out of range of the shore batteries and shell the town effectively. It is significant of the intention to do a good deal of marching in Puerto Rico that whereas little wagon transportation was sent with the Santiago force, the two brigades of [Generals] Ernest and Haines already under way to Puerto Rico have orders to take all their mules and wagons with them. This transportation will be available on the macadamized roads of Puerto Rico.
By July 22, General Miles and his forces were well on their way, but he sent the following dispatch to Washington:
Am disappointed in non-arrival of Col. Hecker with construction corps. Col. Black arrived without snag boats or lighters. Please send at least four strong sea-going steam lighters and tugs. Also Gen. Stone's boats at Jacksonville, if not already sent, as soon as possible. Moving along well.
The article indicated that transportation would also be provided for 400 laborers engaged by contract, and "the 600 negro laborers engaged by Gen. Stone at Charleston." The article also explained that General Miles' reference to "Gen. Stone's boats at Jacksonville" referred to lumber boats.
An article on July 24 again discussed transportation conditions in Puerto Rico based on a recently released "Military Notes on Puerto Rico" by the War Department's Bureau of Information:
From Yauco to Ponce, a distance of some ten or twelve miles, a railroad runs, followed for its entire course by a wagon road, both following the coast line so closely that an army proceeding along them would be under the protection of the fleet for the whole distance . . . . From Ponce to San Juan the road is eighteen feet wide, with twelve feet in the centre laid with pounded stone. The streams are crossed by iron bridges and the road is in good shape for travel all the year.
A separate article that same day (datelined July 23) noted that several ships were en route, while the Ute, "chartered to take 600 negro laborers to Puerto Rico," was at Charleston. A third article stated that the ship was on its way to Jacksonville with 300,000 feet of lumber and the "force of negro workmen." It added:
At Charleston she will stop to get Gen. Roy Stone, who is an expert in road and pier building.
A July 26 article (datelined July 25) picked up the transport arrangement:
The Ute took on 600 negro laborers at Charleston to-day and is understood to have sailed for Jacksonville, where she is to ship a lot of landing boats secured by Gen. Stone of Gen. Miles's staff.
The Ute headed to Puerto Rico on August 3, with 75 mechanics, the Negro laborers, and about 600,000 feet of lumber "which will be used in constructing pontoons and buildings for use by United States troops in their invasion of the islands." All kinds of other building material were included as well.
Although the Rambler has been able to trace the departure of the Negro laborers for Puerto Rico, he has not found references to their work. From future references to General Stone, as discussed below, they were not assigned to him. As a result, the Rambler will move on to General Stone's activities on the island.
General Stone arrived in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on July 25, with General George Garretson's brigade as a member of the Corps of Engineers. The Times first reported on General Stone's activities in Puerto Rico on August 1. A story datelined Ponce, July 29, said:
Gen. Garretson's brigade is massed at Yauco, the terminus of the railway, fifteen miles off, and will probably remain there until the army is ready to move, but it is thought that the artillery will be brought here immediately. The railroad is in good order, but much of the rolling stock has been destroyed. Yesterday Gen. Roy Stone found several engines wrecked. The machinery had been taken to pieces by Spanish sympathizers and hidden. Gen. Stone gave them two hours to get the engines into working order, under penalty of imprisonment, and in less than that time the engines had steam up and were ready to move.
On August 6, 1898 (dateline August 5), the Times reported that while General Miles prepared his troops to advance, "Gen. Roy Stone is repairing the road to Arcibo, but a movement there is improbable."
An article published August 17, 1898, datelined Ponce on August 3, explained that a reporter had accompanied General Stone on July 26:
Last Tuesday the writer accompanied a reconnoitering expedition under Gen. Roy Stone of Pennsylvania into the mountains north of Ponce. It was remarkable in more ways than one. Gen. Miles had ascertained that the enemy's position at Albonito was almost impregnable and he had decided to turn the left flank of the Spanish position by landing Gen. Brooks's force at Arroyo and thence moving his column to Cayoy, in the rear of the Spanish position at Albonito. The advisability of a movement by our left flank was also discussed. This could be done if the road across the mountains to Arecibo on the north coast was passable.
The reports were that there was a fine carriage road from Utuado to Arecibo. The only question was as to the character of the road as far as the former point. Gen. Stone volunteered to make the reconnaissance. He took with him several men of the Signal Corps, four newspaper correspondents in carriages, armed with Remingtons [i.e., typewriters], and C Company of the Second Wisconsin. The start was made at noon.
The road led straight up to the tip of the mountain for ten miles, and the infantry company was soon far behind. The carriages were drawn by native ponies, and went up the mountain on a gallop, except when the reckless drivers stopped to breathe the animals. It was right into the heart of the enemy's country. The road rises to an altitude of five thousand feet, and is an extension of the military road from San Juan to Ponce, which cost 25,000,000 Spanish pesos. Even to the top it is a marvelous piece of engineering. At times it is hewn out of the solid rock, hanging over sheer cliffs a thousand feet deep. At others it spans gorges with stone bridges. The scenery of the Alps, though bolder, of course, is not more beautiful. Everything is covered with luxurious tropical verdure, even the rocks. Brilliant flowering plants and trees splash the green with vivid color.
Once at the top, the completed military road is ended; and then we started on to Adjuntas, ten miles off. The drivers drove like jehus. ["Jehus" was a common nickname for stagecoach drivers. The term derives from an Old Testament reference at 2 Kings 9:20: "and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi: for he driveth furiously."] The vehicles had no brakes, and the little ponies on the descent, were on the "dead run" to keep away from the wheels. Bounding, turning, swaying, now an inch from a precipice on but two wheels, and now swinging into the side of the cliff, the occupants holding on for dear life, the vehicles went at a tremendous pace as the drivers whipped on their mad beasts. One false step, a stumble, would have sent us whirling into space. Few Western stage drivers could have safely accomplished this feat.
Adjuntas was a coffee-trading center surrounded by coffee haciendas that employed the inhabitants. [Puerto Rico: A Guide to the Island of Boriquén, American Guide Series, The University Society, Inc., 1940, p. 362]. When General Stone and his few companions arrived in Adjuntas, they found "women and children lining the streets [who] bombarded us with bouquets of roses, fuschias, and wild flowers, while the men who formed the background cheered the Americans and cried 'Down with Spain!'" As residents waved a few American flags, the Alcalde (Mayor) formally greeted General Stone, who addressed the people from the veranda of the Town Hall:
In their enthusiasm the people could not wait for the translation. At every sentence they cheered. Then they cheered the translation.
The festivities ended in the evening with the citizens offering to put up the members of the party.
Gen. Stone finally accepted the invitation of a rich Englishman, who had lived there fifty-four years. His children spoke nothing but Spanish and French, and the old gentleman was so delighted that he could himself still speak English that he would not take no for an answer.
The next day, General Stone continued on to Utuado, where the Spanish defenses quickly fell.
Although General Stone had other adventures in Puerto Rico, the Times did not cover them, so the Rambler moves on. (See "Portrait of a General" for additional details.) The Spanish lowered their flag in San Juan on October 18, 1898, effectively ending the Cuban phase of the war.
A tiny article in the Times on November 4, 1898, reported:
On board the steamer Philadelphia of the Red D Line, which arrived last evening from Ponce, Puerto Rico, were Brig. Gen. Roy Stone, Col. Edward Hunter, and Col. George W. Goethals, en route to Washington.
(In 1907, President Roosevelt selected Colonel Goethals, an engineer with the U.S. Corps of Engineers, as chief engineer of the Panama Canal, which would be completed in 1914.)
["Miles Delayed by the Navy," July 21, 1898
After the War
A longer article that same day printed an extract of a letter General Stone had written to Martin Dodge to be read before the National Road Parliament at the Omaha Exposition. Unfortunately, the letter arrived too late for that purpose. The Times quoted two paragraphs from General Stone's letter about road conditions in Puerto Rico:
I can only add to all that I have heretofore said in favor of the [good roads] movement a warning and reproof drawn from a country where, except for a few military lines, no roads have ever been built, and where the bulk of the product of a marvelously rich soil is carried to market on the heads of men and women or the backs of diminutive animals. As a result of this neglect, together with other kindred causes, the agricultural population of the island, although industrious and frugal, is so poor as to be almost without shelter, furniture, or clothing, and entirely without supplies of food, so that their trifling wages must be paid day by day to enable them to continue this hopeless existence.
If the change to American possession can be made to bring the blessings of good roads to this island, the lesson may react upon the continent itself and aid the work of road improvement at home; and this is one thing which encourages me in my local work here [in Puerto Rico] and consoles me for my absence from the greater field. With liberal treatment by our Government I hope to see here a quick example of the effects of good communications by road, railroad, and water on a heretofore homebound people.
On February 5, 1899, the Times carried an article titled "A Lesson in Patriotism," referring to the joy of seeing the American flag abroad. The article recounted an incident the previous August when forces under Generals Garretson and Guy V. Henry had left Ponce on a march that would take them across two mountain ranges to the Atlantic Coast. After a difficult mountain march, General Henry had gone ahead to Adjuntas which "a week previously, had ignominiously capitulated to Gen. Roy Stone, two Signal Corps men, and four newspaper correspondents, and was then, so its inhabitants thought, American territory." The Alcalde "in the fullness of his joy at the appearance of the commander of the invaders" hoisted a tattered American flag over the Town Hall.
When the weary troops followed General Henry into the city, one of their leaders, Colonel Rice, saw the flag:
With the patriotic reverence inherent in the breast of the regular soldier he took off his hat and passed on without giving a sign. Almost at the same moment the leader of the band observed the emblem and intuitively he started his men playing Sousa's stirring "Stars and Stripes" march.
Finally, his men saw the flag:
Then, with a unanimity that was almost perfect, the hundred men broke into a cheer, thrice repeated, while every hat was doffed. As each company passed the flag these cheers were repeated and the salute given, much to the amazement of the natives, who had never heard an American soldier's cheer before.
The following day, when the natives passed the flag, they also removed their hats in tribute.
On April 4, 1899, the Times reported on the return of Inspector General Joseph C. Breckinridge following an inspection tour of Puerto Rico. In several weeks of riding across the island, he found considerable discontent and a danger of uprisings. The people were divided among those who favored annexation to the United States, returning to the Spanish flag, and establishing an autonomous country. Many believed they were under a military government. General Breckinridge also reported that General Stone "is engaged in constructing a railway across Puerto Rico, from the southeast to the northwest corner." This line would complement a railroad running diagonally across the island, northeast to southwest.
Poverty had worsened. "Over 100,000 of the natives . . . have been without bread and meat for six weeks, and are on the verge of starvation," the Times reported on April 26, 1899. The day before, the article stated that General Stone and the Executive Committee of the National Red Cross had called on President McKinley "to lay before him a plan for the partial relief of the destitution in Puerto Rico." The article added that, "The aid the military authorities in Puerto Rico were able to give to the natives in the way of distribution of rations and employment on the roads has been greatly reduced since the free distribution of rations was suspended."
General Stone's plan was for Puerto Rico to ship coffee to the United States to be sold through the Red Cross, with the proceeds helping relieve the country. The coffee and other products, such as crystal sugar, fruits, preserves, cigars, and cigarettes, would be sold in coffee rooms to be established in principal cities by the Red Cross.
(Puerto Rican coffee had primarily been marketed in Spain and Cuba. Following the Spanish-American War, Spain established high tariffs that blocked import of Puerto Rican coffee. Cuba, which was beginning to grow its own coffee, also erected tariff barriers, leaving Puerto Rican coffee growers without an international market. General Stone discussed these issues in an article on "Agriculture in Puerto Rico" for the 1898 Yearbook of the Department of Agriculture [p. 505-514]. He explained that the island country was in a depression because of its loss of established markets. The price of coffee had fallen 40 percent since the summer of 1898. General Stone added that:
An additional, and the most serious, cause of the extremely low price of coffee is the excess of more than 6,000,000 sacks in this year's production in Brazil. This, together with the comparatively short crop in Puerto Rico, has reduced the income of the island planters this year to less than one-third of the usual amount, leaving them in debt for previous advances and without means to make a new crop.
(Planters had so little capital that they had discharged most of their laborers and, in some cases, abandoned cultivation.
(Although Puerto Rican coffee did not have a market in the United States, it was "considered among the best in the world" in Europe:
If it could be favorably introduced here, the increased demand would at once advance its price, which would give new credit to the Puerto Rican planters and enable them to resume work.
(The Depression-era American Guide Series volume on Puerto Rico offered an additional concern:
The use of Puerto Rican money was abolished in 1899 and United States currency substituted on the basis of 60 American cents for one peso. This necessitated readjustment of local values, temporarily to the disadvantage of the Island whose economy was based on the peso. At the time coffee was the economic mainstay of the Island, which exported 58,000,000 pounds. The coffee planters, encouraged by a consistent demand for their product in European markets during the latter half of the nineteenth century, had gone into an orgy of coffee production. They mortgaged their properties in order to buy more land, and the change of currency automatically increased their mortgage burden. [p. 55-56])
General Henry, who had been appointed Governor of Puerto Rico on December 6, 1898 (serving through May 17, 1899), disputed reports of poverty conditions. On May 5, 1899, the Times reported on a dispatch from General Henry to Acting Secretary of War Meiklejohn. Reports of starvation, General Henry said, were exaggerated: "over $100,000 a month is spent on roads; over 12,000 men employed; more money is distributed direct to people now every month than they have had for years." He added that "nature here is too bountiful" for people to starve. Secretary Meiklejohn also had a letter from Philip C. Hanna, Consul in San Juan, reporting on the "successful efforts to Americanize the island by the adoption of American methods and regulations, all of which appears to be very acceptable to the business men of Puerto Rico."
The Times pointed out that these reports were in response to Secretary Meiklejohn's effort to determine if General Stone's report of dismal conditions and starvation were accurate.
General Stone's interest in Puerto Rico would continue, as reflected in an article on July 29, 1901 about the gradual recovery of the island. The article stressed how the U.S.-oriented Executive Council that governed the island had imposed restrictions that blocked foreign investment needed to invigorate the economy. "When the Executive Council came into being [in 1900] there were upward of thirty applications for franchises of various sorts," but the only franchise of importance "that have been granted are for a railway, issued to Gen. Roy Stone, which is now seeking capital," plus a trolley line in Ponce, and water power rights.
["No Roads in Puerto Rico," November 4, 1898
Hurricane San Ciriaco
On August 8 and 9, 1899, a hurricane devastated Puerto Rico. During its 28-day cycle, Hurricane San Ciriaco scored the highest Accumulated Cyclone Energy ever recorded. Fatalities on Puerto Rico were between 3,000 and 3,500 people, with millions of dollars in crop damage. A second hurricane, which struck on August 22, added to the disaster.
Public and private relief efforts began in the United States shortly after news of the disaster was received. On August 18, the Times reported on efforts by the Puerto Rican Relief Committee of the Merchants' Association to ship goods to Ponce for the relief effort. The article included this statement:
The following letter was received by the committee yesterday from the Secretary of War:
The association followed up on Secretary of War Elihu Root's recommendation. (Root had taken office as Secretary of War on August 1, 1899.)
As relief supplies left by ship for the island, General Stone convened a meeting of Puerto Rican merchants and plantation owners who were in New York City. The Times reported on the meeting at the rooms of the Merchants Association on August 19:
Gen. Stone called at the rooms of the Merchants' Association at the suggestion of the Secretary of War. His plan, briefly outlined, is to have Puerto Ricans contribute a percentage of the crops of coffee of the highest grade, to be introduced in this market for the purpose of popularizing it with the coffee drinkers of this country, to whom it is practically unknown. It was finally agreed that Gen. Stone should prepare a statement of his plan in writing, to be promulgated through the proper channels in Puerto Rico for the purpose of soliciting or having donated coffee to be shipped to this country on a Government transport, to an amount not exceeding 100 bags, or 20,000 pounds for the first shipment, this coffee to be of the highest grade of coffee grown on the island.
On August 20, the Times reported the Merchants Association had held a meeting the day before with several Puerto Rican plantation owners and merchants to discuss General Stone's plan:
P. M. Toro, who will return to Puerto Rico this week, agreed to put Gen. Roy Stone's plan announced on Friday through, and arrange for a shipment of the best grades of coffee to an amount not exceeding 100 bags. The coffee will be brought on transports by permission of the Secretary of War.
The Times reported on August 24 that the U.S. transport McClellan had left the Quartermaster's dock at Brooklyn with the relief committee's supplies for Puerto Rico the day before. The article noted:
The Merchants' Association Relief Committee has sent out a circular to the principal coffee planters of Puerto Rico, asking for contributions of the highest grades of Puerto Rican coffee, not to exceed 100 bags, or 20,000 pounds, to be shipped to the committee in the city, the idea being to popularize Puerto Rican coffee in this country. The Secretary of War has offered to bring this coffee to the United States free of charge on one of the Government transports. R. H Macy & Co. have agreed to sell the coffee in their restaurant, turning the proceeds over to the Puerto Rican Relief Committee. The firm of John Wanamaker has also agreed to place the coffee on sale in its store in small lots, selling it for the benefit of the Puerto Rican fund.
(Macy's has become a national department store chain. Today, Wanamaker's is less well known, but at the time John Wanamaker was one of the great department store merchants of the era. As Postmaster General under President Benjamin Harrison, Wanamaker initiated planning for rural free delivery although the service did not get underway until he had left office.)
In concocting the plan, General Stone was probably not aware that the hurricane had devastated the uplands plantations where coffee was grown. The Times reported on August 23 that General George W. Davis, the Governor General of Puerto Rico, had reported on island conditions in a cable to the War Department. As for the coffee crop, he said, "In a few limited areas the coffee is half safe, [but in] remaining areas the crop is almost totally ruined." General Davis estimated that "next year's crop will not exceed 50 per cent. [of] average."
On September 9, Secretary Root reduced the duty on coffee exported from Puerto Rico to Cuba from $12.15 per hundred kilograms to $3.40, effective October 9, with the former duty remaining in effect for coffee imported into Cuba from other sources. The article added:
According to a cable message received by the Commissary General to-day [September 9] there is not very much coffee in Puerto Rico. Col. Nye has been instructed to purchase coffee for the army, and has bought 40,000 pounds. He cables that there is not more than 50,000 pounds more fit for use. The new crop will not be available before November, and the store and plantation coffee has been damaged by water.
The subject was raised when the Senate Committee on Puerto Rico and Pacific Islands held a hearing in Washington on January 22, 1900. Delegates representing the Chamber of Commerce of Puerto Rico asked that the United States adopt a policy of free trade with the island. Coffee, they explained, comprised more than 60 percent of the island's products. Free trade would result in most of the coffee finding its way to U.S. markets. Although Puerto Rican coffee was better than Brazilian coffee, one of the delegates said, Puerto Rican farmers would have to receive a higher price than Brazilian coffee or they would not produce it. The Times reported:
The subject was further considered at an afternoon session, when Dr. Azel Ames and Julio Larrinago, residents of Puerto Rico, spoke of the political and commercial needs of the island. Gen. Roy Stone proposed as a means of introducing Puerto Rico coffee of [sic] the United States that a National society be incorporated by Congress, the incorporators including the wives of all prominent officials.
The Rambler is unable to determine the fate of General Stone's plan to import Puerto Rican coffee to generate revenue for hurricane relief, but it seems likely to have failed because of the devastation to the crop. The loss of its established markets and the devastation of the hurricane were major blows to Puerto Rican coffee growers and thousands of laborers. As the American Guide Series put it:
This situation [the switch to U.S. currency], together with the ravages of the San Ciriaco hurricane in 1899 which completely destroyed the coffee plantations, was a death blow to the coffee economy of Puerto Rico. Losing their properties, the planters were forced to migrate to the towns and cities. The coffee workers followed them and were forced to squat on the outskirts of urban communities, giving rise to malodorous slums still in existence. [p. 56]
["Aid for the Puerto Ricans," August 18, 1899
Back to Work
While retaining a strong interest in Puerto Rico, General Stone returned to his post at the ORI on January 31, 1899.
The Times reported on February 6, 1899, that he would participate in the National Assembly of the LAW meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. The first day was scheduled to be a Good Roads Day, with prominent speakers addressing the topic. General Stone was listed as speaking on "Puerto Rican Highways." The Times did not report the details of General Stone's speech.
["Wheelmen's Annual Meet," February 6, 1899]
Interesting and Instructive
The Times published an article on June 24, 1899, surveying books of interest to municipal engineers. The article included a long section on roads, noting that the subject of good roads and streets "is one which affects the welfare of the community as much as any other." It briefly related the history of the good roads movement, including establishment of the National League for Good Roads and initiation of the road inquiry in the Department of Agriculture:
Much good has been accomplished by the Bureau of Road Inquiry thus created, at the head of which was placed Gen. Roy Stone, who was the Vice President of the National League. A little book by him, "New Roads and Road Laws in the United States," (New York: D. Van Nostrand Company. $1) with excellent half-tone illustrations of good and bad roads, is both interesting and instructive.
["Municipal Engineers," June 24, 1899]
In September, Civil War veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic gathered in Philadelphia. President McKinley arrived in Philadelphia on September 4, 1899. According to an account in the Times on September 5:
The President walked with uncovered head from the train shed to the street, and was cheered to the echo. He acknowledged the ovation with many smiles and bows. The party was driven rapidly to the Hotel Walton, and Mr. McKinley immediately retired to his private sitting room.
An accompanying article about Lafayette Post No. 140, Department of New York, pointed out that it "has the distinction of having more notable army and navy officers on its membership roll than any other post in the country outside of Washington." The article listed General Miles, General Stone, and several others, "all of whom, in addition to serving in the civil war, took park in the Spanish-American conflict."
["The Philadelphia Reunion" and "Lafayette Post Leaves," September 5, 1899]
The Automobile Club of America
As the 1890's neared an end, the horse remained a dominant power source, with the automobile still a novelty. The Duryea Brothers had driven America's first gasoline-powered automobile on the streets of Springfield, Massachusetts, on September 21, 1893, just 2 weeks before General Stone opened the ORI on October 3, 1893. (The Rambler recognizes that some contrarians dispute the Duryea Brothers' "first," but everyone is entitled to an opinion, however wrong it may be. He doesn't want to hear from you.) The brothers established the Duryea Motor Wagon Company in 1895 to sell what they called the Buggyaut. Their first sale, and the first sale of an automobile in the United States, took place in early 1896.
Given the prevalence of the horse, "America's love affair with the automobile" had not yet begun when a meeting took place at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City on October 16, 1899, to adopt a constitution and by-laws and select permanent officers of the Automobile Club of America. Planning for the club had begun in June, when temporary officers and an executive committee had been appointed, according to a Times article on October 17, 1899. Since June, the temporary officers had been in touch with Automobile Clubs in France, Great Britain, and Ireland regarding exchange of courtesies. The new club would arrange for storage houses, depots for the charging of electric vehicles, and a clubhouse for an exchange of views. It also would advocate good laws for automobiles and sponsor tours, runs, and contests, all activities it would have in common with the LAW.
The founders of the Automobile Club were wealthy, prominent individuals, giving the association an image it would never shake. The club's constitution allowed for 25 honorary members, 400 active members, and unlimited life and associate members. Historian James J. Flink quoted Motor Age magazine as saying of the membership that "the millionaire and socially prominent contingent which gives the club its standing as an adjunct to swelldom enjoys membership in the Metropolitan, Union, and other leading social clubs." Flink added:
Through its membership roster of nationally prominent figures, the Automobile Club of America expected to transcend being merely another local organization of motorists. The New York club had ambitions to be the national voice and conscience of motorists. [Flink, James J., America Adopts the Automobile, 1895-1910, The MIT Press, 1970, p. 145-146]
A roster in the Times on October 31, 1899, listed General Stone as a member.
One of the first issues the club addressed was securing approval for automobiles to operate in Central Park. Although General Stone had no role in the matter, at least as described in the Times, the Rambler was interested enough in this early controversy to pursue it through the Times archives. Those interested (and that should be everybody) may consult the Rambler sidebar, "Automobiles in Central Park - 1899."
["Automobile Club Formed," October 17, 1899
Parade of Automobiles
General Stone resigned from the ORI on October 23, 1899. The last Times references to General Stone during his tenure in the ORI occurred on October 18 and 19, as far as the Rambler can determine. The October 18 article concerned the first session of the National Carriage and Harness Dealers' Association at Grand Central Palace. The morning session, the article reported, was closed "and care was taken to admit no outsiders." The afternoon session would be open, and the annual banquet would take place that night at the Hotel Marborough. General Stone was listed as one of the speakers at the banquet.
During the afternoon session, Randolph Guggenheimer, president of the Municipal Council, delivered an address of welcome to New York City saying:
I cannot conceive, gentlemen, that the time will ever come when carriages and horses will cease to be the pride and recreation of the wealthy. However bright the future may be of the horseless carriage, especially in the avenues of commerce, the horse, which has been one of the first friends and servants of man, will remain so until the end.
His assurances notwithstanding, the convention planned to address the issue of automobiles on its second day. The Times explained, "It is said the advent of the horseless carriage has paralyzed many of the wagon manufacturing plants in the West."
About 400 members attended the banquet at the Hotel Marlborough, with W. W. Sergeant, president of the association, as chairman and ex-Congressman John S. Wise (R-Va) as toastmaster. The Times summarized:
Judge William J. Gaynor responded to the toast, "The Patriotic Duty of Business Man." He referred to the work which had been accomplished in Brooklyn, where, he said, the interest manifested in the primary elections among business men was much more marked than in the Borough of Manhattan. Gen. Roy D. Stone replied to the toast, "Good Roads." I.S. Remsen, John Hassett, and Frederick H. Gowen were the other speakers.
The Times did not summarize General Stone's remarks.
Although General Stone was no longer associated with the ORI, he retained his interest in roads. The Times would cite him again on October 31, 1899, in an article about a pending automobile parade sponsored by the Automobile Club:
The Board of Governors of the Automobile Club of America met at the Waldorf-Astoria last night complete arrangements for the run next Saturday . . . . The first run of the club on Saturday promises to be a very successful affair. There will be nearly 100 vehicles in line.
The run was to start at the Waldorf-Astoria at 33rd Street and Fifth Avenue, circle around Morris Park, Morningside Park, and Columbia College on the way to Riverside, Claremont, and then back to the Waldorf-Astoria.
"Runs" were a common experience in the early years of the automobile era, just as they had been during the Bicycle Craze. They were an opportunity to say "I can afford an automobile and driver" in a setting where other motorists were around to help with needed repairs. They also were a way of finding out what these new means of conveyance could do.
The article listed the entire membership of the club, including "Gen. Roy Stone." The article noted that Richard Croker, Afred Gwynne Vanderbilt, and Cornelius Vanderbilt has been proposed for membership but were not listed as members. Dr. Whitney Lyon, a member of the board, explained why: "The gentlemen named were proposed and are still eligible, but they have made no personal application. We are not hunting for members and in that respect are like Masonic bodies." (Croker, who dominated the corrupt Tammany Hall during this period, had accumulated a fortune in bribes. He engineered the election of Robert A. Van Wyck in 1897 to be the first Mayor of the new five-borough New York City, supposedly dominating the Van Wyck administration.)
General Stone next appeared in the newspaper's society column in a reference to the automobile run:
The parade of automobiles, which is to take place in the city to-morrow afternoon, is attracting a large amount of advance attention. There is so much interest now taken in the development of the automobile that this first parade of the recently organized club promises to be attended and witnessed by a large and representative throng.
General Stone was listed as one of the "well-known men [who] will be among the guests of the club on the parade."
The club had planned the run carefully, as the Times explained that same day in a news article:
All arrangements for the run to-morrow have been completed, and intending participants are expected to report to the committee at the Waldorf-Astoria before taking the places in line assigned them. While it is expected that all who will take part in the parade will come with their vehicles fully charged for the trip, [Club] Secretary [Captain Homer W.] Hedge announced that arrangements have been made for a renewal of motive power in case of emergency.
In the run to-morrow the automobiles will proceed at an average speed of eight miles an hour . . . . It is expected that many ladies will be among the paraders.
A private dining room at the Waldorf-Astoria had been engaged along with several ladies' dressing rooms. The parade would be postponed 1 week in the event of rain.
The Times reported on November 5 that the run had been a success:
With the exception of one punctured tire there was not a single incident to mar the proceedings.
The article said that "all sorts of horseless carriages were in evidence," electric- and gasoline-powered, outside the hotel along 33rd Street, Astor Court, Fifth Avenue, and 34th Street:
At 2 o'clock sharp the band ceased playing and the automobiles started . . . . All along the line sidewalks were packed with interested spectators.
There was some change in the proposed route of the vehicles, because of the hills. The procession moved from One Hundred and Thirtieth Street to Seventh Avenue, to One Hundred and Tenth Street, to Eighth Avenue, to One Hundred and Sixth Street, to the Boulevard, and thence to Riverside and Claremont, as originally published in these columns . . . .
Many frisky horses were on the line traveled, but none of the animals was disquieted by the appearance of the machines.
The group halted at Claremont for a luncheon, after which the procession started homeward:
[Near] Grant's Tomb Gen. [Avery D.] Andrews took his vehicle to the right of the road, and the other paraders passed in review.
The article did not list General Stone as participating, but The Rambler would like to think he had a grand time.
["Carriage Makers' Conference, October 18, 1899
For Good Roads
When the Automobile Club met at the Waldorf-Astoria on February 3, 1900, to plan a campaign of encourage the legislature to appropriate funds for the Higbee-Armstrong bill, General Stone was on hand to make an address, as was his ORI associate, General Harrison. The legislature had appropriated $50,000 a year for State-aid under the Higbee-Armstrong bill during its first 2 years of operation. A February 4 article about the meeting stated that because New York was far behind Massachusetts and New Jersey, the club would make efforts "to show that if the commerce is to be retained and merchandise brought satisfactorily to the railroads and canals upon which so much public money is being lavished the highways must be improved." The article did not quote General Stone.
The Times reported on March 14, 1900, that the Automobile Club would tender "a complimentary dinner" to General Nelson A. Miles," the hero of the Spanish-American War, on April 2. "Gen. Roy Stone, who has been instrumental in agitating the good roads project in this State, will also be a guest."
The Times' April 3 account of the dinner did not mention General Stone. The article focused on a resolution the Automobile Club adopted urging construction of a transcontinental road that followed the "H" pattern General Stone had proposed a few years earlier. "The resolutions proposed that the National Government should pay one-third the cost; the twenty-five States and Territories through which the road would pass, one-third, and the cities and towns one-third." Although the article did not say so, the Rambler considers it likely that General Stone was the source of the proposal.
In support of the idea, General Miles discussed the government's involvement in the transcontinental railroad:
He said that in the building of the transcontinental railroads which had been aided by the Government there had been something more than a commercial incentive. The co-meeting of the East and West was of patriotic import. He reviewed the route suggested and advised that the question of military importance should be left out. There were other ample reasons for good roads which must appeal not only to the automobilist and wheelmen, but to the farmers of the country.
The Rambler would not claim that this was the first time a military leader pointed out that defense was not sufficient justification for building good roads. However, this sentiment would be repeated many times in the 20th century, most notably by General John J. Pershing, the hero of World War I, and General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the hero of World War II and future President who would do much to bring about the Interstate System. The military view has consistently been that if the Nation builds roads to meet civilian needs, the roads will satisfy military needs.
On June 11, 1900, General Stone was at the Schwalbach's Academy on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn when the Good Roads Association of Brooklyn and Long Island held its semi-annual meeting. The following day, the Times reported on the event:
The principal address of the evening was made by Gen. Roy Stone, who had come on from Washington to speak at the meeting. Gen. Stone advocated the postal savings bank system for raising money to be applied to the building of good roads. He also discussed the project for a system of great trans-continental highways.
Gen. Stone said that the cost of building these roads would be about $20,000 a mile, according to a careful estimate. The National Government could be asked to assume one-fourth of the expense of constructing the roads, the States through which the roads would pass another quarter of the expense, and the remaining half of the cost could be raised by assessing the owners of the land lying for several miles on either side of each of the roads.
During his good roads crusade, General Stone had often mentioned postal savings banks as a way of financing road projects. People who did not trust banks, or did not have access to banks, would give their spare money to "banks" established in post offices, which would invest the funds in county road bonds. The bonds would pay for the roads, while the interest paid on the bonds would increase the value of the banks' holdings. General Stone usually extrapolated from the experience in Great Britain, which had instituted postal savings banks in the 1860's, to estimate the road building capabilities of such a system in the United States.
(The United States would follow Great Britain's example in legislation enacted on June 25, 1910, without the relationship to road bonds that General Stone had proposed. The system would remain in effect until being abolished by statute in March 1966.)
["Meeting to Urge Good Roads," February 4, 1900
In 1896, Governor McKinley of Ohio, the Republican, had defeated the nominee of the Democratic Party, William Jennings Bryan, to become President of the United States. McKinley won, 271 electoral votes to 176; and 7.1 million votes (51 percent) to 6.5 million. The fact that the country was still suffering from a major economic downturn that had begun in 1893 helped McKinley defeat Bryan, who represented the party of the incumbent President, Grover Cleveland. (The Democratic Party rejected Cleveland's bid to be the party's nominee in 1896.)
Bryan and President McKinley would match up again in 1900, this time with the President's popularity assured by a return to prosperity (campaign slogan: "Four More Years of the Full Dinner Pail"), success in the Spanish-American War, and his new Vice Presidential nominee, Governor Theodore Roosevelt, who had distinguished himself with his Rough Riders in Cuba during the war.
The Times reported on August 2, 1900, that Senator Redfield Proctor of Vermont had visited Republican National Headquarters. (Proctor had served in the State Legislature, as Lieutenant Governor (1876-1878), Governor (1878-1880), and Secretary of War under President Harrison before resigning to become a U.S. Senator in 1891.) He was confident that Vermont would remain Republican in November, but met with Senator Mark Hanna, McKinley's campaign manager, to discuss the prospects for increasing the Republican ticket's margin of victory. The article added, "Other callers of prominence at headquarters were Gen. Roy Stone, Gen. O. O. Howard, and Gov. N. O. Murphy of Arizona. Each of them brought cheering intelligence."
President McKinley won reelection easily, with 292 electoral college votes to 155 votes for Bryan. The President received 7.2 million votes (51.6 percent), while Bryan received 6.3 million.
["Proctor Calls on Hanna," August 2, 1900]
Death of General Harrison
On February 8, 1901, the Times reported the death of General E. G. Harrison, who had been prominent in the Good Roads Movement as the head of General Stone's object-lesson road unit. The short obituary stated:
Edmund G. Harrison, special agent and road expert of the public roads division of the Agricultural Department, died in Washington on Wednesday, aged seventy-two years. He helped Gen. Roy Stone organize the public roads division and had appeared before the Legislature of every State east of the Mississippi in the interest of good roads. He was born in Hulmville, Penn., and for four years was Postmaster at Asbury Park, N.J.
General Harrison's son, Charles T. Harrison, would take over the object-lesson program.
["Obituary Notes," February 8, 1901]
Steel Trackways for Automobiles
General Stone continued to cooperate with the Automobile Club of America in its efforts to promote good roads. When the club held its annual dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria on April 18, 1901, the Times reported the next day that the theme of the evening was "Good Roads." The featured speaker, General Miles, stated that "the question of road improvement seems to me to be the plainest and the most important economic problem for this country to consider." He was confident that "within a very short time the example of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Illinois, and California, which have made the greatest progress in road improvement, will be followed by the other States."
Other speakers, according to the article, included General Stone, who spoke on the subject of "Federal Paving." The article did not quote from his speech.
On March 3, 1902, the Times carried a brief item alerting readers to the fact that:
Gen. Roy Stone, formerly Director of the United States Office of Public Road Inquiry [the new name of the ORI], will deliver an address at the rooms of the Automobile Club of America, Fifth Avenue and Fifty-Eighth Street, to-morrow night on "Street Highways." The entire method of road building will be thoroughly explained, and the utility of good roads for automobiles will be clearly demonstrated. Supper will be served to members and their guests at the close of the talk.
The Times did not report on the contents of General Stone's speech, although the Rambler will speculate on the content in just a few paragraphs.
The Times did report that on March 4, 1902 in Chicago, delegates from eight leading automobile clubs, including the Automobile Club of America, had met at the Coliseum to form a national body that would be called the American Automobile Association (AAA). The first president of the new organization would be Winthrop E. Scarritt of the Automobile Club.
(The two clubs would soon turn into rivals, with AAA becoming dominant by 1910. The Automobile Club, according to Flink, was never able to shake its image as a club for millionaires, despite aggressive attempts to expand its membership:
Despite its attempts at democratization, the ACA had retained its identification as a millionaires' social club. Harper's Weekly pointed out in January 1909, for example, that "prominent among the active members may be mentioned Colonel John Jacob Astor, Cornelius Vanderbilt, George J. Gould, William Rockefeller, E. H. Harriman, John T. Havemeyer, August Belmont, C. K. G. Billings, P. E. Collier, Paul D. Cravath, Hon. Chauncey M. Depew, J. B. Duke, Alfred I. du Pont, Stuyvessant [sic] Fish, John H. Flagler, John W. Gates, Robert Goelet, and others." [Flink, p. 161]
(Many of those names are recognized to this day, while the use of an online search engine will provide information on many of the others.)
General Stone also received a mention in the Times on April 6, 1902, in a report on the Automobile Club's run to Ardsley. Sixteen automobiles began at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street for the first run of the season. General Stone was among the many guests along for the ride. Because the club was not trying to set a speed record, "The rules of the road were well observed, and the entire party arrived at the Ardsley Club in time for luncheon." The trip had taken the 16 vehicles "through Yonkers, and then by the main road through Hastings and Dobbs Ferry" (along what became State Route 9A). The Times also reported that "the roads were in very good condition."
Now, about that speech on "Street Highways," the Times reported on May 14, 1902, that:
A committee of the Automobile Club of America has been investigating the subject of steel roads, and the club and several of its members have made liberal subscriptions for the purpose of building a sample section of steel road somewhere in the vicinity of New York."
General Stone was chairman of the committee. The directors included Scarritt and Charles M. Schwab, a millionaire steel executive who at the time was president of U.S. Steel. (Schwab had been president of Carnegie Steel Company when he negotiated a buyout of the company in 1901 by J. P. Morgan, who combined it with other steel companies into a steel trust called U.S. Steel. Schwab would resign in 1903 and join Bethlehem Steel, which became the world's largest steel company under his leadership.)
On May 11, the Times society column reported that "General and Mrs. Roy Stone" were among those who had sailed the day before on the Lucania, a Cunard Line ship bound for Europe. The Stones were headed for Paris to see their daughter, Mrs. Romaine Turnure. Her husband, Lawrence Turnure, 43 years old, had died on April 10, at home in Cairo, Egypt, where they had lived since his retirement a few years earlier for health reasons. He left behind his wife and a son, according to a short death notice in the Times on April 11, 1902. On May 20, the Times' society column reported that:
Mrs. Lawrence Turnure is very ill in Paris. Gen. and Mrs. Roy Stone sailed on Saturday to join their daughter. Lawrence Turnure died at Cairo about a month ago.
The Rambler will return to General Stone's daughter, but for now suffice it to say she recovered from her illness and the Stones returned to New York City.
By July, General Stone was back in New York to begin work on one of his last innovative projects, a steel trackway in Manhattan.
In the early 1890's, some advocates for good roads thought they could achieve their goal faster and at less cost by extending steel rails into the countryside for use by bicycles, wagons and, later, automobiles. When President McKinley took office in March 1896, his Secretary of Agriculture James Wilson had encouraged General Stone to explore experimental road building concepts, particularly steel tracks.
Martin Dodge, an associate of President McKinley when he was Governor of Ohio, claimed that he had raised the idea with Secretary Wilson. Dodge had long advocated steel trackways. He believed that the principal advantages in any surfacing material were cheapness, durability, and reduction of power required to move a vehicle. Steel tracks offered the advantages of cheapness and durability, as well as a smooth surface that would not be altered by the weather as earth roads were.
On September 16, 1897, the Times reported from Washington that the day before, the ORI "had made arrangements with the Cambria Iron Works of Johnstown, Penn., for rolling special rails for this purpose, these arrangements to go into effect as soon as definite orders were received from responsible parties amounting to one mile of track. The article described the tracks:
The directors of the road inquiry and engineers of the iron company, after much discussion, have agreed upon a plan of track which promises to meet all requirements. It uses no wood in construction and no crossties for support, but consists of a simple inverted trough or channel of steel for each wheel, with a slight-raised bead on the inside to guide the wheels, each channel resting in a bed of gravel, and the two tied together occasionally to prevent spreading.
Special devices for remounting are provided at each joint. The bearing or tread for wheels is eight inches wide, the thickness about seven-sixteenths of an inch. The weight of the structure is about 100 tons per mile of single track road, and it will be furnished in small sections at the rate of $2,500 per mile.
While General Stone was in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War, Acting Director Dodge supervised the initial ORI experiments in steel trackway. Under Dodge's supervision, General Harrison installed 280 feet of steel track on the grounds of the October 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition in Omaha, Nebraska. After completing the exposition tracks, General Harrison built a 150-foot steel trackway at the State experiment station in St. Anthony, Minnesota, and a 180-foot trackway at the State College in Ames, Iowa, both in September.
At the Omaha exposition, Dodge demonstrated that one horse on a steel trackway could haul an 11-ton load that would require 20 horses on an ordinary road. (The load consisted of Dodge in his top hat and other dignitaries and fairgoers standing on a long wagon bed.) He also demonstrated that a "horseless carriage propelled by electricity" could operate on the steel-track wagon road, and that a bicycle could ride on one track of the double trackway. The experiment proved his point that steel-track wagon roads would bee cheaper and theoretically more durable than regular roads. It also demonstrated that "the power required to move a vehicle . . . is only a small fraction of the power required to move the same vehicle over any other kind of road."
Dodge considered the trackways a success; he would display photographs of the exposition experiments in articles and congressional testimony for many years. However, the three experimental trackways built in the autumn of 1898 would be the ORI's only experiments with the concept. The cost of retooling steel plants for manufacture of specially designed steel tracks proved prohibitive.
In 1902, General Stone revived the idea with his own steel trackway design. The Times said on July 27, 1902, that Schwab had become interested in the idea a "fortnight ago" as a way of relieving "congestion of traffic in the down-town streets" while providing "a perfect speedway for automobiles." With the support of the Automobile Club, Schwab offered to furnish the steel tracks free of charge. The Times explained the concept and the rationale for it:
The "road of steel" is not to be a steel pavement extending from one pavement to another, as seems to have been the general idea since the recent announcement of Mr. Schwab's offer to furnish the material for the road. It is to be two steel tracks, each about twelve inches wide, and set at standard gauge. It is pointed out that street car traffic in the lower portions of Manhattan often is exasperatingly delayed because drivers of heavily loaded [horse-drawn] trucks and other vehicles, in an effort to select the smoothest portion of the streets, drive on to the street car tracks, which are set at the same gauge as the ordinary wagon. Frequently it is difficult for the motormen of the cars to get the drivers of these wagons to turn back on to the cobblestones, and as a consequence traffic is blockaded, sometimes for several minutes.
Those who advocate the road of steel say this would be obviated by the adoption of the new road. The drivers would not find it more satisfactory to follow the street car tracks, because the broad tracks in the middle of that portion of the streets reserved for wagons and trucks would be smoother, and there would be no interruption, the wagons using the tracks having formed in line, and always to the right.
In the driveways where there is little or no heavy traffic it is believed that the road would be popular. The road of steel would insure good roads for a spin, even during or immediately after a hard rain.
The article added that General Stone had made a "careful and thorough study" of the concept and "said recently that the studies of engineers and the experiments so far made tend to simplify the construction of these roads, and especially their foundations, to the last degree." The two issues that Dodge, and now Stone, had to resolve were whether the rails had to be built with cross-ties, as railroad tracks were, and if not, how they would be kept in place. The article continued:
"It is needless to tie the rails together," he said, "or to use cross-ties or other supporting devices. The rail is a simple channel with flaring sides, turned down into a narrow bed of gravel, broken stone, or vitrified clay, which is drained at every low point. The rails are strongly spliced by a channel piece closely fitting underneath the joint, the whole forming practically a continuous plate on a uniform bearing.
"A single track will serve for most country roads; the turning out is easy, the earth road, being little used, is not cut up, and never heavy with mud, except when the frost is coming out."
Speaking of the comparative cost of the road, Gen. Stone said:
"The amount of metal required, if the plates are twelve inches wide and a quarter of an inch thick, including splices and bolts, is nearly 75 net tons per mile of single track. The average price of steel of late years is perhaps 1 cent per pound, and at this price the percentage of profit is still very large, so that it may be safe to assume $20 per ton as a future price of the metal. At this rate the steel roads will not cost more originally than stone roads do on an average, and the expense for repairs will be practically nothing during a lifetime."
Gen. Stone is enthusiastic over the prospect of securing the introduction of the road in New York City, and says he feels certain if it is given a fair test in those localities to be designated by the City Engineer the city will find it profitable to place steel roads in many of the streets, particularly where traffic of trucks and other freight vehicles is heaviest. He declares that the steel track is a new highway system which settles the great "road problem" that has so long agitated the country, and settles it in a manner which pleases every one concerned-farmer, teamster, bicyclist, and pleasure driver.
Schwab's steel mill was working on the slabs for the experimental tracks. City Engineer George B. Olney had designated the location for the experiment:
One of these, he said, will be in the vicinity of the Battery, probably on Greenwich Street, where traffic is very heavy. Another will be on lower West Broadway, probably, and a third on Seventh Avenue, probably between One Hundred and Sixteenth and One Hundred and Twentieth Streets. This will furnish a test of the road under varying conditions. In the down-town districts the heavy trucks and vehicles will have an opportunity to try it, while in Seventh Avenue, the popular driveway, the automobiles and light carriages will give the road the test of conveyances of their nature.
By the time installation began in November 1902, none of Olney's candidates received the steel tracks. Instead, the tracks were placed on Murray Street between Church Street and Broadway. On November 30, the Times reported that Schwab "is about to lay a track of parallel steel plates twelve inches wide and flanged at the edges with ridges that shall act as guides for vehicle wheels." If the experimental installation was a success, "it will be repeated on the high roads in different parts of New York State."
A brief reference in the "Automobile Topics of Interest" column in the Times on December 14, 1902, indicated that the installation had been completed "last week." The tracks were "laid upon beds of concrete about a foot thick, which in turn rests upon a layer of granite paving blocks." The double steel track had been placed in the center of Murray Street, "and as there is a slight ascent from Church Street to Broadway, vehicles going in that direction will have the right of way."
A few days later, on December 18, the Times reported that General Stone had conducted tests on the section the day before. The Times summarized the "remarkable" experiments:
It was found by actual experiment that a tractive force 60 per cent. greater was required to draw a load upon the rough stone pavement than upon the track, or that, taking the power necessary to draw the load upon the pavement as the standard, exactly 37½ per cent. of it was saved by using the rails. In starting the load the advantage in favor of the rails was even greater, as but one-half or one-third of the usual force was required.
The tests, which were conducted on a Wednesday, "were materially impeded by the interference of passing vehicles on the narrow street, and by the presence of the usual curious jostling crowd which quickly gathered and of itself, nearly blocked the street." Additional tests were likely, including tests with automobiles, but would be scheduled on a Sunday when traffic would be less inconvenienced. Tests were being devised for when the steel tracks were slippery with mud or sleet. The article added, "Gen. Stone has invented a form of rail with slight rectangular depressions about three inches square and a quarter of an inch deep, for use where there is much ice and sleet, but this has not yet been given a trial."
The Ideal Road
On January 26, 1903, the Times reported on General Stone's presentation during the automobile show at Madison Square Garden, sponsored by AAA, the Automobile Club of America, the American Motor League, and the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers. (The American Motor League, the first automobile club in the United States, had been formed in 1895 with members such as the Duryeas and other early automobile pioneers. According to Flink, it was "premature" and "failed to get off the ground," but would survive into the early 1900's. [Flink, p. 144, 156-159] The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers had organized on December 3, 1900.)
The Times reported that the sponsors of the show "placed themselves on record in favor of the popular movement for the improvement of the highways." During the Automobile Club's dinner on Saturday night at the Waldorf-Astoria, "no less than six of the eight speakers made this topic the subject of their speeches." The other two speakers, "referred to the subject during the course of their remarks." Speakers included State Senator Armstrong, who spoke on the Higbie-Armstrong bill, Colonel Pope, who spoke on "Improvement to Highways," and State Engineer and Surveyor Edward A. Bend whose topic was "The Construction of Roads in New York State."
In addition, General Stone, one of the speakers, "described the results attained in building steel roads, and advocated a plan for the building of such roads by the National Government." He explained how the Automobile Club had initiated the experiment in May, that with Schwab's help had obtained the steel, and with city support had laid a block of steel track on Murray Street, next to Broadway. He explained that the Automobile Club had additional material to lay tracks on other roads in the upper part of the city in the spring. The article continued:
The Murray Street road was laid in wet and frosty weather, but it seems abundantly firm, and appears to give satisfaction to the users; loaded teams which toil up to it find their "occupation gone" when they get fairly upon the rails, while the lightly laden strike a trot when they come to this stretch. It was feared that horses might slip on the plates, but when the wheel are on them the pull, even up the 2 per cent. grade, is so light that there is little tendancy to slip; on steeper grades, however, it will be necessary to roughen the rails for horses; that is, to roll them with depressions which will catch a horses' toe-calk, but will not let a wheel drop into them.
The article explained that the city's highway department was considering use of steel trackways on "various lines where heavy trucking exists, or where it could be drawn from other streets to the relief of streets and avenues now congested." The Dock Department was considering installation of steel trackways on the piers that are quickly destroyed by the heavy traffic. Meanwhile, the State engineer wanted a steel trackway "from the Ulster state quarries to the Hudson River to carry the ten-ton loads which now ruin every other kind of road there." At the same time, the OPRI was asking for steel to install in the District of Columbia while New Jersey was considering a steel trackway across the Hackensack Meadows. The article added:
. . . and from over the sea comes an inquiry from the Public Works . . . of London City. Germany is already in our lead, in this regard, having fifty miles or more of steel road which is "reported in great favor with drivers: and on which from "three to five times the loads of the best stone roads can be hauled."
General Stone had high expectations for steel trackways. If the Murray Street and planned Canal Street installations gained the support of trucking interests, he said, "and steel rails should be laid on routes that will draw the trucks away from the car lines and carriage avenues, the traffic capacity of the great thoroughfares will possibly be doubled and one great source of friction in daily life removed, while the use of automobiles in the city will be vastly facilitated." He continued:
It will be credit enough, however, in the great future which awaits the development of automobile travel to have devised or developed the idea road for the new vehicles and so hastened the day when they shall have freedom of movement throughout the land and, through that freedom, reach their natural expansion of use and usefulness. Such an ideal road is a wheelway like that in Murray Street, but without the wheel guides on heavy grades, to prevent the slipping of wheels in wet weather-the roadbed graded nearly flat, with no ditches and only shallow grassed gutters and with the space between and outside of the plates all well laid down in grass.
On such a road there will be no dust or mud, no glare from sunlight or reflected heat, while the road itself will suffer no wash from rains and no wear of any kind, and if it is bordered with hedges and without trees no serious accident would be possible to any motor at its highest speed. It will be like driving over a fine lawn, except that the power required will be almost inconsiderable.
Such exclusive automobile roads will be especially needed about New York, and, fortunately, there are localities where they can reach out in four or five directions from the city for a distance of twenty to fifty miles with comparatively little obstruction. Without going into any details at this moment, I venture to ask the attention of the automobile manufacturers and users and of suburban property owners to the possibilities of this development. If the proposal meets with favor among those interests, the study by a competent committee of the question of routes, ways and means, and legislation required cannot be too soon undertaken.
But the club will have its crowning credit if it should help to develop a plan through which new ways and means become available for the general and prompt construction of good roads for all vehicles throughout the country.
General Stone explained why a single track would be sufficient for country roads:
On many stone roads the travel confines itself to a narrow wagon track and the grass has grown over the rest of the surface in the hard macadam. On the steel roads the travel will be still more strictly confined; the grass will grow up close to the rails, and the turf will be firm enough for all light vehicles to turn out upon and for the occasional heavy ones that will be going against the townward traffic.
The idea may "seem like the impossible," but it was simply a financial problem, and one that "ought not to be too great for the financial ability comprised within this membership, together with that now interested in steel manufacture." He said:
We may take it as an axiom that the farmers generally will not tax themselves to build good roads, even though they could tax the cities, too, as they should do, neither will they readily borrow the necessary money under present conditions.
He thought States could issue bonds at the lowest rate of U.S. government bonds, 2 percent a year, with a State guarantee. He suggested two ways to ensure marketability of the bonds. He summarized the first way:
In wiping out the National debt the Government is gradually taking away the basis of National bank circulation, and a new one must soon be found that will be broad, safe, and permanent. If at the same time that basis could be of such a character that its mere creation promotes and assures the National wealth and prosperity, it would give additional security to the circulation as well.
Nothing could fill these conditions like such an issue of road improvement bonds as I have described, and if accepted for that use the market for hundreds of millions of them at par or a premium would be made. The Government 2 per cents. [would] command a large premium for the same purpose.
The second was postal savings banks. He asked, "What could be more appropriate than the investment of the farmers' spare money in road improvement?" It could be accomplished easily at little cost to the government. "It could all be done through the Post Office force and would involve no appreciable expense or risk to the Government."
The Times article concluded with the words of General Stone:
And looking at the grand result, what could be more beautiful in its beneficence than practically letting the farmer build his own roads with his own money and still have that money safe at interest for his own benefit, while the roads are free to the world forever?
A great campaign of education and legislation for good roads is now beginning, and the field is full of energetic recruits, but as a veteran I may ask, with deference to the old campaigners, whether it may not be easier to carry out such a plan as I have outlined than one which involves hard-won State and National appropriations and the general increase of debt and taxation.
The World Stands Still
On February 1, 1903, the Times printed a long article by General Stone on steel trackways. It covered many of the points from his recent speech. The article began:
A radical change in methods of roadmaking throughout the world appears now to be probable, and it would seem quite time that some change should be made. The whole Christian era, with all its advancement of arts and sciences, has seen no improvement in this particular art. The best stone roads of to-day are no better than the ancient Roman ways or the prehistoric Peruvian roads; not so good, in fact, for, while their surface is the same, their foundations are inferior. It may be said, therefore, that in a concern so vital to the general well-being of the human race as its primary means of communication, the world has practically stood still for twenty centuries. The fact challenges the intelligence of this progressive age, and it is not surprising that the nations are waking up to it, and that some of the talent heretofore employed in the perfection of rail and water ways is now devoting itself to the improvement of common highways.
The value of steel trackways had been demonstrated in other countries:
Germany, which country leads in this field at present, has over fifty miles of steel roads in various forms as to rail and foundation laid in 1901, and these roads are reported as being "in great favor among drivers," while official tests show that from "three to five times as great load" can be moved thereon as with the same effort on a stone pavement.
The desirability of these roads has been questioned, but Spain has had a short steel road in successful operation for ten or twelve years, running from the City of Valencia to its seaport, and under a travel of 3,200 vehicles daily, careful measurements shows [sic] only a small fraction of wear in that period, while thin plates laid across a bridge in Canada have stood four times as long under heavy traffic.
Experiments in the United States had been "on a small scale and with insufficient means," resulting in "nothing determinate." The Murray Street installation was the first good test in the United States. General Stone reprinted a letter he had sent to the chairman of the Automobile Club on December 20, 1902, saying, in part:
The steel wheelway in Murray Street . . . has been favorably received and is bearing constant testimony to the excellence of its method. Many drivers, not informed of its character, still avoid the steel plates, thinking they may cover some electric or other conduit, but those who use them pronounce them perfect.
The time was ripe to consider other installations in the city "having in view the three great objects to be attained-first, the ease of freight movement; second, the relief of carriage travel; and third, the clearance of way for the street cars." New York City, he explained, had a street network planned for "a four-story city" that was now "growing to three or four times that height, without any increase of the street surface." The solution was to separate "the various classes of travel which now impede each other, and the separation must be voluntary, since it cannot be enforced without great friction." If freight could be restricted to roads with steel wheelways, the cost of shipping could be reduced, but these vehicles would also be removed from car tracks and carriage streets:
The principal car lines, which are now cut down from their normal speed of about eight miles per hour to an average of about four miles in rush hours, and which by adding more and more cars have only added to the congestion and actually reduced the capacity of their services, would be able to do vastly more business, with less cars, while at the same time the carriage and motor travel could correspondingly increase both in volume and speed.
In his February 1 article, General Stone predicted that the increase of motor vehicles "will increase the demand for special roads, and in turn such roads will increase the demand for motors." Areas in the vicinity of New York City would be perfect for such roads:
These special roads would benefit every interest concerned, both public and private; they would extend the suburban limits of the city and develop new residence districts of the highest class, and they would largely relieve the public roads of motor travel, while adding the usefulness and popularity of motor vehicles by freeing them from a speed limit on a good stretch of distance.
As for paying for the roads, General Stone explained that "special weakness of our system of government [was] that we cannot compel a present sacrifice to secure future benefit." He continued:
People who govern themselves will not apparently tax themselves to build the roads which they know they need, nor will they generally consent to borrow the money and tax their children's children to pay it, although they could hand down to them not only the roads themselves, but the savings of generations in their use.
Although "direct aid to road building" was now being advocated in Congress," he thought that the United States "could give more efficient aid indirectly, and give it through such means as would, moreover, secure most important benefits to the whole country in addition to good roads." Government bonds at 2-percent interest would solve the problem. (He did not reference postal savings banks in this article.)
That same day, February 1, 1903, the Times carried an article about General Stone's article. General Stone's article "is an interesting and valuable contribution to the literature of good roads," but a clarification was necessary:
Lest it should be assumed that the author of the paper referred to, being the inventor and patentee of the system he advocates, is actuated therein by considerations of personal advantage, we are authorized to say that his interest in such patent or patents is dedicated to the public, and that he expects no further advantage from the use of the system than will come to him as a citizen and perhaps the user of wheeled vehicles.
In the newspaper's view, the building of roads suitable for automobiles was of "especial interest." It continued:
Fortunately, what is a good road for the motor vehicle and the bicycle is also a good road for the road wagon, the heavy truck, and the farmer's wain, and the good roads argument is too well known and too unanswerable from the point of the public interest to need repetition here.
The article stated that the Murray Street steel wheelway "has greatly facilitated the hauling of heavy truckloads from the river to the comparatively level streets running north and south along the backbone of Manhattan, and in a wider street [than Murray] its value would be proportionately greater."
The planned expansion of steel wheelways ran into an obstacle, as reported in the Times on March 29, 1903:
The Committee of the Automobile Club of America on steel road experiment has abandoned the plan of laying steel rails in upper Seventh Avenue, as originally planned last Fall, on account of the letting of contracts for the repaving of that thoroughfare, and it is now proposed to use the rails remaining after the laying out of the experimental stretch in Murray Street, to lay out a straightaway track on private property on Long Island. A site near Creedmore has been selected, and if the necessary arrangements can be made a kilometer course [0.62 miles] will be laid out. It is desired to test the suitability of the rails for fast driving, and also to see whether it is necessary to make any allowance for expansion and contraction in a long stretch.
Lifting the Burden of Bad Roads
On April 28, 1903, General Stone was in St. Louis for the National and International Good Roads Convention in conjunction with the dedication of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Although the Times did not quote his speech, the Rambler likes the speech as a summing up by General Stone of his experience. The following excerpt from his speech, titled "Good Roads and How to Get them," is from "Portrait of a General":
Ten years ago three great leaders were fighting their separate battles for good roads in the United States. Colonel Pope in the East, Judge Thayer, of Iowa, in the West, and Isaac B. Potter [of the LAW] all along the line. They had little faith, however, in a national movement; and they had seen too many State conventions fail to materialize. In fact, so forlorn a venture did it seem that, although a goodly number signed my call [for a national convention in October 1892], I dared not ask for a dollar toward the expense of calling or holding the convention, and had, therefore, the high privilege of financing it alone.
My success in assembling that convention was due to the press of the United States; its happy outcome was due to the newspapers of Chicago, which gave columns and pages to its proceedings, in the midst of all the news of the dedication of their great "White City" [as the Columbian Exposition was called because of its imitation marble architecture].
With this grand send-off our National League for Good Roads, organized there, was able to raise $10,000 for a year's campaign, and that campaign, among other things, brought about the organization of the Office of Public Road Inquiries at Washington [as ORI was called in 1903], and all the great work accomplished by it in ten years.
Comparing the conditions of today with those of ten years ago we see the progress of the country most strikingly displayed. But progress in road sentiment is perhaps more marked than in any other line. The convention of 1892 was called by a few private enthusiasts, with fear and trembling for the result; this convention was called by a multitude of high officials in perfect confidence of the Nation's interest and participation. In 1892 our delegates were self-appointed; here they are appointed by municipalities, States, and public bodies. In that convention we dared not whisper "National aid to road building" save in secret; now we can shout it on all the highways and byways. At that time a majority of the people of the United States had never seen a good road; today, through National object-lessons and good roads trains [a Dodge-era innovation], it is a familiar sight to nearly every one. Then, even State aid was denounced as a dangerous experiment; now it is being generally adopted. In those days to borrow money for good roads was denounced as "robbery of future generations," today it is accounted a blessing and especially to them.
Since 1892 an entirely new force has appeared in the good roads field and one whose influence can not now be measured or bounded. Already the automobile industry is one of the most active and powerful in the land, and its representatives fully realize that its ultimate success is bound up with that of road improvement, for in France, where the roads are good, it leads all other manufacturing industries in size and profit . . . .
How to lift the burden of bad roads without putting a burden of taxation in its place is the question for this body to discuss and determine, and on that question every delegate must carry such light as he can home to his neighbors. And here, I may be pardoned for saying, as regards the estimate of the annual loss by bad roads, which I announced officially some years ago and which has been derided by many wiseacres who are perhaps not to blame for what they don't know, it was the result of a thorough digestion of well-ascertained facts, the boiled down experience of 10,000 intelligent farmers in all parts of the country, honestly applied to the census returns and their official data, and I would not to-day discount it nor abate it one dollar from its enormous total of six hundred millions.
He endorsed Federal-aid, saying "The people are ready for a measure of this kind, and it will give us good fighting ground." He also summarized his reasons for supporting steel track roads, bonds guaranteed by the Federal Government, and the use of postal savings. "The youngest of you here will never see the work half done, and we veterans will scarce see a beginning," he said. Then he concluded:
But whatever may be the fate of my proposition, good roads are coming whether by easy ways or hard. Federal aid is in the air; our young statesmen are eager to promote it, and our oldest no longer have the cold shivers when it is mentioned. It has reached the very top. Within this month, a President of the United States [President Roosevelt] has said what no President has dared to breathe in almost a hundred years-that the Federal Government can and should "cooperate" in the building of common roads. For these brave words every advocate of road improvement in the land, and they are millions upon millions, will join me in saying, "God bless the fearless man who uttered them."
Long Island Motor Parkway
The Long Island project was expanding. On June 14, 1903, the Times reported that General Stone, backed by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers and AAA, "has developed an extensive plan for an automobile speedway on Long Island." General Stone had initiated the proposal by writing to the National Association explaining the value of special roads for automobiles "and that the sport and industry never can attain proper development without them." With the association's support, he prepared his plan:
The plan is to start from the eastern landing of the Blackwell's Island Bridge [now known as the Queensboro Bridge-59th Street Bridge], near the Court House in Long Island City, run the line between Jackson Avenue and the Long Island Railroad as a sunken and inclosed road so as to allow of full speed from the outset, and then to continue nearly parallel to the same avenue, following, if practicable, the right of way of the abandoned Oliver Charlick Railway to the Flushing Meadows, passing beneath the North Shore Railroad and the Corona Electric Road at the point where they descend upon the meadows; thence across the meadows along the line of the old Long Island Central Railroad, known as the "Stewart" Road, and following the line through its long summit, cutting to Creedmore and Floral Park. There the line will touch the Belmont Park race course. From that point it is planned to take the speedway across Hempstead Plains and along the southern foot of the Bethpage, Half Hollow, Brentwood, Ronkonkoma, Coram, and Dix's Hills, keeping the middle line of the island between the heights and the plain as far as the heights extend, and then straight through the level pine woods to Good Ground, and so on to Montauk Point. The location, it is believed, will secure a perfect alignment, easy grades, and cheap construction, while it would serve for branching north and south under equal conditions. The total distance would be 112 miles.
The speedway would include a double track of steel, with 10 feet between tracks and the same distance outside of them, making for a 40-foot roadway:
Outside of this would be the hedges and a wire netting fence to keep out animals, and beyond the fence would be a row of trees on each side. All highways are to be carried over the motorway by raising them five feet and sinking the motorway to the same extent. The entrance to the motorway would be by gates from the important highways, and these, of course, would be tollgates. Between midnight and morning, the road could be used for freight vehicles for farm and garden service, and when it is desired to use the speedway for formal races all other traffic would be kept off by merely closing the gates to it. For the benefit of those who do not own motor carriages or trucks, motor coaches could be licensed to run at low rates of fare, and this, together with hotels and inns at the terminals and at the tollgates, it is believed the project would be given a decided public interest.
General Stone estimated that the road would cost $15,000 a mile. It would be self supporting, with an estimated 3,000 vehicles presently in the corridor. Further, the after-hours trucking at a speed of 12 miles an hour, "would extend the available garden district of the island to double its present length, and, counting on a width of five miles, would lead to the clearing, fertilizing, and cultivation of 200 miles now barren." The article concluded:
The cost of operation would be the taking of tolls and the care of the grass and hedges, little or no repairs being required for many years.
As best the Rambler can determine, the Long Island automobile speedway was not built. Moreover, the Murray Street installation does not appear to have been duplicated. The best the Rambler can say is that the steel track concept was outdated. In the 1890's, when General Stone, Dodge, and others were promoting the idea, traffic volumes in rural areas were low. As traffic increased, and especially in city congestion, the use of steel tracks was impractical. Whatever the reason, steel roadways did not catch on.
Although the Long Island speedway conceived by General Stone was not built, the concept was a precursor of the Long Island Motor Parkway. William K. Vanderbilt, Jr., the wealthy auto racing enthusiast (George Vanderbilt, mentioned earlier, was his uncle), and several wealthy friends had thought of building a private automobile road for racing on Long Island in 1902, from Long Island City to Montauk Point, but the idea didn't result in construction. In 1904, Vanderbilt launched the Vanderbilt Cup Races on the public roads of Long Island.
The 1906 race in October attracted 250,000 spectators, many of whom surged into the roadway to get a better view of their favorite racers. When one of the spectators was killed and others injured, Vanderbilt and his friends decided to build the private auto road they had talked about a few years earlier. It would include several ideas General Stone had included in his proposal, including crossroads separated on bridges and limited access throughout. Construction began in 1908 and was completed in 1911, with the road eventually extending 45 miles from Nassau Boulevard to Ronkonkoma. When races were not underway, the parkway operated as a toll road for general traffic, as General Stone had suggested for his proposed steel trackway.
In 1910, the annual Vanderbilt Cup Race resulted in the death of two driving mechanics and injuries to several spectators. The outcry resulted in the end of the races, but the Long Island Motor Parkway remained open for public use as a toll road. [Kroplick, Howard, and Velocci, Al, The Long Island Motor Parkway, Images of America, Arcadia Publishing, 2008, p. 7-14]
["Miles on Good Roads," April 19, 1901
The Final Years
General Stone remained active in his final years, as reflected in the Times. An article on January 29, 1902, reported that he was a director of the Union Terminal Company of New York, which had been incorporated the day before. The company, with a capital of $100,000, intended to "construct and operate an electrical tunnel road between nine and ten miles long between New York and Kings Counties." A followup article on February 7, 1902, indicated that the company had filed plans with the County Clerk. The company counsel, Appleton D. Palmer, described the project:
Beginning at the intersection of Montrose and Varick Avenues, Brooklyn, the tunnel will run in a diagonal line under private property to the East River, under the river in steel tubes, then across the Island of Manhattan on the line of Fourteenth Street, and after that under the North River to Hoboken, straight under the hill on which the Stevens estate and mansion are located, through Bergen Hill, and finally to a point near the Hackensack River and close to the westerly openings of the Erie and Lackawanna Railroad tunnels. Mr. Palmer said that the depth of the tunnel would be from 50 feet to 100 feet, varying within those limits.
There are to be two branches, one beginning at Fourteenth and Hudson Streets and extending down the latter to College Place, thence to Greenwich Street, and thence down to Battery Place and around Bowling Green; the other beginning at Fourteenth Street and Broadway, going up the latter to Madison Square, diagonally across that, up Madison Square to Forty-second Street, and under private property to the Grand Central Station.
The connection to Grand Central Station was "merely advisory" and "would depend upon whether or not the Central desired such connection."
The tunnel was intended principally for freight, but passenger trains would be run as well. In addition to stations, the line would include connections with wholesale mercantile houses "the idea being that these establishments can load and unload their goods directly from the underground road and thus save themselves all the expenses of truckage."
As with past proposals of this type, some cynicism was called for:
When the attorney was asked whether the New York Central or any other railroad was behind the plan, and whether the scheme was designed to offset the Pennsylvania Railroad's project to build a North River tunnel, he replied that no railroads had as yet negotiated with his employers, but that he expected to receive propositions, as it could not fail to be seen that the scheme would be of advantage to the roads.
This discussion suggests that the Union Terminal Company may have been intended to entice railroad companies planning similar lines to buy the company to eliminate the competition. Investors would profit from the sale, rather than from return on construction of the tunnels. The Rambler has been unable to track further details on the company.
On January 18, 1904, the Republican Club held its annual meeting at its new home on West 40th Street for its election. A brief article the next day indicated that 31 residents of the city and 61 non-residents were elected to membership, "it being a noticeable fact that the friends of Gov. [Benjamin Barker] Odell [Jr.] largely predominated in the additions to the membership." One of the new non-resident members was "Gen. Roy Stone of Morristown."
On May 8, 1904, the Times contained a social article on life in Morristown. One of the items:
Gen. and Mrs. Le Roy Stone have returned from New York, and are at Mrs. Stephenson's on South Street for a few weeks.
The article did not explain why the Stones were staying with Mrs. Stephenson or who she was.
The following year, on August 6, 1905, the Times reported that General Stone, who was suffering from "a complication of diseases," was "dying at his home, in Mendham." The prospects for recovery were not good. "All hope of his recovery was abandoned to-day by the attending physicians when he became unconscious." Mrs. Stone, her daughter, and son-in-law (more on the daughter in the next section) were at the General's bedside in his final hours.
The following day, the Times reported that General Stone had died at the Phoenix House in Mendham at 1 am on August 6:
He had suffered from a complication of diseases. Gen. Stone's condition was not considered alarming until Wednesday, when he began failing rapidly. Yesterday he sank into unconsciousness, from which he never rallied.
In describing his life, the article stated:
Gen. Stone was born in Steuben County, New York, where his father, Ithiel V. Stone, had a large estate, sixty-eight years ago.
After graduating from Union College, he went to Pennsylvania to manage his father's estates in Sheffield and Warren Counties. He soon joined the Union forces in the Civil War, providing "brilliant service" in the early campaigns in Virginia:
For gallant services in the Peninsular campaign, and particularly at the battle of Gettysburg, Gen. Stone was breveted a Brigadier General by President Lincoln. At Gettysburg Stone was severely wounded in one of the most dashing attacks made in the whole war.
The article also summarized his service during the Spanish-American War:
Gen. Stone served on Gen. Miles's staff as a Brigadier General and Chief of Engineers. With a troop of cavalry in Porto Rico he made a bloodless reconnaissance that extended nearly all over the island, and with no other force he captured several cities. After the Spanish war Gen. Stone became very much interested in Porto Rican affairs and worked very hard to assist in the development of the island.
Regarding his civilian activities, the Times reported:
[He] was connected with many important works, including the blowing up of Hell Gate and the removal of the bars in the New York Harbor.
Gen. Roy Stone was one of the pioneers in the movement for good roads, and it is largely due to his efforts that New Jersey possesses so many fine thoroughfares. He also advocated the use of steel in the building of wagon ways, and watched with considerable interest the experiment in Murray Street a few years ago.
His body was to be transported to Washington for burial in Arlington National Cemetery. "Portrait of a General" describes the burial, which was not described in the Times.
(The Rambler has tried to find information on General Stone's involvement in blowing up the Hell Gate rocks, but has been unable to learn more than the statement in the obituary.)
["Electrical Tunnel Road," January 29, 1902
General and Mrs. Stone had two children, one son named Richmond who died of typhoid fever several years before General Stone's passing. The Rambler has been unable to find information about Richmond Stone.
General Stone's daughter, who was born on June 5, 1865, is another matter. She was a fixture in the New York social scene as Miss Romaine Stone. Although the Rambler cannot be sure of Miss Stone's first appearance in the Times archives, he found at least an early reference on April 28, 1886, in an account of several weddings. Miss Stone, then 20 years old, was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Miss Marie Louis Case, the daughter of Watson E. Case, to Mr. Henry Costar Emmett at the residence of the bride's parents. The bridesmaids, Miss Stone and Miss Kittie Emmet, "were charmingly attired in white."
Thanks to the archive, the Rambler can provide a sense of the social world Miss Stone enjoyed. In the "Society Topics of the Week" column on October 30, 1887, the Times reported on a social week that was "one of preparation rather than of fulfillment." It explained:
Long Island and New-Jersey have had their turn now, and at Orange and Hempstead what are known as the Hunt balls of the Essex County and Meadowbrook Clubs took place on Friday evening. It seemed rather unfortunate that both these organizations have chosen the same night for their dances, but the entertainments really did not conflict so seriously as various reports would make it appear. The Meadowbrook Club set, although small in number, is said to be fine in quality, and is entirely sufficient unto itself for enjoyment . . . .
At the Meadowbrook cotillion "the event partook more of the nature of a small and jolly private dance; the pink coats of the huntsmen as at Orange giving an added dash of color to the scene." A new star had emerged in recent years, despite a misunderstanding about her lineage:
The new beauty, Miss Romaine Stone, was present and of course, attracted much attention. She is a dark brunette, with remarkably handsome eyes and perfect features. She has been in Europe for some time and is well remembered as having been a belle at Narragansett Pier and Bar Harbor some few Summers ago, when she was not yet out. Miss Stone is not, as has been supposed, a daughter of the late Gen. Stone, of Bartholdi statue fame, but of another Gen. Stone.
Although the Times did not go to the effort of explaining who this mysterious other General Stone might be, he was at the time a civil servant in New York City, known to some extent but not an honored figure. The other General Stone, General Charles P. Stone, had been a celebrated figure in the city until his death on January 24, 1887. This General Stone, an 1845 graduate of West Point, had left the U.S. Army in 1856. Working in Washington at the outbreak of the Civil War, he was identified as the first volunteer officer to the Union cause. Quickly rising to the rank of General, Charles Stone's Civil War career was derailed following the Battle of Ball's Bluff in Loudoun County, Virginia, on October 21, 1861. Coming after the embarrassing defeat of the Union Army at Bull Run on July 21, 1861, also in Virginia, this second defeat in what northern residents thought would be a short, glorious victory over the rebel forces, aroused public and political outrage. Stone was arrested amid public outcry over the defeat and held for 6 months without trial. He would be restored to active duty, but never had another opportunity to distinguish himself during the war.
Historians have identified him as a scapegoat unfairly assigned the blame for a communications breakdown among the leadership, but his actions after the war restored his reputation. He served as an engineer in Egypt (1870 to 1883), on the Florida Ship Canal (1883), and as Chief Engineer for construction of the foundation and pedestal for the Statue of Liberty designed by France's Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886.
Miss Stone, along with our General Stone, attended the Patriarch's Ball, "third and last of the season," at Delmonico's on February 13, 1888. According to a Times account the next day, it was "the last gasp of the season's festivities," but also "the best attended and most pleasurable." The article did not indicate that General Stone was accompanied by his wife.
Miss Stone was also identified as attending an exciting polo game at Newport, Rhode Island, on August 2, 1888. "Capt. Hitchcock was beaten again at polo this afternoon, his team only taking 2 out of 8 goals." The Times assured readers that the Captain was not at fault. "His men were not up to the scratch, and one of them, Mr. Agasaiz, while being a good rider, was always sure to miss at a critical moment." (The Rambler knows the feeling.)
Miss Stone's social activities continued in Lenox, Massachusetts, on September 14, when she attended a ball given by the Sloanes "at their elegant cottage here." It was "the most brilliant social event of the season . . . attended by all the society people staying in town." Mrs. William D. Sloane was the former Emily Vanderbilt of the wealthy Vanderbilt family, while her husband was a member of the Sloane merchant family (W & J Sloane). Together, they were fixtures of the social world for decades.
The following day, the Sloanes gave an "elaborate party" that was considered the "greatest event" of a busy week. "Wealth and beauty were not wanting to make it the most brilliant affair which ever took place in Lenox or, perhaps, in this State." Miss Stone was among the beauties.
The "second greatest event" was at the "finely finished clubhouse" of the Lenox Club the night before the Sloanes' grand ball. Miss Stone was among those in attendance. Earlier that day, she was at the center of a unique event:
A very novel and enjoyable picnic was given by Mr. Arthur Dodge on Thursday in honor of Miss Romaine Stone and Miss Hurst. The party consisted mostly of young people whom Mr. Dodge invited to a picnic of six or seven covers on the mountainside two miles from Pittsfield. The company enjoyed the day in the woods exceedingly, spending the time in climbing over rocks and up the steep side of the mountain to its summit, where they could overlook a large expanse of country.
Miss Stone continued her social whirl by attending a party on September 19 thrown by Mrs. Flora Whitney, the wife of President Cleveland's Secretary of the Navy, William Whitney. She held an archery and lunch party "on the beautiful lawn of her cottage" for 250 guests:
The weather in the morning was threatening, but the sun came out about 1 o'clock and the air was clear and warm enough for the comfort of the guests. The ladies who engaged in the archery contest were dressed in gay and becoming costumes, as were the large number of other ladies who had come out to see the contest.
The list of "cottagers present" included Miss Romaine Stone. The article did not state whether Miss Stone was one of the archers.
An article dated October 17, 1888, reported that Miss Stone attended the wedding of Miss Lilian Carnochan and Livingston Crosby at Grace Church.
The Rambler came across Miss Stone again in an account of the first "of a series of three match races between the seventy-foot sloop Titania . . and Katrina" under the sponsorship of the New-York Yacht Club on June 18, 1889.
She also attended a reception and cotillion given by Mrs. William Astor at her residence on Fifth Avenue on January 22, 1890. It was, the Times reported, one of "the most brilliant events of this season's social history." The article pointed out that less than 100 "regrets" had been received for the 600 invitations.
Another name that the Rambler encountered in many of these articles was Turnure. For example, the article about Mrs. Whitney's party on September 18, 1888, contained this note:
Mrs. Lawrence Turnure has issued invitations for a ball on Saturday night. It will be one of the most select events of the season.
Mrs. Turnure's husband Lawrence was a well-known banker at Lawrence Turnure and Company in New York City. He and Mrs. Turnure were prominent in social circles. (At one time, according to a society column in the Times, Mr. Turnure and his brother David "were considered the handsomest men in Wall Street.") The couple had two daughters and three sons, one of whom was Lawrence Turnure, Jr. Perhaps-and this is mere speculation on the Rambler's part-Miss Stone met Mrs. Turnure's son at the ball. What is not speculation is that the Times' "Society Topics of the Week" column contained the following item on January 26, 1890:
The engagement has just been announced of Lawrence Turnure, Jr., and Miss Romaine Stone, a daughter of Gen. Roy Stone and one of the beauties of the past two seasons. Miss Stone made her debut first at Narragansett Pier some summers ago . . . . She is a tall and dark brunette.
On March 30, the society column reported the latest on the pending marriage:
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Turnure and family will soon sail for London, where the wedding of Lawrence Turnure, Jr., and Miss Romaine Stone will be celebrated next month.
The wedding would be delayed, as reported in June:
It is now definitely announced that Lawrence Turnure, Jr., and Miss Romaine Stone will be married in London on July 7.
Their wedding and two others "will be novelties to the many Americans abroad," according to a May 11 article. "Many New-Yorkers will go over especially to attend one or more of these weddings."
The Times carried a marriage announcement in the July 18 edition:
Turnure-Stone.-On the 15th inst., at St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, London, by the Right Rev. Henry C. Potter, Bishop of New-York, assisted by the Rev. Montagu Villiers, M. A., Vicar of St. Paul's, Lawrence Turnure, Jr., eldest son of Lawrence Turnure of New-York, to Romaine Madeline, daughter of Gen. Roy Stone of New York.
Why the marriage had been delayed is unknown, at least to the Rambler, as is whether General and Mrs. Stone attended the ceremony. The next reference the Rambler found to the young couple was a report that they were back in New York in early November enjoying fine weather at the resort of Tuxedo on election day.
The marriage would last almost 12 years before Mr. Turnure passed away on April 10, 1902, after a long illness:
A cablegram announcing the death at Cairo, Egypt, yesterday, of Lawrence Turnure, a son of the late senior member of the firm of Lawrence Turnure & Co. of 50 Wall Street. Mr. Turnure retired from the firm about eight years ago on account of ill-health, and soon thereafter went to Cairo, where he had since made his home. The cablegram gave no particulars, but his relatives here believe that his death, while unexpected at this time, was due to an aggravated attack of his malady. He had long suffered from consumption. Mr. Turnure was forty-three years of age. He leaves a wife, who was Miss Romaine Stone, and one daughter.
(The Times had noted on May 2, 1899, upon the death of Lawrence Turnure, Sr., after an 18-month illness following a stroke, that, "All the members of his family were at the bedside last night, except the oldest son, Lawrence, who is in Cairo, Egypt, where he has resided for several years.")
As noted earlier, Romaine soon became ill, prompting notice in the Times on May 20, 1902, that General and Mrs. Stone had sailed to join their daughter in Paris.
The nature of the illness is unknown, but a year later, the Times reported on May 21, 1903, the happy news that "Mrs. Turnure, daughter of the American Gen. Roy Stone," would shortly marry Lord Monson. "Lord Monson is a nephew of Sir. Edmund Monson, British Ambassador in Paris. He is Controller of the Household of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha." The article provided additional details on Lord Monson:
Augustus Debonnaire John Monson is the eighth Baron of his line. He was born in 1868 and succeeded his father in the peerage in 1900. He is private secretary to his uncle, Sir Edmund Monson, and is an Honorary Attaché to the British Embassy in Paris.
Lord Monson's seat is Burton Hall, Lincolnshire.
The society column noted the announcement on May 22, referring to Mrs. Turnure as "a great beauty." The column added:
Her wedding to Lawrence Turnure, Jr., took place some years ago in London. Mr. Turnure died two years ago after a long illness. His health had been poor for quite a period, and he and Mrs. Turnure lived in Cairo, Egypt, occasionally coming to this country. All visitors to Cairo will remember how charmingly and well the Turnures entertained.
Lord Monson received a brief mention on May 31:
Baron Monson, who is to marry Mrs. Lawrence Turnure, Jr., the daughter of Gen. Roy Stone, is quite a young man, and belongs to several well-known London clubs, among others to the St. James and the Bachelors.
More details on the pending marriage emerged in a column on June 21, 1903:
It is said that Mrs. Lawrence Turnure, Jr., who was the beautiful Romain [sic] Stone, first met Lord Monson, who she is to marry very shortly, at the residence of Lady Newbrough. As has been stated, Lady Newbrough and her sister, Mrs. Chauncey of Brooklyn, were originally from Louisville. They have made a great social success in London. Mrs. Turnure has been considered one of the most beautiful women in New York and American society. For the past few years she has lived almost continuously abroad. Her late husband, Lawrence Turnure, Jr., was very delicate and this necessitated her living in Cairo with him. The Turnures entertained there a great deal. Mr. Turnure died about two years ago. Gen. Roy Stone has gone over for the wedding of his daughter, which will be very quietly celebrated.
The wedding took place in Paris on July 1, 1903, as reported the following day in the Times. The wedding "was an interesting international event which was largely attended by members of the Diplomatic Corps and of the British and American colonies." The civil ceremony took place at 1:30 at the British Consulate, with General and Mrs. Stone "witnesses in behalf of the bride." A "brilliant reception followed at the British Embassy," after which the couple left for Burton Hall.
The society column reported that General and Mrs. Stone had returned from the wedding on the Oceanic, arriving on October 14, 1903. Lord and Lady Monson visited the Stones in Morristown in December, having arrived on the Oceanic. Staying at the Boldings in Morristown, "Lord and Lady Monson intend making many pleasure trips in the country and will make their headquarters in Morrisown."
Lord and Lady Monson went to Montreal early in 1904, and left for Florence, Italy, in late February to join Lord Monson's mother. The United States apparently made a poor impression on Lord Monson, as reflected in this headline in the Times on February 20, 1904: "Lord Monson Doesn't Like Us." The brief article stated:
Lord Monson has not been favorably impressed with his visit in this country, and considers Canada far preferable to the United States as a place of residence.
Why that might be, the Rambler is unable to state.
As noted earlier, Lord and Lady Monson returned to the United States to be by General Stone's side in his last days in August 1905. On August 13, 1905, the Times reported that they would sail for Europe shortly, noting of Lady Monson that, "As Miss Romaine Stone she was a great beauty." It also mentioned her first marriage to the late Lawrence Turnure, Jr. "who died in Egypt five years ago."
In later years, the Times would continue to periodically report on Lady Monson's activities, usually with a mention of General Stone and her first husband as a reference point for readers. For example, on March 21, 1907, the Times reported that, "A son has been born to Lord and Lady Monson at their country seat in Kent, England." (John Rosebery Monson was born on February 11, 1907.) The short notice reminded readers that Lady Monson "is a daughter of the late Gen. Roy Stone of New York, and was once a belle of Newport."
Lady Monson was cited as likely to attend the coronation of King George V on June 22, 1911 at Westminster Abbey. King George had ascended the throne upon the death of his father, King Edward VII, on May 6, 1910. The Times reported on March 26, 1911, that many Americans were traveling to London for the ceremony, but few would get in. "The only other Americans who will be present at the coronation will be those who have married British peers, and who are as peeresses of the realm entitled to an invitation." Peeresses included Lady Monson who was the "widow of Lawrence Turnure" and "a daughter of the late Gen. Roy Stone, U.S.A." The Times article included portraits of many of the peeresses, including Lady Monson (the only image of her that Rambler came across in the Times archive).
Many Americans attended the chief party given by the Duchess of Marlborough at Sunderland House, as reported on May 28, 1911. Lady Monson was among those in attendance. By July, heat was driving visitors from London, including Lord and Lady Monson who "left London for the country after a week's visit to Cora Countess of Strafford."
On March 14, 1912, Lady Monson was among the Anglo-Americans "who paid their devoirs" at the Court. The Rambler, who is deficient in British royal doings, believes this means she was presented formally to King George.
Following the sinking of the Titanic on April 14, 1912, and the loss of 1,517 lives, the British took pride "that the officers and crew did their duty in a manner worthy of the best traditions of the British merchant marine service." An article, datelined London on April 21, 1912, explained that it was never doubted in England that the male passengers, mostly Americans, "would prove equal to the strain" and follow for the most part the concept of women and children first. However, "militant suffragettes" denied that the experience contradicted their view that the age of chivalry was dead. While Mis [sic] Sylvia Pankhurst [a leading suffragette in England]. . . did not want to minimize in any way the gallantry displayed," she pointed out, as the article summarized, "it must be borne in mind that it was the universal rule in cases of shipwreck that women and children should be saved first . . . . There was no special chivalry attached to it." Many women in England disagreed with that view. They, including Lady Monson, had contributed a total of $35,000 dollars to a fund on behalf of the dead.
That same day, the Times reported that the latest craze in London was the study of German. "This is being taken very much 'au grand serieux' (in all seriousness) by several Anglo-Americans." The first name cited as adopting the craze is the former Miss Stone:
Lady Monson took it up directly she came to town in the early part of last year.
She was in Paris on June for "a dinner and opera party" thrown by Miss Gurnea, who was identified as Lady Monson's cousin.
Lord and Lady Monson were in London for social engagements in December 1912:
Lord and Lady Monson have been paying a series of shooting visits during the last few weeks, but are now preparing to return hospitalities at their place near Lincoln. Lady Monson has invited quite a large party of friends to stay with them at Burton Hall for the Lincoln color ball, which is really a hunt ball. A pretty custom prevails for this affair. The lady patron of the year is expected to choose the colors to be worn at the ball by an eminent portion of the community, so that their toilets shall not clash with the pink of the hunt coats worn by the men. Yellow and gray are the choice for the coming function, and the members of the various house parties are carefully planning their gowns, so that the wearers of each color shall be evenly divided.
Lady Monson is bringing out one of her husband's nieces, Miss Phyllis Chetewynd, at the ball. "Getting her hand in for the thing," as she says, referring to when her own daughter, Miss Margaret Turnure, shall make her debut.
After war with Germany broke out in August 1914, Lady Monson was on the advisory committee of the American Women's War Relief Committee, which as of August 19, 1914, had raised a fund of $72,000.
On May 17, 1922, the Times carried an article announcing that Lady Monson's daughter Margaret was betrothed to Thomas Richard Bevan of Royston, Hertfordshire. Miss Turnure's uncles, George Evans Turnure and Dr. Percy R. Turnure, "are both well known in this city," while her "mother was Miss Romaine Stone, a daughter of General Roy Stone, who was prominent in society both here and in London." The brief article added, "Lady Monson was very active in Red Cross work during the war."
The marriage took place on July 17 at St. Michael's Church, Chester Square, in London. Lord Monson gave his stepdaughter away. The Times added, "Prince Alfonso and Princess Beatrice of Spain attended the wedding." Sadly, in the Rambler's view, the article did not explain why. (Princess Beatrice was a member of the British royal family and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She married Prince Alfonso in 1909 despite his family's objections to the wedding because she refused to convert to Roman Catholicism. The marriage-for-love cost him his place in the Spanish royal court.)
General Stone's wife Mary died on September 28, 1925. The death notice in the Times indicated that she had died "at the residence of her daughter, Lady Monson, Burton Hall, Lincoln, England." It added, "Mary N. Stone of Morristown, N.J., widow of General Roy Stone," was 82 years old. She was to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery alongside her husband.
On June 4, 1931, the Times reported that the Honorable John Rosebery Monson, the only son of Lord and Lady Monson, was to marry Miss Bettie Northrup Powell, whose parents lived at Journey's End, Chevy Chase, Maryland. The engagement was "of especial interest in New York" because Miss Powell and Mr. Monson "have many relatives in this State."
Miss Powell "was descended from two of the oldest and most prominent families in Central New York." Her grandfather, William Brown Smith, had been one of the early settlers of Onondaga County and the founder of Lakeside Farms, "long internationally famous for their show horses and Holstein cattle." She also was a granddaughter of Edward A. Powell, "banker, agricultural authority and philanthropist." One of her ancesters was Cotton Mather, the influential 17th century New England Puritan minister who is associated with the Salem Witch Trials.
As for Mr. Monson, the article explained that he was half American:
His mother is a daughter of the late General Roy Stone of Mendham, N.J., and Mrs. Stone. Her first husband was the late Lawrence Turnure of New York. She is a Lady of Grace of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Mr. Monson's father, the ninth Baron Monson, was Controller of the Household of the late Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. During the World War, he was Commissioner of the British Red Cross in Italy.
Miss Powell and Mr. Monson "met in the Summer of 1929 while traveling in the Yukon and again last Summer in the Balkans." At the time of the article, he was in the United States visiting with Miss Powell and her family in Chevy Chase. After marriage, they planned to divide their time between London and the family estates in Lincolnshire.
The wedding took place on August 4, 1931, in Christ Church, Beachwood, New Jersey. An article on August 6 provided a few additional details about the lives of the young couple. Miss Powell's father, Lieutenant Colonel E. Alexander Powell "is the author of many books on international affairs." As for the groom:
He was graduated recently from the Inner Temple, London . . . . The engagement of the couple was announced last June and the wedding was planned for the Autumn. Mr. Monson came to the United States recently for a visit with his fiancé and while motoring through New Jersey several weeks ago, met with an accident which necessitated his remaining in this country longer than he at first intended. The date of the wedding was advanced in order that the bride could return with him to England.
The article added, "Mr. Monson is a grandson of the late General Roy Stone and Mrs. Stone of Mendham, N.J." It did not indicate whether Lady Monson was able to attend the wedding, but the Rambler hopes she did. It also did not mention General Stone's advocacy of the New Jersey roads on which his grandson's crash took place.
On August 23, the young couple arrived in New York, staying at the Montclair, before leaving for Quebec. They would then sail for London. The couple had one son, John Monson, born May 3, 1932.
On October 11, 1940, the 9th Lord Monson died at Brighton Hall at the age of 72. "He had been suffering from heart trouble for some time," the Times explained. The article did not mention Lady Monson but added:
His son, John Rosebery Monson, who becomes the tenth baron, is a staff lieutenant at the War Office. The younger Monson married an American girl, the former Betty [sic] Northrop Powell in 1931. She is staying at present in Washington with their two sons, and a daughter.
The late Lord Monson's wife, the former Miss Romaine Stone, passed away on January 1, 1943, at the age of 77. A brief obituary appeared in the Times under the headline: "Dowager Lady Monson." (A "dowager" is a widow holding property from her deceased husband, according to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition.) The two paragraph article described Lady Monson's life in these terms:
London, Jan. 1 (U.P.) - The Dowager Lady Monson, the former Miss Romaine Stone, daughter of the late General Roy Stone, U.S.A., died today at her home, Burton Hall, near Lincoln. The Stone family lived at Mendham, N.J.
Lady Monson, whose husband died on Oct. 11, 1940, was the widow of Lawrence Turnure of New York when she was married to Lord Monson in 1903. When a young woman she was prominent in society circles here and in London. During the First World War Lady Monson was engaged in British Red Cross work in Rome, where her husband was stationed as Commissioner General of the British Red Cross in Italy.
Her son, the 10th Lord Monson, passed away on April 7, 1958, at the age of 51. Services were held at Lincoln Cathedral followed by private cremation. (The Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln was built in the years1185-1311 and was considered the tallest building in the world through the mid-16th century, surpassing even the Great Pyramid at Giza until the lead-encased wooden spire was blown down by a storm in 1549 and was not rebuilt.) His wife Bettie would remarry, marrying Captain James Arnold Phillips on February 12, 1962, becoming Mrs. Bettie Phillips. She passed away on May 10, 2003.
John Monson, the son of the 10th Lord Monson and his wife Bettie, became the 11th Lord Monson upon the death of his father. He had married Emma Devas, daughter of an English painter, on April 2, 1955. They had three children, Nicholas John (born October 19, 1955), Andrew Anthony John (May 12, 1959), and Stephan Alexander John (January 5, 1961).
The 11th Lord Monson continues to serve in the House of Lords as a Crossbencher. According to the Crossbenchers' Web site:
Peers in the House of Lords who do not take a party whip (ie. they are not told how to vote by a political party) sit on the Crossbenches. They are known for their independent, non-party political stance . . . . Due to their independence Crossbenchers do not adopt any collective policy positions. They speak in debates and vote in Divisions as individuals.
Thus, sayeth the Rambler, ends the begats.
["A Day of Many Weddings," April 28, 1886
This page last modified on 04/07/11