Casefile Clues

18 November 2012

Commander Stone Censured for Burning Entire Village

It is not often when you find a potential relative involved in the burning of an entire town.
Searches on Genealogybank.com for Isaac W. Stone, the commander of the unit in which Rufus D. Stephens served, resulted in several hits--more than I could practically go through. It was necessary for me to remember the reason for searching for Stone in the first place: to learn more about Stephens and potentially Stephens' family or areas where he might have lived in New York in order to connect him to the correct Stephens family. It could be very easy to get distracted by Stone's military career and lose sight of my focus.

One entry from 1814 made it clear just how easily that distraction could happen. Apparently Stone was involved in the burning of the Ontario town of St. Davids in July of 1814 according to this news clipping from Boston.

Date: Friday, August 5, 1814  

Paper: New-England Palladium (Boston, MA)

 obtained on Genealogybank.com
There were several mentions of the incident in newspaper images on Genealogybank.com, including this one:

Date: Monday, August 8, 1814  

Paper: Gazette (Portland, ME)  

 

Volume: XVII  

 

Issue: 18 obtained on Genealogybank.com 


Apparently Stone was censured by the military for his actions as the account from the Portland Gazette indicated he was suspended from the cavalry.

There is a plaque in St. Davids, Ontario, which reads:

"On July 18th, 1814, during the final American campaign on the Niagara frontier, Major-General Peter B. Porter sent a detachment of militia from the United States encampment at Queenston to attack St. Davids. This force, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac W. Stone, was joined later by a small group of American regulars. Despite opposition from the 1st Lincoln Militia, the enemy captured the village, looted it and burned most of the buildings. Stone was severely censured for this destruction of private property and summarily dismissed from the United States army"

Source: http://www.niagarafallsheritage.ca/heritage/show.asp?id=252851&b=1