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E. J. Stone

Stone & Thomas Dept. Store

-- from Callahan, J. M. (1923). Vol. II. In History of West Virginia, old and new (p. 65). Chicago: American Historical Society.

ELIJAH JAMES STONE, assistant manager of the department store of Stone & Thomas, one of the largest and most popular retail establishments not only in the City of Wheeling but also in the State of West Virginia, has the further distinction of having been one of the gallant young men who represented this state in the nation's military service in France at the time of the great World war.

Mr. Stone was born at Martin's Ferry, Ohio, March 17, 1890, but he is a representative of one of the old and honored families of what is now West Virginia. His grandfather, Elijah James Stone, whose full patronymic he bears, was a native of Massachusetts and was one of the pioneer merchants of Wheeling, West Virginia, the business which he here established having been the nucleus around which has been evolved the substantial mercantile enterprise now conducted by the firm of Stone & Thomas. He was associated with his brother-in-law, the late Jacob C. Thomas, in founding the business at Wheeling, and here he continued an as honored and representative citizen until his death, which occurred prior to the birth of his grandson and namesake, the subject of this sketch. His wife, Elizabeth (Thomas) Stone, likewise died in this city. Edward L. and Elizabeth (Elson) Stone, parents of him whose name initiates this review, still maintain their home at Wheeling, where the father is living virtually retired, he having been succeeded by his only son in the active supervision of the great department store to the upbuilding of which he gave his splendid energies for many years. He succeeded his father in the business, and has lived in Wheeling and vicinity all his life, his wife having been born in this city and the subject of this sketch being the younger of their two children. The elder child, Katharine Elson, became the wife of J. S. Gibbs, Jr. who is engaged in the insurance business at Wheeling, and she was thirty-one years of age at the time of her death.

After having profited by the advantages of the public schools at Wheeling, Elijah J. Stone here continued his studies in Linsly Institute, and thereafter he attended St. Paul's School at Concord, New Hampshire. He then entered historic old Yale University, in which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1911 and with the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. At the university he became affiliated with the Chi Phi fraternity. After leaving Yale, Mr. Stone returned to Wheeling and identified himself actively with the department store of Stone & Thomas, the modern building of which is situated at the corner of Main and Bridge streets. Under the original firm name the business has been incorporated, and its officers are as here noted: W. E. Stone, president; E. L. Stone, vice president; J. S. Jones, secretary; W. E. Rowns, treasurer; and E. J. Stone, assistant manager. Mr. Stone is loyal to his home city, is one of its liberal and progressive young business men and popular citizens, is a republican in politics, and holds membership in the Wheeling Country Club, the Fort Henry Club and the University Club.

In May, 1917, the month following that in which the United States entered the World war, Mr. Stone enlisted and was sent to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, Indiana, where he later received commission as a first lieutenant. On the 10th of September of that year he was sent overseas as a casual, and in France he attended the artillery school at Saumur. He then became a member of the Twenty-sixth Division of the American Expeditionary Forces, with which he was in service in the Chemin des Dames sector, northwest of Toule, for three months, next passed two months in the Chateau Thierry sector, and thereafter was in the Meuse-Argonne sector, where he was stationed at the time of the signing of the armistice. In each of these sectors Mr. Stone was with the artillery on the firing line, and in September, 1918, he was advanced to the rank of captain. He returned to the United States in May, 1919, and received his honorable discharge at Camp Devens, Massachusetts. After this excellent record of patriotic service, Captain Stone returned to Wheeling and resumed his association with the business of the company of which he is assistant manager.

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