Stone, Samuel Theophilus (1797–1857)

By: Joseph M. Nance

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: July 1, 1995

Samuel Theophilus Stone, ferryman, son of Theophilus and Mary (Bydeman) Stone, was born in Bedford County, Virginia, in 1797. He was a descendant of William Stone, an early settler of Bedford, Virginia, and third proprietary governor of Maryland. In 1814 Stone volunteered for service in the War of 1812. He joined the Virginia militia at Baltimore, Maryland, as a private. At the time he gave his occupation as hatter and was described as being six feet tall, "with dark hair, blue eyes, and fair skin." He was honorably discharged in 1814. He married Mary Ann Chunn on August 14, 1823, in Morgan County, Alabama. They had seven children. After their marriage, the Stones lived in Shelbyville, Tennessee, and Morgan County, Alabama. In 1829 they moved to Hannibal, Missouri; Stone established the first ferry at Hannibal across the Mississippi River. In the spring of 1839 he and his brother-in-law James Boyce, with five other families of Hannibal, moved to Texas. Stone and his family first settled at Bastrop, where he worked as a hatter and operated a ferry across the Colorado River. He and his sons often served as volunteers to defend the frontier against marauding Indians and Mexicans. When Gen. Adrián Woll seized San Antonio in September 1842, Stone, who was in San Antonio on business, was captured and carried into Mexico as a prisoner. After his release on March 23, 1844, he returned to Bastrop and in 1845 moved to Austin with his family. He acquired land in Travis County, but his claim conflicted with an earlier survey, and he later received a grant in Limestone County that was patented after his death. Stone purchased a tract of land on the south bank of the Colorado River southwest of Austin; in 1846 he began operation of the first ferry across the Colorado River at Austin. His ferry apparently operated until 1882, when a bridge was completed at the foot of Congress Avenue. Stone and his two older sons went to California during the gold rush and returned with a few gold nuggets. They built a new and larger ferryboat, which operated near the mouth of Waller Creek, and a comfortable home, where the Stone family lived through the next two generations. Stone died at his home near Austin on October 23, 1857, and was buried on his home place. Years later, his grave and that of his eldest child, Mrs. Martha Ann Rebecca Hague, were moved to a private cemetery at the farm of Stone's granddaughter, some ten miles southeast of Austin. In 1954 the remains of Stone and his wife were moved to the State Cemetery.

Dolly Mary Stone, Samuel Stone and His Wife, Mary Ann Chunn (San Antonio: Naylor, 1955).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Joseph M. Nance, “Stone, Samuel Theophilus,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995