Sandburg's Hometown

September 29, 2014

Lester T. Stone, Galesburg Board of Education, 1878-1911
Lester T. Stone, Member of the Galesburg Board of Education, 1878-1911

Lester T. Stone, Public Servant

by Barbara Schock

Carl Sandburg, as well as all the other students in the Galesburg school system, benefited from the public service of a man who was neither a teacher nor an administrator. The man's name was Lester T. Stone.

Lester T. Stone was a familiar figure in Galesburg at the turn of the twentieth century. He had come west in 1855, first settling in Peoria and then coming to Galesburg. He taught at a country school near Galesburg for several years. He married Fannie Buckingham in May of 1860. She died in October of the same year.

Early in 1863, Stone enlisted in Company A, 77th Illinois Volunteer Regiment and was discharged June 19, 1865. Because of his clerical ability he became assistant to the Provost Marshall and shortly afterward was assigned as a clerk in General U.S. Grant's headquarters during the siege of Vicksburg. An enormous amount of work was required of the clerks to supply food, clothing and ammunition for the large number of army forces around the city. They were also tasked with auditing the accounts.

Upon completion of the siege, Stone served in the signal corps at his own request. After the war he returned to Galesburg and opened a grocery store at 6 East Main Street. He would carry on the business for the next fifty years. He also married Sallie A. Ferris in 1865. They had four daughters.

He was elected to the Board of Education and was in the thirty-fourth year of his service at the time of his death in November, 1911.

Superintendent W.L. Steele wrote an editorial for The Evening Mail honoring the memory of Mr. Stone. Steele described him as a friend of the teachers as he realized the problems they faced in a classroom of forty or fifty students. He was a friend of the students in making it easier for them to complete the year's work. The custom had been to ask each student ten questions at the end of the year. One incorrect answer resulted in the student having to repeat the grade or being denied graduation. Stone succeeded in getting this rule changed.

Stone was the taxpayer's friend as well. He worked to get every penny's worth from the taxes collected. Superintendent Steele wrote that Stone was an ideal board member because he was willing to try new ideas and could be convinced when evidence was presented of their success.

Steele closed with these words: “His friends and those who knew him only in a business way always found him honest to the core and incapable of doing a mean act or taking an unfair advantage. I never was associated with a person in whose judgment I had more confidence or on whose word I would more absolutely rely.”

On November 14, 1911, the Central Congregational Church was nearly filled for the funeral of L.T. Stone. The “memorium” written by Superintendent Steele was read during the service. Burial was in Hope Cemetery.


Sandburg's Hometown
Date Title
Sept. 29, 2014 Lester T. Stone, Public Servant
Sept. 22, 2014 It's Who You Know
Sept 15, 2014 Mother of the Illinois Flag
Sept 8, 2014 The Scissors Grinder
Sept 1, 2014 Baseball
August 25, 2014 Howard K. Knowles, Capitalist
August 18, 2014  Alcoholic Beverages
August 11, 2014 Soda Water
August 4, 2014 Sweet Corn
July 28, 2014 Marching Through Georgia
July 21, 2014 The Knox County Fair
July 14, 2014 The Panic of 1893
July 7, 2014 The Rev. T. N. Hasselquist
June 30, 2014 The Knox County Courthouse
June 23, 2014 The Family Photograph Album
June 16, 2014 Parades
June 9, 2014 Lingonberries
June 2, 2014 Where We Live
May 26, 2014 Old Main
May 19, 2014 Rhythms of the Railroad
May 12, 2014 Spring Tonic
May 5, 2014 The Milkmen
April 28, 2014 Gray's "Elegy..."
April 21, 2014 Off to War
April 14, 2014 Swedish Easter
April 7, 2014 A Father's Face
March 31, 2014 Secret Societies
March 24, 2014 George A. Murdock, Merchant
March 10, 2014 Trade Cards
March 3, 2014 The Demorest Medal
February 24, 2014 Rip Van Winkle
February 17, 2014 Cabbage Soup
February 10, 2014 Lincoln's Birthday
February 3, 2014  The Colonel
January 27, 2014 The Lincoln Penny - A Little History
January 20, 2014 Walking to Work
January 13, 2014  A Small Abode
January 6, 2014 Birth of a Poet
December 30, 2013 Christmas 1880
December 23, 2013 Swedish Christmas
December 16, 2013 The Reporter Sees Santa
December 9, 2013 The Coming of Christmas
December 2, 2013 The Fire Boys Talk
November 25, 2013 Galesburg Will Feast on Turkeys and Cranberries - Thanksgiving 1893
November 18, 2013  Mary Sandburg Johnson
November 11, 2013 Carl Sandburg's Bicycle
November 4, 2013  Lace Curtains 
October 28, 2013 The Front Room
October 21, 2013 A Warm Breakfast
October 14, 2013 Marion D. Shutter
October 7, 2013 Cigars and Consumption
September 30, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke & August Sandburg
September 16, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke, Mayor
September 9, 2013 Dusty Streets
September 2, 2013 Typhoid Fever
August 26, 2013 Coffee and Water
August 19, 2013 A Horse! A Horse!
August 12, 2013 Gaddial Scott
August 5, 2013 The Racetrack
July 29, 2013 John Peter Algeld - Part II
July 22, 2013 John Peter Altgeld - Part I
July 15, 2013 Tramps, Tramps, Tramps
July 8, 2013 Lady Liberty
July 1, 2013 Galesburg's Fourth
June 24, 2013 John H. Finley
June 17, 2013 The World's Columbian Exhibition
June 10, 2013 Fruit Short-Cake
June 3, 2013 Horatio Alger, Author
May 27, 2013 Memorial Day, 1887
May 20, 2013 Professor Jon W. Grubb
May 13, 2013 Beginnings of Lombard University
May 6, 2013 Young Sandburg’s View of Lombard College
April 29, 2013 Thinking
April 22, 2013 Robert Colville, Master Mechanic
April 15, 2013 The Galesburg Opera House
April 8, 2013 Grocery Stores and Sample Rooms
April 1, 2013  A Hearty  Breakfast 
March 25, 2013  The Lost Wallpaper Legend 
March 18, 2013 Martin G. Sandburg
March 4, 2013 The Edison Talking Machine
February 25, 2013 Joe Elser, Civil War Veteran
February 18, 2013 Remember the Maine...
February 11, 2013 Lincoln's Birthday
February 4, 2013 Curiosity