Family Politics: Sardine Stone and James Madison

The Hon. Sardine Stone 1768-1834

Ohio Pioneers

The Ohio Company

The Ohio Company land office – oldest building in Ohio

When I wrote about odd names in my family tree, one of the most unusual was “Sardine.”  Despite this decidedly odd name, the distinguished gentleman Sardine Stone earned the title of “The Honorable” by virtue of having been elected to several terms in the Ohio legislature. His foray into politics gives us a view of political parties under stress from war, an economic slowdown and the victory of a populist candidate. Is this sounding familiar?

I earlier told the exciting story of how Sardine joined his father in the Ohio territory.  In 1803 Ohio became a state. In preparation,  a territorial census was conducted of men over 21. It listed pioneers Sardine Stone, his father, and his brothers.They were part of the Ohio Company led by General Rufus Putnam, who founded Marietta.  The new state started with communities along the Ohio River, and slowly grew northward.

James Madison and Another War with Britain

James Madison

Portrait of President James Madison by John Vanderlyn (1775–1852) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Thomas Jefferson’s hand-picked successor was not a shoo-in the first time he ran for President in 1808.  It comes as something of a shock to read the history of the era and realize that Thomas Jefferson was widely despised by the time he left office.  Jefferson had initiated an embargo of trade that was ruining the country’s economy and endangered the election of his successor. However, as we know, James Madison, a Democratic Republican, did succeed in becoming the fourth president of the United States.

Mother taught me some nonsense to help remember the early presidents.

Will A Jolly Man Make A Jolly Visitor?

Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, Jackson, Van Buren.

The next three are easy to chant: Tyler-Polk-Taylor.

I believe there is another sentence to follow, but I can’t remember it. Do you have a memory device for presidents?

Sardine Runs for Office

Ohio had  been a state for only eight years when Sardine Stone first ran for office in 1811, the third year of Madison’s term. In 1811, the patina of civilization in Ohio was shallow–most of the state was covered with forests rather than cultivated fields or towns, and the threat of Indian attack was still very real. Bears roamed north of the Ohio River until the 1830s. Sardine Stone campaigned  to represent the southern counties of Adams and Washington, along the Ohio River, in the state assembly. He represented President Madison’s Democratic Republican ticket.

Chillicothe, Ohio

Chillicothe, Ohio, First Capitol

Sardine and his running mate, the other Democratic Republican were elected to a one-year term in Ohio’s lower house of the legislature. Off they went to Zanesville, which their party had finagled to become the state capital for electoral advantage.

Soon it was election time again, and Sardine Stone ran for re-election in 1812, a presidential election year. James Madison, the standard bearer for the Democratic Republican ticket had widely fluctuating popularity depending on how relationships with Britain were faring. By the time the session started, the capital was back in Chillicothe.

The War Party

The fight against the British for Independence was vivid in the memory of many adults, and the population split as to whether the new country should engage in another war with the British.  By the time of the 1812 Presidential election a second war with the British had begun and the United States was not doing well. Naturally the president took much of the blame.

President James Madison defended the necessity of war, and presumably Sardine Stone agreed.

Democratic Republican delegates who nominated Sardine for another term in the Assembly in September 1813 passed a resolution that said

“at the present crisis when our country is beset by savages of the forest and by the civilized savages of Great Britain, it becomes the impervious duty of every good citizen to exert himself.”

However, in Ohio’s State Assembly, Sardine was dealing with more local issues. In the Ohio Assembly, focus was mainly on transportation. In the early days the task consisted of improving river transportation and bridges and later turned to railroads.

The opposition party, the Federalists, were not only opposed to the war, but also, as a party strong in the Northwest Territory, they were tired of electing Virginians as President.

Neither of these parties would survive long. People’s concerns were much different, and as focus on various issues shifted, the political parties came together, then fell apart or shifted their point of view.

Madison won the presidential electors of Ohio and his re-election bid.  The small number of electoral votes Ohio had tells the Ohio House of Representatives.

Sardine Steps Up to State Senate and Another Virginian Takes the White House

Sardine Stone was re-elected as a Representative in 1813, and after two years out of office, he was elected again in 1816, when his party’s candidate James Monroe won the Presidency.

President James Monroe

James Monroe by John Vanderlyn ,1816

After 1816, Sardine turned to the Ohio Senate and was elected first in 1817 to the office he served for three terms.

Ohio Builds a New Capitol And Monroe Re-elected

Columbus Statehouse

Columbus Statehouse

Ohio was fast becoming a “real” state, as opposed to a raw territory.  After sticking close to the Ohio River, with state officials housed at Chillicothe and briefly at Zanesville, the capitol city of Columbus was founded in 1816.  By 1820, Sardine was traveling from his home in southern Ohio to central Columbus for sessions of the state Assembly on horseback. The first stagecoach service from southern to central Ohio was established later that year.

The 1820 presidential election was particularly interesting, since the Federalist Party had disappeared, driven out of favor by their opposition to the war that American ultimately won. Without an opposition party, the Democratic Republican candidate for re-election, James Monroe, sailed to victory, even getting the support of former Federalist, and former president John Adams.

Since 2016 is a Presidential election year when both major parties have faced challenges from outsider candidates, it is sobering to look at the 1812-1824 period in our nation’s history and see how the two major political parties both disappeared and new parties emerged after a populist candidate split the traditional party.

During this turmoil of politics, Sardine Stone continued to serve in the Ohio Senate until 1823.

The Democratic Republican party stood for state’s rights, weaker federal government, and strict adherence to the Constitution. After the withering away of the Federalist party, Andrew Jackson was elected as a populist candidate who forced the new look of the Democratic Republicans who split into the Democrats and the Whigs.

Although the Democratic party emerged from the 1828 election of Andrew Jackson, the last of the Democratic Republican candidates, it  evolved into a totally different set of beliefs than its predecessor.

It took nearly forty years before the party system settled into the pattern than we have today of the Republican party and the Democratic party.  When slavery became the paramount issue dividing the public, a new party, the Republican party, split off from the Democratic party and the Whigs disappeared.

Have the two parties today outlived their usefulness in today’s world of fast-changing values? Will we see another disruption of the sort that Sardine Stone lived through?

The Stone Family Leadership

The Stone family members stepped up in leadership positions from the time they arrived on the frontier.  Perhaps it is the pioneer spirit which reinforced the importance of cooperation, but every one of Isaiah Stone’s sons became active in some community good.


Pioneer Association of Washington County

Meeting of the Pioneer Association in Marietta in 1870. Augustus Stone would be here. Photo from Washington County Public Library

Benjamin Franklin Stone

Benjamin Franklin Stone

For instance,Augustus Stone, storekeeper served as Commissioner of Police in 1821 and worked on committees to help the Cherokee Indians and preserve the history of Washington County among other civic activities. (I’m sorry I don’t know which stately gentleman is Augustus in that photo above.)

In addition to writing a journal about their journey to Ohio, Benjamin Franklin Stone was a school teacher, judge, county surveyor (1832-1841) and coroner (1857).


The Stone Family is certainly a branch that I am proud to have in my family tree.

How I am Related  (1st cousin 5 x removed)

  • Vera Marie Kaser (Badertscher) is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson (Kaser), who is the daughter of
  • Vera Stout (Anderson), who is the daughter of
  • Harriette Morgan (Stout), who is the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan), who is the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Howe), who is the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Howe (Hubbard), who is the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Hubbard (Barrett), who is the mother of
  • Lydia Barrett (Stone), who is the mother of
  • Sardine Stone.
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11 thoughts on “Family Politics: Sardine Stone and James Madison

  1. Michelle Taggart

    Sardine really led a fascinating life ! Do you have any idea why he was named Sardine? I love that trick for remembering the early presidents and really wish someone had shared that with me years ago!

    1. Avatar photoVera Marie Badertscher Post author

      Yes, Sardine’s life–and his whole family’s lives were fascinating. Like you, I don’t generally follow distant cousins’ stories, but I could not resist this family! I can’t find any clues as to why Sardine got his name. Haven’t discovered any earlier Sardines in his family However, when I researched the name earlier, rare as it is, I discovered that it might refer to a reddish-colored rock.

      I appreciate that mother taught me that mnemonic, also. Now I wish someone would tell me the one for the next few presidents.


      1. Emma Moore


        Enjoyed your postings about Sardine Stone and his family, having just yesterday finished reading to my husband a copy of the entire (all 316 page) hand-written autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Stone, Sr. which he commenced writing for his son Benjamin Jr. on March 20th, 1860 at Marietta. There is also a hand-written copy of the Will of Gregory Stone of Cambridge.

        An interesting fact about his particular copy is the last page is the beginning of the story, so it has to be read backwards. Have you read the entire autobiograpy?

        The book was discovered in the summer of 2016 by me at a church rummage sale in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a sticker inside which reads “from the library of John Webb, Chillicothe, Ohio.” Since Benjamin Junior was a Probate Judge in Chillicothe for quite a few years, I’d say that is how Mr. Webb acquired it.

        It was fascinating to read and contains a lot of Stone and Devol genealogies. We wonder if the Genealogical Society in Marietta might want a copy, unless they already possess one.

        1. Vicki Rafferty

          I am the 4th great granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin Stone and would love to know how to find the book that Emma Moore refers to in the post above.

          1. Emma Moore

            Vera, the link you provided is for the book published by Ray Swick. That book only tells about half the story. He must have gotten tired of reading the difficult handwriting in the original journal. The one at the Ross County Genealogical Society is the entire journal.

          2. Emma Moore

            Vicki, The Ross County Ohio Genealogical Society has a published copy of the book. The author evidently published it using the original handwritten one, probably borrowed from the Ross County Historical Society. My copy was a copy of the handwritten original. She may have additional copies for you to purchase.
            I wish now that I had also bought the photos and other papers that were with the journal because I have no idea what became of them. There were no names on the backs of the photos.

          3. Emma Moore

            Vicki, my husband was also fascinated by Benjamin Stone’s Journal and wrote a condensed version with some of the events described by Benj. If you would like me to e-mail you a copy of it, I would be pleased to do so.

  2. Vicki Rafferty

    Thank you, ladies. I realize it is almost a year later but at the time of your replies I was in Michigan helping my mom after the death of my dad on Jan. 9th. I will contact Ross County to see what they have. I know that Ohio University has papers in their collection from Capt. Jonathan Stone and Col. Jonathan Stone so they possibly have others as well. I had planned to travel to OU and to Washington County in spring/summer 2020 but we all know what happened to those plans. They will be moved to whenever it is possible to safely go there. The Col. Jonathan Stone house is still standing in Belpre.
    David McCullough’s recent book THE PIONEERS is about the group led by Manassah Cutler and Rufus Putnam. Unfortunately the Stones are not mentioned.
    Emma, I would love to have a copy emailed to me. My address is
    Thanks, again!

  3. Vicki Rafferty

    Hi Vera –
    Would you mind if I post a link to this story on the Stone Family Group page on Facebook? You should check the group out if you are not already a member.
    Also, are you aware that Lucy Stone, noted abolitionist and women’s rights advocate is a Stone cousin through Gregory Stone’s brother, Simon?

    1. Vera Marie Badertscher

      You certainly can feel free to share the link. As always, if anyone has any corrections be sure they let me know.


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