In an effort to locate outfielder Ed “Ace” Stone’s grave, I’ve tried to do a little research into his wife, the former Bernice Baskerville. I actually found a neat Web site put together by a relative of the Baskervilles, Denise-Oliver Velez, who explores her ancestry.
According to the Web site, Ed and Bernice Stone has two children, Edward Jr. and Linda. In an initial communication with Mrs. Oliver-Velez, she suggested I talk with the younger Ed, but she added that she doesn’t remember where Ace might be buried.
Bernice, according to multiple documents, was born in New Jersey on Oct. 26, 1912, to James and Letitia Baskerville, both of whom were born and had roots in Virginia. The couple raised their family in Newark. James was a horseshoer at a blacksmith shop.
The family lived in a racially mixed neighborhood, including next door to a large clan of Jewish, Russian-Polish immigrants who spoke, according to the 1920 Census, “Yiddish.”
1920 U.S. Census for the Baskervilles
The 1920 Census lists the the entire Baskerville family as “mulatto.” As of the 1930 federal report, they were still living on a diverse street, with several whites, including two households of Russian and Polish Jews. James and Letitia had four daughters: Mae, 19; Bernice, 17; Ethel, 15; and Janette, 10. By that time, both Mae and Bernice were toiling as elevator operators. The entire family, interestingly, is recorded as “Negro.”
By 1940, Ed Stone and Bernice Baskerville were married and living with James and Letitia in Newark; Stone, at various times in his career, played for the Newark Eagles and Atlantic City Bacharachs, making in natural for the couple to meet in Jersey.
1940 U.S. Census for the Baskervilles and Stones
The extended family was now residing in an apparently all-black neighborhood, with James Baskerville still laboring at a blacksmith shop, while Ed is listed as a “baseball player” and Bernice was working in an “office.”
Ed Stone spent much of his baseball career south of the border, in Latin America, and Bernice appears to have traveled with him on numerous occasions, according to multiple ship and flight manifests from the 1930s and ’40s. Some of the voyages were to and/or from Cuba, others between Puerto Rico and New York, yet others to and and from San Antonio.
What happened to Bernice and Edward from then on is a bit fuzzy, but I’ve only done limited research. In 1983, when Ed died in New York City, public records have Bernice living in Wilmington, Del., Ed’s hometown. At some point after that, Bernie moved to Las Vegas, where she died on Nov. 14, 2007. I have yet to hunt down an obituary.
So, the long and short of it is that while I’ve filled in some of the picture, I still really have no idea where Ed “Ace” Stone is buried. Again, if anyone has any ideas or knowledge …
One side note: It’s clear Ed died in New York City, but the borough is unclear; one record says the Bronx, another says Queens …