The good news: I think I’ve found the long-lost burial location of Negro League outfielder and Wilmington, Del., native Ed Stone, at long last, after a pursuit that included several blog posts (like this one and this one) and this article in Delaware Today magazine.
The short of it: Ed Stone is buried, of all places, the relatively small town of Butler, N.J., at Mount Holiness Memorial Park. That’s the good news. The bad news: as is so tragically often the case with segregation-era black ballplayers, his grave is unmarked.
Now, how I found this out and the details … If you’ll notice on the first blog post link I included about, I recently received a terse comment from Ed Stone’s son, Russell: “Ed Stone is in Butler, N.J.”
I’ve since emailed Russell Stone several times for more information and to try to talk but have yet to receive a response.
So I resorted to calling all of the cemeteries in Butler, N.J., and that tactic brought my a massive and fortuitous amount of luck. A staffer there checked the cemetery’s records, and found two Edward Stones there: one who died in 1967, and one who died on March 20, 1983.
And that’s him, because it jibes with Social Security death information that says he died in March 1983 in the community of Long Island City in the Bronx. The Social Security information lists his birthdate as Aug. 21, 1909, and that his SS number was issued before 1951 in New Jersey.
Again, that jibes with what we already knew about Edward Stone — he lived much of his life, both during his playing career and after, in New Jersey (mainly Newark), and he spent his last years and died in NYC.
Now, according to the records at Mount Holiness cemetery in Butler, the Ed Stone buried there who died in March 1983 had a middle name name of Daniel — Ed “Ace” Stone’s father’s name. This Ed Stone passed away in NYC, where an NYC funeral home handled the arrangements. Stone’s body was then shipped to Butler, where the existing plot is owned by Susan Stone and has one person left in it.
And the grave is unmarked.
But now the question is this: Why in the world would a man who lived in the Big Apple (as well as other large cities like Newark earlier in his life) be buried in … Butler, N.J.? Butler is a town of just over 7,500 in the northeast corner of Morris County with an African-American population of just over 1 percent. Butler is about 33 miles west of the Bronx, and Morris County is located in north central New Jersey. Its county seat is Morristown.
So we have a big breakthrough, but lingering questions remain — namely, why Butler? Ancestry.com does have a few city directory pages and public records indexes that list an Edward Stone in various towns in Morris County, but that’s all I’ve found so far.
The mission now, as has always been the case: talk to direct family members, namely Russell and/or Susan Stone. The quest is ever ongoing …