Governor #15, Stoneman

George Stoneman was born in Busti, New York, on August 28, 1822. He attended Jamestown Academy in Jamestown, New York, and graduated with high honors from Point Military Academy in 1842. He served in the Mexican-American War, commanding the San Francisco Presidio in 1848 and 1849. Later, he served in the Civil War, rising to the rank of colonel. In 1870 President Grant sent Stoneman to command the Department of Arizona, a post he held until 1871, the same year he married Mary Hardisty of Baltimore. The Stonemans moved to California, settling on a 400-acre ranch in the San Gabriel Valley. He was appointed to the California Transportation Commission in 1876, and in 1879 was elected to the Railroad Commission. George Stoneman was inaugurated as California’s governor on January 10, 1883, serving until January 8, 1887.  During his tenure he unsuccessfully sought to control the rates and limit the power of the Southern Pacific Railroad. A strong proponent of prison reform, he believed prisoners could be rehabilitated through parole, granting 260 pardons and commuting 146 sentences in the last few weeks of his term. After leaving office he retired to his San Gabriel ranch until 1891, when he moved to Buffalo, New York. He died there September 5, 1894. Stoneman Avenue in Alhambra, Stoneman Bridge in Yosemite Valley, and Stoneman Elementary School in San Marino are named in his honor.

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