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15th Governor of
California, January 10, 1883 - January 8, 1887

Born:† August 8, 1822, in Busti, New York

Died:† September 5, 1894, in Buffalo, New York

Marriage: Mary Oliver Hardisty,† 4 children


Californiaís 15th governor had a long and varied military career before settling in the state in 1871. He lived in California just 20 years.


Early Life

George Stoneman was born in Busti in Chautauqua County, New York. He received a good education at Jamestown Academy and then at West Point Military Academy, where he was graduated with high honors in 1846.



Stonemanís military career began with service in the Mexican War. He first visited California as assistant quartermaster under General Stephen Kearny in 1847. After a command at the San Francisco Presidio, he was active in the Indian wars in California and Oregon. During the Civil War, Stoneman advanced to the rank of colonel while serving in many parts of the country as a leader of the Union cavalry. He retired in 1871 after a time of government service in Arizona.

He had previously purchased a ranch near Los Angeles where he was growing oranges and grapes, and that is where he now spent his time. Stoneman was appointed by President Hayes as an Indian commissioner in 1878. He was elected to the state railroad commission in 1879, where he took a stand against the power of the railroads. This was also the major issue in his campaign for governor.



Governor Stoneman struggled to make the railroads pay the taxes levied against them, but failed to get the support of the legislature. He was also concerned about irrigation issues, feeling that the welfare of the state depended on its agriculture. During Stonemanís term the state established the California Home for the Care and Training of Feeble-Minded Children, the California Hospital for the Chronic Insane at Agnews, and the Industrial Home for Mechanical Trades for the Adult Blind. These were considered advances in the welfare and protection of the people.


Later Years

Stoneman spent the years from 1887 to 1891 at his ranch in the San Gabriel Valley. He then moved to Buffalo, New York, where he died on September 5, 1894, from the results of a stroke. He was buried in Lakewood, New York.


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