STONE, THOMAS, sportsman and businessman; b. 24 Jan. 1852 at Newton Park, Newton-le-Willows (Merseyside), England, fifth son of Thomas Stone and Mary —; m. 11 Nov. 1890 Constance Emily Wainewright in Calgary, and they had two sons; d. there 18 Sept. 1897.
Before coming to Canada in the late 1880s, Thomas Stone earned a reputation as an excellent athlete, particularly in the shot put and other field events. In the shot put his performance at the British national championships earned him a third-place finish (1872), two seconds (1873 and 1874), and three consecutive firsts (1875–77); he also took second place in the hammer throw in 1876. In competitions between Britain and Ireland, he placed second in the shot put in 1876 and the following year won that event.
By 1888 Stone had left his native England and was apparently working in western Canada as a travelling salesman for S. and H. Borbridge, harness and luggage manufacturers. Later that year he joined the Canadian Agricultural, Coal and Colonization Company, founded by Sir John Lister Kaye, as manager of its Kincarth Farm, near Calgary. The following year he became acting manager of all 11 company farms and in 1890 was named general manager. The company had begun cattle-slaughtering and meat-marketing operations in 1889 and under Stone’s direction these activities expanded. A subsidiary, the Northwest Trading Company, was created in early 1891 to handle this part of the business. Nevertheless, the overall performance of Kaye’s operations was not satisfactory and the company’s British backers disposed of most of their holdings in 1895. Stone left to set up his own pork-packing firm in Calgary, Stone and Company, which he converted to a joint-stock company in October 1896.
From his arrival in Calgary, Stone involved himself in local sports. He was instrumental in the organization of an athletic meet in 1890 which led to the formation of the North West Amateur Athletic Club later that year. He served as president of the club in 1890 and from 1890 to 1897 held various positions in the Lacrosse Club, the Calgary Cricket Club, the Calgary Rod and Gun Club, and the Calgary Turf Association. When the Calgary Bicycle Club was formed in the spring of 1892, Stone was named honorary president. He frequently officiated at polo tournaments, athletic events, trap shoots, and field trials for dogs. It was not unusual for him to participate and he often “surprised the younger athletes.” On one occasion in 1890, at age 38, he took first place in the hammer throw, shot put, high jump, and broad jump.
Stone was also active in Calgary’s business community. At different times he held administrative positions, including that of vice-president, in the Calgary Board of Trade, and he sat on its committees dealing with the federal government and the Canadian Pacific Railway on questions such as branch lines, freight rates, irrigation, and western representation in the House of Commons. He served as spokesman for the district of Calgary on the question of tariffs, and at a convention on immigration at Winnipeg in 1896 he was selected as one of the Alberta representatives in the Western Canada Immigration Association. His particular business activity was reflected in director-ships in the Alberta Horse Breeders’ Association and the Calgary District Agricultural Society; he was a member of the Ranchmen’s Club from its establishment in 1891, and a founding member in 1896 of Calgary’s Stockmen’s Association. That year Stone was solicited to run as the Conservative candidate in the federal election. He withdrew in favour of Thomas B. H. Cochrane and instead chaired the committee formed to lead the local campaign. Cochrane lost to his Liberal opponent, Frank Oliver*, in the election that brought Wilfrid Laurier* to power in Ottawa.
Some of Stone’s responsibilities with the Board of Trade obliged him to travel east occasionally, and in 1897 he contracted a serious cold during one of these trips. Complications after his return to Calgary resulted in his premature death on 18 Sept. 1897. The Calgary Herald remembered him in its obituary as the individual who had done “more to elevate the tone of sport in the West than any other man.”
Cathedral Church of the Redeemer (Anglican) (Calgary), Reg. of marriages, 11 Nov. 1890. Calgary Herald, 21 Sept. 1897. Calgary Tribune, February 1888–October 1897. Leader (Regina), 7 Aug., 23 Oct. 1888. North-West Territories Gazette (Regina), 2 Nov. 1896. Nor’West Farmer and Miller (Winnipeg), August 1890. Times (London), 14 May 1872; 7 April 1873; 31 March 1874; 23 March 1875; 11 April, 6 June 1876; 27 March, 28 May 1877.