Charles L. Stone

Photo courtesy of Center for Adventist Research.

Stone, Charles L. (1871–1946)

By Dennis Pettibone


Dennis Pettibone, Ph.D. (University of California, Riverside), is professor emeritus of history at Southern Adventist University. He and his first wife, Carol Jean Nelson Pettibone (now deceased) have two grown daughters. He is now married to the former Rebecca Aufderhar. His published writings include A Century of Challenge: the Story of Southern College and the second half of His Story in Our Time.

First Published: October 11, 2020

Charles L. Stone, academy principal, college president, and union conference educational director, was born December 2, 1871, in Inwood, Marshall County, Indiana. His parents were Izariah Stone (1824-1917) and Lucy Emma Martindale Stone (1844-1925). He had four brothers and three sisters.1

His parents accepted Seventh-day Adventism when he was a child. Baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist church at the age of 18, he enrolled in Battle Creek College when he was 20. He began his teaching career on the elementary level. About the year 1902 S. N. Haskell ordained him to the gospel ministry.2

On April 2, 1901, he married Arminda May Pines (1874-1957), who went by the name May.3 They had one child, Margaret Martindale Stone (1912-2012), born 11 years later.4

Hazel Academy

The same year that he got married, Charles Stone established a school eventually known as Hazel Academy,5 located in Hazel, Kentucky, a small town in the southwestern part of the state just north of Paris, Tennessee,6 near the community where Seventh-day Adventists had suffered religious persecution during the previous decade.7

At first, Charles and his wife were the only teachers at what was called Hazel Industrial Intermediate School.8 By 1905, with the addition of a music teacher and a “matron” (food service director), the size of the faculty had doubled and the school's name had changed to Hazel Industrial Academy. Existing records list C. L. Stone as the principal and his wife as assistant principal.9 However, the following year, the number of faculty members dropped back down to two: Mr. and Mrs. Stone.

Hazel Industrial Academy continued to operate even after the Stones left for Indiana. 10 At some point in time, it appears to have become a boarding school. It shortened its name to Hazel Academy around 1913. The size of the faculty had now increased to six teachers.11 As late as 1919, Hazel Academy still had half a dozen teachers. 12But by 1920 it had ceased to exist.13

Beechwood and Bethel

Accompanied by his Iowa-born14 wife, Charles Stone returned to his native state of Indiana in 1906 to become principal and business manager of Beechwood Academy,15 a forerunner of Indiana Academy.16 Beechwood was an entirely new experience for him. When he had left Hazel, he and his wife were the only two teachers. Beechwood had a faculty of seven, including himself. Nevertheless, he had teaching responsibilities in addition to his administrative duties. The first year he was there he taught classes in Bible and history, while his wife conducted courses in sewing and dressmaking.17 The second year he taught Bible and mathematics. May Stone did not appear in the list of faculty members that year.18

During the 1908-1909 school year he seems to have taken a break from teaching and worked as a pastor in Valparaiso, Indiana.19

The Stones moved to Wisconsin in 1909 when he became principal of Bethel Academy, a forerunner of Wisconsin Academy. Bethel Academy at this time was a ten-grade school but would become a twelve- grade institution in 1914, two years after the Stones left.20 Once again Charles Stone had administrative responsibilities as principal and business manager as well as teaching. His first year at Bethel, he taught Bible and vocal music, while his wife taught English and drawing.21 During the following two academic years, Bible was the only subject he taught, but his wife's teaching load changed from year to year. In 1910-1911 she had geography and language and sewing and drawing the following year.22

Southern Training School

Graysville, Tennessee, was home to the Stones from 1912 to 1914. He served as principal, business manager, and Bible teacher at Southern Training School (STS), a forerunner of Southern Adventist University,23 while his wife taught art.24 During the Stone administration, the size of the STS student body increased dramatically, and the school merged with Graysville Sanitarium, but balancing its budget was a serious problem.25

Stone could see that STS was outgrowing its campus. It required a larger farm and room to develop industries to enable students to work their way through school. Also, it needed to be separated from the negative influences of surrounding communities.26 The move to Collegedale, though, would not take place until two years after he left Graysville.

Union Conference Educational Superintendent

His next administrative position took him to Takoma Park, Maryland, the headquarters of the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He held the position of secretary of its educational department and of the Young People' s Department and served on the union executive committee from 1914 to 1918.27 In Seventh-day Adventist terminology at that time a department “secretary” was the equivalent of a director or superintendent.

A decade later he would hold the same positions in the Western Canadian Union Conference, located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Once again, his duties involved serving on the union conference executive committee.28 “Missionary Volunteer” was the title given at that time to the young people's department. His second year in this position he received the additional responsibility of being in charge of the Home Missionary Department.29

Mount Vernon Academy and Canadian Junior College

When he left the post of educational secretary for the Columbia Union Conference, Stone returned to the type of work in which he was the most experienced, that of academy principal. From 1919 to 1922 he was the principal of Mount Vernon Academy in southern Ohio.30 His tenure at Mount Vernon was different from all of his previous experiences as an academy principal: he had no regular teaching responsibilities and at no time was his wife a member of his faculty. 31

In 1922 Stone moved from Mount Vernon, Ohio to Lacombe, Alberta, Canada, when he became president and business manager of Canadian Junior College (now Burman University). Once again, he had teaching responsibilities in addition to his administrative duties: he was a professor of education.32 After only a year that post, he moved to the Western Canada Union Conference office, where he served for a year and a half.

Call to Serve to Panama

As he was nearing the end of his second year in Canada, Stone received an invitation from the General Conference to become principal of West Caribbean Training School in the city of Obispo in the Panama Canal Zone. Even though he had earlier expressed to officials of the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists a willingness to go to Panama, Stone declined the request. He wrote a lengthy letter to B. E. Beddoe,33 assistant secretary of the General Conference,34 explaining the reasons for his decision.

He pointed out that the Western Canadian Union Conference had gone to considerable expense to move him to Alberta from Ohio, and that he had not yet completed three years of service in Canada. He then suggested reasons for why it would be difficult for that organization to replace him, seeming to assume that they would need to hire another person from the United States to fill his position. Because a significant number of the people living in Alberta were from immigrant families didn't consider education to be important, it would thus be hard to find local people with adequate training to take his place.

Furthermore, he said it would take Americans a long time to adjust to the British “spiral” system of education and that it had taken him a quite a while to break down the prejudice Canadians felt against him as a person from another country, a process that another U.S. citizen would need to repeat. In addition, he suggested that Canada's cold climate could also make it difficult for the Western Canadian Union to find a satisfactory replacement.

Doubtless the biggest problem he pointed out was that the province had shut down many Adventist schools. Perhaps that was because they didn't think the church school teachers were adequately prepared. Having been working with provincial officials for two years, he thought he seemed to be making progress toward solving this problem, but suggested that a new education secretary would have to start all over in developing a relationship with the officials.

General Conference administrators did not take this refusal lightly. They asked him to reconsider and stated that they believed he was the best person for the job. “The school needs a man of ripened experience and those who know you best and who are acquainted with your work throughout the years feel that you are especially well fitted to handle the situation.” It would be easier to replace him in Canada than finding an appropriate person to work in the Canal Zone.35

Changing his mind, Stone agreed to travel to the Canal Zone and take charge of West Caribbean Training School.36 He left his post at the Western Canada Union Conference office in the middle of his second year to assume the new post in the Inter-American Division.

West Caribbean Training School

In the Canal Zone, Stone's responsibilities assumed a familiar pattern: he was a teacher as well as a principal. Some years he taught history, math, and science. One year he had just history and math. For three years he taught teacher education and Bible for at least one year. For several years denominational records listed Mrs. Stone as the “matron” and also as an English teacher. Even their teenage daughter Margaret appeared on the roster of faculty members one year as a Spanish teacher.37

The Stones may well have look forward to the fact that Panama's climate was warmer than Canada's, but it may not have been an unmixed blessing. All three members of the Stone family begin experiencing health problems. After about three and half years, doctors in the Canal Zone begin suggesting that, for their health's sake, the family should return to the United States.

After nearly five and half years, Charles Stone requested a furlough, hoping that it would be followed by permanent placement in the United States. Desiring to find a teaching position in an area where his daughter could continue her education, he did not want to return to an administrative position with financial responsibilities.38


Despite his wish for a teaching position, Stone seems to have gone directly from furlough to retirement. From 1931 to 1942 the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook lists him as an ordained minister living in Takoma Park, Maryland, but does not indicate any connection with any educational organization or local conference.39 He appears to have at least partially emerged from retirement during the 1943-1944 and the 1944 -1945 school years as one of the two Bible teachers at Forest Lake Academy in Maitland, Florida.40 During the final year of his life his address appears as in care of W. C. Fischer in Mineral, Virginia.41 When he passed away on May 24, 1946, he was back in Takoma Park.42


“Arminda May Pines.” Accessed August 15, 2021.

“Charles L. Stone.” Accessed August 13, 2021.

“Charles Stone.” Accessed July 12, 2021.

Gardner, Elva B. Southern Missionary College: A School of His Planning. Revised by J. Mable Wood. Collegedale TN: Southern Missionary College Board of Trustees, 1975.

GCA, File No. 00047183, Secretariat Appointee Files, RG 21, Box 9913. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.

“Hazel, Kentucky.”,_Kentucky. Accessed August 13, 2021.

“Obituaries.” ARH, August 29, 1946.

Pettibone, Dennis. A Century of Challenge: The Story of Southern College, 1892-1992. Collegedale, TN: The College Press, 1992.

Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1996.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1904-1925.


  1. “Charles Stone,” Accessed July 12, 2021. says he was born in Marshall, Indiana. “Charles L. Stone,” Accessed August 13, 2021.

    Ironically, Marshall is not in Marshall County.

  2. “Obituaries,” ARH, August 29, 1946, 20.

  3. “Charles Stone,” Accessed July 12, 2021.

  4. Ibid.; “Charles L. Stone,” Accessed August 13, 2021.

  5. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1916), 174.

  6. “Hazel, Kentucky,”,_Kentucky, accessed August 13, 2021.

  7. Dennis Pettibone, “Caesars Sabbath: The Sunday-law Controversy in the United States, 1879-1892” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Riverside, 1979), 307, 308.

  8. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1904), 82.

  9. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1905), 94.

  10. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1912), 164-165.

  11. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1913), 158.

  12. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1919), 200-206.

  13. See Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1920), 224.

  14. “Arminda May Pines,”, accessed August 15, 2021.

  15. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1907), 110.

  16. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 2nd rev. ed. (1996), s.v. “Indiana Academy.” Unless he left Kentucky for Indiana in the middle of the academic year, the dates given in this source for his service at Beechwood Academy do not agree with a reasonable interpretation of the information found in the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook.

  17. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1907), 110.

  18. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1908), 144.

  19. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1909), 46.

  20. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 2nd rev. ed. (1996), s.v. “Wisconsin Academy.”

  21. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1910), 144.

  22. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1911), 143; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1912), 160.

  23. Dennis Pettibone, A Century of Challenge: The Story of Southern College, 1892-1992 (Collegedale, TN: The College Press, 1992),43.

  24. Elva B. Gardner, Southern Missionary College: A School of His Planning, revised by J. Mabel Wood (Collegedale Tennessee: Southern Missionary College Board of Trustees, 1975), 312.

  25. Pettibone, A Century of Challenge, 43.

  26. Gardner, Southern Missionary College, 14.

  27. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1915), 33; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1916), 32; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1918), 35.

  28. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1924), 80;

  29. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1925), 87.

  30. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 2nd rev. ed. (1996), s.v. “Mount Vernon Academy.”

  31. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1920), 230; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1921), 163; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1922), 172.

  32. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1923), 184.

  33. GCA, File No. 00047183, Secretariat Appointee Files, RG 21, Box 9913.

  34. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1924), 5.

  35. Stone Appointee File, GCA, File No. 00047183.

  36. Ibid.

  37. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1925), 233; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1926), 254; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1927), 269; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1928), 288; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1929), 297; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1930), 312.

  38. Stone Appointee File, GCA, File No. 00047183.

  39. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1931), 443; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1932), 449; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1933), 367; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1934), 373. From 1934 to 1942 he is listed, along with other people who may have been retirees, as an ordained minister in the Columbia Union Conference, but is not listed as having any specific position or being associated with any specific local conference. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1934), 36; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1935), 37; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1936), 38; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1937), 37; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1938), 35; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1939), 35; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1940), 34; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1941), 36; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1942), 28; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1943), 32.

  40. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1944), 228; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1945), 228.

  41. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1946), 35.

  42. “Obituaries,” ARH, August 29, 1946, 20.


Pettibone, Dennis. "Stone, Charles L. (1871–1946)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. October 11, 2020. Accessed March 02, 2024.

Pettibone, Dennis. "Stone, Charles L. (1871–1946)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. October 11, 2020. Date of access March 02, 2024,

Pettibone, Dennis (2020, October 11). Stone, Charles L. (1871–1946). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved March 02, 2024,