January 16, 1924 – Mendocino pioneer Oscar M. Stone died at his home on Main Street at about 6 o’clock in the morning. Oscar was 81 years old and had been a resident of Mendocino for 60 years.

Born in Mount Vernon, Maine, Oscar moved to the Mendocino Coast when he was 21 years old. For the final leg of his journey to Mendocino, he took passage on a sailing vessel from San Francisco to Caspar. The voyage took thirty days, due to bad weather.

Interior of a jewelry store with a man in a suit standing in the center of the photo

Albert “Bert” Grindle Stone inside his family’s jewelry and clock store located on the south side of Main Street in Mendocino, c. 1920. On either side of the room, a continuous row of chest-high, glass-topped cases display jewelry and other goods. Clocks sit on a long shelf on the right wall. A row of electric light bulbs with fluted glass shades hang from the wood-planked ceiling above each row of display cases. (The Bert Stone Collection, Kelley House Museum)

For the next four years, Oscar worked in the woods for the Mendocino Lumber Company. In 1868, he briefly returned to Mount Vernon, where he married Susan Dudley. After Oscar returned to California with his bride, he became a raftsman on the Albion River, then N. E. Hoak hired him as a scaler in the woods. For many years, Oscar worked as a sawyer in the Mendocino Mill.

The Stones lived in the Warren-Hagenmeyer House on Ukiah Street (also known as the Green House) until 1888, when they purchased the Lansing House on the northeast corner of Main and Howard streets, across from the Mendocino Presbyterian Church. The Lansing House was built by Captain David Lansing in 1855 with lumber milled in San Francisco and shipped to Mendocino. Oscar lived in this home for the rest of his life. He made several improvements to the property, including the construction of the still-standing water tower in 1897.

In 1882, Oscar opened a jewelry store on the south side of Main Street, across the street from today’s Gallery Bookshop. Beyond jewelry, watches, and clocks, Oscar’s shop sold eyeglasses, silverware, sewing machines, pianos, organs, and other musical instruments. Music lessons and a repair service were also offered through the store. “Fine and complicated watches a specialty, and perfect satisfaction guaranteed.”

Susan and Oscar had one son, Bert, who followed in his father’s footsteps, training as a watchmaker and jeweler. Bert took over the family business when Oscar retired.

Rev. Davies conducted Oscar’s funeral service at the Mendocino Presbyterian Church two days after his death. Oscar was laid to rest next to Susan, who had died in 1908, in the family plot in Evergreen cemetery.

CINDERELLA OF MENDOCINO by Gary Starr. Based on the real Cinderella Rueckert, a colorful character who lived in a yellow house in Mendocino in the 1890s, this charming book takes the reader on a fantastical journey through Mendocino’s past. In human and mermaid forms, Cinderella collects seaweed, rides whales, and makes art. The gorgeous full-color drawings bring to life author Gary Starr’s magical tale. Includes a two-page factual history at the end. $10.