Part of Pocahontas Trail dedicated in honor of Judge William Stone

Staff writer

Family, friends and officials gathered Monday to dedicate a portion of Pocahontas Trail in honor of the trailblazing judge William T. Stone.

Stone, who is believed to have been the first black judge in Virginia, died in January at age 87. Stone also owned Whiting’s Funeral Home and Cremation Services. The Judge William T. Stone Memorial Highway runs along Pocahontas Trail (Route 60) from Route 199 to James City’s border with Williamsburg. The funeral home sits on that portion of Pocahontas Trail.

“It’s just encouraging to know that ... he is still living through the lives of this community,” Christopher Stone said of his father. “We’re doing our best to carry what that great man started.

“My dad was a stern believer, he was a stern follower. If the Good Book said it, that’s what the good Judge Stone did,” Stone said.

Family and friends crowded together onto the sidewalk as his son and community leaders spoke about the man who first came to the Williamsburg area as a 13-year-old boy, alone and with a wooden toy snake tied around his waist.

He sold the toy snake when he ran out of money in Richmond on his way south from Maryland to Williamsburg, to where his aunt was living. More than two decades later, Stone was named a substitute judge for the Williamsburg-James City County district court, according to a Daily Press obituary.

“This past year, we lost a giant in the legal community. Someone who not only broke down barriers of race and color, but someone who led a fine and upstanding life not just as a jurist, but as a business leader, as a father, as a veteran and as a mentor,” Del. Mike Mullin said.

Stone continued to operate a general law practice after his judicial appointment and served as a substitute judge for three decades until 1998. Stone was an Army veteran who served in Korea.

“We will be reminded constantly of Judge Stone by virtue of traveling down Route 60 and seeing the sign,” said James City Supervisor John McGlennon, who represents the Roberts District, which is where the memorial is located. “For those who don’t know him, this will send a signal. Here’s someone we really admired in this community.”

Daily Press archives were used in this report.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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