Writer / Dann Veldkamp • Photographer / Jody Veldkamp
“What’s in a name?” asked Shakespeare. Not surprisingly, the origins of many road names in the county are related to their history. Let’s see, Smith Valley Road – I bet that goes to the village of Smith Valley. County Line Road – might that be the line between two counties? Stones Crossing Road – probably something about crossing a creek, perhaps Stony Creek. Wait, there is no Stony Creek. So where did the name come from?
The backstory has now been officially documented with a memorial marker in the northwest corner of the intersection of Stones Crossing Road and State Road 135. The Johnson County Museum of History placed the marker in early June on a corner now dominated by McDonald’s, Taco Bell and other businesses. But it wasn’t always this way.
As with other roads in the area, Stones Crossing was named after an earlier settler of Johnson County. Elijah Stone moved to Johnson County in 1859 to establish a farm. Some years later, he became a boot and shoemaker, opening a general store in 1890. At the time, State Road 135 was known as Three-Notch Lane. The general store became a local gathering place, and by 1894, about 115 people were living in the immediate area. It was a large enough population to warrant a post office for the 31 years between 1874 and 1905.
The marker was paid for by a distant relative of Stone, Geraldine Bagby, through a provision of her will. The great-great-grandchildren of Elijah Stone, Janet Stone and Howard Peters, still live in Johnson County and are very pleased that the contribution of their family to the area is being recognized. Both were raised on the property of the original farm, which was located just north of the marker.
There are a number of such markers around the county. The next time you see one, take the time to stop and learn something about our history.