George Playford Stoneking

The following profile was researched and compiled by Candice L. Buchanan and Glenn J. R. T. Toothman III, for

Birth: 20 September 1896 Mount Morris, Perry Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania

Parents: California "Fornie" Stoneking and Alice Malinda Haines

Residence at time of enlistment: Garards Fort, Greene County, Pennsylvania

Physical description: Tall, slender, blue eyes, light hair

Death: Influenza epidemic and measles, 25 November 1918 France

Age at death: 22 years old

Last resting place: Highland Cemetery, Davistown, Dunkard Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania

Military rank: Serial No. 4442694. US Medical Corps.

Additional information:

In the state archives of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), and lately shared digitally through, is a World War I collection with significance beyond measure. These are the WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, and filed with them are the personal accounts filed by families across the state who responded to a call for the profiles of local soldiers and sailors. One such response was filed by Miss Gertrude Stoneking, sister to George Playford Stoneking. Her "sketch" of his life is more apt than any we could attempt to write. She shares this history of her elder brother:

"Sketch of Life of George Playford Stoneking
He was born near Mt. Morris Greene Co. Pa. September 20th 1896.
He spent his entire life (before entering the Army) at the home at Garards Fort Greene Co. Pa.
He spent his common school days and graduated from common school at Garards Fort, also attended High School and Teacher's Normal at Carmichaels Pa.
He became a Christian at the age of 13 yrs and united with the Mt. Calvary M. P. church at Garard's Fort in which he was a faithful and active member.
He spent his life in school and working on his father's farm, until November 1917 he accepted the position as Lineman for the Greene County Telephone & Telegraph Co., he left this work on September 5th 1918 to answer his country's call he was sent to Camp Greenleaf, Ga. on Sept. 5, 1918 was transferred from there to Camp Upton N.Y. on October 1, 1918, and sailed for oversees Oct. 5 landing in England, from there he was sent to Noyers, France.
He was taken sick with Measles complicated with Bronchial Pneumonia [common and often fatal complication of influenza epidemic] on October 28, 1918 and passed to the great beyond Nov. 25 aged 22 years 2 mo. 5 days.
Was laid to rest in American Cemetery Noyers France Nov. 26.
He was a grand young man loved by everyone and had a strong determination.
Owing to his being in the service so short a time, and being moved so much while in camp, we cannot furnish an army record.
His sister,
Miss Gertrude Stoneking
Greene Co. Penna."

Like so many others, the Stoneking family waited months to learn George's fate. His death was announced in the local Waynesburg Republican newspaper on 6 March 1919. Written by his brother Jesse and sister Gertrude, it says, "He was loved by everyone that knew him, and always met you with a smile." The siblings closed their tribute with this poem:

He left his home in perfect health,
He looked so young and brave;
We little thought how soon he'd be
Laid in a soldier's grave.
Our real son can never die,
'Tis but his body that may lie
In foreign land, and we shall keep
Remembrance fond forever deep
Within our hearts of our true son
Because of triumphs that he won.

And when his vacant place we see,
Our hearts will bound with joy that he
Was ours so long - our fair young son,
And cheer for him whose work is done!
Somewhere in France they buried him
Within a quiet, lonely grave,
Unknown save by his fighting mates,
Who cheered the cause he died to save;
And for the sacrifice the Stars and Stripes
Still loyal shall wave.
As France began to rebuild and recover post-war, US families were given the option to bring fallen soldiers home for burial or to inter them in newly formed American Cemeteries near the battlefields. George's family requested he be returned home. He was given a military funeral on 31 October 1920, and laid to rest in Highland Cemetery near Davistown. Obviously, a family of words, the Stonekings placed this inscription upon his grave: "In grateful remembrance of a / brave soldier, who gave his life / in defence of his country. / Brief, brave and glorious / was his young career."


  • "Gave His Life For Freedom's Cause" article, Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 6 March 1919.
  • Highland Cemetery (Davistown, Dunkard Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania), George Playford Stoneking tombstone; personally read by Candice Buchanan and Glenn Toothman, 2018.
  • "Remains of World War Veteran Reburied at Davistown" article, Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 4 November 1920.
  • "United States, Army Transport Service Passenger Lists 1910-1939," digital images, ( : accessed 29 September 2018), George P. Stoneking entry, line 224, page 14 (stamped), Empress of Britain, box 432; citing Lists of Outgoing Passengers, 1917-1938. Textual records. 255 Boxes. NAI: 6234477. Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985. Record Group Number 92. National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
  • "United States, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital images, ( : accessed 26 September 2018), George Playford Stoneking draft card, serial no. 82, Local Draft Board, Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania; citing National Archives microfilm publication M1509, FHL roll 1892940.
  • "WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948," digital images, ( : accessed 29 September 1918), Mrs. Alice M. Stoneking, mother of Geo. F. Stoneking - application no. 258697 and letter from Miss Gertrude Stoneking, sister of George Playford Stoneking; citing World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948 (RG 19, Series 19.91), Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.