When he was growing up, James “Squeakie” Stone’s father was a sharecropper and carpenter so the family moved every few years to where the work was.

Stone started “handing” tobacco – passing the leaves on to a worker who strung it for drying – when he was five or six years old. As he got older, he was involved in all.

aspects of the operation – from pulling plants, setting tobacco hoeing and cropping. He also picked cotton.

He worked in a few factories, grocery stores and as a house painter before his folk artist uncle Henry “Squirrel” Stone suggested that he try his hand at painting a picture of a church from a photograph.

Stone had always felt that there was something else that he was meant to be doing but had never worked it out until that day. When he painted that first picture he knew this was it

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James "Squeakie" Stone