Martha Stone was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts on January 29th, 1851. She was the daughter of Stephen Hayden Stone (b. 1816), a truckman, and Mary Ann Emerson (b. 1820), natives of Maine and Massachusetts respectively, and had two known siblings: Albert (b. 1845) and Charles (b. 1847).
The 1860 census shows Martha living with her family in Charlestown, Massachusetts. She was working as a book keeper when she appeared on the 1880 census, still living with her parents and then residing in Everett, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
She was married on October 15th, 1884 to John H. Harrington (b. August 1833 in Chelsea, Massachusetts), a clerk and the son of Jonathan and Lydia Harrington, the latter née Stevens. The couple had no children and John died on 12 June 1885 after less than a year of marriage.
Martha was remarried in New York on October 30th, 1888 to George Nelson Stone (b. 1841), a native of New Hampshire and an executive in a telephone company, Cincinnati Bell. George had two daughters from a previous relationship: Mary (b. 1880) and Eleanor (b. 1884). The family show up on the 1900 census living at 405 Oak Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio but Martha was widowed the following year after which she took up residence in the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.
Martha was awake in bed when the Titanic struck the iceberg. She slipped a kimono over her night dress, put on her slippers, and went out into the corridor and found other people similarly attired. She asked a crew member if they had struck an iceberg. "Yes, " he said, "but there is no danger. Go back to bed and to sleep." At this time, Mrs Stone could hear the roar of the steam blowing off and she asked the officer why they were doing this. He told her they had stopped to see what damage there was and that there wasn't any danger.
She went back to bed and never received a warning. The roaring steam went on for what seemed like forever so she got up and dressed and stepped out into the corridor. There, the daughter of the woman across the hall came running down the corridor, telling her to put on her life preserver and that they must get into the boats. Stone hurried to deck with the woman. They found the sailors getting into the lifeboats, but that there was no real order in loading the boats.
Stone and her maid got into Lifeboat 6 and were rescued. She thought there were about 20 women and two men in the boat. Her role in the boat was to stand on the plug, which she did for seven hours. Another woman waved the only lantern they had in the boat for seven hours. Mrs. Stone was sharply critical of how the Titanic crew handled the dilemma they faced that night.
Martha Stone died in Manhattan, New York on 12 May 1924. still a resident of the Plaza Hotel. She was buried four days later in Cincinnati, Ohio beside her second husband. In her will she bequeathed a large sum of cash and other personal possessions to Amelie Icard.