New Jersey Histories - Stout Family

The Family of Stouts

The Story Of Their Settlement In New Jersey

Penelope Stout, the Maternal Ancestor, Shipwrecked on Sandy Hook-Nearly Killed by Indians-Rescued-Her Many Descendants

In Nottinghamshire, England, in the year 1585, there was born to John Stout a son named Richard. The father was a man of some standing and the boy was reared in a manner befitting his station. In the nature of events it was supposable that he would marry in the land of his birth, succeed to the paternal acres, and perpetuate the family name in the shire of his ancestors. But fate had ordered another and a strange outcome.

When Richard arrived at manhood he fell in love with, and was about to marry a neighbor’s daughter who was somewhat below him in the social scale. The elder Stout in anger forbade the marriage, and Richard left his home and enlisted in the English navy. He served seven years on a man-of-war and, at the expiration of his service, the vessel being then at New Amsterdam, or New York, he was discharged. He had neither forgotten nor forgiven his father’s act, and had no desire to return to his native land. He settled among the Dutch of New Amsterdam and became thoroughly assimilated in language and customs. Here he lived for a number of years.

In 1602-only a year or two before young Stout had left his home-Mynheer Vanprincis, at Amsterdam, Holland, was blest with a daughter to whom the name of Penelope was given. In her twenty-first year she was married to a young man of her native city, whose name has escaped the search of the historian. The young pair determined to cast lots with their countrymen in the New World, and in the year 1624 they embarked in a Dutch ship for New Amsterdam. The ship, like many another one since, made an involuntary landing on the treacherous sands of New Jersey, going ashore some little distance south of the extremity of Sandy Hook, then known as Colman’s Point, or Sandy Point. Fortunately the passengers and crew all reached the shore, but Penelope’s husband, who had been sick on shipboard and who was in a feeble condition, was badly injured by wreckage in the surf.

The presence of Indians in that vicinity and their hostility to the whites were well known to the people of the ship and their first thought was to get to New Amsterdam as speedily as possible. They agreed to start on foot at once, and as Penelope’s husband was so badly hurt that he could not travel, they decided that the safety of the others demanded that they should leave him there and press forward, hoping that aid could be sent him from New Amsterdam as soon as they reached there. But Penelope was a faithful wife and she absolutely refused to abandon him; so she and her husband were left on that wild neck of land and the remainder of the company started for New Amsterdam, which place they reached in safety.

Scarcely had they left when a band of Indians came upon the distressed couple. They killed the man, crushed the woman’s skull with a tomahawk, broke her arm, tore her clothing from her and ended by cutting a gash across her abdomen from which her intestines protruded. She was horribly mangled and they thought her dead.

When the savages of those days left a white person for dead it was usually safe to assume that such was the fact; but Penelope was not dead. In that mangled body there was yet ninety years of life.

After the Indians had left, Penelope became conscious and was able to crawl to a near-by hollow log, holding together the gaping edges of her fearful wound. In and by the log she found some vegetation which she ate and by it was refreshed. She lay in that condition for seven full days, wondering at her own vitality and never dreaming that for her there was anything but speedy death.

On the morning of the eighth day she was actually glad to see two Indians approach the place where she lay, for she felt assured that now her suffering would soon end. On of the Indians was young and the other old. When they came to her they fell into a violent dispute, which she afterwards learned was because the younger one wanted to kill her at once, while the older desired to save her and hold her for ransom. The old Indian finally prevailed and, throwing a “match coat” over her he fitted her to his shoulder and carried her to his wigwam, near where Middletown now stands. Under his skillful treatment her wounds healed and she recovered. Of all her wounds but one left a permanent injury-her left shoulder was so hacked that she never regained the use of that arm.

After staying with the old Indian for some months he finally took her to New Amsterdam and presented her to her friends, receiving many valuable gifts for his humanity. Thus she at last reached the end of the journey begun many months before in Holland, and thus it came that the last and completing link of fate was made and welded. At New Amsterdam Richard Stout met Penelope and married her. He was 40 years of age and she but 22.

How long they lived in New Amsterdam after that is not now definitely known, but it must have been for several years. With the spread of Dutch colonists to outlying districts they moved to Middletown, New Jersey, to almost the very spot where Penelope had been nursed back to life. The old Indian was still there and afterwards saved her life a second time by giving her information of an intended massacre by his tribe. The settlers were put on their guard, and the Indians retired without molesting them.

To Richard Stout and eleven other associates Governor Nicolls granted the patent for Monmouth county, New Jersey, in 1665.

Penelope bore Richard Stout seven sons and three daughters. The children were Jonathan, John, Richard, James, Peter, David, Benjamin, Mary, Sarah and Alilce. The daughters married into the families of Bownes, Pikes and Throckmortons, and so lost the name of Stout. The sons married into the families of Bullens, Crawfords, Ashtons, Truexs and others, and had many children. The mother died in 1712 at the age of 110 years, and in the 88 years of her life as Penelope Stout her offspring numbered 502 souls. The name of Stout was spread to nearly every hamlet of New Jersey and none is better known to-day throughout the state, yet every one can trace his lineage back to the horribly mutilated young Dutch girl that lay seemingly dead on a Sandy Hook hummock in 1624.

Source: Red Bank Register, Wednesday, June 7, 1899