The Saga of Penelope Stout
The Richard STOUT family was one of the first white families who helped settle in old Monmouth, New Jersey. But the following story which is documented in New Jersey history books concerns the near disasterous arrival of Penelope in the new land.
Penelope VAN PRINCIN and her first husband sailed from Amsterdam on a Dutch ship, headed for New Amsterdam, now New York. But off the coast of New Jersey the ship wrecked. All managed to disembark but Penelope's husband who had been sick the whole journey and was too ill to travel. Everyone was fearful of an Indian attack so they left him and promised to send help. Penelope refused to leave her husband alone on the beach.
Soon a band of Indians found them there. They promply killed the man. Then they cut , mangled and partially scalped the woman in such a manner that they left her for dead. She had strength enough to crawl to some logs not far distant and getting into a hollow one stayed within it for several days, subsisting in part by eating the mushrooms that grew from it. The Indians had left some fire on the shore which she kept together for warmth.
Penelope survived alone and gravely wounded for eight days. At that time two Indians appeared and started discussing her fate. The younger Indian wanted to finish her off but the older Indian wrapped her in a blanket, tossed her over his shoulder and took her to his wigwam where he nursed her back to health.
After some time the Dutch of New Amsterdam, hearing of a white woman among the Indians, concluded who it must be and some of them came to her relief. She was given the choice of staying with the Indians or returning to the white people. She chose to return but remained friends with the old Indian for many years to come. On one occasion he came to see her and after some time told her of an impending Indian attack on her people. She told her husband but he did not want to believe her. She said that her Indian friend had never lied to her so she gathered her children and found a canoe the Indian had left for her. Richard then considered what she had told him and gathered together all of the neighbors. They set up guard and about midnight heard the dismal war hoop, presently they come upon a company of Indians. They told the indians that if they persisted in their bloody designs, they would sell their lives very dearly. Their arguments prevailed, the Indians desisted, and entered into a league of peace, which was kept without violation for many years.
From this woman, thus remarkably saved, with her scars visible, through a long life, is descended a numerous posterity of the name Stout. Penelope went on to have a total of 10 children, seven sons and three daughters. She lived to reach the age of 110 with more that 500 descendants.
Last modified on Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids