History's Women: Misc. Articles: Penelope Van Princis - Patron Saint of the Revolutionary PeriodPenelope Van Princis
Patron Saint of the Revolutionary Period
1622-1732 A.D.

A noted New Jersey family is that of the Stouts. From the counties of Somerset and Hunterdon alone, the Revolutionary rolls show one major, three captains, one ensign, and seventeen privates of the name. In addition there were a number of descendants of the Stouts bearing other family names. When, therefore, the descendants of the Stouts of Independence, Ia., decided to name their Chapter of the D.A.R., after a noted ancestor, they went back to the beginning of the family in America, in the seventeenth century and chose as their patron saint, Penelope Van Princis.

Richard Stout, probably the first of the name in America, was born in Nottinghamshire, England. He left home because of a disagreement with his father, shipped on board a man of war, serving about seven years, and received his discharge, or possibly deserted, at New Amsterdam about 1640 or thereabouts. Some years before that, a ship from Amsterdam in Holland was driven on shore, at what is now Middletown, Monmouth County, N.J. It was loaded with colonists, who with much difficulty got ashore. While they were still shivering on the sands, the Indians fell upon them, killing, as they believed, the entire party.

After they had gone a woman who had lain unconscious came to her senses and though badly wounded managed to crawl to a hollow tree where she remained two or three days. An Indian, chancing to come that way with his dog, was attracted to the tree by the dog. There he found the woman in a most distressed condition. She had been bruised severely about the head and her bowels protruded from a wound across her abdomen. She had been in this awful condition for several days when the Indian found her. In his compassion he gook her out of the tree and carried her to his wigwam where he and his squaw cared for her, and treated her kindly until her wounds were healed. The woman was Penelope Van Princis.

The Indian carried Penelope Van Princis to New Amsterdam in his canoe and sold her to the Dutch settlers. That is how the man and woman, from whom the whole race of Stouts in America is said to have descended, came to be in New Amsterdam. They met and became acquainted and were married. Then they crossed the bay and settled near where Penelope first landed and in 1648 the little settlement held six white families. Richard Stout and his brave wife prospered and grew rich in cleared land and stock as well as in sturdy sons and daughters, of whom they had ten: John, Richard, Jonathan, Peter, James, Benjamin, David, Deliverance, Sarah, and Penelope.

Colonel Joseph Stout, a grandson of Penelope Van Princis Stout, was lieutenant-governor of West Jersey under George III., and the Stouts have been prominent in New Jersey Affairs from Colonial times on. Penelope Van Princis Stout died in 1732, supposed to be about one hundred and ten years old. Her husband died in 1705.


Reference: The Pioneer Mothers of America: A Record of the More Notable Women of the Early Days of the Country, and Particularly of the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. Third Volume, Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.