Penelope Van Princis Stout

The Year: 1640

Image: Penelope Stout Commemorative Coin
Shows her being carried away by Indians

Woes in the New World
Penelope Van Princis Stout was born in 1622 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She married John Kent in 1640, and the couple sailed for New Amsterdam (now New York City) on Manhattan Island in the American colony of New Netherland. For unknown reasons, their ship ran aground at the coast of what is now Monmouth County, New Jersey. The ship’s other passengers decided to continue toward their destination on foot, but Penelope remained with her sick husband who was too weak to walk.

Penelope and her husband had not been in the woods very long when they were attacked by Native Americans and left for dead. But the woman was not killed – only stunned. She was horribly cut and mangled, her skull fractured, her left shoulder hacked, and a great cut across the abdomen caused her bowels to protrude. There was little hope of her ever recovering – but no one told her that!

After the Indians had gone, she crawled into a hollow tree nearby, and somehow managed to stay alive. On the seventh day, two Indians found her. Penelope prayed that they might end her misery, and the younger Indian was willing to oblige.

Saved by a Friend
The young man was ready to kill her, but the elder one stopped him. Throwing her over his shoulder, he carried her to his camp, where he sewed up her wounds with fish bone needles and vegetable fiber. Penelope lived with the aged Native American chief until she recovered, and then he took her to her countrymen in New Amsterdam.

In 1642, Penelope met Richard Stout who had left Nottingham, England, because of parental disapproval of his love affair with a girl they considered socially inferior. He had enlisted in the navy, served for seven years, and left his ship in New Amsterdam when his enlistment ended.

Richard found friends among some English settlers who had fled to New Amsterdam from neighboring colonies because of their religious beliefs. Among them were Lady Deborah Moody and her son, Sir Henry Moody. Together they obtained a charter from the Dutch governor to found the first English settlement on Long Island at Gravesend.

Penelope and Richard Stout were married in 1644, when she was 22 and he was 40. They settled at Gravesend on Plantation No. 18, which he had purchased five years earlier. In 1646, he received lot 16 where he grew tobacco. By 1657, seventeen of his twenty acres were under cultivation. In 1661, he bought an adjoining farm, and became the largest landowner of the group.

First Lady of Middletown
After the English took over the rule of New Amsterdam, Penelope persuaded her husband and a number of their neighbors at Gravesend to move across the Lower Bay to what is now eastern New Jersey, near the village of the Indian chief who had saved her life.

The nameless chief was a frequent visitor to the Stout home, and one day, he came to warn her that the tribes were coming to attack the settlement. He urged her to take her family and flee to safety in his canoe. When she told Richard the news, he refused to believe it, but she gathered her children and paddled away.

After Penelope left, Richard reconsidered and gathered the men of the settlement together. They armed themselves and sent the other women and children in canoes to wait offshore, while they prepared to watch all night. At midnight the Indians came.

When the whites attacked, the Native Americans, armed with only bows and arrows, were soon on the run. Then Richard Stout walked out into the open and demanded a meeting. When the whites agreed to buy the native lands on which they had settled, an alliance was formed.

The whites and the Native Americans held a two-day ceremony to celebrate their new peace agreement. This treaty was faithfully kept. Though other settlements had war with the natives, this one avoided it.

The governor gave the settlers a statement called the Monmouth Patent, which guaranteed them religious and political freedom. There were fifty families of whites and 500 Indians inhabiting the area at that time.

As the settlement grew into the town of Middletown, Richard was appointed to assist in laying out the lots. And Penelope became known as the First Lady of Middletown.

Deeds were granted, signed and duly paid for, and witnessed. Among the list of claimants for land, Richard heads the list:

Richard Stout — for himself, his wife and two sons, John and Richard 120 acres each — 480 acres. For his sons and daughters that are to come of age since 1667 — James, Peter, Mary, Alice, and Sarah, each 60 acres — 300 acres. Total 780 acres.

Founding a Church
In 1668, Richard, Penelope, and their family met with others in the kitchen of the Stout home to organize the first Baptist Church of New Jersey. Richard and John, his oldest son, were among the eighteen male charter members. Every Sunday the group met at the homes of its members to sing hymns. Twenty years later a log church was built.

Considered the largest landed proprietor, Richard was appointed overseer of Middletown in 1669. He was a member of the first General Assembly composed of deputies and patentees that convened at Portland Poyot, New Jersey, in 1671, and he was also an Indian commissioner.

By 1675, the couple had accumulated so much land that they were able to deed eighteen hundred acres to their heirs.

Richard Stout died in 1705. Penelope Van Princis Stout lived to the ripe old age of 110.

Penelope Stout
Penelope Van Princis Kent Stout


  1. I am actually related to this woman from my dad’s side and he has a collection of our family history.

    1. My Reid lineage is from Richard and Penelope Stout

    2. Hi Naomi, I am also a descendant through my Father’s Stout line. My maiden name is Stout. I would like to connect with you to see if we are from the same branch that migrated to North Carolina in the 1800s. Thank you! Carol

      1. Hello.
        I’m William Stout Johnson of the Wooford County Kentucky Stouts.
        First settling on 700 acres around Mount Vernon Baptist Church around 1812. Then Amos Stout built the Glen Lake Farm home on Pisgah Pike Versailles which my 2 brothers and I were deeded as children with 200 of the original 600 of my great grandfather’s John Woolfolk Stout.
        Was much later later sold to Winstar Farm adjacent to us on Pisgah.

      2. Some of the descendants settled in Woodford county Kentucky around 1812 on 700 acres around Mt Vernon Baptist Curch. Then my ancestor Amos Stout built our Glen Lake Farm c 1854 on Pisgah Pike Versailles on 600 of the original acreage, becoming the oldest Anerican standard bred bloodline in North America until the tragic horse barn fire of the early 1910’s.

    3. I am too!

      1. I just recently became aware that Penelope is my 9th great grandmother on my mom’s side. We all live in North Carolina.

        1. My Maternal Grandfather was Levi Parker Stout
          B:2-1888 and D:11 Feb 1960
          Father: Cyrus Bundy. Mother: Della Rush
          He was from Randolph County, NC
          Buried: Marlboro Friends Meeting Cemetery

    4. Naomi, I too am related to her through my mother’s side. I would love to see what sort of historical info you have on her….my family is 17th Generation Monmouth county, NJ residents. Family cemetartary is located at the Baptist Church in middletown as well as on the grounds of Middletown South High School

      1. sorry, 13th generation

    5. She was an ancestor of mine.

    6. She’s like my 11th great grandmother.

    7. I am also a descendant.

    8. I am also related through my father my Maiden name is Stout and I’m in The book “Stout Strings & a few freyed knots”

  2. I am related to her too! She is my (10 generations back) grandmother 🙂

  3. She is my 9th great grandmother. I would love to connect with anyone that has information to share. contact me at smamom2three @ yahoo. com

    1. Through her directly or do you come from her husbands side? I come from her side.

      1. I believe directly but on my dads side of the family. Penelope and Richard had a son Peter who is son my line comes down. Then Samuel to Peter (The Quaker) to Charles to Peter to Phebe who married Willaim Piggott their son James Picketts son Claude Newton Pickett had a son Robert who is my grandfather.

  4. I m related to my maternal side of my grandmother her son Peter.

  5. I am also related to this Women! My fathers Mother was Kay Stout of Grand Rapids, MI. Her father was Ira Stout.

  6. Look at all the people we are related to in some way. We are related through the Purdy family.

  7. Looking for help to find out if this John Stout (1645-1723 or 1724) is the same one in my family tree. Mine had a wife named Elizabeth Crawford. Thank you for any information. Heather *[email protected]

    1. Heather yes

  8. Penelope is my husbands 9th great grandmother…and our kids 10th great grandmother… on the Stout-Hart side. His 2nd great grandfather Charles Elliott Hart from Shanon Missouri is the line who connects to our Warren Line. We are so proud to connect with such an awesome lady with rich history and faith! What a great long life she ended up living to be 110! We hope to visit the area of her history one of these days!

  9. Glen Lake Farm home built by Amos Stout c. 1854

  10. I just recently discovered this website while researching for more information concerning my 10th great grandmother, Penelope Stout.
    I happen to be a direct descendant of her and Richard through their son, David.
    For nearly 20 years now I’ve been aware of the history of my family tree, primarily through the efforts of the late Rear Admiral Herald F. Stout, who wrote the genealogical book known as Stout and Allied Families.
    After retiring from government service out in Hawaii I relocated to central Ohio in late 2005. In March of 2006 I decided to visit the ancestral home of the Stout family in Middletown, NJ. I sincerely recommend to any modern descendant of Richard and Penelope Stout to visit this place themselves. You will be glad you did, especially if you have the same experience I did when I went there. Read on to understand.
    Upon arriving there I drove to the local library to seek help in locating any local historical sites that might pertain to my ancestors and to also read up on any more information pertaining to my family that might have been in their archives.
    The library staff were very helpful and one of them gave me directions to a nearby old cemetery in town that dated back to the actual founding of the city, over 360 years ago!
    Though she is not interred in this old graveyard, Penelope is honored by having the lane that borders the cemetery named after her.
    Among the numerous graves are some headstones that bear the names of other early pioneers of Monmouth County, including some who married into the Stout family. One among them that stood out was the name “Throckmorton.”
    After taking a few pictures I decided it was time to head back to my hotel in Trenton as the day was getting late.
    So, I walked back to my car where it was parked along the edge of Penelope Lane. As I stood there with the door open, ready to get in, I looked back one last time at the old gravestones and suddenly
    became overwhelmed with emotion. In an instant I realized I was standing on hallowed family ground, the very ground that my first ancestors walked on more than ten generations ago! Taken by surprise over my feelings at that moment, I couldn’t help but say a silent prayer for all those Stouts and their fellow colonists who came before me all those years ago, and I also had to thank them for doing their part in helping to establish what would eventually become the greatest nation on earth!
    Then, with a lump in my throat, I simply wiped my eyes, closed the door, started the car and drove away; feeling forever humbled for what I had just experienced.

    1. Leslie,
      As I wrote in a comment above, she is my relative as well, and my family’s burial plot is in Middletown, NJ (still reside in the area). My mother and father have passed, so I am eager to learn more about this if I can—my email is [email protected]
      Hope to communicate soon

      Jim Marrin

    2. I dont know if you are interested but it be wonderful to share information. I am looking to find definite proof that I have my information correct. you can email me directly at smamom2three @

    3. I am also a descendant of Richard and Penelope (8th great grandmother) through Their son David. I would love to know more. I am going to have to take a road trip to Middletown, NJ

  11. Hello family lol I’m joshua.. I learned at a very young age that Penelope was a ancestor of mine. My granfathers Robert Stout still alive and in Middle Town. He lived in Little silver NJ for a very long time and I was born and raised in Red Bank NJ.

  12. Penelope Stout is my 8th Great-Grandmother.
    Richard & Penelope Stout > son Richard Stout II > daughter Grace Stout (who married William Merrell) > son Joseph Merrell > son Samuel Merrell > son Joseph Merrell > son Robert Merrell > son Edgar Merrell > son Edgar (Jack) Merrell > son Edgar (Ed) Merrell > daughter Christi Merrell Irwin… Me! Amazing, my ancestors started way back in Gravesend to Middletown to Hopewell, NJ, then venturing North to Canada to settle Beamsville, Ontario, then heading out West to Vancouver, BC… and here I am raising my daughter in Seattle, WA. It’ll be coming full circle if my teenage daughter ends up attending university in New Jersey next year… I’ve told her (Annalise) about her 9th Great-Grandmother and what she survived, endured and built… and when the going gets tough, the tough get going! All teenage girls love soft blankets, so I found a blanket online that has the caption ‘ Beautiful Girl, You Can Do Hard Things’… I would say this is in honor of Penelope. Annalise sleeps with it every night.

  13. She is about my 7th great grandmother ❤️

    1. Dear Anne,
      I seriously doubt the famous Penelope Stout is your 7th great grandmother. Reason is, she is my 10th great grandmother and I turned 69 this year! That would make you 3 generations older than me! However, if what you say is true, you should consider contacting the Guiness Book folks to see if you might qualify as a candidate for the oldest living person in America! Take care, Cuz!

  14. I am a descendant of Peter The Quaker. Down to mahlon Stout. to his son Thomas Clarkson Stout, to his son Conrad Wilson Stout who was my father.

  15. I’m related through the great grandson of Penelope.. Jonathan..1704..his daughter Leah married Isaac Harvey Wamsley Sr… grandma’s family.. Indiana.. Huntington

  16. Penelope is my 7th generation great-grandmother through my mother’s family. A second cousin contacted me and we were able to verify our family ties. It is amazing to learn about this magnificent grandmother.
    I will share with my siblings and they with their children. Thank you.

  17. Comment correction: Penelope is my 9th or 10th generation great-grandmother.

  18. She was one of my grandmothers, through the Merrell line. I have been reading all about her and her grandson Captain Benjamin Merrell since being in lock down mode, March. What great lessons we can learn from them all. Their lives made a difference and they coped with so much. Just found this sight, love it Thanks you

  19. Rita
    Hi cousins!!! How are you all? Would love to see pictures or talk to you. Penelope Stout was my 10th great grandmother. Her story broke my heart. Such hardship and yet such strength and resilience. In searching my family tree I have found many courageous ancestors. So many of them women. My own grandmother included. Penelope’s story inspires me to be strong and pass this same strength of character to my daughter. I would love to visit her home and take my daughter there as well.
    I was wondering if anyone had actual proof of her parents names and Richard’s parents names. There were so many conflicting articles please let me know or if you just want to say hi contact me I love meeting cousins. Please email me at [email protected].

  20. I have recently found out that Penelope stout is my 10th great grandmother on my dad’s side of the family and I’m hoping to find out if this is true and if it’s true then the line that I come from is as followed
    Richard & Penelope stout
    Son Peter Stout to son Samuel Stout to daughter Elizabeth Stout to son Joseph Huff to daughter Sina Huff to daughter Elizabeth Ellington to daughter Mary Allen to daughter Elizabeth Massie to daughter Maude Weagant to son John A. Trueax to son John R. Trueax to son John Trueax to son me

    I’ve been getting help from the local Mormon church where I live

  21. Hello All,
    Penelope is my 12th Great grand parent on my Mom’s Side. Relation through their daughter Mary Penelope Stout. Married into Browne family and so on to me. Great to read all’s these comments and see all the relationships. Take care

  22. My Maternal Grandfather was Levi Parker Stout B: Feb 1888 Randolph County, NC and D:11Feb 1960 Pine Level, NC. He is buried in Marlboro Friends Cemetary in Sophia, Randolph County, NC
    Mother:Cynthia N. Cox and Father: Daniel Henry Stout
    Can anyone lead me in this ancestry search and could I be related to Penelope and Richard Stout. Txs

  23. Very recently I learned about my 9th or 10th Great-Grandmother and Grandfather, Penelope and Richard. Their story is remarkable! I am a genealogist, a Mayflower descendant, and also a member of the DAR. I am fascinated by history and the incredible stories they have left behind for us to research. I believe we are given strength by our ancestors who led the way.

  24. Richard and Penelope Stout are my 7th and 8th Great Grandparents. This is because down the line cousins married each other. I have the 1810 Stout Bible that was carried by a daughter in law of Judiah and Della Cook Stout as she walked by the wagon from Kentucky to Missouri.

  25. She is my 10 the great grandmother on my dad’s mother side of the family. I come from Penelope’s son Johnathan”s line.

  26. Hi, yet another Stout descendant. I’m curious if you have information that shows some of the details listed her. Things like Penelope marrying a man name Kent, that her husband Richard had a relationship that his family disapproved of, and so on. I’ve heard many variations of the stories, and would love to get whatever documentation exists.


Leave a Reply