Monday, December 17, 2007

Penelope Stout lived in a tree.....

Tonight, I'll write one of the stories that my genealogy research has uncovered. I scrapped this one....and it was published a few years ago in a book produced by Memory Makers. For this layout, I had fun wetting and crumpling paper. This was in the days befor I inked much of anything...but I did grunge by dragging it across the driveway! LOL! OK, try works!

And I think I've been interactive since day 1. This is one of my earliest layouts. The tag on the lower left is a shaker box. The tag on the upper right has tags inside of it. Both "cards" flip open. I do like to play when I play!

Notice the "coin" on the top card? That is an image of the original coin created to commemorate Penelope's life printed on velum, put over silver...and it sort of looks like a coin!

At the time, I was using FamilyTreeMaker software and it would print genealogy charts done in a fan, colored by generation. You can see the many missing blocks...but you can also count back 8 generations to find Penelope in my tree.

In the layout, I wrote the "real" story from the history books, but here is what I wrote for my niece and nephew. I figured since the story had been lost throughout the generations, there is no harm recreating it in a fashion that might just keep it alive in future generations!

Dear Rachel and Jacob,

Once upon a time, a long time ago…..

Well, a very very very long time ago….almost 400 years ago, there lived a little princess named Penelope. Princess “P” lived in a land called Holland. Her daddy, the Baron Van Princis Printzen, was a Baptist preacher. He used to live in England, but he ran away from there because the other people did not like what he was preaching. Princess “P” grew up such a happy little girl. Her family was very rich and she had just about everything that she ever wanted. She had 2 sisters and 7 brothers, so it was a very big family indeed!

But Princess “P” wanted something more! Ever since she was a little girl, she had heard stories about a new country, a new land that had been discovered and she longed to go see this place. It was many many many miles away, in fact, so many miles that she couldn’t begin to count them. The only way to get there was to ride on a ship for months and weeks and days and nights. She had heard many stories about men going on these ships and never coming back. She knew that the sea ate many of them up, or that their trip was so long that they ran out of food and they starved to death.

When Princess “P” was going to school, she met a young man named John Kent who also wanted to go discover this new place called America. They traded their secrets and talked in whispers and they just knew their parents would never ever let them leave home on such a dangerous, long journey. Princess “P” was very excited that she had found someone who wanted to go with her to this new place and every night, she would go to sleep dreaming about what she would find when she got there!

Finally, Princess “P’ and John were married and the very next day, they got on their ship to go to America on their honeymoon. Oh! What a great time they had! They slept in the very best cabin, ate the very best food, and even danced under the stars at night as their ship made it’s way across the ocean. They were so excited that most nights they could barely go to sleep. And all day long, they talked with the other passengers about what they would do when they got to America. In Holland, they had lived in a town called Amsterdam, and now they were heading to a new place called New Amsterdam. Everyone around them was so excited. But their trip took them 60 days and 60 nights. One night, John woke up very, very sick. He had a fever and he was sweating, and he couldn’t eat a thing. Poor John. He just couldn’t get well. So Princess “P” sat by his bed and held his hand all day long and all night long, hoping and wishing that her new husband would soon get well.

John never did get well, and just as they were getting close enough to see the land of this new country, a huge storm came upon them. The rain was really hard with lots of lightening and thunder and the waves were so high that the water came up over the top of the ship and ran down into their rooms. The waves would crash on one side of the ship and then on the other side and suddenly, there was a loud clap, a clash, and they realized that their ship had crashed into the huge rocks and cliffs at Sandy Point. It was breaking in half with water rushing in everywhere and all the people were screaming and yelling. Poor John was so sick he could barely get out of his bed. But somehow, Princess “P” managed to help him to the top deck just as the ship sunk deep into the ocean.

Many of the people they had met on board the ship were drowned in the huge waves that gobbled them up. But somehow, Princess “P” and John made it to shore where they laid in their dripping wet clothes for several hours. John couldn’t move, so Princess “P” got up and started talking with the other people who had made it to shore. They wanted to leave immediately and walk to New Amsterdam. But John was in no shape to walk, so he and Princess “P” had to stay behind.

Oh! She was so scared! They were in this strange, new land, and all their friends had left them behind. They had no money, no food, and no clothes .just nothing at all! And poor John. He was so sick. He was saying all kinds of things that didn’t make any sense at all. He was making really loud noises, shouting at the top of his voice until he fainted and passed out.

Now, Princess “P” and John had no idea that nearby there lived a village of Indians. Usually, these Indians were very friendly, but some of the Dutch men who had come to this area earlier had killed some of their friends. So now, the Indians were pretty upset. And when they heard John yelling, they went to find him. The Indian men attacked them, and in one blow of a tomahawk, killed John Kent. They grabbed Princess "P's" hair and scalped her!!!! Then they slashed a knife across her tummy and pulled her insides out!!! Her shoulder and arm were cut and she was left to die. Well, actually, they thought she was dead but she was just laying there, pretending to be dead so they would leave her alone.

The Princess had to hold her tummy, and with her head bleeding, her arms and legs bleeding, she crawled over to a hollowed out tree that was laying in some sticks. She crawled inside and for seven days, she laid there thinking that she was going to die for sure. There was nothing to eat or drink, so she licked the tree sap and that’s how she stayed alive. After a whole week, she woke up to find a dog licking her arm!!! The dog was a guide dog for the local Indians and was out sniffing around, trying to find food for them! There were 2 Indians in this hunting party and they found her laying in the hollowed out tree where she had been since the others had left her for dead a week earlier. The younger one wanted to kill her, but the older Indian felt sorry for her.

He put her over his shoulder and carried her back to his Indian Village. There, he used a fishbone needle and vegetable fibers to sew up her cuts. Imagine that! He just split up a celery stalk and used the thread from that and he made a needle by wrapping the celery around the end of a fishbone, then lacing it through her skin to pull the openings closed.
It took nearly 2 years for Princess “P” to get well. She didn’t want them to know that she was a Princess, so she told them that her name was Penelope Kent. The older Indian could speak a little English. He was Chief Tisquantum, of the Lenni Lenape tribe, members of the Algonquian language family and now known as the Delaware. He was a very kind man and she lived and worked with his tribe.

As Penelope got well, a trust and friendship grew between her and the Lenni Lenape tribe members, especially Tisquantum. But at the same time, the white men living in New Amsterdam heard that there was a white woman living with the Indians. Penelope’s parents were still living in Holland and they could just not believe that their daughter was dead. And when they heard the news that she might be living with the Indians, they put up a very large reward for her return. The men of New Amsterdam set out on foot to go visit the Indians in their village. They were going to trade her for the money her parents had sent to them.

When the white men arrived, Tisquantum went to Penelope and asked her if she wished to leave. When she said she did, the old man accepted payment and let her go. But the two of them remained friends until he died. Penelope went back with the white men and became a member of the New Amsterdam colony. This where she met and fell in love with Richard Stout. They were soon married and had 10 little boys and girls.

Tisquantum came to visit her often and he brought many gifts when he came. He always liked to stay for dinner and talk with her and Richard. One day, he sat down at her table and he gave three heavy sighs; “Sigh……sigh…….sigh”. After the last sigh, she said, “What is the matter?” He said, “I have something I need to tell you, because you are my dear, dear friend. But if I tell you, I may die!” Well, Penelope couldn’t imagine what that could be and she begged him to tell her! He said that the Indians were going to kill all the white people that very night, and then he told her to take her children and her husband and go to New Amsterdam. She asked him, “How can I possibly do that?” He said, “I have left a canoe down by the beach! Take that!!!” When he left, she sent for her husband who was out in the field, and told him what Tisquantum had said. Richard did not believe her at all! Penelope said, “Tisquantum never ever lied to me! I will take our children and leave now!”

When they were gone, Richard decided to go get his neighbors. They set up a guard and about midnight, they heard the dismal war-whoop. Sure enough, here came the Indians! Richard and his neighbors went to them and told them that if they persisted with their raid, they would surely die. The Indians listened this time as they realized they were not going to surprise the white men at all. This was the day that the Indians and the white men began a peace that lasted for many years to come.

Penelope Stout lived to be 110 years old. She always wore a scarf around her head to cover up the place where the Indians had scalped her. She became known as the First Lady of Monmouth, New Jersey, and there was a monument erected in her honor and a commemorative coin was made showing Tisquantum carrying her on his shoulder on one side and on the other side, it shows Tisquantum trading her to the white men for the money.

Today, when you hear the phrase “a stout-hearted woman”, that means that you were strong, like Penelope Stout. And she was your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandma!!!

Well, once you read my tale, you may decide that history is better!!!


LindaC said...

Hello from an 8th generation descendant of Penelope!

Linda Chapman

Jen Lowe said...

So that makes us about 6th cousins! Where are you from? Most of my Stout line is in Indiana.

Anonymous said...

I am a 9th generation decendant of Penelope. My family lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Susan Pence

Anonymous said...

I am also a descendant of Penelope Stout, and I am from Shrewsbury New Jersey originally. I am a descendant through her daughter Alyce or Alice. And the stories about her are all different. I have my own theory. But what you made is beautiful. I would love to find that coin somewhere. I have seen many descendants of her, and the women all seem to have the same looks.

Tracy Crudup-Arata said...

Penelope is my 10th great grandmother.

TheSilverThistle said...

Penelope is my 9x great grandmother through her son Jonathan Stout. :)