Sunday, May 30, 2010

Christopher Stokes & Prudence Ivy

Here cometh the story:

Back in England in the early 1600s, there were two brothers, Thomas and Christopher Stokes. Christopher was the elder, inherited the manor of Titherton Lucas, and married Prudence Ivy, while the younger Thomas sailed off down the Avon to go adventuring in Bermuda. Meanwhile, Christopher and Prudence had (at least) two sons, again duly named Thomas and Christopher -- the first after the paternal grandfather and the second after the father.

This time Thomas was the elder and stayed home to mind the manor and marry Elizabeth Young while his younger brother Christopher sailed off to go adventuring in Virginia. However, oral tradition has it that Christopher lacked the funds to finance his venture [Thomas was stingey?] so his SISTER-IN-LAW hocked her dowry to pay for his pioneering efforts. [My cousin has verified in old English records that Elizabeth Young Stokes did indeed sell her dowry at the appropriate time.] In gratitude, Christopher promised that in each subsequent generation at least one child would be named in her honor.

In the first couple of Virginia generations, they seem either to have used the name Elizabeth or -- perhaps more likely -- several children died before reaching maturity and have hence not been recorded by history. But beginning with Sylvanus [son of William, who was a son of Christopher] the name Young appears as one of his sons, and the name remains used widely even today as the trademark of the line of Christopher of Titherton Lucas.

My own fanciful twist on this story -- and please don't tell my cousins! -- is that our own dear Chris made off not just with the dowry, but with the woman herself! I have no direct proof of this, but Christopher's wife of clear record was named Elizabeth -- no last name known -- and there is also clear record that brother Thomas back in England did later take a second wife -- with no trace as to whatever became of his wife #1, Elizabeth Young.

Hope this is of some help to you, and good luck in your quest!

1 comment:

  1. I am descended from one Elizabeth Stokes Born in 1617 York Virginia. Elizabeth Stokes was Born in 1617 the same year That Prudence Died Supposedly in England. Prudence is listed as the mother of Elizabeth however in some records in Virginia Elizabeth Young is listed as the Mother and Christopher as the father. I too think there was something rotten in Virginia! One guess I had is Prudence died in Childbirth and Christopher indeed took off with the baby and his sister in law then claiming her to be the mother. The Atlantic ocean was a large Buffer against Gossip and being discovered in 1617! But that is just a wild guess.