Facts and Events
Penelope was one of the survivors of a shipwrecked vessel sailing from the old world to the New. She was picked up on the beach of Long Island by some merciful Indians and nursed back to health; her wounds were stitched by withes of a tree and fishbone for a needle. A reward which had been offered for any survivors that were brought in alive probably saved Penelope's life. Her husband was among the lost passengers in this shipwreck which occurred off the coast of Sandy Hook in 1640.
Penlope met Richard Stout at New Amsterdam in 1644 and they moved to Gravesend, Long Island. After the Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the English in 1644 Richard along with five other men received a land grant in East Jersey from the Duke of York. They founded the village of Middleton. Richard became a member of the New Jersey Legislature (Assembly) in 1671.
Penelope Prince was born in Stepney, in what is now the east end of London, in 1629. Her mother, Mary Kilburn, was a widow when she married Lawrence Prince, a tailor, at St. Dunstan's in the East on 17 May 1629. Penelope was baptized at St. Dunstan's three months later, on 20 Sep 1629. Lawrence died in 1630 and was buried at St. Dunstan's in February of that year. See the records of St. Dunstan's church for the records of all of these, which can be viewed on microfilm at a Family History Center.
There is no further reference to a Penelope Prince in the records of that part of England, but in 1644 there is mention of a Penelope Prince who has made her way to colonial Maryland. In 1644, Penelope Prince migrated to Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay, under indenture by Robert Vaughan, a man who had business interests connecting him to that part of London as well as to the Chesapeake. See Filby's for the reference to a record of Robert Vaughan paying for Penelope's passage, which can be viewed on microfilm.
Penelope Prince was an indentured servant at home of William and Frances Cox on Kent Island from 1644 to 1646. The Coxes had a tobacco plantation on Kent Island, and two small children. Penelope ran away during the "time of troubles" on that island, in 1646. See Filby's for the reference to a record of a court proceeding in 1656 wherein Robert Vaughan testifies that Penelope ran away in that year.
Penelope Prince appears the next time in the historical record in the records of Gravesend Colony in 1648. On her way from Kent Island to Gravesend, she may have passed by Sandy Hook at the entrance to New York Harbor, but much more likely is that she passed by the Santhoeck (Sandy Hook) on the Delaware, near Fort Christina, as is indicated briefly in the footnote of one of the versions of the legends about Penelope.