By Charlene Shields
Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."
Copyright ©2001 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Barry Cleveland, editor, "The Carmi Times."
Jack Stokes of Gladwin, Mich. visited our library the other day. He
descendant of Young Stokes, who founded Stokes Chapel Church in Phillips
Township. For the past couple of years I've been able to send Mr. Stokes
a great deal of information concerning his ancestor.
Then, Mr. Stokes sent an inquiry to the Illinois State Historical
Library. He received information on a Young Stokes who apparently had
no connection to the previously-mentioned Young Stokes. A biography
of this new Young Stokes appeared in the 1885 edition of important
people of Henry County, Ill.
Because it gives a good overview of early pioneer life, some of the
biography will be given here.
Young Stokes, the son of Edmond and Judith Taylor Stokes of Virginia,
was born while the family lived in Tennessee. When he was three weeks
old, the little household started for Illinois. The mother carried her
baby in her arms, and she and her husband rode the entire distance on
horseback. They located in Shawneetown and rented a farm, raising a crop
in the year 1811. In 1812 the father secured a claim in White County.
When the War of 1812 broke out, their home was in constant danger from
Indian marauders, and the family moved to the fort on the Little Wabash
River. The husband entered the service as a ranger. After the war was
over, he sold his claim and settled on another which was four miles
below New Haven on the Wabash River. After improving that farm, he sold
it and secured another claim in a wholly wild state. This seems to have
been the pattern of many pioneers of that time. Mr. Stokes died in 1833
and his wife in 1871.
In the spring of 1834, the son, Young, took possession of a farm where
he lived for nine years. Then he took his family (wife, two children,
mother, sister, and brother) to Scott Co., Iowa. They took passage on a
flat boat to the Mississippi River, where they embarked on a steamer for
the city of Davenport. Young Stokes had sent two teams in advance
overland with his stock, consisting of 50 head of cattle and horses.
After a couple of years, he moved to Henry County, Ill. For several
years he maintained farms in both states.
Young Stokes and his wife had ten children.
One pioneer experience related in this biography was when the family
moved to Illinois they were obliged to live in a house which had no
door, as they could not obtain nails or boards. On one occasion, when
the father was absent on an expedition to a distant mill, the mother
was compelled to keep fire all night to protect herself and her children
from the entrance of wild animals into the house. (And we complain if
the air conditioning goes off for an hour!)
Anyway, it seemed interesting to me that there would be two men by the
name of Young Stokes in this area near the same time and that the
Illinois State Historical Library would have information on one and
nothing on our Young Stokes, who founded Stokes Chapel Church.
The Genealogy Library is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m.
Address letters to Genealogy, White County Historical Society, PO Box
121, Carmi, IL 62821.
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The Coordinator for the White County, Illinois ILGenWeb page is Cindy Birk Conley
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