Truth or Fiction
or some of both......

The information presented here has varying degrees of source authenticity:

  • Jehu was a former resident of Warren County, North Carolina where he started his family before going west into what was to become Eastern Tennessee .

  • In the early 1700s several of the WELSH who had emigrate to South Eastern Pennsylvania (now the Pencader Hundred area in New Castel County Delaware) migrated south to the costal areas of North Eastern North Carolina as well as the costal areas of South Carolina. It is not known if Jehu is any relation to the Stokley's / Stokely's in Pasqutank or New Hanover County's in North Carolina, or Stokelys in any other location, Several other Stokely's are listed in the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh and 5 are listed as being in Bute / Warren Counties in the late 1700's; Jehu, William, John, Joshua and Mary .

  • The only information that can be found on Jehu's birth and death dates are in the book "Over the Misty Blue Hills" by Lady Ruth O'Dell.

  • "Over the Misty Blue Hills" is also the only location of source information that can be found on his children's birth dates and locations as well as his marriage date and location.

  This information is also said to be recorded in the Stokely Family Bible that was
passed down from Royal Stokely (Jehu's first son).

Below is a transcript of an email conversion I had with Ms Dee Thompson of Bladen County North Carolina who does genealogy research and lookups in various North & South Caraolina history books.

Ms Dee Thompson;

My 6x Grandfather, Jehu Stokely and his wife Nancy Neal where married in Charleston South Carolina in the late 1700's, they later moved to Warren County North Carolina (formerly Bute County ) where their family is listed in the 1790 Census. They later moved to Cocke county Tennessee in the late 1790's (~1797).

Can you do a lookup to see if the land he was granted from the war was cashed-in in Bute/Warren County NC before they headed west to Tennessee ? and see when and where they where married and the correct spelling of her name?


Gordon Stokely


This is her reply:


Hi Gordon,

Five hours later I know an awful lot about this family but I know absolutely nothing about the marriage or Nancy 's last name. I have 67 books on marriages in South Carolina (with various approaches, parishes, implied, Scots, Native Americans, Catholic, English, Irish, German, Quaker, Baptist, registers of ministers, newspapers, etc.) and there is nothing there of any spelling. I have encountered many variations of the spelling of Stokeley/Stokely/Stockley/Stockeley and every time I found a different spelling I went back over the books again to be certain that I hadn't missed anything. I have very few Tennessee resources but I did find The Stokeley Family of Cocke County in Tennessee Cousins. In this entry, as I'm sure you know, "Jehu, an English sailor who at a very early day (1747) came to the port of Charleston ." I have just as many sources that say he was BORN then. I have checked all emigration/immigration/ship records to ascertain if any other family members came with him, since a Stokely family is also found in PA and VA. I found Jehu's military bounty land grant of 228 acres (July 15, 1785) but could find nothing on where it was or any record of warrants or surveys.Keep in mind that at the end of the Revolutionary War, North Carolina still had not made good the pay accounts (paper vouchers) of the Continental Army. So NC set aside a portion of the state's western section (which shortly became Tennessee ) and issued land warrants there to satisfy the debt of military service. A Rev. Soldier could sell his warrant, pay a debt with it or travel west and locate vacant that he liked in the specified area, present his warrant (or someone's) to a surveyor. The acres would be surveyed, and the Military Land Grant would be issued and filed. I really labored over the idea that an English (or Welsh ) sailor landing in Charleston would travel to Warren County, NC, serve in the Continental Line, and almost immediately move to Cocke County , Tennessee . That seemed like "the long way around the barn". The only thing that I'm sure of is that his land grant for military service would have been in eastern Tennessee (about halfway into the state as we now know it) if he exercised the warrant.

In other words - I can't help you at all!

This and all lookup requests are permanently archived on the Bladen County Genweb site.


Dee Thompson


  • The date and location of Jehu collecting reimbursement for his service in the North Carolina Militia at Brier Creek is recorded in the North Carolina Militia records.

Page 47 of "The County of Warren, North Carolina 1586 - 1917" by Manly Wade Wellman - 2002


  General Benjamin Lincoln's army, entering Georgia, included some 2,000 North Carolina Continental troops and militia under Jethro Sumner and John Ashe. Ashe was badly beaten and put to flight at Briar Creek on March 3, and Sumner, with Lincoln's main body, suffered defeat at Stono Ferry in June. After that, Sumner participated in the unsuccessful siege of Savannah in the autumn and fell back to Charleston with Lincoln even as the border between the new counties of Warren and Franklin was finally established.

Jethro Sumner was a Commander in the Revolutionary War from Warren County

  • The only Information about Jehu's service in the North Carolina Continental line comes from Tennessee state records showing a land grant.

  • The town of Warrenton in Warren County North Carolina was one of several locations that Revolutionary war vouchers (army accounts) and land grants where paid out.

  • Jehu paid out £ 400 to Warren County North Carolina for taxes in Joel Wrenn's district in 1781.

    Page 234 of "The County of Warren, North Carolina 1586 - 1917" by Manly Wade Wellman - 2002


  • Jehu was the first Stokely in the East Tennessee area and the ancestor of several hundred.


  • It is not known exactly when Jehu and his family moved from North Carolina to Tennessee, but various records from the Warren county North Carolina 'Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions' and the Washington county Tennessee tax records can narrow it down to about a 6 month period.

  • Additional land Grants to Jehu in what was Greene county Tennessee (now Cocke County) are recorded in the state archive records of Tennessee .



Sewing-up a loose end in the STOKELY STORY


Mrs Charles L. Grigsby of Asheville, NC (deceased in Jan 1977) sent some Stokely genealogical data to the Stokely Memorial Library in Newport Tennessee to be copied to one of the local newspapers (The Cocke County Banner) titled "The Stokely Story".

In her information about the Stokely family she said:

The roster at Charleston, South Carolina Museum contains the name of Jehu Stokely.

In efforts to tie up a loose end that was brought up in the "Stokely Story" about Jehu being on a roster, I sent some emails and did some research and In early 2009 I emailed the Charleston Museum with the following questions:


My name is Gordon E Stokely Jr. and I am looking for any information regarding my ancestor "Jehu Stokely". He lived in the 1700's in Charleston as well as in North Carolina. In a newspaper article in Newport Tennessee: It is said "The roster at Charleston, South Carolina Museum contains the name of Jehu Stokely".  What is the roster? and can this be confirmed?

A Ms Jennifer Scheetz replied stating that she could fine no data but could offer some help:

I can, however, give you one more possible lead.  The Library Society co-existed with us (was us?) for a time at our beginnings.  As it happens, they own the last remaining original accession book - from the 90's.  As I said in our phone conversation, the original papers and collection were lost in a fire in 1778.  I am not sure what else is in the book besides the accessions but it is the record of the museum from the correct time period.  Their contact  information is, , or (843) 723-9912.  They may have another - more concrete - avenue for you to pursue even if the book is not going to be of any help.

I then emailed the Charleston Library Society with the same questions.

To whoever can help:

Hello my name is Gordon Stokely Jr of Mason (Cincinnati) Ohio, and I had your name given to me by Ms Jennifer Scheetz, Archivist of the Charleston Museum. I  am looking for any information on my 6X grandfather "Jehu Stokely" (some Rev War records had his name spelled Stokley) who (it is said ?) was a member of the museum in the mid to late 1700's. A Miss Mable Grigsby wrote a newspaper article in the 1950's saying that Jehu lived in Charleston and was on the ROSTER of the museum. I (nor Ms Scheetz) know what the ROSTER is and can one see it?........... I am wondering if you can help?

I received this reply:

Dear Mr. Stokely,

I think the article may be referring to the Library Society manuscripts that have minutes from the late 1700s and there is also a note in the card catalog about the accession records for the Society that mentions the "museum artifacts".  I think maybe the information about the formation of the museum will be in the minute books for the Society and hopefully there is a list of the founding members or at least the early membership. We do have all these records on microfilm and the film is available for researchers.  Just on a chance, I checked the newspaper index for our old newspapers, but the indexer is just completed up to 1788 and I didn't find his name there.  I also checked the South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, but again, didn't find him. I hope this information will prove helpful in your research and if I can be of further assistance, please let me know. regards,

Carol Jones

I then posted a message on the "Charleston South Carolina message forum" hosted by asking for some help researching this. Shortly after I received a reply from Mr. Danial Gannon of Charleston offering to provide some help. I asked if he could go to the Library Society and look at the microfilm. He did so and after a few days I received a email from him stating:

Dear Gordon,

Just a quick note to let you know that I was at the Charleston Library Society on Friday, Feb.27th. I looked through the Charleston Library Society Minute Book of the Membership, 1759-1790...and the Minute Book of the Trustees(Committee), 1759-1791. These are the books that Janis Knight at the Society recommended that I check concerning your Jehu Stokely. I'm sorry to report that Jehu does not appear in either.

Dan in Charleston

In conclusion I do not know of the roster Mrs Grigsby spoke of but..... If I assume she was refering to the "Account Books" listing Jehu in the battle at Brier Creek, then I have already posted that information. If she was refering to something else, I cannot find any information.


I want to thank Ms Jennifer Scheetz, Ms Carol Jones & Mr Gannon and for their time and effort expended in researching the records at the Charleston Museum & Charleston Library Society,

it is greatly appreciated.





Bute county North Carolina records (Bute county latter became Warren County)
Warren County North Carolina records
Transcribed copies of Washington County Tennessee records
North Carolina Militia records
Warren County U S. Census records for 1790
Cocke County Tennessee history book (Over the Misty Blue Hills)
Tennessee State records showing Land Grants for service in the North Carolina Continental line
The County of Warren, North Carolina 1586 - 1917

The Stokely Story by Mrs Charles L. Grigsby
Personal accounts of this author



Truth or Goof: Where’s the Proof?
by Mary Penner

What is a fact? Google the definition of “fact” and you’ll get a variety of answers. Most definitions hinge on the concept of truth; so, a common definition would be that a fact is something that can be proven to be true. Then how do you define “truth?” Well, one definition asserts that truth is a fact that has been verified. We’re back where we started.

Abraham Lincoln addressed the dilemma of truth by positing this question: “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four -- calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” That’s the “aha” moment for genealogists; simply saying your ancestor was born on such and such a date in such and such a place doesn’t make it so. Unless you can travel back in time and witness your ancestor’s birth, you’ll never know the absolute truth about that happy event. Even eyewitnesses to events can mangle the facts; just ask any police detective investigating a crime.

Genealogists frequently wrangle with these concepts of “facts” and “truth.” We try to figure out what is true, or factual, about our ancestral past and what is Pulitzer prize-worthy fiction. Pulling together an accurate family history is problematic because we rely largely on the efforts made by humans decades--even centuries ago. And humans, as we all know, are prone to blunders, miscalculations, carelessness, and gargantuan goofs. That’s why every time we collect a piece of information about our ancestors from a source we need to consider the reliability of the source.

In the genealogy world we distinguish sources in two ways: original and derivative. An original source is something in its original form usually created by someone with firsthand information about the details described in the source. A derivative source is anything that provides information apart from its original form.

For example, an original death certificate filled out by a physician who was present when the dearly deceased departed is considered an original source.

That original death certificate may have been sent to the state or county for safekeeping. And, maybe the county recorder transcribed all of the information from the death certificate into a ledger book. The ledger book would be considered a derivative source, even if the careful clerk accurately recorded everything from the original source.

That’s the kicker, though – just how careful were the recorders and transcribers of our ancestral comings and goings?

Maybe that physician had spent the last twenty hours helping to deliver a stubborn baby and when he arrived at Granddad’s deathbed he wasn’t quite sure what time it was, or even what day it was. In his sleep-deprived stupor, he might have mistakenly scribbled that Granddad expired on the 21st when it was actually the 31st. So, even though we have an original source the information may not always be true, factual, or reliable.

Keep in mind, also, that sources often contain two kinds of information: primary and secondary. Primary information comes from an actual participant or observer of an event. Secondary information is based on what people believe or claim to be true even though they don’t have firsthand knowledge of the event.

Since the good doctor was present at the death, the date and time of death and the identity of the deceased would be considered primary information regardless of whether it was accurate or not.

And, consider this scenario: death certificates often include place of birth and birth date. It was highly unlikely that the grieving widow, who provided those details to the doctor, witnessed her future husband’s birth. The birth information on the death certificate would be classified as secondary even though it’s documented on an original source. She may have believed that he was born in Linn County, Kansas because that’s what he always said, but, perhaps, in reality, he was born in Lyon County, Kansas and moved to Linn with his family when he was six months old.

You can see how easy it is for errors to creep into both original and derivative sources, and for primary and secondary information to be inaccurate despite the good intentions of those who provided the information.

When juggling primary and secondary information in both original and derivative sources, you also need to consider the type of the evidence. Evidence can be direct or indirect. Direct evidence provides information without any need to ponder the conclusion. For example, you want to know Granddad’s date of death. You look on his death certificate and there’s the date right there in black and white (never mind, at this point, that the date is incorrect). Indirect evidence, on the other hand, doesn’t clearly provide the answer to your question. You have to draw on several different sources to reach a conclusion.

Let’s assume Granddad’s death certificate burned in a courthouse fire, but, fortunately, the probate records were saved. Granddad’s file doesn’t list his date of death, but it does have dates scattered through the file that give you an idea when he died. Plus, you found his name listed in a local store ledger four months before the probate case opened. Using indirect evidence, you’re getting closer to drawing a reasonable conclusion about his date of death. That’s assuming, of course, that the store clerk didn’t keep Granddad’s name on the account even though he was dead, and it was really Granny who bought the tobacco and not Granddad.

So, what’s a genealogist to do when facing an assortment of documents with all of these truths, half-truths, educated guesses, unfortunate mistakes, and flat-out lies? Turn to the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS).

Adopted by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, the GPS serves as a standard for credibility in the genealogy world. Genealogical research should satisfy the five elements of the GPS in order to establish confidence in our research conclusions. The five elements are:

1. Conduct a reasonably exhaustive search. Death dates pop up on a number of different sources. I shouldn’t assume that Granddad died on the 21st just because the death certificate says so. Look at all available sources to confirm his death date.

2. Cite your sources. Anyone can manufacture a family history; but if the research can’t be verified through identifiable sources, it lacks credibility.

3. Analyze and draw conclusions based on your research. Think critically about the data you’ve found. How reliable is the source, the information, and the evidence?

4. Resolve conflicting evidence. Even though the death certificate lists Granddad’s death on the 21st his tombstone lists it as the 31st. Further research should help you determine which death date is the most probable.

5. Create a written account of your research. We should compile our research, our conclusions, and our sources into a coherent written document.

After all that, you now have research that you will be proud to pin your name to. Until, of course, a new document surfaces that shoots your conclusions all to heck. That is why genealogies are rarely shifted to the out box with an emphatic “DONE” stamped on them.


Genealogical writer, researcher, and lecturer Mary Penner resides in New Mexico. She can be reached through her website at


This article first appeared in the Ancestry Weekly Journal at