Governor Stockley, and Another Sultana Death, A Family Divided by the Civil War

The King’s Charter to Jamestown lists the name of John Stockley (also spelled Stokely or Stoakley) and says by the grace of God, our loving subjects intend to deduce a colonie and to make habitacion in that parte of America comonlie called Virginia and devide then collonies one consisting of divers Knights, gentlemen and merchants… give grant and confirme to oure tru subjects, … Peter Jacobson, William Miles and, cutler Peter Highley, grocer Higgons, John Stoakley, merchant tailor.

This is where it all began the Stockley’s to America. John Stockley and Elizabeth Woodman my 9th grandparents, John Stockley and Elizabeth Watkins 8th, and Woodman Stockley and Jane Rogers 7th.

The family of Woodman and Jane Rogers Stockley my 7th great grandparents, born in Accomack, Virginia moved to Sussex County, Delaware. Together they raised a family of seven children. My mother’s line follows their daughter Elizabeth 1689-1765. But what of their other children: Joseph Joshua, Benjamin, Woodman Jr., Temperance and Oliver.

Woodman Jr. born 1690 at Accomack, Virginia -1748 left a will dated August 19, 1748 at Cedar Creek, Delaware. He married Mary Evans when they were both 19. The children’s names: Joseph, Woodman, Comfort, Mary, Cornelius, Elizabeth and Ann. He left his plantation to his wife Mary Evans and son Cornelius. He kept the family name of Woodman in use naming his son Woodman III to whom he left the plantation in Virginia and a bay horse, branded WS, to daughter Comfort a negro girl named Hannah, to son Joseph, 2 guns, daughter Mary 82 acres, the will was witnessed by his brother, Benj Stockley. From this family I traced through the wills and history books: The Stockley’s: Woodman and Jane, Woodman 1690, Woodman 1712, Solomon 1730, Woodman 1763, Jehu 1787 to The 47th Governor of Delaware, Charles Clark Stockley b 1819-1901 my 5th cousin 3x removed! Governor Stockley served from January 16, 1883-January 18, 1887. He also served a number of years in the Delaware General Assembly and held the office of Speaker of the Senate. His early life he grew up on the family farm near Georgetown, Delaware, son of Jehu and Hannah Rodney Kolleck. Charles was sent to school in Philadelphia in 1839, returning home taught school for 7 years and opened a general store in Millsboro. His primary occupation was farming, where he became the major peach grower in eastern Sussex County. Charles married in 1859 at age 40 Ellen Anderson and had a daughter, Hannah. He had become Sussex County Treasurer and Sheriff. Elected to the State Senate, Charles Stockley served terms 1873/74 and 1875/76, this last one he was speaker. Nearly eight years later the Democrats recruited him as candidate for governor. Charles was elected by 1938 votes over the Republican. During his tenure, he advocated for amending the constitution and increasing the number of school superintendents. He founded a state library. After leaving office he was appointed Judge of Wills and Probate in Sussex County, then became director of the Junction and Breakwater Railroad.

These of my relatives were slave owners. They owned large plantations and used unjust labor of people kidnapped and brought here from Africa. The Stockley’s fought on both sides of the Civil War. At the time Charles was Governor, the majority Democratic Party was the White Man’s Party and promoted thinking that criticized African American voting rights. Finally, twenty years after the Civil War ended, the first shouts of equality were heard. Stockley on his retirement said, “The prejudice against their enfranchisement is fast disappearing, and I trust will soon pass away forever.” It took over 200 years for the Stockley’s to get on the right side of history. Charles Stockley tried to make the world a better place. He advocated for services for the feeble minded and The Stockely Center for the Mentally Retarded, is part of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.

The youngest son of Woodman and Jane Rogers Stockley, Oliver married Margaret Prettyman on April 1, 1725 in the St. George Church at Indian River, Sussex, Delaware. His will names his loving wife as executor when he died in 1747 at age 48 leaving a very young family at Indian River Hundred: the boys Alexander, John, Oliver, Prettyman, and Benj the plantation when come of age and the girls Sarah and Elizabeth each an ewe and lamb when age 16. Elizabeth (lived to be 103) married Thomas Leven Okey and Levin Okey their son born 1760, was the owner of trading vessels which plied up and down the Chesapeake Bay and along the Atlantic Coast. By 1802 at age 42, with his wife and mother, 5 boys and 3 girls moved west to Ohio, coming down the Ohio River on a flat boat and settled at Powhattan Creek., Ohio. John Woodman Okey born in 1792 was one of those children floating the river and raised in Ohio.

John Woodman Okey and wife

John’s son, George Okey wife died in 1851 soon after they settled in Seneca Co. Ohio. George left his kids and went looking for gold in California. George was in the Indian part of the rebellion, in Arizona, went to California in 1850 and found gold. George enlisted Co I, 4th California US Infantry. By the time of the civil war, the other Okey’s were pioneer stock raisers, and had an 80 acre farm. The children with the loss of their mother and absent father were raised by Okey family. When the Civil War broke out George Okey’s son Emmanuel enlisted for the Union, Co F 116 Ohio Infantry as did his brother Woodman. Both boys were in the same company when Manuel was wounded at the battle of Piedmont, Virginia June 5, 1864. George Okey, a Republican, mourned the loss of his son saying, “I am yet willing to lose all to save the government.” Emmanuel Okey perished by the explosion of the Steamer Sultana on the Mississippi river near Memphis, Tennessee in 1865. A comrade swam by him asked him if he needed help, he replied saying, “Save yourself as I am scalded and can’t live.” His civil war records say he was captured on June 5, 1864 at Piedmont, Virginia and imprisoned at Andersonville. Emmanual had been starved and exchanged in a prisoner swap on April 1, 1865 and then his transport was blown up. Thrown into the water, he tried to swim ashore, but was blinded by the explosion and died.

It was just weeks after the Civil War ended, and the vessel was packed with Union soldiers who’d been released from Confederate prison camps. Emmanuel died just days away from seeing his family. It just hurts my heart, this story. But what!, I wrote a similar blog called The Sultana, Titanic of the Mississipi about another cousin Pvt. George W Hendrixson born April 22, 1840 in Brown Co. Ohio. The official count of the dead was 1,547 and two of them were related to me. The ultimate sacrifice of war, these two will be remembered this Remembrance Day!

2 thoughts on “Governor Stockley, and Another Sultana Death, A Family Divided by the Civil War

  1. Hi Wendy

    I hope your surgery is healing well and that you are back to full strength.

    Thanks for this work you are doing on the Stockleys.

    I keep imagining how difficult their life was.

    I will also remember the two who died on the Sultana on Remberance Day.

    Thanks for your hard work.



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