Biography of Baldwin

Samuel E. Stokes, the enterprising merchant of Daphne, Ala., was born in Clarke county, in the same state, November 15, 1824, the son of David F. and Sarah (Parker) Stokes. The father, David F., was a native of North Carolina, was reared to farming, and was married in his native state, in his twenty-second year. Soon after his marriage he came to Alabama and settled in Clarke county, where he lost his wife in 1845; in 1846 he married Mrs. Flournoy, sister of Abraham Debous, of Clarke county. David F. Stokes was a thorough farmer, a representative man and a zealous democrat, and died in 1864. Mrs. Sarah (Parker) Stokes. was also a native of North Carolina, was married in her eighteenth year, bore her husband six children, all of whom reached maturity. She united with the Primitive Baptist church early in life and adhered to its teachings until her death.

Samuel E. Stokes was reared on the Clarke county homestead, and what time could be spared from his farm duties was devoted to gaining an education at a school-house six miles away. He went to Mobile in 1845 and effected an engagement with T. R. Crawford, as a clerk, with whom he remained for eleven years; he then entered the employ of the M. F. Stetson Co. as clerk, and was still so engaged when the civil war came on. By this time Mr. Stokes was well provided with capital and was preparing to engage in business on his own account, but the call to arms frustrated his design. He at first enlisted in 1861, in a company organized for home protection, but so great became the demand for strong young men for field duty that he joined company I, Fifteenth Alabama cavalry, as a private, and served with it in the valley of the Mississippi throughout the struggle, eluding capture and escaping serious injury, although he took part in some of the most serious engagements, numberless skirmishes, and endured many hardships and privations. He received his final parole at Gainesville, Ala., April 24, 1865, and returned to Mobile to find his wealth swept away and obstacles insuperable to overcome. After several ineffectual attempts to gain a business foot-hold in Mobile, he crossed the bay to Daphne, where he owned some land, which was his only possession not annihilated by the destroying hand of war, and by pawning his watch and by other management succeeded in securing a small capital and began his present business. He has now a fine store-building, and one of the most picturesque homes, as well as several tenements in the vicinity, Mr. Stokes was united in marriage, in 1854, to Miss Sarah Stark, daughter of George A. F. Stark, and to this union were born four children, of whom there survives but one – Mary, the wife of F. M. Gustin, of New Orleans. Mrs. Stokes passed away during the progress of the war, a consistent member of the Missionary Baptist church. In 1866, Mr. Stokes took, for his second wife, Miss Jane T. Stroble, daughter of Rev. Jacob Stroble; this gentleman established the first Missionary Baptist church in Baldwin county and his life was devoted to the cause of Christ. Mrs. Jane T. Stokes was reared in Mobile, was twenty-four years of age when married, and became the mother of six children, as follows: Louisa, Caroline, Laura, Clara, Bessie and Sallie. In politics Mr. Stokes is a democrat of the Jacksonian school. Near his house stands an historic tree, whose gigantic trunk is seven feet in diameter and whose branches reach fully 100 feet in every direction, and whose limbs are clothed in long pendants of somber Spanish moss; under this great live oak, tradition tell us, Gen. Andrew Jackson camped for the night and held his council of war on his famous march from Mobile to Pensacola to subdue the Spaniards. Mrs. Stokes and family are members of the Missionary Baptist church.


Memorial record of Alabama : a concise account of the state’s political, military, professional and industrial progress, together with the personal memoirs of many of its people.. Madison, Wis.: Brant & Fuller, 1893.

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