The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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        Montford Stokes (born 1760, died 1842,) lived for a long time and represented this County in the Legislature--in the Senate, 1826, and in the Commons in 1819-29 and 1830. He was the son of Allen Stokes, born in Halifax County. His early days were spent on the ocean in the employ of Josiah Collins, sr., sailing out of the port of Edenton. Leaving the merchant service, he entered the infant navy of our Revolution, and served under Commodore Stephen Decatur, the father of the distinguished commodore of the war of 1812, who was killed by Barron in a duel in 1820. During one of his cruises his vessel was captured by the British, in 1776, near Norfolk, and he was confined on board of the prison ship, in New York harbor, where his sufferings were intense. After the war he abandoned the sea and removed to Salisbury, where for many years he was the Clerk of the Superior Court, and with superior abilities he discharged his duties with great satisfaction. His intelligence and clerical accomplishments led to his selection as principal clerk of the Senate; here he acquired such powerful influence that he was elected Senator in Congress in 1815 and until 1823. He had been previously elected to this distinguished station and had declined it. In 1830 he was elected by the Legislature Governor of the State over Richard Dobbs Spaight, jr. His old friend, General Jackson, appointed him, in 1831, Indian agent in Arkansas, where he resided until his death in 1842. Governor Stokes in his character was unquestionably a man of genius, learning and of the highest courage. But his roving, rollicksome disposition predominated over his better qualities, and careless of his own; he was greatly harrassed in pecuniary matters. He was of unquestioned courage, and "sudden and quick in quarrel." He fought a duel, near Salisbury, at Mason's old field, with Jesse A. Pearson, to whom we have already alluded, (page 401,) and was severely wounded, the effects of which he carried to his grave.

        Governor Stokes was twice married: first, to Miss Irwin, in Tarboro', the sister of the gallant Captain Henry Irwin, of the Second North Carolina Continental troops, who fell at Germantown in 1777, by whom he had one daughter, Mary Adelaide, who married, first, Hugh Chambers, of Salisbury, and, second, William B. Lewis, of Nashville, Tenn. Mr. Lewis was one of the auditors of the Treasury from 1827 to 1837 under Jackson, and whose only daughter married, about 1830, Mons. Pageot, the French Minister, and now resides in Paris. Major Lewis died 1864. Governor Stokes married a second time Rachel, a daughter of Hugh Montgomery, by whom he had ten children, five sons and five daughters.

        I. Hugh M., well educated, graduated at the University in the same class (1815) with John H. Bryan, Isaac Croom, Edward Hall, Lemuel Hatch, F. L. Hawks, Willie P. Mangum, Priestly Mangum, Richard Dobbs Spaight, and others. Read law with Judge Murphey, succeeded his father as clerk of the Superior Court of Rowan for two years, resigned and settled in Wilkesboro' and practiced law; elected a member of the House of Commons in 1819. Taught school until he died.

        II. David, for some years a midshipman in the United States Navy, was dismissed from this service and entered the revenue marine service. He married in Norfolk.

        III. Rebecca Camilla, married Major Wm. C. Emmett, a native of Maryland, but lived in Tennessee, at Murfreesboro', then moved to Nashville. After some years, removed to North Carolina, where they lived until the death of Mrs. Emmett, when he returned to Tennessee and married a second time.

        IV. Thos. J., married in Wilkes County, removed to Tennessee, where he lived and died, leaving several children.

        V. Sarah M., married Joseph W. Hackett, who lived and died in Wilkes County.

        VI. Henry J., died young.

        VII. Montford Sidney, born October 6, 1810, was a midshipman in the United States Navy, in which he served some five years, when he resigned and returned home. When the war with Mexico began, North Carolina put a regiment in the field, of which Robert T. Paine, of Chowan, was colonel; John Fagg, of Buncombe, lieutenant-colonel; Montford S. Stokes, of Wilkes, major. The conduct of Major Stokes was so commendable that he was voted a sword by his regiment. In the late civil war he was appointed colonel of the first regiment
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