The Stocktons are of English extraction. The family, which, in point of descent, ranks with the most ancient houses in England, is styled de Stockton in ancient Latin deeds. The family name is derived from two Latin words, Stock and Tun. The meaning of the word Stock is "a place," the "stem of a tree," and Tun is a word signifying "inclosure."
In a pedigree of the Stockton family, taken from an English history at a British museum, we find the name was written de Stockton in primitive days, and, in later times, Stockton. This is the only change the name has undergone in eight hundred years, and is caused merely by the English spelling of the original Saxon words.
The Stockton family, ancient and patrician, in England has been distinguished since since the time of the conquest; and, in this free country, where "worth makes the man," it has been equally distinguished since 1660.
Their ancestors were anciently Lords of the Manor of Stockton, which they held under the Barony of Malpas. Stockton Manor is in the Town of Malpas, in the Hundred of Broxton, in the County of Cheshire, England, and was granted in the year 1250, in the reign of King Henry III. Besides Stockton Manor, there is a place in the Parish of Malpas called Stockton's Bmank, and a dwelling place called Stockton Hall. In the Church of Malpas are many of the Stockton memorials. One remarkable memorial was that of Right Honorable Sir John Stockton, night, Lord Mayor of London, 1470-71, was knighted in the field by King Henry IV. The coat of arms granted to the Stockton family has been borne by the family during many centuries of its history in England and America. The arms are described thus: "Gules; a chvron vaire, argent and azure, between three molette or." Translated, the last two words mean "the rowel of a spur." The crest is a lion rampant, supporting an Ionic pillar. The motto of the Stockton family is "Omnia Deo Pendent" (all depends on God), and is founded on piety, loyalty, and valor. The coat-of-arms is registered at the Herald's College.
Richard Stockton, son of John Stockton, and grand-son of Owen Stockton, of the Parish of Malpas, Cheshire, England, was born in 1606. He emigrated, with his wife and children, from England previous to the year 1660, on account of either religious or state persecution during the protectorate of Cromwell, to America, and resided a few years on Long Island, at Flushing, near the City of New ork. From there he removed to New Jersey. He died, leaving a widow, three sons, and five daughters.
His oldest son, Richard, settled in Princeton, and, about 1700, purchased six thousand acres of land, of which the present Town of Princeton is nearly the center. The Stocktons were the first Europeans to occupy this land after the discovery of country by Columbus, and still hold a portion of it. Richard Stockton resided, until his death, at an advanced age, in Princeton. He died in 1709, leaving a widow and six sons: Richard, Samuel, Joseph, Robert, John, and Thomas. His fifth son, John Stockton, devised the family seat, Morven. John Stockton was one of the first Presiding Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of the County of Somerset, under the Royal Government. He was a man of education, wealth, and great influence in the early history of New Jersey, and was prominently instrumental in securing to Princeton the College of New Jersey. He occupied the plantation known now as Morven, which was devised to him by his father, Richard Stockton, Esq. He was the most prominent of six sons. He was born in 1701 and died in 1757, leaving a widow, four sons, and four daughters. These four sons, Richard, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Captain John Stockton, the Rev. Philip Stockton (the great-grandfather of the Stockton, who fought in the battle of Princeton, was called the "Revolutionary Preacher." He studied theology with the Rev. John Witherspoon, and received the degree of Master of Arts. He was a Presbyterian, and was ordained a minister by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1778. He wa born in Princeton, July 11th, 1746, and Miss Katharine Cumming, to whom he was married April 13th, 1769, was born on the 6th of April, 1748. She was a sister of General John Noble Cumming, of New Jersey.
The Rev. Philip Stockton was a man of fortune and influence. He resided at his home, Castle Howard, in Princeton, until his death, January 12th, 1792, leaving a widow and five sons: Lucius Witham Stockton, John Stockton, Elias Boudinot Stockton, William Tennent Stockton (the grand-father of the Stockton family in Florida), and Richard Stockton. William Tennent Stockton, his fourth son, was born at Castle Howard, in Princeton. He married Anna Williamson, of New Jersey, and then removed to Philadelphia, and entered into partnership with his uncle, General John Noble Cumming. He resided at his country home, Roxborough, six miles from Philadelphia, until his death, in 1823. He left a widow, four sons, and three daughters.
William Tennent Stockton (father of the Stockton family in Jacksonville) was born at Roxborough, on October 8th, 1812. In July, 1834, he graduated at the United States Military Academy, at West Point, and subsequently did service on the Northern Frontier, in Georgia, and in the Florida War, gaining for himself distinction as a soldier and an officer. Resigning his office in the army, he removed to Florida and settled in Quincy, Gadsden County, and became a planter. "But so conspicuous was his military talent that again and again, and without solicitation, he was called by his fellow citizens, by election, and by appointment from the Governor, to fill important positions in the State. At the commencement of the late war Colonel Stockton, feeling that duty to his adopted State and his loved ones called him to the field, promptly offered his services and was appointed Captain in the Regular Army of the Confederate States. In a short time he was made Major and then Lieutenant-Colonel of Cavalry." He was detailed to muster in the service all the troops in Florida, and when his work in that State was finished he immediately went to the front. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Missionary Ridge and sent to Johnson's Island, where he was confined until several months after the war ended. "By education a soldier, by instinct a hero, he belonged to that race of noble men whose names adorn the historic page, and whose character added lustre and gave tone to the social life in the South. He was a typical Southern soldier, the incarnate spirit of the Confederacy. His handsome face and form, his lofty bearing, now towering in the forefront of battle, now falling back before overwhelming numbers, contesting every inch of ground until, finally, overcome but not conquered, victorious even in defeat, he hurled defiance in the face of the foe, breaking his sword and throwing away hilt and blade and scabbard as a token of an unconquerable spirit. Such a picture marked Colonel William T. Stockton, the very personification of knightly chivalry"
The above two quotations are extracts from the book, "Dickinson and His Men." William Tennent Stockton was married to his first wife, Sarah Strange, in 1839. They had one son, named William Tennent, and one daughter, Harriet. He married his second wife, Julia Telfair, third daughter of Doctor Thomas Telfair, of Washington, North Carolina, December, 23d, 1845. They had seven sons: Richard, Warwick Rush, Thomas Telfair, Guy Henry, John Noble Cumming, Telfair and George T. Ward, and two daughters, Julia Vipont and Mary Stuart Stockton. William Tennent Stockton died in Quincy, Florida, March 4th, 1869, leaving a widow, four sons and two daughters, who removed to Jacksonville in 1870. Mrs. Julia Telfair Stockton died June 10th 1892, leaving three sons and one daughter, Mrs. Mary Stockton Young, widow of the Rt. Rev. John Freeman Young, Bishop of Florida.