"After many years (approximately 10) of obsessive research about the identity of the person known in legend as Penelope Van Princis/Van Princess/Kent and Thomson before deciding that I needed to get on with actual life on this here Earth, it is my strong opinion that her name was Penelope Prince; that she was English, that she came to Kent Island (note, "Kent" Island) in the Chesapeake under indenture by Robert Vaughan (note the similarily in pronunciation to the "Van" in one version of the legends about her; that she was the same Penelope Prince whom Robert Vaughan testified in court records in about 1656 and who ran away from her indenture in 1646-7 or so during the time of troubles on Kent Island; that she was working out her indenture in the service of William Cox and his wife Frances on Kent Island and that they lived near Richard Thompson/Thomson (note the "Thompson/Thomson" in some versions of her name) on Kent Island who was involved in a big old major way in the "Time of Troubles" that led to her running away; that another version of her surname that pops up in some versions is "Lent" and there was a man named "Lent" living on Kent Island and who figured in that "Time of Troubles." It is also very possible (though by no means proven) that she was the Penelope Prince who was born in 1629 in Stepney and baptized at St. Dunstan's.
"Penelope Prince ran away from Kent Island in 1646-7 (according to the testimony of Robert Vaughan); the Penelope who marries Richard Stout appears in the historical record as "Penelope Prince" in 1648 on Gravesend in Long Island. It is an educated guess on my part, and based on extraordinarily strong circumstantial evidence contained in the legends about her, that the Penelope Prince who married Richard Stout is the same person who was the Penelope Prince living on Kent Island from 1644-6.
"Take this and run with it or ignore it, I don't much care at this point, but anyone who wants to see this for themselves can look at Filby's at the entry for Penelope Prince which references the court testimony of Robert Vaughan in 1656, and read about the history of Kent Island during the time of troubles with William Claiborne, and read the various versions of the legends of Penelope Van Princess in all of those old histories of New Jersey, and consider how it is that legends take shape over time and names become misunderstood, and begin to understand how it might be that those who wrote down the stories of Penelope Prince many years after her death might have misunderstood how a young English girl on "Kent" Island in the 1640's, who was brought to the island by Robert "Vaughan," and who ran away during a war in which her neighbor Richard "Thompson" figured prominently as did her neighbor "_____ Lent," and might have merged all of these names into hers in print, making it almost impossible to determine her identity without careful consideration.
"At another time I will try to explain all of this and source it better, including why I believe there is a strong chance that she was the same Penelope Prince born in England, but at least for now I offer you Filby's for Penelope Prince and the Gravesend Town Records for someone of the same name. And for whatever it's worth, the records of St. Dunstan's in the East where Penelope Prince was baptized in 1629, the child of Mary Kilburn and Lawrence Prince."
posted at WeRelate by administrator Jennifer JBS66 19 April 2011
On another page http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Person:Penelope_Prince_(2) of the same website is written:
"Penelope Prince was born in Stepney, in what is now the east end of London, in 1629. Her mother, Mary Kilburn, was a widow when she married Lawrence Prince, a tailor, at St. Dunstan's in the East on 17 May 1629. Penelope was baptized at St. Dunstan's three months later, on 20 Sep 1629. Lawrence died in 1630 and was buried at St. Dunstan's in February of that year. See the records of St. Dunstan's church for the records of all of these, which can be viewed on microfilm at a Family History Center....
"Penelope Prince was an indentured servant at home of William and Frances Cox on Kent Island from 1644 to 1646. The Coxes had a tobacco plantation on Kent Island, and two small children. Penelope ran away during the "time of troubles" on that island, in 1646. See Filby's for the reference to a record of a court proceeding in 1656 wherein Robert Vaughan testifies that Penelope ran away in that year. "
In my novel Nicholas Stillwell and his wife are major characters who help Penelope.
If anyone has more to contribute to this subject, please let me know.