In 1657, residents of Long Island signed a “Remonstrance,” or letter of protest, complaining to their colonial Governor about his persecution of Baptists and Quakers. Among those who signed the “Remonstrance,” was one Richard Stockton. This was the first member of the Stockton family to arrive from England. Richard Stockton had a youngest daughter, named Elizabeth, born in 1680. Elizabeth Stockton was the great1 grandmother of attorney Marvin Clark, who authored the writings on this website.
Richard Stockton had an eldest son, also named Richard, who bought 5,500 acres from William Penn. That 5,500 acres now constitutes a large part of Princeton, New Jersey. This line of the Stockton family subsequently produced an amazing number of “Richards” and “Roberts” who have figured prominently in American and New Jersey history. These included a delegate to the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence, four United States Senators, three congressmen, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice, the Military Governor of California after the Mexican War of 1848, and a large number of New Jersey lawyers, Judges and State officials.
In 1776, a great grandson of the original Richard Stockton, also named Richard Stockton, became a signer to the Declaration of Independence for the colony of New Jersey. He soon was captured by the British and dragged behind a horse across country during the dark of winter. Being a friend of George Washington, and a fellow Freemason, Washington complained to the British command about their poor treatment of Stockton. There were Freemasons on both sides of the war in those days, and the British general officers found themselves obliged to free Richard Stockton in a prisoner exchange that may have benefitted mostly Freemasons on each side. Nevertheless, Richard Stockton already had been tortured, had been reduced to bad health and later died a pauper as the British had destroyed and burned most of his wealth. It only was after the war that his family regained the land where stood the home that had been lost by their father.
Richard Stockton, the “signer,” had owned a large colonial home on a 150 acre estate that he bought from the original 6000 acres of family land. His wife, Annis Boudinot Stockton, was a very prolific poet, and she named the estate “Morven,” after the mythical gaelic kingdom described in the epic poetry of Ossian. Richard Stockton and his decedents lived in this mansion for five generations. Eventually the property was purchased by General Robert Wood Johnson, Chairman owner of Johnson and Johnson. After General Johnson, the mansion was used as the first Governor’s Mansion by the State of New Jersey from 1945 until 1981. Today it has been restored to its former glory and houses a museum for New Jersey.
The Stockton family also donated during colonial times the first 400 acres for what once was named Princeton Theological Seminary. Today the school is Princeton University, but has been taken from Christian influence.
A great grandson of Richard Stockton, the “signer,” was Commodore Robert Field Stockton, who commanded American forces in California during the Mexican War of 1848. Stockton California is named after Commodore Stockton, who subsequently served as Military Governor of California.
Attorney Marvin Clark is a direct descendant of several notables of New Jersey from the Revolutionary War, including Col. William Shreve (brother of Col. Israel Shreve, the hero of Brandywine) Captain Richard Shreve of the “Light Horse,” and Major Barzillai Newbold. These people all were Quakers. But they recognized that piety becomes false and sinful when it permits murderous tyrants to prevail. So, in spite of Quaker piety they rose to be counted and took their stand when the call went out for those who would secure our freedoms.
Marvin Clark also is directly descended from Thomas Lamb and the Rev. Thomas Budd, both of whom were Quakers and are recorded in Fox’s Book of Martyrs. Reverend Budd died in 1681, after eight years of imprisonment in Ilchester jail because he dared to disobey the Bishop who demanded that he make his parishoners drunk.
Marvin Clark has named this organization “Morven” Institute of Freedom in remembrance of Richard Stockton who signed the Declaration of Independence. This is because Richard Stockton sacrificed his claim to financial comfort so that we might be free. The “Morven” name was used in an effort to give new life to the voice and ideals of an original patriot who “gave all” so that we could live free. Richard Stockton did not cowardly shrink from duty in order to retain the esteem of his government and social “perks” from the “system” of his day. Richard Stockton, and many other Christians of his day, created our nation and contributed to the national legacy and birthright that Morven Institute now seeks to have restored to its rightful heirs and beneficiaries---the good and decent people of the United States of America.