My Contribution: I escaped from slavery in Kentucky and became an influential minister in central Pennsylvania, where I lived the rest of my life. I occupied a number of professions, serving as reverend, superintendent of Sunday schools, teamster, and local express agent. I also fought against the cause of slavery and served my country in the Civil War.
My Legacy: I was thoughtfully involved in Christian education, visiting the imprisoned, and strengthening the A.M.E. church in and around Harrisburg. I had an amazing life seeking and fulfilling the freedoms that all humans deserve, a message still valued today.
About Me: “Rev. Stocks stands high in the estimation of the people of Mechanicsburg, and they hope to see him returned to this charge.”
— Harrisburg Telegraph, May 10, 1887.
“Rev. James A. Stokes is an earnest, consecrated minister who practices what he preaches. He succeeds in all his charges.” —Valley Spirit, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, May 26, 1897.
Full Name: James Stocks (only used before 1900); James Stokes.
Birth Date: February 10, 1841
Death Date: December 31, 1923
Place of Birth: Warren County, Kentucky
Race: “Mulatto” (1880 and 1920 Federal Census) and Black (1900 Federal Census)
Places of Residence: 217 Meadow Lane (1880), 239 Cranberry Av- enue, 120 and 130 River Avenue (1900), and 641 Briggs Street (1920) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Mechanicsburg.
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Resident, minister, organizer, and community member.
Wife: Ann/Annie M. (Robinson) Stocks. Children: Joseph Stocks, Clara E. Stokes, Frank S. Stokes, Clara E. Stokes, Theopolis Stokes. Grandchildren: Lawrence Stokes, Frank S. Stokes, James A. Stokes. Son-in-Law: Henry Smith
Education: Mr. Stokes studied for Christian work and was for twenty-six years a traveling elder in his church
Occupations: : Minister. Cook for 9th PA Cavalry, Civil War. Soldier, 45th regiment, US, under Col. Burney, Civil War. Kelker hardware store (Rudolf Kelker was a well-known abolitionist). Teamster. Superintendent of Lochiel Mission Sunday School. Local Express Agent
Church Membership: A.M.E. charges in Newville and Mechanicsburg, and Baptist Church in West Steelton, Pennsylvania
Activism: Acted as secretary of group organized to honor Charles Sumner; served in Post 520, GAR; served in cavalry and 45th infantry, Civil War
Connections: John Q. Adams, George Imes, David Stephens, Jane Chester, Laura Robinson, Catherine McClintock, Benjamin Foote, and Joseph Popel.