The Stokes family left Georgia to move to Mississippi in the 19th century where both her parents were born. She was born in Meadville, Mississippi in 1901. In 1905 her family moved to a farm in Liberty, Mississippi and this farm, The Brady Place, is depicted in many of her paintings.
During her high school years she often spent her time drawing pictures. Upon her marriage she moved to Baton Rouge. But it was not until the 1950’s, after raising two children to adulthood that she once again started to produce images. Under Jay Broussard, who was the Director of the Louisiana Art Commission, she enrolled in night art classes at the YMCA.
Stokes was a mostly self-taught 20th century folk artist whose works were generally inspired by her childhood. Members of her family, such as her siblings, are often depicted in her paintings. Her paintings are both charming and naïve, portraying the simple life of the farm in rural Louisiana which was slowly fading away. She is known as Louisiana's "Grandma Moses".
While she did not turn out a large group of paintings the Anglo-American Art Museum (LSU) in Baton Rouge mounted a retrospective exhibition of more than 30 of her paintings in 1984 and produced a catalogue in conjunction with the show. The Museum has four of her paintings in their collection. Mainly the rest of her paintings are in private hands or remained in the family. Another of her paintings is part of the Pelt Farm Museum (Kountze, TX).
Stokes was 86 when she died in 1988 while living in a nursing home.