Reader Warning

This blog is for serious open-minded readers who are interested in documenting their Native American ancestry. Most of the articles challenge the internet genealogy of mythical Native American ancestry. If you have already made up your mind and if you can't handle an opinion other than your own, THIS IS NOT THE BLOG FOR YOU. Comments will be restricted to intelligent questions and concerns.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Col. Peter Ashton and Grace Powhatan

My apologies wikitree, I am picking on one of your profiles again. The descendants of the Powhatan Indians of  Virginia seem to grow daily. Unfortunately most of these ancestral lines are not based on facts, rather internet generated myths. Today, I want to talk about a woman named Grace Powhatan who married an English settler named Peter Ashton, or did she?

Iopassus, lesser chief of the Patawomeck Tribe of tidewater Virginia, was the father of Wahanganoche. His, Wahanganoche, birth date is unknown; it is believed that he died in about 1662 after being falsely imprisoned by the English in Williamsburg. The Patawomeck people believe that he was murdered as he returned to his tribe. In 1665 the English declared war on the Patawomecks and the Rappahanock. Their intent was the decimate the tribes, and they succeeded.

Surely the marriage of an upper class Englishman from an ancient family and the daughter of a minor Indian chief, would have been remarked on. Did Col. Peter Ashton marry an Indian woman named Grace Powhatan, daughter of Wahanganoche? Let's find out.

grace powhatan ashton

According to the wikitree profile of Grace Powhatan Ashton, she was the daughter of Wahanganoche and his Indian wife. The bio says she was born after 1635, m. Col. Peter Ashton, (b. 1605 in the county of Lincolnshire) and had daughter Mary (b. 1634 Lincolnshire) and lived in Virginia. No record of the marriage or children of Wahanganoche exists. The name Peter Ashton can, however, be found. [1] Simple math and geography rule this out immediately. How does a woman born after 1635 give birth in England in 1634?

Peter ashton
Chadderton Hall Grounds
It is believed that Colonel Peter Ashton was from Spaulding, Lincolnshire, descended from the Ashtons of Chadderton, Lancashire, England. He came to Virginia by 1654 when he began to receive land grants.  In 1656 Peter was a member of the House of Burgesses for Charles City. In 1665 he was patented 2550 acres in Staffordshire County. He named his estate Chatterton, possibly after the ancient seat of his family. [2]

In 1669 Peter Ashton wrote his will. Because he had no issue, he left his entire estate to his two brothers, John and James both of Lincolnshire. This Peter Ashton had no wife named Grace and no daughter named Mary. His brother James, who inherited Chatterton, died with issue in 1686-1687 and left his estate to a cousin, Captain John Foster of Cambridge, England. [3]

grace _____ashton
Although Peter Ashton did not have a wife named Grace, there was a Grace Ashton in Virginia. her husband was John Aston of Westmorland. He was born about 1621 and died in 1677, leaving Grace with at least eight children. The oldest of the children, Charles Ashton was no likely hers, and the birth dates for most of them went unrecorded so it hard to say whose is whose.[4]

In 1677 a William Frizer died and in his will he made bequeaths to the six children. For this reason there is some speculation that he might be Grace's father. If he was not her father, then he was most likely a relative. In 1670 Henry Meese gave Grace's daughter Mary, born by 1660, a mare.[5] This gift has also raised speculation that Grace was his daughter. If you read my previous post on Henry Meese, whose wikitree profile has him married to a daughter of Wahanganoche as well, it is clear that he was not the father of Grace and did not marry an Indian woman.

[1] wikitree profile for Grace Powhatan Ashon, as it was on 18 March 2016.

[2] Lothrop Withington, "Virginia Gleanings in England," Virginia Historical Magazine, Vol. 10, no. 3 (January 1902) 292-293, digital images, JSTOR ( : accessed 18 March 2016).

[3] Withington, "Virginia Gleanings in England," 292-293

[4] Norman S. Fitzhugh, "Captain John Ashton of Westmorland County, Virginia and Some of his Descendants," The William and Mary Quaterly, Vol 14, No. 2 (April 1934) 151-155; digital images JSTOR ( L : accessed 15 March 2016).

[5] Norman, S. Fitzhugh, "Captain John Ashton", 151-155

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Colonel Henry Meese and his wife Otonah "Mary" Wahanganoche of Virginia; is this Junky Genealogy?

I have been doing a lot of research on the Powhatan Indians of the early Jamestown era. Not much is known about them other than what was recorded by the English Colonists. Despite this dirth of information, many many people claim descent from these people. A lot of these claim have no basis in fact and are completely unsourced. Some claims are easily discredited with a little research. I have written several articles about some of these fabricated genealogies. Here is another one that is found on ancestry, werelate and wikitree. I don't mean to pick on wikitree, I actually love it, but the Powhatan Indian Fantasy Genealogy is in full force on their site, so I use them as an example.

The genealogy that I would like to pick apart is that of the supposed daughter of an Indian Chief named Wahanganoche. He belonged to the Patawomeck Tribe and became its chief after the death of his father Iopassus. He was said to have been murdered by the English in 1662-1663.[1][2] This was a troubled time for the remnants of the Powhatan Confederacy, their world was being torn apart by the English settlers who were claiming more and more of their land. The Patawomecks were forced to sell all their remaining land in 1663. In 1666 the colonial government called for the total destruction of the Patowomeck Tribe, the men were to be killed and the women and children enslaved. A census, done in 1669, gave proof that the tribe was no more, and the name fell out of the colonial records. [3]

In this violent climate, Wanhanganoche was said to have had three possibly four daughters who married English colonists. According to wikitree these women were; Grace Ashton, Keziah Arroya Bryant, Unknown Grigsby and Ontonah Meese. There are no sources listed other than ancestry trees. Is this a case of Junky Genealogy? Let's find out.

ontonah meese

The wiki tree profile for Ontonah (as of 12 March 2016) states that she was born in 1645 on the Potomac River, Allegany, Maryland (260 miles from Jamestown), married Henry Meese in 1658 (age 13) in Maryland, had daughter Mary in 1651, (seven years before she married and at age 6) and that she died in Kentucky in 1700. Gee, does any of this jump out of you? It screams Junky Genealogy to me. Since no children of Wahanganoche were recorded in colonial records I'm going to jump to Henry Meese the supposed husband of Ontonah.

english origins
photo by david stowell from over warton, oxfordshire
Henry Meese is said to have originated in Over Warton, Oxfordshire, England.[4] About 1575 the name Meese began appearing in the manor records of Over Norton. Robert Meese was a yeoman, farmer who was in the process ofconsolidating the copyhold leases on the manor lands. Robert had two sons, Edmund, a lawyer, and John. He is most likely the Robert Meese of Over Norton whose will was probated in 1589. His son Edmund died in 1617, apparently unmarried. Robert's son John married Margaret Cox, daughter of George Cox, of Over Norton. He continued the consolidation of land, passing most of it to his son Robert on his death in 1621. By 1640 Robert Meese held almost the entire manor himself; only a handful of acres were leased to others. [1] The entire estate was rebuilt in the 1800's including the church which was torn down and rebuilt. 

an interesting wife

According to the visitation of Oxford, Robert Meese married Mercy Brend, the daughter of Nicolas Brent, Esq. of West Moulsey, Surrey. Mercy's mother was Margaret the daughter of Sir Philip Strelley.  Nicolas was the owner of the Globe Theater in London. This was the theater where Shakespeare performed his plays. Nicolas died in 1601 leaving his wife and five small children, including Mercy who was born in 1597.

Margaret Brend remarried in about 1605 to Sir Sigismund Zinzan, alias Alexander. The had eight children. Sir Sigismund and his brother were equerries to Queen Elizabeth and King James. [2] An Equerry is an office of honor, the equerry is an attendant with responsibilities for the horses of a person of rank. 

Now West Moulsey is some 80 miles away from Over Norton and the Zinzan world was centered in London around the King. I have to ask, how in the world did a country farmer meet and marry Mercy Brend?

In any case, Mercy, Brend or not, married Robert Meese by about 1622, remember she was born in 1597. [3] Together they had 13 children. They were in order given in the Visitation: John, Robert, Sigismund, Francis, George, Michael, Henry, Nicholas (bp. 1629), Charles (bp. 1630), Matthew (1631), Thomas (bp. 1633), Elizabeth and Margaret.  If Nicholas was born in 1629 then Henry, if this is the correct birth order was born in 1627 or 1628. [4]

Henry's father had ambitions for his sons. Charles Meese was apprenticed to a London Goldsmith in 1648, finishing in 1655. It is probable that Henry did an apprenticeship with a Draper in London as he was later called a Merchant Draper and to do so he had to have been a member of the guild.[5] Added 20 August 2016: Henry did do an apprenticeship. His master was Thomas Purcell of the Drapers Company. His apprenticeship began in 1641 and was for eight years. The document proves that his father was Robert Meese of Overwarton, Oxon. [6]

 By 1655 Henry was making connections in the New World. His name first appeared in the colony of Maryland in 1655, in a court document. Of note, there was also a George Meese, merchant, in Maryland as well, but his name does not appear again in the records. Was this George his brother? 

Maryland was a proprietary Colony. It was given by the King to George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore. In 1656, the 2nd Lord Baltimore, who remained in England, sent his younger brother Philip to help manage the Colony, he would act as Governor in 1660-1661. In 1657 Henry Meese, Nathaniel Utie and Philip Calvert began surveying land. They had a 3,000 acre tract, the Mount Traviers Tract, laid out. They failed to do anything with it an it was returned to the Proprietor. [5]

warton manor
In 1658 Utie and Meese made an agreement with the Maryland Governor to bring over 60 immigrants, in return they were both to be granted 2300 acres of land. On 15 August 1658 the grant, known as Worton Manor was surveyed for Henry Meese. The patent for the land was issued on 13 August 1661 but not to Henry. In 1660 Henry Meese of London, Merchant, sold the grant to Col. Edward Carter of Virginia. [6] Henry's name continued to appear in the Maryland records until about 1665. It seems clear that he traveled back and forth from London to the Colonies, but considered himself a London merchant. In a 1664 court case, Henry was identified as a Gentleman. He maintained a life long relationship with Philip Calvert, who wrote to him in 1681, both died shortly after the letter was written. The tone of the letter conveys a warm friendship with Calvert making reference to Henry's wife as well as his own. [7]


On 20 October 1665, Sir William Berkeley, Governor of Virginia, granted to Henry Meese, 1000 acres of land in Stafford County. The land was on the south side of the Potomac River on the eastern branch of the Wipsemasin Creek. This land had originally been granted to Thomas Pettus who sold his rights to the land to Henry for the sum of £90. The original deal was conclude on 22 Jan 1661. On 7 June 1666 a second land grant was issued and included the original 1000 acres with an additional 1000, giving Henry a total of 2,000 acres of land. [9] Henry was made a Lieutenant Colonel in the Stafford County militia and was on the Northern Neck Committee. [10] A little more than three years later Henry Meese returned to England.

london merchant
Back in London, Henry Meese was a prolific importer/exporter. The Port of London records show he imported tens of thousands of pounds of tobacco from Virginia, which he turned around and exported to Amsterdam, Sweden, Breman Germany, and other ports around Europe. In August of 1677, Captain Webber, ship unnamed, brought him 34,800 lbs of Virginia tobacco. [10] Henry did not only deal in tobacco though, he was a cloth merchant by trade, and the fledgling Virginia colony was in need of cloth as well as every other thing needed to survive. Henry exported cloth; linens, kersies, cotton, German linen, Irish hose, English ticking, and lockram. He also exported shoes, saddles, gunpowder, lead shot, iron, grindstones, nails, bedding and blankets. None of which was yet to be manufactured in Virginia. [11] Henry was it seems a rich successful businessman who knew how to take advantage of a lucrative market. What does a rich man need? He needs a rich wife of course!

Anne pert

Henry Meese's bride was a young woman named Ann Pert. She was the daughter of Henry and Frances Pert of Arnold's Mountnessing, Essex. Henry was the son of Henry and Elizabeth Pert and Frances was the daughter of Dame Jane Herrys and Sir Arthur Herrys of Woodham Mortimer, Essex. Their pre-nuptial agreement was written on 2 December 1646. Henry inherited his father's estate in 1650. Henry Pert died in 1658  leaving a widow and eight children including Anne who had yet to turn 21. He bequeathed each of his children 1000 pounds, at marriage. [12]

On 16 April 1675 Henry signed his marriage negotiation with Frances Pert for the hand of her daughter Anne. The couple made their home in the parish of St. Katherine Cree in London. They had four children, two sons and two daughters. Their names were Henry, John, Anne and Frances. Anne was the oldest, born in 1676-1677. [13] The others followed in quick succession. John was born on 20 October 1681. [14]

will and death
Henry Meese wrote his last will and testament on 12 January 1681/82. His will was probated by his wife ANn on 5 April 1682. Henry left his wife his house and all it's contents and two thousand pounds. He left the bulk of his estate, including his 'plantations in Virginia' to his four children. He makes it clear that all of his children are minors under the age of 21.Henry was buried at Mountnessing, the home of his wife Ann Pert. [15]

land sale

In his will, Henry instructed his widow to sell the Virginia land if needed to provide for their children. In 1692 Ann hired an attorney to represent her in court in Virginia. In a case, called Luke vs. Waugh, Anne sought rent payment from the tenant, who had not paid a penny since Henry Meese's death. She also wanted to sell the land. Businessman and Lawyer, William Fitzhugh, wrote about the land in his letters, he was interested in buying the land himself and instructed a man to try to buy it. 

henry jr.
Henry Meese Jr. followed in his father's footsteps and became a merchant in London. Unfortunately he did not live a long live. He wrote his will in 1701 and left his estate to his sister Ann Meese. He also made a bequest to his mother Ann Meese. His brother John and sister Frances were not mentioned. 

ann meese
Ann Meese, daughter of Ann Pert and Henry Meese, lived her life in the parish of St. Paul's Covenant Garden, London. She died unmarried in 1719, her estate was probated on 13 November. She made bequeaths to her Pert Aunts, Dorothy, Mary, Elizabeth and Alice. She left money to her dear kinswoman Margaret Meese. She also requested to be buried next to her beloved mother at Mountnessing in Essex. She did not immigrate to Virginia, she did not marry Richard Bryant. [17]

Did Colonel Henry Meese marry an Indian woman named Otonah, aka Mary, the daughter of Wahanganoche? My answer is no. Henry was a rich London merchant who spent 15 years in Maryland and Virginia making his fortune shipping tobacco to Europe and articles of daily living to Virginia and Maryland. His friends and business partners were the men who ran the Colonies. Would this man marry the penniless daughter of the leader of a tribe which the Virginia government wished to extinguish? Where would he have met her? Wahanganouche was dead by the time Henry came to Virginia, the Patawomeck tribe decimated. This is pure junky genealogy.

Even if you believe that this was possible, I put it to you that there is no proof. Genealogy without proof is fiction. 


[1] Bill Deyo, "Virginia Indians Today, Patawomeck Indians of Virginia," Virginia 's First People; Past and Present (http// : accessed 10 March 2016). This article says the chief died on his way home from Williamsburg, possibly murdered. Note the wikitree profile states he died on 1 April 1664, this is without a source and does not seem to be accurate.

[2] "History of the Patawomeck Indians," Patawomeck Indian Tribe (Patawomeck Indian Tribe of : accessed 10 March 2016). This article says that the chief died on his way home from Jamestown in 1662, possibly by murder.

[3] Helen Rountree, Pocahontas's People, The Powhatan Indians of Virginia Through Four Centuries, (Norman: The University of Oklahoma Press, 1996) 122.

[4] David Tharp, "Histories: Aquia Episcopal Church," A History of the Tharp, Allentharp, Hager, Norvell and Keish and Related Families, 2007, ( : accessed 13 March 2016). states that Over Wharton Parish in Virginia was named for Henry Meese's home in England.

[5] Louis Dow Scissco, "Notes on Augustine Herman's Map," Maryland Historical Magazine, Vol. 33, No. 1 (March 1938) 348, digital image, MSA ( : accessed 16 March 2016).

[6] Louis Dow Scissco, "Notes on Augustine Herman's Map"

[7] Philip Calvert, A Letter to Henry Meese, Merchant of London, 29 December 1681, digital image, Early English Books ( : accessed 15 March 2016)

[8] Land Office Patents No. 5, 1661-1666 (v.1 & v.2 p. 1-369) p.513, database with images, Online Catalog University of Virginia ( p=P5&collection=LO patent : accessed 13 March 2016) entry for Henry Meese.

[9] Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography Vol. 1. (Virginia: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1915) 136, digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 13 March 2016). Biography of Henry Meese.

[10]Port of London records
[11]Port of London records

[12] Gloucestershire County Council, "Pert Settlements and Wills, 1646-1671," digital images Gloucestershire Archives Online Catalog ( : accessed 15 March 2016) reference D678/2/F8/1-4, Marriage Settlement of Henry Pert and Francis Herrys and Will and Probate of Henry Pert.

[13] England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Will and Probate of Henry Meese 1682.

[14] London Metropolitan Archives, St Katherine Cree, Composite register: baptisms 1663 - 1692/3, marriages and burials 1663 - 1693, P69/KAT2/A/001/MS07889, Item 001, birth of Frances Meese

[15] Henry Meese, Merchant Draper, Will, London, England, 1682; Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers; The National Archives; Kew, England; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 18 March 2016).

[16] Henry Meese, Merchant, Will, London, England, 1700;PROB 11; Piece: 459, Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers; The National Archives; Kew, England; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 18 March 2016).

[17] Anne Meese, Will, St. Paul's Covenant Garden, London, 1719; PROB 11; Piece: 459, Records of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions, The National Archives, Kew, England; digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 18 March 2016).


[1] Institute of Historical Research, "Over Worton Parish," British History Online ( : accessed 15 April 2016). 

[2] Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopdepia, "Nicholas Brend, Esq.," ( accessed 15 April 2016).

[3] Herbert Berry, "Shakespeare's Playhouse," The Development of Shakespeare's Theater, (AMS: New York, 1987).

[4] William Henry Turner, The Visitation of the County of Oxford, (London: Taylor and Co., 1871) Archives (

[5]Institute of Historical Research, "Records of London's Livery Companies Online, Apprentices and Freeman 1400-1900," database search, ( : accessed 15 April 2016) entry for Charles Meese.

[6Institute of Historical Research, "Records of London's Livery Companies Online, Apprentices and Freeman 1400-1900," database search, ( : accessed 15 April 2016) entry for Henry Mease.

[7] William Hand Brown, Clayton Coleman Hall, Brenard Christian Steiner, Archives of Maryland, Vol. 41, (Baltimore: The Lord Baltimore Press, 1922).

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Who was Chief Powhatan's Father? Japasaw, Iospassus, Don Luis, Ensenore or Running Stream?

I was looking on wikitree today and the 'father' of Powhatan, at least their version of him. According to this group of profile managers his name is Weroance I-Opassus Running Stream Mangopeesomon "Ensenore Algonkian Don Luis Velasco Japasaw Passapatanzy Powhatan. That is a heck of a name. The bio says he was born in 1516, his parents are Mr. and Mrs. Ripple Powhatan and his brother is Kocoum Powhatan. He died in 1622. His children were: 
Opechancanough Mangopeesomon Opechan Stream Powhatan, Wahunsenacawh Powhatan, Opitchapam Powhatan, Winganuske Powhatan and Wahanganoche Powhatan. This family tree is also found on the website as well as on What, if any, of this is correct, or at the very least provable. I will try to pick it apart for you. 

Iopassus, was the younger brother of the Great Chief of the Patawomeck Tribe. The Patawomecks were part of the Powhatan Confederacy, but did not always agree or go along with Wahunsenacawh's decisions.  The English called Iopassus Japasaw or Chief Passapatanzy, the name of his town.[1] In 1612 the Patawomecks made a defensive alliance with the English against the Powhatan.

Iopassus is most famous for his part in the abduction of Pocahontas by the English in 1613. She had been visiting his town on a trade mission, acting as an emissary for her father. Samuel Argyll convinced Iopassus to help him lure Pocahontas onto his ship and the rest is history.[2] 

According to the Patawomeck Indian Tribe website, Kocoum, husband of Pocahontas was Iopassus' younger brother, and the site says of Pocahontas, "her mother is considered by most authorities to have been a Patawomeck woman". [3] Iopassus was known to have had two wives, one of which was said to have been one of Pocahontas' sister. [4]

In 1623 an English Captain, William Tucker, tricked a large gathering of Indians, including their leaders, to drink a poisoned beverage. This occurred at Patawomeck Village during a supposed peace party. It is possible that Iopassus was one of the victims. His name was not mentioned after that date. [5]It is not possible for Iopassus to have been the father of Powhatan. Had he been born in 1516 he would have been one hundred and seven years old at the time of his death, an age that few people live to in these times, never mind in 1623. He would not have been the father of Powhatan's known siblings, Opitchapam and Opechancanough and Kekataugh, who was not named in the wikitree bio. [6]

One last thing about Iopassus. He could not have been the father of Winganuske, one of Wahunsenacawh's many wives, as this would mean that brother and sister married each other. ick! 

So, going back to our original name of Powhatan's father I have crossed out that of Iopassus, aka Japasaw.

Weroance I-Opassus Running Stream Mangopeesomon "Ensenore Algonkian Don Luis Velasco Japasaw Passapatanzy Powhatan

In about 1622 Opechancanough and his brother Opitchapam changed their names. Opechancangough became Mangopeesomon and Opitchapam took on the name of Sasawpen. This change came as the Powhatan Indian leaders were preparing for war against the English. Helen Rountree believes that the change indicated a "kind of military preparation, probably one with strong religious overtones." [7] This name changing was not uncommon, in fact, Opitchapam had changed his name once before to Itoyatin.[8] Massasoit, the Great Chief of the Wampanoags, who helped the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony, changed his name to Wassamagoin. No other Powhatan Indian was recorded as using the name Mangopeesomon. Obviously, the father of Wahunsenacawh was not called Mangopeesomon, so I am crossing it out.

Weroance I-Opassus Running Stream Mangopeesomon "Ensenore Algonkian Don Luis Velasco Japasaw Passapatanzy Powhatan.

In 1585, Sir Walter Raleigh, sailed with his third group of colonists, hoping to establish themselves on the shore of North Carolina on Roanoke Island. This land, which seemed empty to them was actually occupied by a tribe of Algonquin Indians under the leadership of Chief Wingina. The Island as well as the mainland across from it was under his control. [9] The Indians did not welcome the invaders with open arms, and Wingina began to rally other tribes to attack the new colony. His father, Ensenore, cautioned against attack. The pause in hostilities lasted until Ensenore's death.Notably, Wingina changed his name to Pemisipan. [10] Well I think that rules out Ensenore as the father of Wahunsenacawh. He was from an Algonquin tribe that lived south of the Powhatans of Virginia, i'm crossing this name out as well.

Weroance I-Opassus Running Stream Mangopeesomon "Ensenore Algonkian Don Luis Velasco Japasaw Passapatanzy Powhatan.

don luis
In about 1559-1560, a young Virginia Indian, visiting the Carolina Sounds met with Spanish explorers. The Spanish were known to take young people to train as translators, as at that age they were still able to quickly learn a foreign tongue. This Indian boy whose name was Paquinquino, was likely born about 1550. [11] He remained with the Spanish, who baptized him and renamed him Don Luis, for about ten years. 

Don Luis returned to Virginia with a small group of Jesuit priests who wanted to establish a Spanish mission, the location of which was at the mouth of the Chickahominy River. For this reason he is believed by many to have been a member of the Paspahegh Tribe, as this was the location of their home.  When Wahunsenacawh inherited his chiefdoms, the Paspaheghs were not among them. [12] Paquinquino was also not the right age to have been Wahunsenacawh's father, they were more likely contemporaries. Some people theorize that he may have been Opechancanough, but that is a story for another day. I am taking the name Don Luis off the table. 

Weroance I-Opassus Running Stream Mangopeesomon "Ensenore Algonkian Don Luis Velasco Japasaw Passapatanzy Powhatan.

what are we left with?
Finally we are left with the name Running Stream and Powhatan. Powhatan was the name of the tribe that lived near the fall line on the James River, some distance upriver. He took/was given the name Powhatan from the name of his tribe of origin. So, where does the name Running Stream come from. There is no documentation for such a name. There are no scholarly articles that mention this name. I wrote to a Pamunkey blogger and asked if he knew of any source for the names of Powhatan ancestors and he said he had never heard any of the names I gave him. 

my conclusion
The name of Powhatan/Wahunsenacawh's parents are unknown, they were never recorded by the English and they have not been passed down through time. 


[1] Bill Deyo, "Virginia Indians Today, Patawomeck Indians of Virginia," Virginia 's First People; Past and Present (http// : accessed 10 March 2016).

[2] "History of the Patawomeck Indians," Patawomeck Indian Tribe of : accessed 10 March 2016).

[3] "History of the Patawomeck Indians" 

[4] Bill Deyo, "Virginia Indians Today."

[5] "History of the Patawomeck Indians"

[6] Helen Rountree, Pocahontas, Powhatan and Opechancanough, Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown, (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005)23. 

[7] Helen Rountree, "Opechancanough," Encyclopedia of Virginia ( : accessed 10 March 2016).

[8]Lee Miller, Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony, (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2000) 293.

[9] F. Roy Johnson, "Pemisapan", NCpedia ( : accessed 11 March 2016). 

[10] Lee Miller, Roanoke.

[11]Helen Rountree, Pocahontas People, The Powhatan Indians of Virginia Through Four Centuries, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990).

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Unity 'Urusla' Pawomeke Powhatan (1610-1645)

Recommended Reading
Native American genealogy is not easy, and it is made more difficult because of all the blatantly false information that has been published on the web. Some of this false genealogy has been written by shysters out to make a buck, some of it is written by people desperate to make a connection to an Indian Tribe, a lot of it is garbled copies of these genealogies bent and twisted to make ends meet. I see this stuff on ancestry, on wikitree, on message boards, Facebook. and other blogs. All I can offer in the form of advice is to proceed with caution and ask for documented proof of any of these claims. Because after all, genealogy is based on documents and artifacts which can substantiate the claim. Genealogy without proof is called fiction. 

ursuala 'unity' powhatan
I first saw this name on a Facebook pages forum. Someone was trying to trace her ancestry back to Wahunsenacawh Powhatan (the father of Pocahontas). A helpful person produced the lineage for her, as follows:

Ursula Unity Pawomeke Powhatan (1610 - 1646)
daughter of Japasaw Oppasus The Great Chief Patawomeke Powhatan
Unity Croshaw (1632 - 1689)
daughter of Ursula Unity Pawomeke Powhatan
Anne West (1660 - 1708)
daughter of Unity Croshaw
Jane Fox (1675 - 1750)
daughter of Anne West
Jane Tunstall
daughter of Jane Fox 
etc. etc. 

This style of lineage is difficult to follow at first but basically the oldest person is the second one, Japasaw. He was the father of Ursula. She had a daughter named Unity Crowshaw, who had a daughter named Anne West....and so on. So, the question is, can this be true. Was there really an Indian girl, born in Virginia in 1610, who was given the name Ursula Unity?

When the English arrived in Virginia in 1607 they immediately set out to explore the area and encountered many Indian tribes. Most of the tribes in the around Jamestown were part of a confederacy under the control of the paramount chief known as Powhatan. Each tribe, though, had it's own leader or werowance. One of these tribes was called the Patawomeck, which the English pronounced Potomac. They called the leader "the Great Chief of the Patawomeck." The Chief had a older brother named Japasaw who the English called "The lessor Chief of Passapatanzy." His name is also spelled Iopassus. Japasaw is also said to have had a younger brother named Kocoum who married Pocahontas.

Japasaw was first recorded by by the English when he described his religion and gods to Samuel Argyll. What Japasaw is best known for was his part in the kidnapping of Pocahontas by the English in 1613. Japasaw was said to be married to one of Pocahontas' sisters. She, Pocahontas, was visiting the village on a trade mission, sent by her father, Chief Powhatan. Japasaw and his wife lured Pocahontas aboard an English ship and the rest is history. 

Japasaw is said to have had two wives. Neither can be positively identified. One is said to be Kaokee, a daughter of Powhatan. The other is thought to be Paupauwiske. His only child that can be identified, Wahanganoche, would eventually assume leadership of the Patawomeck people. No mention is made in any contemporary record of Japasaw having a daughter named Ursula Unity born about 1610. Any why would he? There is no record of Powhatan Indians giving their children English names. 

Japasaw, the lesser chief of the Patawomeck may not have had a daughter named Ursula, but there was a woman in Virginia with the name Unity who is also known as Ursula. She was the daughter of Joseph Crowshaw of Bruton Parish. Joseph was the son of Raleigh Croshaw, a member of the London Company, who arrived in Virginia in the second supply ship, The Mary Margaret, in 1608. In 1623 the London Company was dissolved and Virginia fell under the control of the Crown. 

Raleigh was issued a patent for his land by the new Crown government. He was called an ancient planter who had been in Virginia for 15 years. The patent also said that he had brought over his wife, a servant, and had put twenty five pounds into the venture of the London Company. Raleigh's name, in it's various spellings, is found in the early records of Jamestown and the colony. You know whose name is never mentioned, his wife's. As far as I know, the name of Mrs. Raleigh Croshaw is unknown. 

joseph crowshaw
I'll start first with what we do not know about Joseph. We don't know his birth year, we don't know his birthplace and we do not know when he arrived in Virginia, if he was not born in the colony. His father, who is only assumed but not proved to be his father, was dead by the end of 1624. On 24 January 1624/25 the Colony leaders took a census of every living soul in their jurisdiction. No Croshaw was recorded in Virginia at that time. So, where was Joseph?

On most internet sites Joseph is said to have been born in 1610 in Elizabeth City. This seems highly unlikely to me. I think, and this in only my guess among many, is that he was born in England prior to his father's coming to Virginia. He may have come over with his mother or possibly after his father's death in 1624. Joseph was recorded as receiving his first land grant in 1638. He married multiple times. The name of his first wife is unknown; she is said to be the mother of all/most of his children.

Just as we have no idea the birth date of Joseph, we have no idea when Unity was born. Usually in this case, we can estimate her birth year by the date of her marriage. In around 1664 she married John West, so she could have been born anytime after 1646. But, other researchers contend that she was first married to Robert Blackwell in 1645. This would put her birth around 1627 or earlier, pushing back the birth of her father in the bargain.

The information on which these first marriage is made is a deed dated 10 December 1668. The grantees are James and Robert Blackwell and the grantor was Major Croshaw. The belief is that he was deeding some of his land to his grandsons. 

what about ursula
Other than other researchers claiming her name was Ursula, I can find no mention of that name. In fact most of what is written about her says that her name was Unity. In fact she jointly issued a deed of land using the name Unity.

back to the top
So having scoured records looking for any sign of an Indian liaison, I can find nothing. Did Raleigh Croshaw have an Indian wife? How could he when he had an English one in England who came over in 1620. Could Joseph Croshaw have been bi-racial? I doubt it. We all know about the public relations marriage of Pocohantas and John Rolfe, but there were relatively few mixed marriages. The Indian women, it seems, were disinclined to marry white men. 

In the end, though, basic genealogy calls for proof. We can't even prove Joseph was son of Raleigh Croshaw, never mind that he was the son of an Indian woman. I think Unity Ursula Pawomeke Powhatan is a fantasy on the grandest scale. 

questions/ comments welcome
be polite and cite your sources


Kenneth Vance Graves, "Thomas Graves of Virginia," The Graves Family Newsletter by the Graves Family Association, Vol. 18 no. 105 (June 1995); 52, digital images, The Graves Family Association ( : accessed 6 March 2016).

"Jamestown 1624/5 Muster Records," database, Virtual Jamestown ( : accessed 5 March 2016), no entry found for Croshaw.

Mark Mondt, "Blackwell-Mondt Ancestry: Information about Ursula Unity (Croshaw) Crenshaw," Blackwell-Mondt Ancestry 

Nell Marion Nugent, "Cavaliers and pioneers; abstracts of Virginia land patents and grants, 1623-1800," (Richmond: Press of the Dietz Print Co., 1934) 2.

Catherine Clinton, Michele Gillespie, The Devil's Lane: Sex and Race in the Early South, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997) 125.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Princess Nicketti vs. Jane Eagle Plume

Indian Princess's abound

So, if you have followed my blog, hopefully there are some of you out there, you will know that I like nothing better than a great internet genealogy myth.  I have already written about two "Indian Princesses" Jane Sandusky and Princess Nicketti.  While researching Nicketti, who many of you think married Trader Hughes,  I kept coming across references to her as Jane Eagle Plume.  If you do an internet search for Jane Eagle Plume you can find a host of sites informing you that she was the daughter of "Chief Eagle Plume" aka Opencancanough and that she married, not Trader Hughes, but John Dods. Here is a sample from one of the internet message boards:

Chief Eagle Plume = Chief Opencancanough

Sp.: Princess Cleopatra "Scent Flower"
VA. Iroquois Tribal Leader - Brother of Chief Powhatan
Cause of Death: Gunshot Wound

Jane Eagle Plume = Princess Nicketti
Sp. John Dods
(John Dods Jamestown, VA. Colonial Settler)
from Scotland to VA.

Plucking feathers

Great internet battles have been fought over the validity of the above information, feelings hurt, accusations hurled, great stuff really, makes for a fun read.  Of the above named folks, two are real ( meaning there is documented proof of their lives). Chief Opencancanough and John Dods.  There is not much information about either man and certainly nothing that can substantiate the multiple claims of wives and children made about both of them. The Chief was never, at any time, in any document, called or referred to as Eagle Plume, and there are no documented children by him.  I don't mean to say he didn't have any children, as I am sure he had a great many, but none were recorded.  There is no document to support  the existence of Princess Nicketti or her alias Jane Eagle Plume.  John Dods came to Virginia on the Susan Constant in about 1607. In a muster of settlers he is named along with his wife Jane (Unknown).  No children were ever documented.

In the old documents John's last name is spelled Dods.  Many people argue that the "s" followed by an apostrophe stands for "son". Hence his name, they claim, was really John Dodson.  Others say that it was his sons that changed the name to Dodson. But wait, there are no documented sons for John Dods, so how can that be? Oh, but there is proof you say, I read it in a book:
John DODS was born in England 1588 and came to Jamestown in 1607 at the age of 18 years. John married the Indian maiden Jane, daughter of Chief Eagle PLUME of Colorado, of the Iroquois Indian Nation, and became the parents of William and Jesse DODSON. Jesse and William took brides from the Bride Ships about 1630. This gives some background of the first of the line to enter the American Colonies. ( " Marsh and Related Families", p 55 ) 
Warning bells

Well if this snippet doesn't set off warning bells than I can't help you.  What is with the Chief being "of Colorado"?  Jesse is the one who is supposed to be the progenitor of the Dodson family.  He is said to be the father of Charles Dodson of Virginia. And to my knowledge there was only two bride ships, one in 1620 and 1621.

I found this on a message board:
I am related to John (Dods) Dodson and Jane Dier, who later married Lady Eagle Plum.There child was Jesse Dodson who married Judith Hagger and they had the following child: Charles Dodson who married Anne Elmore.
In this instance another wife is mentioned: Jane Dier, and the Princess is a "Lady". 

Another writer on this board questions whether John and Lady Eagle were married and one response was as follows (spelling as is):
asuram that they were married at the Jametown Community center since they didnt have different churches in those days and she was cocerited a Heathen being Indian. the next report I have on them is the MUSTERS of the INHABITANTS in Virghina 1623-1624. Pg 9 . It states:John Dods age 36 yeares in the SUSAN CONSTANT April 1607. Jane his wife age 40 years. It goes on to say: Corne,10 barrells;Pease,1/2 bushell,Fish,11/2 hundred. Armes and Munition. Powder 4lb.,Lead and bullets, 30lb,Peeces fixt.2.Coat of Male, 1 and head peece. S ward1Q. Poultrie 30. Home 1. They counted every thing in those days.
Jane Eagle Plume married John Dods in the Jamestown Community Center, I wonder if she had a wedding planner.  The writer commented that they counted everything in those days, notice what is missing from that count....children. There is no Jesse, William or Benjamin mentioned.

Here's another thing to think about.  The men who arrived on the Susan Constant could not feed themselves when they arrived in Virginia.  Many of them starved to death, and John Dods was lucky to survive. Why would an Indian woman, a daughter of a powerful chief, want to marry a man who could not provide food and shelter for himself, not to mention for a wife and subsequent children? Why would a daughter of a powerful chief who waged war on the English newcomers marry one? 

Who's writing those internet genealogies?

1. I especially like this version, Great Grandpa Eagle Plume, really, you're killing me! You can always spot a genealogy blooper when two or more brothers are involved. The best part; they fled into the forests never to be seen again, if only!
My 15th Great Grandpa, John Dods and 2 Brothers, came to Jamestown Colony on the Susan Constant, with Capt. John Smith (Family Legend says he too was a Cousin, but it is Largely unproven).John Dods should've been put as a Bigger Roll in the Jamestown Story, as he Helped with Relations between the Indians and the White Settlers.  My 16th Great Grandpa is Chief Eagle Plume, and he was either a War Chief or a Sachem (Medicine Man).His Daughter Married my John Dods, and Started the Family now Known as the DODS/DODSON/DOTSON Family.When Relations between the White Settlers and the Indians became more than what could be Dealt with, John Dods and Jane Eagle Plume Fled into the VA. Forests, Never to be seen again, until the Sons of them turned up in AL.I am their Descendant, and there are Thousands of Relations Scattered across the Country that are Related to this Chief or Sachem.

2. Here is another funny story. I am not sure what King of Scotland the writer is speaking of but Kenneth I (843-858) was the first King of Scotland.   Did they have civil engineers then? And what the heck are "first people"? And they got here in 1510, wow. I really like the use of the term "we", I think "we" are a bit confused about history, even if "we" did establish schools on arrival.
My Dodson family story is that we are Old Caledonian from Scotland, that we are by occupation orchardmen (tree dressers), civil engineers and educators.However, we do not define ourselves in terms of employment.We are Old Caledonian: we are first people.As the family story goes, we were asked to give names and did. Later, we were asked to attend the installation of the first king of Scotland and did, insisting no man should have a king and we would attend on the condition all of us leave at the first opportunity which was presented when a cousin of Sir Walter Raleigh promoted the immigration idea to Sir Walter Raleigh that brought suitable people to North America to live there (as opposed to looking for quick profit, like gold or other precious commodities). However, there are other precious commodities returned to England. The tomato and the potato, from North America, were important, as were other items. The family story doesn't mention crops. It mentioned that this idea was supported and we arrived in 1510's. And so, we arrived on these shores and established substantial estate farms and orchards, roads, and schools. 

3. Edited on 7 January 2013 I had to remove number three, the person who wrote it objected to being included on this page, she included a lot of ranting and foul mouth language and various threats, obviously she is not well. 

Me, on my soapbox

Okay, Okay, enough of the funny stuff. But seriously folks, these are the people who are posting to and other web based genealogy sites, they are the driving force behind all the information that you are blindly copying from the internet.  
If you want to claim John Dods and Jane his wife as your ancestor then you will have to prove that they had a son who was the father of Charles Dodson of Farnham, Virginia. The proof required is a document written in their lifetime which shows a family relationship. This could be baptismal records, marriage records, land grants or deeds or a will.  If you can do that you will be a hero to hundreds of people who so desperately want to be descended from John Dods. 

Good Luck with your research and if you find any of these documents be sure to let me know. 

P.S. You'll never find proof that Jane Eagle Plume married John Dods, because everyone knows that she married Trader Hughes! 

You might also want to read this blogpost on Cleopatra the supposed mother of Nicketti and Jane Eagle Plume.

comments, queries, confrontations welcome
please cite your sources

Princess Nicketti Powhatan

I'm related to a Princess? 

Author's Warning: Some readers have become quite upset by this article. If there is not a doubt in your mind that Princess Nicketti is your ancestor, and you are here to reaffirm her story, stop reading now, this is not the site you're looking for. 

If you are unsure and decide to read it, and then you think your head will explode, I have provided photos of my Daylilys to rest your eyes until you recover enough to close the page. 

You might also want to read this blogpost on Cleopatra when you're done.

When I was a newbie on I was guilty, unknowingly, of contributing to one of the biggest headaches for genealogist, both amateur and professional,  today.  What was I doing that was so terrible. It was blindly copying names and dates from ancestry trees without bothering to see if the information was even remotely correct.  I did this with all my ancestors. What, or rather who,  brought that copy and pasting to an abrupt halt was a certain Princess Nicketti. 

Princess Nicketti is in dozens of trees on as well as websites and blogs like this.  She was the niece of Pocohantas and married a "white man" named Trader Hughes. Some trees even include the names of her parents. When I told my husband that he was related to an Indian Princess he looked at me like I was a nut job, and in that moment I realized he was right. Now don't get me wrong, I would be happy to have some Indian genes, to help breakup my seemingly 100% European ancestry. So I decided to see what I could find out about the Princess. 

I searched both literature and  the web for proof of Nicketti's existence and guess what, I could not find one documented fact about her or her life.  Is she only a figment of someone's, and now a lot of someones,  imagination?  The problem is that hundreds of people are happily passing on this undocumented ancestor and hundreds more are adding her to their trees everyday.  Before long, fiction becomes fact and it becomes harder and harder to correct, hence the headache for those who really want an authentic tree.

Genealogy is a science, and like all sciences it is based on provable, documented facts.  If you are interested in genealogy you cannot include Nicketti in your family tree because there is no possible way to verify her existence. If all you are interested in is family history and lore, that's another thing altogether. I think it is a great story. But the story has crossed over into a genre known as "faction". A bare bones legend is suddenly dressed up with unverifiable if not downright unproven facts.  I guess I really take issue with all those people out there who have added specific dates and places to people who may or may not have existed.  

Here are some notes I have made from my search for Nicketti:

This is a copy from the book "The Cabell's and Their Kin" from which this legend arises:
"Opechancanough, the celebrated chief of the Powhatans, who was brutally murdered, while a prisoner, in 1644, left a lovely young daughter, the child of his old age, the Princess Nicketti —' she sweeps the dew from the flowers.' Some years after this graceful Indian maiden had reached the years of mature womanhood, a member [the name is not given) of one of the old Cavalier families of Virginia 'fell in love with her and she with him,'and the result was a clandestine marriage, and a half-breed Indian girl who married about the year 1680 a Welshman (others say a native of Devonshire, England,) named Nathaniel Davis, an Indian trader, and, according to some accounts, a Quaker; and from this alliance many notable people in the East and in the West have descended. Their daughter, Mary Davis (born about 1685), married Samuel Burks of Hanover (the ancestorsof the Burks family of Virginia), and their daughter, Elizabeth Burks, married Capt. William Cabell, the ancestor of the Cabells; Martha Davis, another daughter, married Abraham Venable, the ancestor of the Venables. Robert Davis, Sr., a son (the ancestor of 'the black Davises' of Kentucky, and from whom Jefferson Davis descended), had a daughter, Abadiah (or Abigail) Davis, who married William Floyd, the ancestor of the Floyds of Virginia and of the West. A daughter, or granddaughter, of the Quaker, married Gen'l Evan Shelby of Maryland, the ancestor of the Shelbys of the West. Samuel and Philip Davis of the Blue Mountains were sons, and there may have been other sons and daughters.
From this narrative we get the following information:

  • 1. Princess Nicketti is the daughter of Opechanough
  • 2. No mothers name is mentioned
  • 3. Nicketti had to have been born prior to 1644, the year of her fathers death and the narrative says her father left a lovely young girl, not infant or baby, so many she was born even prior to 1634
  • 4. Nicketti married a son of an old Cavalier family of Virginia, not Trader Hughes
  • 5. The marriage results in the birth of one child a "half breed" daughter, unnamed
  • 6. Unnamed daughter marries in 1680 a Welshman/Englishman named Nathaniel Davis, he is an Indian trader
  • 7. Unnamed daughter and Nathaniel Davis have a daughter, b. 1685, named Mary Davis who marries Samuel Burkes.
  • 8. Unnamed daughter and Nathaniel Davis have daughter Martha who married Abraham Venable
  • 9. Unnamed daughter and Nathaniel have son Robert Davis who has a daughter Abadiah, she marries William Floyd
  • 10. Unnamed daughter and Nathaniel also have sons Samuel and Phillip.
  • 11. Unnamed daughter and Nathaniel have unnamed daughter or granddaughter who marries into the Shelby family.

Nicketti's mother is said to have been "Cleopatra", the sister of Pocahontas. The only time her name (Cleopatra) was recorded was when Thomas Rolfe, son of Pocohantas, petitioned in 1641 to see her and Opechancanough, to whom he was allied.  Somehow these two have gotten married on the internet and   Nicketti is their child. 

Trader Hughes

I recently did a search through the internet looking for information on Trader Hughes, supposed husband of Nicketti.  I found the following information, Trader Hughes was:

  • Welsh
  • Scottish
  • An English Cavalier
  • An Aztec Indian
  • A member of Virginia society
  • His first name was John, Rees, or Rice or William, or some combination of these
  • He was born in 1615 or 1635
  • he was born in Wales but was a Scotsman
  • He was an African indentured servant Convincing Blog with evidence that Trader Hughes was an African who married Nicketti
  • He was a Captain, not sure of what 
  • He and Nicketti had between one and twenty children
  • Trader Hughes is supposed to have established a Trading Post in Amherst County, Virginia. Traders began moving into this area of Virginia between 1710 and 1720.  If Trader Hughes was born in as late as 1635 he would have been 85 years old when he set up shop. Nicketti would also be around 80-85.  This seems highly unlikely in an time when life expectancy was less than 50 and closer to 40. 

This is from a message board, message #10793 from the year 2003:

I have found further evidence in the early records of colonial Virginia which indicate that Rees/Rice Hughes had a wife named Susanna. These records indicate that Rees/Rice Hughes (Hoe) and his wife Susanna had an indentured servant named John Price (Prise) whom they may have either beaten or starved to death. These records also indicate that Rees/Rice Hughes bought an Indian girl, which possibly accounts for the legend that he "married" the Indian Princess Nicketti. Rees/Rice Hughes may have had children with this Indian girl, and it's possible that one of their descendants was the Trader Hughes who lived on the upper James River. I know the actual facts are not as pretty as the legend, but I think we need to be truthful about the past, no matter how reprehensible it was.  Billie Harris

John Richard Hewing

I reference John Richard above, he according, to his descendants, was an African from the Portuguese colony in Angola. He was an indentured servant, brought to Virginia possibly to grow rice. He married Princess Nicketti. 

From another reader's comment

Another reader told be that he and his family believe that the man who married Nicketti was possibly and Aztec Indian who traveled up from Mexico.  He wore gold arm bracelets with emeralds. This story had been passed down in his family for generations. 

John Dodson
This is another family story concerning Princess Nicketti.  It seems that she married John Dodson, who was one of the original Jamestown settlers. He arrived on the ship "The Susan Constant" with Captain John Smith in 1607. Many family trees say that John married the grand daughter of the Algonquin Chief Powhatan, Princess Nicketti Eagle Plume. Her parents were Chief Eagle Plume and his wife Cleopatra. The Dodson family claim that this was a story passed down by their ancestors.

Some info on Nathaniel Davis from an internet family genealogy site: Ancestors of Patrick Martin Stevens, Jr.  

It is said he came to Virginia from Wales, and was a Quaker. He is sometimes noted as Quaker Davis, but, Lorene Martens, notes that "The Complete Book of Immigrants, 1607-1776" suggests that Nathaniel was "reprieved for transportation for Barbados June 1671, London." She recalls seeing somewhere that he was jailed and transported for stealing tobacco. "On 8 June 1671 Newgate prisoners reprieved to be transported to Barbados: London." 

Notes for Hugh Ap Lewis: Perhaps he died in Barbados, say some.... Some assert (see The Reads and Their Relatives, author unknown) that Hugh Lewis and Elizabeth were of "Barbados and Virginia." In the "Venables of Virginia," 1925, Elizabeth Marshall Venable asserts that "Hugh Lewis came first with his wife and daughter, Abadiah Lewis, and lost his wife in America and returned to Britain with Abadiah, his only daughter... both returned again to America, in Virginia, with Robert Davis, who came away without the consent of his parents, and served four years in Virginia, King and Queen, for his passage, and then married Abadiah Lewis, with whom he had immigrated." (Courtesy of Leona Latham-Simonini, 2007) 
So, if I'm reading the above right, he is saying that the first Abadiah was the daughter of Hugh and Elizabeth ap Lewis.  Elizabeth dies, Hugh and Abadiah return to England, where they meet up with Robert Davis, who re-immigrates with them to Virginia.   The daughter of Robert and Abadiah Davis, also called Abadiah marries William Floyd. Hum, there seems to be two versions of Abadiah.  She is also said to be the daughter of Nathaniel Davis  and Mary Elizabeth Hughes. 

Another family tree states that Nathaniel Davis was born 17 April 1665 in St. Michael's Parish perhaps in Devonshire.  So here we are combining a very concrete date to a very indeterminate place, how the heck do you know his birthday? If he married Mary Hughes in 1680 then he would have been  15 on his wedding day. Another site says b. 1646 in Virginia, and other site even includes his middle name: Ambrose. This same site says that Nathaniel Davis' father was none other than Barnabus Davis who was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1610. Don't let the fact that Charlestown did not even exist until after 1630 stand in the way of your family tree. 

Here are two short articles written about Nicketti:

Title: John Smith Captures Opechancanough
Source: Encyclopedia Virginia
Princess Nicketti is the name given to a Virginia Indian woman believed by some to have been the daughter of Opechancanough, a leader of the Powhatan Indians and the brother of the paramount chief Powhatan. While the name has been referenced almost exclusively on twenty-first-century genealogy websites by people claiming family relationship, no scholarly evidence exists that Princess Nicketti ever lived. A careful search of seventeenth-century records in Virginia yields no one by that name, male or female. And no name of a child of Opechancanough was ever recorded in that century. The writings about her stem from a single published source: Alexander Brown's genealogy The Cabells and Their Kin (1939). Significantly, Brown calls Nicketti's story only a "very interesting tradition" and adds, "I cannot vouch for it[s accuracy]," but he had heard about her from several prominent Piedmont Virginia families. Subsequent writers have quoted Brown's text as fact.

Another problem with the Princess Nicketti legend is that North American Indian tribes did not have princesses in the European sense. Most tribes were relatively egalitarian, and egalitarian societies do not produce aristocracies. Even the more hierarchical Indian cultures, such as the Powhatan, did not have European-style royalty. For one thing, there was not that great a distance between a paramount chief like Powhatan and the ordinary people, which is why anthropologists have traditionally referred to Powhatan as a chief, not as a king. For another, most Woodland Indian cultures (including the Powhatan one) practiced matrilineal inheritance, at least for ruling positions. That meant that a male chief's sons were not his heirs, and his daughters' social prominence would last only until he died. The real heirs were the children of a female chief, or the elder sister of a male one.
this is not Pocahontas

Title: Pocahontas-Rolfe 
Source: University of Virginia Special Collections

Despite the evidence against Princess Nicketti's existence, she remains a popular figure, especially among those interested in family history. As evidenced by the numerous claims of relation to Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas, and to the privileges granted those alleged relations in the Racial Integrity Acts, Virginians have long valued connections, real or mythological, to Indian "royalty." Those connections have most often been made through women, who likely are seen as less threatening than males like Opechancanough, for instance, who led Second Anglo-Powhatan War (1622-1632). Claims of ancestry through the Powhatan Indians are more common, as well, probably because it was an especially well-known tribe.

The American Indian author Vine Deloria has argued that Americans seek family connections to Indians in order to relate in a more personal way to the frontier and, perhaps, to expiate guilt related to the treatment of American Indians. Others have pointed out that during parts of the twentieth century claims of Indian ancestry sometimes exempted people from laws that segregated whites from nonwhites. For instance, in Virginia the Racial Integrity Acts, passed in the 1920s, outlawed marriage between whites and nonwhites (the latter classification included Virginia Indians, who state officials believed to be black) and required that people's racial statuses be recorded at birth; elite Virginians who claimed ancestry to Pocahontas, however, could still register as white.

"Nicketti" is not an identifiable Indian name, and is probably a corruption of some other name. It could be derived from "Necotowance," the former name of a creek in King William County, taken in turn from the personal name of Opechancanough's male successor. Nothing is known about that man except that he signed the Treaty of 1646 on behalf of many of the Powhatan tribes. He disappeared from the English records after 1649. 

Further Reading
Brown, Alexander. The Cabells and Their Kin. Richmond, Va.: Garrett and Massie, Inc., 1939.

Rountree, Helen C. The Powhatan Indians of Virginia: Their Traditional Culture. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.

Contributed by Helen C. Rountree, Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Old Dominion University, and author of Pocahontas's People: The Powhatan Indians of Virginia Through Four Centuries (1990) and Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown (2005). 


Learn how to professionally cite your sources for your genealogy proof with Elizabeth Shown Mills Handy Guide to Citing Sources available by clicking this link. 


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