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.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Will The Real Trader Rice/Rees Hughes Please Stand Up! (And tell us if you married Princess Nicketti)

If you have been reading my blog for anytime you will know that I have a problem with the whole Princess Nicketti/ Jane Eagle Plume/ John Dods/ Trader Hughes line of family fantasy genealogy. If you've just landed here in a search of Trader Hughes then welcome. My original post about Princess Nicketti and Trader Hughes is on my blog called The Family Connection. I have since started this blog, Indian Reservations but you can read the original post here. I have also written about Nicketti's mother Cleopatra and other questionable members of the Pocahontas/Powhatan family.

This morning I was reading a comment on my Nicketti post and the commentator left link to a website that she thought offered information on Nicketti and Trader Hughes. This particular post is chock-a-block with errors but it repeats the same story. Trader Hughes married Nicketti and their first child a daughter was born in 1650. Nicketti and Hughes are both said to be born c. 1625. We are expected to believe that in 1720 this now extremely elderly pair, approaching one hundred years of age, are setting up a trading post in Amherst County, near Lynchburg which is about 150 miles due west of Jamestown.

So, what can really find out about Rees Hughes. Lets start with the Virginia land records and other records.


On 8 March 1652, Rice Hughes was granted 200 acres of land on the north side of the York River behind the land of George Gills. It was normal to have a lag between the granting of land and the issuing of a land grant. Rice may have been in Virginia for a year or two before the grant was recorded. [1] This grant was for the transport of four persons to Virginia.


On 2 December 1656, Rees Hughs was granted 410 acres of land in New Kent County on the southwest side of the York River.[2]  This grant was for the transport of nine persons. 


On 1 March 1657, Rees Hughes was granted 860 acres in New Kent County. [3] This grant was for the transport of nine person.
On 8 September 1657, George Smith bought land from Rice Hughes, it was part of his 1652 land grant. [4]


John Pigg was granted 300 acres for the transport of six men; one of whom was Rees Hughes. Who was this?  Was he a relative of Rees/Rice Hughes? He is obviously not the Rees Hughes of New Kent County.


In 1662 Rees was regranted his 1657 land. [5] In 1660 King Charles II was crowned and land grants made during the Protectorate were reissued in the name of the King.

In 1662 Col. Manwaring Hammond, a royalist soldier in the English civil war, was returning home to England. He appointed a group of men to be his attorney's in Virginia. This document was witnessed by Rees Hughes. [6]

Again in 1662, the court passed judgement against Rice Hoe, not to be confused with Rice/Rees Hughes. Hoe bought an Indian girl from Col. Hammond and apparently had not paid. The sale was arranged by Col. Manwaring Hammond's Virginia agent, Rees Hughes. [7] Other researchers had speculated that Hoe and Hughes were the same man and that the Indian girl was Nicketti. But these men are not the same. Rice Hoe was first granted land in 1638 [8]

A fellow researcher by the name of Forest Mullins believes that Rees Hughes may have served in the army under Col. Hammond. Hammond brought 63 colonist from England with him. Hughes' land was near Hammond's and he served as his agent, an important position, which to Forest indicates a close relationship. [9]


There is a almost twenty year gap in the grants. Rees had quite a bit of land, over 1000 acres by 1662.

On 20 April 1682 one Robert Hughes was granted 855 acres of headright land for the transport of 18 persons; including a Rees Hughes Jr. and Elizabeth Hughes. So, who are these people and how are they related to our Rees Hughes. [10] Other researchers had said the male Hughes who was transported was Robert Jr. but it quite clearly says Rees. I think it is quite possible that these were two of Rees' children, left behind in England or Rees Hughes also returned to England like Col. Manwaring Hammond and again these are his children just coming over to Virginia.

Robert was a son of Rees Hughes of the New Kent County land grants. He was born about 1650, either in England or Virginia depending on when his father arrived. Robert was also a Quaker, his name appears in the Quaker records. [11] This was the only land grant recorded for him. 


On 29 April 1698  a land grant was made to Rice Hughes; 627 acres on the Chickahominy Swamp in St. Peter's Parish, New Kent County. This grant was made for the transport of 13 persons. [12]

Also on 29 April 1693, a second land grant was made to Rice Hughes for 436 acres in New Kent County, again for the transport of persons into Virginia. [13]


15 October Rice Hughes was granted 309 acres of land in New Kent County, also for the transport of persons into Virginia. [14]

In 1698 Thomas Langford and Martha West were joined in marriage in New Kent County. Their marriage was recorded in the meeting minutes of the local Quaker church. Attending the wedding were Robert Hughes, Rice Hughes and Sarah Hughes. Sarah is believed to be Sarah Tarleton who married Robert Hughes. 


From the Quaker meeting minutes:
2-12-1700 Rice Hughes con (complained of) for misconduct
2-28-1700 Rice signed a cert of an m in New Kent County
2-18-1700 Robert Hughes signed a cert of a m in New Kent County, first time his name appears.
2-28-1700 Sarah Hughes, Sr. signed a cert of a m (meeting) in New Kent County

4-6-1701 Rice Hughes com (complained of) for his misconduct

Rice Hughes dis (disowned)

And so on and so on. Robert and Sarah had at least six children, all named in her will. There was also a brother named William who lived in New Kent County. He remained Anglican in his faith and was a member of the St. Peter's Church.

What this little exercise in research has shown to me is that Rice/Rees Hughes who came to Tidewater Virginia in about 1650, was not a trader, he did not head out to Amherst County to set up a tradepost with his Indian wife. He and his children remained in the area living in New Kent County, Hanover and Henrico County. They appear to be prosperous men who held a significant amount of land. 

There are none of the traditionally given names found in the records for the supposed children of Trader Hughes and Nicketti. 

See this Hughes website for more information including DNA results confirming descent from Rice Hughes Jr. 


[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]  All these grants can be found in a search of Virginia Land grants on the Library of Virginia website.

[6] Charles City County Court Orders, 1661-1664, (Charles City, VA : Genealogical Publishing Society, 1961) 38, digital images, Ancestry ( : accessed 13 August 2016).

[7] Charles City Court Orders, 39-40.

[8] Virginia Land Grants found on the Library of Virginia website.

[9] W. Burnett, "Hughes and Saunders: New Kent, Hanover, Albemarle, Fluvanna and Bedford Counties, VA," Vikings and Virginians ( : accessed 13 August 2016). 

[10] Virginia Land Grants found on the Library of Virginia website.

[11] William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol. VI (Virginia), (Ann Arbor, Michigan : Edward Brothers, 1950), digital images, Hathi Trust ( : accessed 14 August 2016).

[12] [13] Virginia Land Grants found on the Library of Virginia website.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Christian Pettus Martin Waddington; another case of junky genealogy?

Wikitree is in the process of doing an overhaul of their "Powhatan Project" and the profiles contained therein. Many of these profiles have no source information, or if they list a source it is just an unsourced ancestry tree or website. Another 'source' is the unsourced book by Don Greene, Shawnee Heritage. Currently we are working on the profile for Ka Okee, supposed daughter of Pocahontas and her first husband Kocoum. This article is about her daughter Christian Pettus.

no proof no pudding
Let's start by saying that there is no proof that Pocahontas had a child with her first husband Kocoum. Mattiponi oral tradition says that the couple had a son named Little Kocoum.[1] Bill Deyo of the Patawomeck Tribe has converted the son into a daughter Ka Okee.[2] (Is this an admission that 'sacred oral history' is not to be trusted?) Anyway, Ka Okee was born about between 1610 and 1612. Pocahontas died in England in 1616 and never saw her child/children again. Now supposedly Ka Okee married one Thomas Pettus sometime after 1631, although there is no proof. This couple is said to have several children. What, if any of this, is based on facts? You know those pesky things that we use to prove our genealogy. Let's see what I can find in a review of the written histories and actual documents.

thomas pettus
In several  often quoted old books on the Pettus family it is stated that in the year 1638 the Virginia colonist petitioned the Virginia Company for assistance with the Indians. Captain Thomas Pettus was sent to Virginia with 40 soldiers. [3] If this is true, and I cannot find a single source which even speaks to the petition never mind the arrival of Pettus, then Thomas pitched up in Virginia no sooner than late 1638. I say late 38 because the letter would have to make it's way to England, several months journey, and arrangements made to hire, fund and supply soldiers. Then they had to be put on a boat and spend  send soldiers, two or more  months sailing to Virginia.

Okay so now the 40 year old Pettus is in Virginia to fight the Indians. Because that's what soldiers do right, they fight the enemy and the Indians were the enemy of the colonist. One writer would have us believe that  Thomas spent his off time tooddling around Virginia looking for the long lost daughter of Pocahontas, on the off chance that when in England Pocahontas may have mentioned her daughter and asked anyone who traveled to Virginia to check up on her. Did she have some premonition of her death?

Ka Okee would have been about 28 or so years old by then, apparently still single but willing to marry a man who was sent to Virginia to kill her people. Not to mention the fact that, according to Mattiponi sacred oral history, the English had murdered her father, kidnapped and raped her mother, forced her to marry John Rolfe and then murdered her before she could return from England. [4] All of which I'm sure was shared with her. I fail to see the attraction here. Thomas Pettus is known to have bought at least one Native American slave, if not more, so he certainly had no 'soft spot' for his wife's people or indeed the people of his children who were half Native. [5]

Anyway, Thomas finds Ka Okee, courts her, marries her and they start a family. According to those who believe this they had two if not three or more children. Given that most women, because they nursed their children, had babies about every one and half to two years, it could take up to six years to have produce three children, not to mention infant mortality, which could snatch away a baby just like that. But, by early 1643 Thomas is getting land patents for his new wife's first husbands land.[6] So, Thomas and Ka Okee marry by say mid 1639 Ka Okee, has three children in rapid succession, then Ka Okee dies and Thomas had to court and marry a new wife and petition for the land grant all by late 1642.

(I admit that I do know that by 1638 the Colony of Virginia was under the control of the King and that the story of the 40 soldiers is false. I include it because so many other do on their bio's of Pettus).

Thomas and Ka Okee are said to have had had multiple children: Christian, a girl,  Unknown, a girl, and a boy named Stephen. An if Christian Pettus was who many claim she was, then there had to be one more daughter, but more on that later. Here comes a snag, Christian Pettus is said to have been born in 1637.[7] This sets our timeline back several years if not more and throws out the whole soldier thing. So now we don't know when Thomas came to Virginia, but at least he and Ka Okee have plenty of time for lots of children. Let's start with Christian, who really is the topic of this post.

In 1689 a woman named Christian Waddington was deposed in a court case. [8] She swore that she was 50 years old, giving her a birth year of 1637. What does Christian Waddington have to do with our story?  Christian Pettus is said to have married a man named John Martin and after his death she married Francis Waddington. [9] In the deposition of Christian Waddington she testified about some business that occurred on her husband's property. He is not named in the records. No other name is given for Christian so all we know about her from this record is that she fifty and her current name was Waddington. She is believed to have been married to Francis Waddington of Stafford County. He would have been at least her second husband.

Frances Waddington was a land owner in Stafford County. He arrived in Virginia about 1667 as he was named in a land deed for John Matthews who recieved a headright land grant for transporting persons from England, including Frances Waddington. Francis was also named in a land grant in 1694. This makes it clear that the husband Christian was referring to in 1687 was a previous husband.

Francis had at least one son, Francis Jr. who may have been the son of Christian. He was at least 21 in 1701 when he sold his fathers land. He was married to Joanna____Monk whose husband James Monk died on 16 May 1700. [10]The land and court deeds concerning these people are difficult to decipher and at first I thought Joanna was married to Francis Sr. but later land deed prove that she as married to Junior.

the martins
In 1731 two women testified about the identity of Francis Waddington's wife 30 years earlier. Ann McPherson testified that a woman named Frances Golber came to her and asked if her mother was Francis Waddinton's wife. Ann said yes and Francis said then we are cousins as my mother was your mothers wife. Ann McPherson also stated that her mother was once married to John Martin. The second woman was Mary Reynolds who said in court that 30 years ago, she and Francis Golber went to see Mrs. Waddington to confirm that she was her aunt. [11] At first I thought that they were talking about Joanna Waddinton and that she was married to Francis Sr. But, if she was the wife of Francis Jr. she would be too young to be the mother of Ann McPherson. So, the wife in question is most likely the last wife of Francis Waddington Sr. We know that Christian was still alive in 1690, was she his last wife, was she the wife they were referring to? Possibly, but again there is no proof.

back to christian
Where does this leave Christian Pettus Martin Waddington? I don't think there was such a person. There was definitely a Christian Waddinton. There was possibly a Christian Martin. Maybe with a little more digging we can find out. But I have seen nothing that would lead me to believe she was a Pettus.

pettus book
In 2012 a second ed. of the Pettus Book, by William Pettus was issued. He includes the Ka Okee story. It's only source is Bill Deyo. No documented proof of the story is offered.

Got more to add to this story? Let me know, but please give me a detailed source for your evidence. Thanks to Kathie Forbes for her invaluable help with alot of this information.


[1] Dr. Linwood Custalow, Angela L. Daniel. The True Story of Pocahontas, (Golden, Colorado : Fulcrum Publishing, 2007)51, 79, 82, 89-90.

[2] Patawomeck Tides, 2009 Article by Bill Deyo,

[3]Walter Lee Hopkins, Hopkins of Virginia and related families, (Richmond, Virginia : J. W. Ferguson and Sons, 1931) 9, digital images, Hathi Trust ( : accessed 8 August 2016).

Pocahontas Hutchinson Stacey and Alice Bohmer Rudd, The Pettus Family, (Washington : self published, 1957) digital images, Hathi Trust ( : accessed 8 August 2016).

[4] Custalow and Daniel, True Story of Pocahontas.

[5] York County Deed, Orders, and Wills (2) 63, dated 27 Feb 1645/6; Thomas Pettus paid 600lbs. in tobacco for one "Native American".

[6] "Online Catalog: Images and Indexes," database with images, The Library of Virginia (javascript:open_window(""); : accessed 8 August 2016) Captain Thomas Pettus land grant, 7 April 1643, citing Virginia, Colonial Land Office Patents, 1623-1774.

[7] Find A Grave, database with images ( : accessed 8 August 2016) memorial page for Christian Pettus (1636-1701) Find A Grave Memorial #131605608, citing Ron Stephens.

[8] Deed and Will Abstracts of Stafford County 1686-1689, Eds. Ruth and Sam Sparacio, McLean VA 1989 pp. 38-39) information supplied by Kathie Forbes, thank you Kathie!

[9] not sure who owns this website.


[11] Record Book Abstracts of Stafford County, Virginia, 1699-1709, pages 39 and 40.

[12] Stafford County VA deed and will book 1699-1709; The Antient Press, page 67-68.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Little Kocoum or Ka Okee; who was the child of Pocahontas and her husband Kocoum?

Did I tell you I was writing a book, no, well I am. I have trying to finish this book forever. Everytime I get into my writing groove, some other genealogy story pops up and drags my attention away. So there I was pounding away at my laptop when wikitree came calling, S.O. S. there's a problem with some Powhatanesk profiles. Just like that my attention shifts and I am hot on the trail. This will hopefully be a quick diversion and I can get back to my book.

So, starting with the wikitree profile in question. Did Pocahontas have a child with her first husband Kocoum? We know of the marriage because of a very brief mention by William Strachey who said,

 “…they often reported unto us that Powhata had then lyving twenty sonnes and ten daughters besides a young one by Winganuse, Machumps his sister and a great Dearling of the kings, and besides younge Pocohunta a daughter of his, vsing sometype to our Fort in tymes past, now marryed to a private Captayne called Kocoum some 2 years synce.“

This text is the only mention of Kocoum in the written record. Did Pocahontas and Kocoum have any children? There is no evidence for a child in any written record.  And are we not concerned with genealogy; a science based on evidence? And isn't it true that genealogy without evidence is called fiction? Well, there you are my friends, end of story, right? There is no evidence, whatsoever of any child of Pocahontas and Kocoum. I can get back to my book. Ah, but not so fast. What about all those websites and ancestry trees that insist I am related to Pocahontas. What are they if not proof? Let's take a closer look at some of these claims.

little kocoum
Little Kocoum gets less web attention than his alter ego Ka Okee. But, his provenance has a more stable background. In 2007 a small, ill written book entitled The True Story of Pocahontas was published. I say 'ill written' because it is unrelentingly redundant and seems to be written on a fourth grade level. The book was written by Dr. Linwood "Little Bear" Custalow and Angela L. Daniels "Little Star." Dr. Linwood was a member the Mattiponi Tribe, one of the tribes inherited by Powhatan, father of Pocahontas.

This book makes many  assertions concerning the life of Pocahontas and the authority for these statements is said to be the "sacred oral history" of the Mattiponi Tribe. I will not deny that oral tradition has a place in genealogy, but I will argue that oral tradition cannot replace the written record, it can only complement it. In any case according to this book, Custalow says that Pocahontas and her first husband Kocoum had one child, a son. This son was called Little Kocoum. The book is quite clear that the child was a boy and goes on to say that some of his descendants are alive today including the 'entertainer' Wayne Newton.

Do we accept oral tradition as if it was fact? If so, if we have to believe that Little Kocoum was the child of Pocahontas. If we accept one statement as fact then we must also accept the other claims laid out in the book. Custalow states that Pocahontas, after her kidnapping was raped, repeatedly, possibly by more than one man. He says that only after she became pregnant did she marry John Rolfe.  He says unequivocally that Thomas Rolfe was not the son of John Rolfe. He also says that Pocahontas was murdered.  I would like to give you an example of Custalow's writing:

"While Mattachanna was with Pocahontas, Pocahontas also told her that she believed that she was pregnant.  Mattachanna found Pocahontas depressed, emotionally disturbed, fatigued and nauseous".

 I find it amazing that the keepers of Mattaponi sacred history, who I assume were mostly men, would over the course of four hundred years, find room to remember such minute details of a rather minor event. Now, I am not saying that in the life of Pocahontas that this was minor, but rather that in all the things that happened to these people, as a whole, in the last four hundred years,  that this sort of intimate, minute detail would be passed down.

In any case, if one accepts that the Mattiponi oral history is the 'gospel truth' then we must accept that Pocahontas had two male children who survived her, one full blooded Indian, Kocoum, the other a half Anglo child, Thomas, who was not the son of John Rolfe.

where does kaokee fit in?
Ka Okee is as much the child of Pocahontas as she is the child of Bill Deyo. Bill is a member of the Patawomeck Indian Tribe. He writes that he had researched his connections to Pocahontas for many years. It was only with the publication of Custalow's book that he was able to connect his family to Pocahontas. 'Little Kocoum' was the missing link. In an article in the Patawomeck Tides he lays out all his theories centered around many Virginia families who believed they had an Indian ancestor but could not quite pin her down. It seems she and a woman named Christian Martin were connected but not until Custalow published his book did all the die fall into place.  Ka Okee mother of Christian Martin was the daughter of Pocahontas.

Well, wait a minute. I thought Custalow said Pocahontas had a boy, named for his father. How did he somehow become a girl? The Tide article says:

The book by Custalow and Daniel calls the child “Little Kocoum,” but the time line near the end of the book states that they really do not know anything about the child from the sacred Mattaponi history, only that Pocahontas had a child by Kocoum and that the child was raised by the Patawomeck Tribe. The book states that the Newton family of Stafford County descends from the child of Pocahontas and Kocoum! Can you imagine the joy of the compiler to learn this after over 40 years of research? It was no wonder that he could not find a descent from Pocahontas and John Rolfe for his family. The descent was not from John Rolfe at all but was through Pocahontas’ first husband, Kocoum! The reason that the Mattaponi Tribe knew that the Newtons and other Stafford families descended from Pocahontas and Kocoum was due to the research of the late Mattaponi Chief, O. T. Custalow, who married Elizabeth Newton of Stafford. Chief Custalow researched the ancestry of his wife, Elizabeth Newton, long before the compiler was born and was able to talk to the elders at that
time who knew how they descended from Pocahontas. Years later, when the compiler began his
research, the elders at that time knew that Pocahontas was their ancestor but did not know how.

This is soooo exciting, but Bill, the book says Little Kocoum is a boy! A boy, not a girl. The book states that the Newton family of Stafford County descends from the son of Pocahontas and Kocoum!

where does that leave us?
I personally have no clue if Pocahontas had more than one child. What troubles me more is the lack of evidence further down the ladder. Ka Okee is supposed to have married Thomas Pettus; there is no proof. Ka Okee is said to have a daughter Christian Pettus who married a John Martin; again no proof. If someone out there knows of such proof, and by that I mean an actual document written at the time that these  people were alive. Please pass it on.

A through search done by wikitree members turned up zero evidence for Ka Okee other than internet postings by Bill Deyo. He is the sole source of this story. There is a difference between family  lore and genealogy, sadly for genealogy this story has been taken for fact.

Questions and Comments Welcome
I will happily add or change any information but not without credible, provable evidence.


William Strachney, Historie of Travell into Virginia Britania (1612), eds. Louis B. Wright and Virginia Freund, Kraus Reprint Limited, Liechtenstein 1967 p. 62.