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.


  1. There is a more recent book on the Pettus family that might have better information. The authors says the 40 soldiers thing is false. He also seems to believe Deyo's story and has written about it in his book

    The sentence "DNA tests establish the link between the Jamestown Pettuses and Ka-Okee" makes me think that some of the evidence is based on faulty DNA analysis. I'm not an expert in DNA, but from what I understand Ka-Okee is too distant an ancestor for autosomal dna to be of any use, plus the families in the area are so intermarried that it would be hard to determine which triangulated segment belonged to which ancestor. Ka-Okee wouldn't pass on y-dna so that's out. And I'm not sure how you could link her mt-dna to the Pettus family.

    1. Your right Jamie, the Colony of Virginia was out of the hands of the Virginia Company and under the control of the English Crown. The story of Captain Pettus and the 40 soldiers is false.

      The Pettus book, issued in 2012 or so does include the Ka Okee story. However it's only source is Bill Deyo. The book does not offer any documented sources for the claim of a descent from Pocahontas. Maybe I'm being cynical, but possibly the reason for including the Ka Okee story was a commercial one.

      I agree about the DNA. If Pocahontas was your only full Native ancestor and you were born, 15 generations later, after 1950, then you are 1 part native and 16,383 parts something else.

    2. I am the author of the book in question. I agree that the 40 men story is false. I think I know how it originated---a case of mistaken identity. I didn't know about the Ka-Okee story until just before I published vol. II of my Pettus book. That book is the product of over 40 years of research on both sides of the Atlantic. I didn't add it for "commercial purposes." My purpose was to make other family historians aware of the story in the hope of inspiring a future family historian to follow up with further research. With the publication of my book, I ceased doing futher research of my own.

    3. William, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. The problem with including unsourced people, though, is that most people will run with it as gospel. Very few family historians are researchers, they are copiers, and Ka-Okee will be copied all over the internet. There are too many conflicting stories about Pocohontas and her 'full blood' child. Some claim the child was male, other female.Even the Indians disagree. The Mattiponi tribe says Pocohontas had a boy. The Patawomeck say a boy. Neither have any proof.

    4. You are quite right about family historians who merely copy what someone else wrote, including fanciful tales, without checking the records. One reason I wrote my book is to debunk some of the tales that seem to have originated in the late 19th or early 20th C. In this case, however, I think there is enough information to lend credibility to the legend. My opinion regarding the “Pocahontas Connection” is based not only upon traditions but also one incontrovertible fact I will mention towards the end of this posting. We are familiar with the “sacred traditions” among the tribes of the Powhatan Confederation as set forth by Bill Deyo. Arthur Mitchell, historian of the Pamunkey tribe, also wrote on the same subject. The name of the Pettus who was father of Christian Pettus is not part of the tradition. Both writers mentioned above originally thought that the Pettus was Theodore, which is reasonable, since Theodore ‘s arrival in Virginia in 1626 at Jamestown is well-documented by a court record. He also gave a deposition to the General Court at Jamestown in 1626; however, he is not mentioned again in extant Virginia records. A better candidate was Theodore’s older brother Thomas Pettus, b. 1599 in Norwich, England. Both brothers were sons of Thomas Pettus, mayor of Norwich in 1614 and his wife, Cecily King. [The immigrant Thomas was not the son of William Pettus as so often claimed by many other writers over the past century. That issue was put to rest in my book by my reference to a petition by John Pettus, son of Henry Pettus of Norwich, who proved in court that Thomas Pettus of Virginia was his late uncle. Henry was another son of Thomas Pettus, mayor in 1614.] The tradition of a “Pocahontas connection” is also found in distinct branches of the Pettus family of Virginia; however, no one seems to have known the specifics. The distinct branches sprung from the same trunk in the mid-18th C., long before the Internet and Deyo’s story. I think it is highly unlikely that the Pettuses who knew the tradition had any contact with the tribes that have the tradition. The fact that the tradition was held not only by distinct tribes but also by distinct branches of the Pettus family gives it some credence. My book points out that Col. Thomas Pettus patented 1,000 ac. of land on Potomac Creek in 1650. Only one Col. Thomas Pettus is on record in the 17th C.--- the one born in 1599. Potomac Creek was the seat of the Patawomeck tribe. The creek extends only a short distance from the Potomac River; hence, Thomas’s land almost certainly was located on tribal land. Furthermore, in 1660, Thomas sold his land to Mr. Henry Meese, who, according to the tribal legend, was married to Ka-Okee’s brother-in-law! Other Patawomecks lived in the vicinity. I find it difficult to explain why Thomas, whose home Littletown, over 100 miles away, would have acquired land where his neighbors were all Patawomecks, unless there was some truth to the traditions. In light of these considerations, how could I have ignored the story when I wrote my book?

    5. William, would you be interested in taking this topic off line for a more lengthy discussion? I think there is alot more to this story than we can cover in a blog comment section. We are currently at a standoff and I was hoping you might like to have a deeper discussion of both sides. If so please send me an email.

    6. Jeanie, just who do you think you are to insult William this way, how dare you! What gives you any authority to make decisions about what readers want to see. This is not about you. And as a matter of fact, I AM related to Kaokee, and found William through my searching. There is absolutely NO doubt that she existed, or I wouldn't be here. I am thankful I found William, and hope that he will be able to help put all the puzzle pieces together, and finally give our ancestor her dignity, and place in history. So instead of people like you running your mouth telling people to hush, you should listen and learn. Meanwhile instead,you go and do sweeps on ancestry sites where you have no business touching anything. There are reasons information is there, and sometimes why it isn't there. I don't know who you are, but you DON'T speak for the world, so tell you what Miss Roberts, how about YOU go offline for a lengthy amount of time! No need for a "standoff."

    7. Dear Cleveland Wagtail,

      What a lot of loaded questions and comments you have dumped on me this morning. Frankly, I think of my blog as just a speck of flotsam jetsam in the great sea that is the internet. It's always a surprise when anyone spots it, never-mind actually lands on a page. But I digress, let me try to answer them for you.

      Who do I think I am? I think I am a proud American, bible-believing, church going, Forth of July-loving, Veteran of the United States Air Force and respecter of the Constitution of the United States of America, which has guaranteed me the 'Right To Free Speech'.

      How dare I insult William? I have read through all my post and cannot find a single insult. In fact, I rarely even mention him. Do I disagree with him, yes. But that is not the same thing as insulting him. Unless you are actually some commie Russian bot, trying to stir up dissent, you, if you are a true American, you must admit that I have the God-given, American flag-waving right to disagree.

      What gives you any authority to make decisions about what readers want to see? Dear Cleveland, I have absolutely no authority what so ever about these types of decisions. If you, or any other person out, there has been forced to look at or read this blog, I urge you to call your local law enforcement agency immediately and report this serious offense. Also, notify your internet provider as they control the content available to you. I know I would be very angry if I was subjected to websites that I had no interest in. Personally I blame the FCC and the rollback of net neutrality for this issue. Write your Congressman and Senator today!

      This is not about you I never said it was, Cleveland, never said it was. In fact it is you who is making it about me.

      People like me running my mouth telling people to hush Here I sit, pecking at letters on my keyboard, quite different than running my mouth, which implies speech and the spoken word. Perhaps you are one of those people who have to read aloud or sound out large words in which instance it would be you running your mouth. *Not trying to be insulting, I know it happens.* Nowhere, anywhere have I told anyone to hush. In reality, I cannot hear the people who read my blog and therefore am incapable of asking them to be quiet. Maybe you have me confused with someone else.

      Meanwhile instead, you go and do sweeps on ancestry sites where you have no business touching anything. Sorry, you lost me on this one.

      You don't speak for the world Rats, here I was plotting world domination and you have to go an blow my dreams. Ah, well, back to my lowly blog.

      In response to your request that I go offline for a lengthy time, did you have any particular time span in mind? I do need a vacation. Maybe you should take up blogging to fill the void.

      Seriously, Cleveland, or any other like minded reader. No one forced you to be here. You did not have to read this blog. If you don't like it, move along, you won't hurt my feelings. I don't like hot dogs, but I don't rant about it and send nasty messages to Oscar Meyer, I just don't eat them. (Except on the 4th of July, because that's the American thing to do.) Cleveland, this is a free country, I spent many years in the military helping defend your freedom of speech. You believe what you want and leave me in peace to believe what I choose to believe. If you think I have to 'shut up' because you disagree with me, then not only are you wrong, but you are UNAMERICAN.

  2. Someone brought this to my attention: "Know all men .. that I Francis Waddington of Stafford County do assign over with my wife JOANNA WADDINGTON all our right and title of the within deed unto JOHN TRAMMELL of aforesaid county .. 25th October 1700." then in 1702 "John Trammill of Stafford sells to John Roberts of this same county 100 a on the south side of Potomac Creek, part of a tract granted Francis Waddington now decd, and sold by his son Francis Waddington to the sd. Trammill." So was Joanna the wife of Francis Jr., son of the Francis Waddington who was supposed to have married Christian?

    1. If Francis Waddington Jr. married Joanna, widow of James Monk in mid 1700, was she the wife of Francis Waddington who was married to John Martin? The testimony was in 1731 and they said they were talking about the wife of Francis Waddington in 1700/1701?

    2. A confusing family. A woman named Christian, maiden name unknown, was married to John Martin. They had three children, Ann, Christian, and another John. John the older died and his widow married a man named Friancis Waddington. They had a child, also named Francis Waddington. Francis the younger is the man who was married to Joanna and who was transferring land he had inherited from his father.

  3. Thomas, and Kaokee Jane Pettus are my great, great, many times grandparents. I have the family tree, and would be willing to be tested only for SERIOUS inquiries.

    1. I am a descendant of John Martin and Ko-Okee....any help with the Martin line would be so appreciated

  4. This is kind of hilarious. I appreciate all the earnest study of documentary and human resources that went into hashing it out. Thanks Mr. Pettus, and Ms Roberts. I remain the descendant of a branch of people who have possible, but nebulous, ties to the indigenous people of Virginia. But I am willing to concede that my apparent existence doesn't help with nailing down the identities of my specific ancestors of 10 or 11 generations ago.


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