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 (www.ancestry.com : 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 (http://vikingsandvirginians.com/2012/05/08/hughes-and-saunders-new-kent-hanover-albemarle-fluvanna-and-bedford-counties-va/ : 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 (https://www.hathitrust.org : accessed 14 August 2016).

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


  1. It’s good to check this kind of website. I think I would so much from you.
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  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trader_-Capt/Burgess_Rice_Hooe_I

    1. Rachel, I assume you are the author of the wikipedia article as it was just published yesterday. I have some concerns about the bio for Rice Hooe as follows:
      1. How do you know he was from Abergavenny Wales?
      2. What is source for the information on trading licenses, you link does not speak to them or mention Rice Hoe.
      3. The reference to Captain Rice Hooe Naval officer of Stafford County was dated 1700. Are you claiming that this was the same man who aquired a patent to trade with the Indians in 1656, some 44 years earlier?
      4. What is your souce for the name John?
      5. What connection are you making between Hoe Manor in Sussex and the Hoe family in Wales?
      6. what is your source for this:One Native American male went over this courts'position to the Justices to obtain his freedom after a 3 year period of agreed indenture and was freed. This was an historic break through and was a Saponi male of unknown, per the [Ocaneechi] historians.


  3. I was connected in my search to Nicketti and did a great deal of research crossreferrencing the information. One must remember, the Chief of the Powhatan's had many wives. He was in control of over 15,ooo indians, and various tribes. It was not uncommon for him to have long and short term wives. It is hard to say, how many Princess daughters he may have had in his lifetime. When researching historical documents, nothing can be taken as 100%, but it can give you a deeper understanding of the established roots you have in your family. Oral records, that are transcribed into family documents are essential, as well, and the probability can not be completely ruled out that these individuals did not exist. In addition, the Powhatan tribes did allow extra-marital relationships, but had to be approved by the male in the tribe. One now can question, if the child was even blood related to the Chief of the Powhatan, and that might even include Pocahontas. Authentic Pocahontas family tree reveals that she has over 100,000.00 descendants. In conclusion, it is okay to be sceptical in your research, but history is always ever changing with new insight, lost documentation, and evidence. Remember, it is plausible that they did live, but because the evidence does not fit the way you want it too, doesn't mean you have it correct either. History facts, and evidence were often passed down and interpreted over generations, but the premise of the story may be factual, with inconsistent dates, events, phonetic spelling and so on, and so forth. Just do your best to cross reference reputable sites, and use common sense to make your final decision if you would like the information to be added to your family tree.

  4. Well this is both supper helpful and annoying. I guess I need to figure out which Rice/Rees Hughs is in my tree. Thank you for your deligent research.

  5. This is interesting to me, as I was told by my mother that my grandfather always maintained that his family tree contained a man who married an "indian princess". I laughed at her a little when I could find no connection to the story in my research. Today a website connected to family search just showed me a relative connection and lists chief Powhatan as the shared ancestor. ? I googled and found this blog...I also see another person commenting about "oral records" as part of family history. It IS interesting that stories start and then are passed down and down--they must begin from some origin and possibly contain some truth? Interesting research--thank you for sharing it!

  6. I also followed my tree the Burk's clan and found the relationship to Capt John Rice Rees and Nicketti of the powhatan tribe. Never knew we had indian blood and very proud to have discovered this. Thank you for the research Jeanie


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