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.

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