Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Red, White...and Blue Decendants of Pocahontas

It is not unusual to find Red and White descendants of Native American ancestors - particularly if it is a famous character - like Pocahontas, but this is my first encounter of a group called "Blue" descendants.
As I had promised, I have been working on the line that led from the famous Indian princess to my family of coalminers. I have collected census records, birth, death, and marriage certificates. Along the way I have come to appreciate military pension requests and requests for membership in the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution and have found them to be a wealth of information.
So, I am carefully documenting each generation of ancestors in this line to be able to prove that we are, indeed, descendants of the "Guardian Angle of Virginia". That is, until today, when I came across this "new" term - Blue descendants.
Note to all new and inexperienced genealogists: This is why, as much fun as it is to gallop through the  pages of and other family history pages, when it comes down to it, you really must do your own research and find official documents to prove the lines we follow are actual.
As you might imagine, a red line descendant is the blood line of an Indian (in this case) and a white line descendant is from a marriage of another time (before or after) to a European or non-Indian spouse. However, in this case there is a third option - who knew?
It seems that, first of all, I should have started at the top and worked my way down rather than the other way around. But, secondly, that Pocahontas and John Rolfe had a son (their only child), Thomas Rolfe, who married Jane Poythress and they had only one child. Their daughter, Jane Rolfe, married Col. Robert Bolling. The children from this union became known as the "Red Bollings" - the direct line from our famous princess.
Col. Bolling married, secondly, Anne Stith and the children from this marriage became known as the "White Bollings" - not directly related to the princess.
Col. Robert and Jane Rolfe had a son named Col. John Bolling who married Nancy Kennon and had at least 6 kids and one of those was Maj. John Bolling - the (military) force was strong with this family...
Anyway, Yoda, this is where things get ... interesting or frustrating depending on how you look at it.
Maj. John Bolling and his wife, Elizabeth Blair continued the "red" line and had as many as 18 children (according to one source) but most of them - maybe 11- died young.
Then there is this third group who also claim to be descended from this marriage which, if true, would make the couple the proud parents of 30 children!
It seems that there was a book published about the descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe and after the publication of said book there suddenly appeared this group of people complaining that their ancestors should have been included in the list of the children of John Bolling and Elizabeth Blair. Since they appeared "out of the blue", they became known as the "Blue Bollings".
The problem with this group is that they do not appear in the will of John Bolling or in letters or papers written by one of the sons of John Bolling. Some of them may not exist at all. But at the present time or in the most recent writings I have seen, there is still little, if any, evidence to substantiate their claims.  
They may have lived near or even with the family in question. Some may be illegitimate children of one of the parents.They may have been close relatives that were being taken care of by the family. One writer has said that they may even have been orphans that were cared for by the family. At this point no one really knows or can prove it either way.
My 6th GGrandfather, Maj. Benjamin Bolling, when I found him, was listed as a son. But, alas, he is in the list of the Blue Bollings and not in the blood line of the famous Indian Princess after all. We know he was a real person. He is a historical figure who was a famous pioneer who settled in Flat Gap which became Wise Co. Va. He was quite a colorful character whose story will probably be my next post on this wonderful site.

So take heart family members and stay tuned. We may or may not be in the direct line of Pocahontas, but there are plenty of colorful and interesting stories to tell about brave, intrepid pioneers, warriors, soldiers, and Indian Chiefs who have all helped make the words "red, white and blue" famous and a proud statement in our heritage.