The Pocahontas Connection

Boleyn, Bolen, Bolling, Bowling

See some recent action by the Virginia Legislature honoring Pocahontas here.

Sometime back, I encountered the rumor that one of my ancestors had descended from Pocahontas.   I didn't put much stock into the rumor.   Then, early in 2005, I decided to look into the matter in order to provide a background for my descendants who might encounter the same rumor.

To my surprise, I found there is indeed a valid reason to research this connection.   The potential connection is very controversial and emotions surounding it run quite high.

Following my initial investigation, my belief at this time is that there is NO substantial evidence to prove the connection.    In fact, I believe more evidence exists to discount rather than to validate the connection.

I will continue to research this interesting and controversial topic, but in the interim, I will provide my findings of the extensive research done by others for the reader who may desire to research it as well.

The potential connection comes through my Akers line and my gggg-grandmother, Hannah Bowling and her father, Benjamin Bowling.

The following diagram demonstrates the alledged connections for the reader's reference as we continue our discussion.

Samuel McKinley Akers
My Grandfather
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Andrew "Andy" Jackson Akers    +   Mary "Mollie" Keel
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Hannah Blankenship    +   John Valentine Akers
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Anna Osborne    +   William Blankenship
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Hannah Bolling    +   Solomon Osborne
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Benjamin Bolling    +   Patsy Phelps
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The controversy begins here.
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John Bolling    +   Elizabeth Blair
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John Bolling    +   Mary Kennon
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Jane Rolfe    +   Col. Robert Bolling
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Thomas Rolfe    +    Jane Poythress
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Pocahontas    +   John Rolfe

Benjamin Bowling is at the heart of the controversy.  While there is evidence of connection to John Bolling, he is not proven to be the father of Benjamin Bowling.  There are 21 children attributed to John Bolling, though it is thought that some were actually orphans of the county for which he provided oversight.

Another controversial relationship:

Pocahontas and John Rolfe had one son, Thomas Rolfe.   Thomas Rolfe and Jane Poythress had a daughter,Jane Rolfe.   Jane Rolfe married Col. Robert Bolling.   When Jane Rolfe died, Robert then married Anne Stith.

Some believe the mother of the first John Bolling is not proven.  If his mother was Jane Rolfe, then he is a descendent of Pocahontas but not if his mother was Anne Stith.  Many disputes surround this question!

Now, we'll take a brief look at the historical and genealogical information regarding Pocahontas and John Rolfe.  Links will be provided for more detailed information.

I will begin with information provided by the historians of the U.S. National Park Service, the Colonial National Historical Park at Jamestown.   Go here for a very interesting read regarding The Historical Pocahontas

That Pocahontas and John Rolfe had one son, Thomas, is not disputed.  After his mother's death, Thomas stayed in London with his uncle, Henry Rolfe while his father returned to Virginia.   

1. Matoaka (Pocahontas) b 17 Sep 1595 m 5 Apr 1614 John Rolfe in Anglican Church, Jamestown. John Rolfe was born 06 May 1585 at Heacham, Norfolk. Their son Thomas, was born at Smiths Plantation, VA. 1615.    Pocahontas 1595- March 1616 died in England buried in Gravesend, England.   Thomas was left in England in care of his uncle, Henry Rolfe.   John Rolfe died March 1622 at James City, VA. possibly at the hand of Powhatan's successor, Opechancanough, the uncle of Pocahontas, in the massacre of 1622.

2. Thomas Rolfe b 1615 was the only child of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. He married Jane Poythress, the daughter of Francis Poythress and Alice Payton when he was 20-25 yrs old.   They only had one child, a daughter, Jane.  Thomas died ca. 1675 in Virginia. Jane Poythress was born ca. 1630 in Jamestown, VA. She died 1680 at Charles City, VA.

3. Jane Rolfe was born 10 Oct 1650 at Henrico Co. VA.    She married Col Robert Bolling, son of John Bolling & Mary Carey in 1675.   Robert Bolling was born 26 Dec 1646 at All Hallows, Barking, Essex, England.   He immigarted to America, arriving 2 Oct 1660 at he age of 13.   They had one child, John, before Jane's untimely death in 1676.  In 1681, Robert married Jane Anne Stith and they had 7 children: Robert, Stith, Edward, Anne, Drury, Thomas and Agnes.  Descendants of Jane Anne Stith-Bolling are referred to as the "White Bollings" while descendants of Jane Rolfe-Bolling are referred to as the "Red Bollings."   Robert Bolling died June or July 1709 at Kippax, Charles City, VA.

4. John Bolling of "Cobbs" (Colonel) was born 26 Jan 1675 at Kippax, Charles City, VA.  He married Mary Kennon dtr of Dr. Kennon.  Mary was born ca. 1678 at Conjurer's Kneck, Henrico Co., VA.    John and Mary had ?one son and 5 dtrs?: John; Jane b. 1703 d. 1766; Elizabeth b 1709; Mary b 1711; Martha b 1713 d 1749; Anne; Evelina; Susan.   John Bolling (Colonel) was a member of the house of Burgesses.  He died 20 Apr 1729 at Cobbs, Henrico Co., VA.  Mary died 9 Jun 1727 at Cobbs, Henrico Co., VA.

5. John Bolling (Major) was born 20 Jan 1700 at Henrico Co., VA.   He married Mary Elizabeth Blair on 01 Aug 1728 at Chesterfield Co., VA.    They had the following 21 children including three sets of twins:  Metotaka b 03 Jul 1729; Archibald (First) b 01 Jun 1730 d 1737; Elizabeth b 05 Apr 1731 (twin); William b 05 Apr 1731 d 1776 at the American Revolution (twin); Gerrard b 03 Jun 1732 d 1780 at NC; Martha b 15 Jul 1733; Benjamin b 30 Jun 1734 at Cobbs, Henrico Co., VA d 20 Jan 1832 at Flat Gap, Russell or Wise Co., VA (twin); Dorthea b 30 Jun 1734 at Cobbs, Henrico Co., VA (twin); Thomas b 07 Jul 1735 d 07 Aug 1804; John William b 24 Jun 1737 d 1800; Robert (Colonel) b 17 Aug 1738 d 1775; Jane b 13 Jul 1740 of Roanoak d 1776; Rodney b 18 Sep 1742 d 1778; Mary b 16 Jul 1744 d 1812 (twin); Rolfe b 16 Jul 1744 (twin);Edward b 09 Sep 1746 d 10 Aug 1770; Sarah b 16 Jun 1748; Archibald b 21 Mar 1750 d 1827; Anne b 07 Feb 1752; Powhatan b 16 Apr 1754; James b 1756.

6. Benjamin Bolling was born 30 Jun 1734 at Cobbs, Henrico Co., VA. He married Patsy Felts, b 1734 d 1767, and they had the following children: Benjamin; John b 1755; Jesse; William b 1757; Hannah; Delaney; Elizabeth b 1767; Jeremiah; Barnett; Justice; Issac; Levi and James.    Benjamin marred Charity Larrimore after Patsy's death.

Sources:

Pocahontas & Her Descendants published by Genealogical Publishing Co., in 1969.

Book Info Here

Pocahontas The Life & The Legend by Frances Mossiker

Pocahontas Powhatan Peacemaker by Anne Holler

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