Two Pocahontas Descendants Became First Ladies


A wonderful post dated July 12, 2013 on the Edith Bolling Wilson Museum’s Facebook Page that includes many wonderful short snippets about Edith, her life, and museum artifacts, pictures, and events in Wytheville, Virginia was all the prompting I needed to adapt and expand it.

Pocahontas and Edith Bolling Wilson…
Strong Women and Role Models for Young Girls.

How many young girls can claim they descend from Pocahontas? I didn’t know much about my ancestors or my relationships to them when I was a girl, but I do now and I’m very glad that I took the time to learn more. In fact, this is my primary reason for writing these posts–to share the knowledge of our heritage with future generations.

pocahontas

Princess Pocahontas Matoaka Rebecca POWHATAN

To summarize one of my earlier posts written nearly two years ago, Pocahontas was a Virginia Indian notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia.

In 1614, Pocahontas married John Rolfe, a tobacco farmer, and gave birth to Thomas Rolfe in 1615.  The marriage between John and Pocahontas was the first recorded interracial marriage in American history.  Soon after having Thomas, John and Pocahontas left for England where she became somewhat of a celebrity.

At age 22, Pocahontas, became gravely ill and died.  It was Thomas, her only child that began the lineage of Pocahontas descendants, including the First Families of Virginia, First Ladies Edith Wilson and Nancy Reagan, and astronomer Percival Lowell.

Nancy Reagan

Nancy Reagan, First Lady to 40th US President

Mrs. Wilson, too, was very proud of her heritage.  She was the 9th generation descendant of Pocahontas, and her great-great grandmother was also sister to Thomas Jefferson.

Percival Lowell

Percival Lowell, Astronomer

Gown-Edith Bolling Galt Wilson

Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, First Lady to 28th US President

 

 

I’m wondering if Edith’s large, poor southern family and being the seventh of eleven children born to William Holcombe Bolling and Sarah “Sally” Spiers White was the impetus for her becoming a strong woman and even a secret president (as she cared for her ailing husband, President Woodrow Wilson)?

Below is an excerpt from Edith Bolling Wilson’s book, My Memoirs, published in 1935 by the Bobbs-Merrill Company.  I understand used copies of this book may be purchased from the Edith Bolling Wilson Foundation by emailing them at:  info@edithbollingwilson.org.

Snippet--MyMemoir

The Genealogy of Edith Bolling Wilson

Edith Bolling Wilson and I through many generations, share the same direct descendants of the famous American Indian, Pocahontas, as shown below:

The genealogical path from Pocahontas

  1. Pocahontas and John Rolfe – son, Thomas Rolfe
  2. Thomas Rolfe and Jane Roythress – daughter, Jane Rolfe
  3. Jane Rolfe and Robert Bolling – son, John Bolling
  4. John Bolling and Mary Kennon – son, John Bolling, Jr.
  5. John Bolling Jr. and Elizabeth Blair – son, John Bolling III
  6. John Bolling III and Mary Jefferson – son, Archibald Bolling
    (Mary Jefferson was sister of Thomas Jefferson)
  7. Archibald Bolling and Catherine Payne – son, Archibald Bolling Jr.
  8. Archibald Bolling Jr. and Anne Wiggington – son, William Holcombe Bolling
  9. William Holcombe Bolling and Sallie Spiers White – daughter, Edith Bolling

The genealogical link to Martha Washington (includes Robert E. Lee)

  1. Martha Dandridge’s (Washington) first husband – Daniel Parke Custis
  2. Martha Dandridge and Daniel Parke Custis – son, John Parke Custis
  3. John Parke Custis and Eleanor Calvert – son, George Washington Parke Custis
  4. George Washington Parke Custis and Mary Lee Fitzhugh – daughter, Mary Anna Randolph Custis
  5. Mary Anna Randolph Custis and Robert E. Lee – son, William H. Fitzhugh Lee
  6. William H. Fitzhugh Lee married Mary Tabb Bolling, descendant of Colonel Robert Bolling and Ann Stith, Robert Bolling’s second wife

I encourage you to visit the museum:

Edith Bolling Wilson Museum
145 East Main Street Wytheville, VA 24382
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.

17 thoughts on “Two Pocahontas Descendants Became First Ladies

  1. This is awesome. I don’t know how direct the link is in my family tree. But it does include William Tapp and William Taptico along with Robert Lee. Genealogy is amazing stuff!

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    • I’ve been doing this since 1980 when everything was very manual and tedious. I still have a 2nd great grandfather brick wall that I haven’t been able to tear down, but I keep hoping. Thanks for reading and letting me know that you enjoyed this post. If you haven’t yet done so, I would suggest that you and/or your male relatives do the DNA test.

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  2. There was also Judith Cary Bell Gist Scott my 5th Great Grandmother who was Kentucky’s 4th (I believe) First Lady to the Governor-General Charles Scott. Elected 1808 She is decended from the Red Bolling line.
    Lee

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  3. Pingback: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would do well to embrace our early American hero Pocahontas. She might even thank Donald Trump for making the link. | Eslkevin's Blog

    • Thank you for this current and interesting link to yet another article about my ancestors Pocahontas and John Rolfe, despite the context in which it is written. This post tells me that theatrical Trump couldn’t find enough living people or races to further denigrate. So he reached back to yet an earlier era of which he probably knows little–that of the 16th and 17th Centuries when primarily British immigrants were founding the first colonies of what became known as our great United States of America–and specifically to the first established colony–Jamestown, Virginia. It might serve Trump well to visit it–On no, better yet, let’s not tell him about it. Next thing we know, he might build another Trump Tower or Golf Course, then I’d really be brought down.

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  4. Pingback: Pocahontas Is a Great Hero Elizabeth Warren Should Embrace |

  5. Pingback: Journal 02/06/2017 (a.m.) | Journal

  6. I also enjoyed this post we were always told we were descendents also. My great grandmother was here cousin and supoposdly adopted by a white family. Her last name Boling/.

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  7. My grandparents left me with an Ancestry Chart as they shared the passion for and deep commitment to their unified lineage. That chart maid my direct descendancy to John Rolfe and Pocahontas. It was well documented, typed and laid out (my grandfather was a Judge in Georgia). I am fascinated by all early descendants, however, 15 of which fought in American Revolution.

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  8. I am also a decendant of Pocahantas she is my 11th great grandmother. I recently went to ancestry I guess we would be the red Bollings. My grandmother told my daughter when she was in school we were related to Pocahantas her teacher told her that was impossible. I now know he was wrong.

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  9. ~ Greetings. First, allow me to tell you I’m so pleased to find your site. I can proudly share that I am a direct descendant of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. My wonderful mother sometimes called my oldest daughter, Pocahontas, because she reminded her of Pocahontas. However, while my mother was living, we didn’t know that we actually had a family connection, so it was uncanny to learn of the relationship; my mother would have been so proud. My daughter is 44+ and still lovely. Additionally, I feel compelled to share that records clearly indicate that Nancy Reagan and Edith Bolling Wilson are direct descendants of Pocahontas, Martha Dandridge Custis, nor her descendants, have a bloodline to Pocahontas. The issue of Anne Stith, second wife of Robert Bollling, are referred to as “White Bollings”, breaking the DNA chain, while the issue of Robert’s first wife, are referred to as “Red Bollings” (descendants of Pocahontas). ~

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  10. Wow this is so interesting, I have been interested in Pocahontas for many years, so I found this blog to be very informative. Thx

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  11. How many young girls can claim they descend from Pocahontas you asked? Well, I am and so is my mother, Scarlett Stahl. It is interesting as I didn’t know the Nancy Reagan was part of the family.

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