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Home: Surnames: Pocahontas Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: Anna Rolfe and Pocahontas
Posted by: Fred Hof (ID *****6914) Date: November 22, 2004 at 19:53:02
In Reply to: Re: Anna Rolfe and Pocahontas by Joyce Hoad of 1081

Joyce, you may be aware that the "Barnett" claim to Pocahontas descent has been around for quite some time. On p. 326 of POCAHONTAS' DESCENDANTS there is a brief summary of the Barnett "case," based on a 1923 book entitled AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARY A. BARNETT AND HISTORY OF THE BARNETT FAMILY OF JOHNSON COUNTY. Mary Barnett asserts in her book that Thomas Rolfe and Jane Poythress had three children: "Jane who married Colonel Robert Bolling; Anna, who married a Frenchman, William Barnett, who came to America in 1662; and one son, John Rolfe."

The summary of the Barnett autobiography does not cite whatever evidence the author may have used to back up her claim. There is plenty of contemporary evidence about Jane Rolfe, who married Robert Bolling. There is none I'm aware of that would link an Anna Rolfe or a John Rolfe to this family. Chroniclers of the Bolling family (such as Robert Bolling in the 18th century, John Randolph of Roanoke and Wyndham Robertson in the 19th century and James Patton in the 20th century) all insisted that Thomas Rolfe and his wife had one child: Jane, who married Robert Bolling. They may be right or wrong. They've just never been convincingly contradicted.

It would be impossible, of course, to "prove the negative" that Thomas Rolfe and his wife didn't have multiple children or that Thomas Rolfe didn't marry more than once. Those making the claim for additional children have a choice: they can proclaim their descent from a famous dead person and let it go at that; or they can cite evidence (which may well be out there) and overturn what has become, over three centuries, "conventional wisdom" about Pocahontas descent. A good place to start might be Mary Barnett's autobiography. I wonder what evidence she cited.


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