First Families of Virginia – The Bollings

In this episode I begin making the case that perhaps Governor Berkeley’s greatest contribution to 17th Century Virginia and beyond was his encouraging Cavaliers to immigrate into the colony.

Beginning in the 1640s many of those Cavalier families took up Berkeley’s offer, and indeed moved many sons into the Old Dominion. The first family on our list, the Bollings, sent teen-aged Robert to the New World in 1660. He quickly worked his way into existing society, especially when he married Pocahontas’ granddaughter, Jane Rolfe in 1674.

Robert’s arrival was a case of old meets new in that the Rolfe line was one of the earliest prominent Virginia families, even if Thomas Rolfe, John and Pocahontas’ son, didn’t return to Virginia until the 1640s himself. The Rolfe’s still owned land, and it was in Thomas’ name. He received more lands over the next couple of decades, which made marrying his daughter Jane a highly prized choice.

Robert and Jane’s marriage extended genealogical links from John Rolfe and Pocahontas into the 20th Century. Their children and grandchildren were highly influential planters, merchants, and statesmen who helped shape Virginia into a powerhouse up to the American War for Independence and beyond. Because of that, as well as their connection all the way back to 17th Century Virginia’s most famous marriage, the Bolling family is my first episode in the First Family of Virginia Series.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Bolling, Robert. A Memoir of a Portion of the Bolling Family in England and Virginia. Richmond, VA: W.H. Wade and Co, 1868.
  5. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  6. Evans, Emory G. A “Topping People”: The Rise and Decline of Virginia’s Old Political Elite, 1680-1790. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2009.
  7. Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
  8. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  9. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  10. McCartney, Martha W. Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers: A Biographical Dictionary, 1607-1635. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007.
  11. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  12. Pecquet du Bellet, Louise. Some Prominent Virginia Families, vol. 4. Lynchburg, VA:  J.P. Bell Company, 1907.
  13. Robertson, Wyndham. Pocahontas: Alias Matoaka, and Her Descendants. Richmond, VA: J.W. Randolph and English, 1887.
  14. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  15. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  16. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  17. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  18. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  19. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.
  20. Wright, Louis B. First Gentlemen of Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: Dominion Books, 1982.

SPECIAL LINKS:

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of the Bolling Family Crest. Other images not my own are the Bolling Grave Markers, Diascund Creek, Robert Bolling, Sr., John Wesley Jarvis’s John Randolph of Roanoke, The Bolling Mausoleum, and Edith Bolling Wilson.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Brothers” by Little Chief, also available on iTunes.

 

The Rolfe’s, Tobacco, Plantations, and Pocahontas’ Death

Stearns1850

Thomas Dale’s Virginia still suffered under his heavy-handed rule in the early 1610s, but the Rolfe/Pocahontas marriage as well as semi-relaxed private property laws began to have a noticeable affect upon the colony.

Rolfe took advantage of those newly relaxed laws by introducing a new tobacco strain, the Spanish, sweet-scented Orinoco along the James River. Soon after Rolfe’s successfully growing the weed, and sending a 1,200 lb crop to England, other Virginia colonists began growing the crop on the many plantations that sprung into life after 1613.

The Virginia Company began granting land to new settlers both old and new after Samuel Argall ascended to the Lieutenant Governorship. More than 30 plantations were founded upon which Tobacco became the chiefly grown crop. Virginia was now showing signs of profitability, and many believed it to be due in part to the Rolfe/Pocahontas marriage as well as Rolfe’s experimental work. They were now Virginia’s most famous people, and England wanted to see this early modern power couple.

The Rolfe’s journeyed to England in 1616, were a hit, helped bolster the Virginia Company’s books. But the successful junket came at a price. The Powhatan natives were affected by the dirty English civilization. Pocahontas fell ill and died at the outset of their return journey to Virginia. Further, one of Pocahontas’ attendants, Tomocomo, spread his negative reviews to powerful Powhatan leaders upon his return.

Those words had an affect, as Opechancanough, Powhatan’s successor, let the words fester, and began plotting an attack against the English.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

 

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Tobacco being grown at the Frontier Culture Museum

SOURCES:

  1. Berhnard, Virginia. A Tale of Two Colonies: What Really Happened in Virginia and Bermuda? Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 2011.
  2. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  3. Custalow, Linwood “Little Bear” and Daniel, Angela L. “Silver Star.” The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 2007.
  4. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  5. Deans, Bob. The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James. Plymouth, UK: Rowan and Littlefield, 2009.
  6. Encyclopedia Virginia, Sir Thomas Dale.
  7. Doherty, Kieran. Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of Jamestown. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.
  8. Firstbrook, Peter. A Man Most Driven: Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Founding of America. London: Oneworld Publications, 2014.
  9. Glover, Lorri and Smith, Daniel Blake. The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America.
  10. Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.
  11. Hatch Jr., Charles E. The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1991.
  12. Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.
  13. Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.
  14. Kelso, William M. Jamestown: The Buried Truth. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.
  15. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Apathy and Death in Early Jamestown The Journal of American History, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jun., 1979), pp. 24-40
  16. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Captain John Smith: A Select Edition of His Writings. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press published for the Omohundro Institute, 1988.
  17. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge, MA: The Belknapp Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.
  18. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  19. Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.
  20. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  21. Rountree, Helen C. Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500-1722.Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.
  22. Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2005.
  23. Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.
  24. Strachey, William. Collected Works on the Internet Archive.
  25. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  26. Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.
  27. Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

  1. Historic Jamestowne
  2. Virtual Jamestown
  3. The Cittie of Henricus
  4. The Pocahontas Archive
  5. St. George’s Church Gravesend, England (Pocahontas’ Burial Site, though the exact grave has been lost)
  6. Virginia History Podcast Store

 

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Tobacco being dried at the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown

 

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is the only known picture of Pocahontas from her lifetime. It was done by Simon Van de Passe upon Pocahontas visit to England. The next image is The Death of Pocahontas by Junius Brutus Stearns.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “From This Valley by the Civil Wars“, available on Soundcloud.

How Pocahontas Became Rebecca Rolfe

One of the most indifferent Virginia Company investors became one of her most influential, but not on purpose. Sir Robert Rich and his son, also Robert, only bought one share in the Company’s third offering, but they gifted a man-of-war named the Treasurer.

The Treasurer sailed to attack Spanish shipping lanes and outposts, but Argall had work to do in Virginia first. He had to help establish a trade route with the Potomac tribe in the north. The first trip was profitable, but a second was needed just 3 months later. On this second journey Argall received a tip. Pocahontas was visiting the Potomac Tribe.

The Treasurer, the would be Spanish raider,  now became one of the most famous, or infamous  depending on your viewpoint, traps in all of Virginia’s history. Pocahontas was lured on board, and the course of history would certainly change for both the Powhatan’s and the English.

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Alexander Whitaker’s reconstructed “Rocke Hall” at the Cittie of Henricus

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Berhnard, Virginia. A Tale of Two Colonies: What Really Happened in Virginia and Bermuda? Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 2011.
  2. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  3. Custalow, Linwood “Little Bear” and Daniel, Angela L. “Silver Star.” The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 2007.
  4. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  5. Deans, Bob. The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James. Plymouth, UK: Rowan and Littlefield, 2009.
  6. Encyclopedia Virginia, Sir Thomas Dale.
  7. Doherty, Kieran. Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of Jamestown. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.
  8. Firstbrook, Peter. A Man Most Driven: Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Founding of America. London: Oneworld Publications, 2014.
  9. Glover, Lorri and Smith, Daniel Blake. The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America.
  10. Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.
  11. Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.
  12. Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.
  13. Kelso, William M. Jamestown: The Buried Truth. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.
  14. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Apathy and Death in Early Jamestown The Journal of American History, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jun., 1979), pp. 24-40
  15. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Captain John Smith: A Select Edition of His Writings. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press published for the Omohundro Institute, 1988.
  16. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge, MA: The Belknapp Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.
  17. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  18. Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.
  19. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  20. Rountree, Helen C. Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500-1722.Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.
  21. Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2005.
  22. Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.
  23. Strachey, William. Collected Works on the Internet Archive.
  24. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  25. Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.
  26. Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

  1. Historic Jamestowne
  2. Virtual Jamestown
  3. The Cittie of Henricus
  4. The Pocahontas Archive
  5. Virginia History Podcast Store
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The reconstructed church sanctuary at the Cittie of Henricus

 

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is The Abduction of Pocahontas by artist Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. Painting located at the Virginia Historical Society.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Daughter” by The Vespers, available on Soundcloud.