New member of the First California Company, Mary Weisiger Andeen is not only a descendant of Pocahontas, but her family has passed down through the generations, a beautiful cameo brooch believed to have belonged to Pocahontas and carved in her likeness.
|The original Pocahontas Cameo
Mary Weisiger Andeen explains, “The cameo came down through the family to my grandfather, Cary Nelson Weisiger, Jr. and then to my father, Cary Nelson Weisiger III. He gave it to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. It is on display at the museum there as one of two items that are believed to have belonged to Pocahontas.”
It is believed that King James I and Queen Anne presented the cameo to Pocahontas in 1616 during her visit to London with her husband John Rolfe and their son Thomas. A London jeweler carved her likeness in high relief from a piece of blue onyx. Family legend has it that the cameo was originally set in gold and surrounded by pearls and rubies.
During the Civil War, the brooch was vandalized and the setting was stolen by Union soldiers when they rode through Southside Virginia. Not realizing the importance of the blue onyx cameo, the Union troops pried the cameo out of its original setting and discarded the cameo. Rolfe family descendants recovered the cameo and had placed in a simple silver setting.
|The replica brooch is presented to Queen Elizabeth II
As part of the 400th anniversary celebration of Jamestowne, the Pamunkey Indians of Virginia presented Queen Elizabeth II with a replica of the Pocahontas brooch. A beautiful free 34-page booklet about the brooch and the replica given to the Queen is available by clicking here.
Mary shared this additional information about her ancestry: “You may know that the Pocahontas line goes through the Bolling family. Anne Meade Bolling married Joseph Kendall Weisiger in 1824, my 3-great grandparents. I was always told as a child that we were descendants of Pocahontas. My grandparents had a 100-acre farm outside of Charlottesville, Virginia named ‘Pocahontas.’ When I got into genealogy about three years ago I realized that many, many people make the claim of being Pocahontas descendants. I decided I needed to verify my claim, and in April I was accepted to membership in the Jamestowne Society as a descendant of Pocahontas.”
We are very happy to welcome Mary Weisiger Andeen to the First California Company, and thank her for sharing that wonderful story!
|Mary Weisiger Andeen shows Cathie Matranga a picture of the Pocahontas Cameo at the recent Southern California Genealogical Jamboree