My mother’s father had died when she was young and she grew up with her mother and two siblings in her paternal grandparent’s home. Her grandfather, Christopher Bland Proctor Sr. had been born in Petersburg, Virginia in 1865. He had told her a great deal of the family history, including that they were cousins to Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee and John Marshall of the Supreme Court as they were all descended from the Randolphs of Virginia. But more importantly, he told her that they were direct descendants of Pocahontas. Now that is something I have known all my life, but only a few years ago did I become interested in proving my heritage. An Irish friend of mine had asked “How are you related to all this American Royalty and that started my search?”
Scarlett with Pocahontas bust
at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond
This past May I went on a family pilgrimage to Virginia for a week and loved every minute of it. I had made arrangements ahead of time so that I had access all the places that I wanted to visit. The curator, E. Lee Shepherd, at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond had taken my family portraits out for me to view and photograph in their Archives and also took me on a tour of the Museum. The owner of private property, where the Randolph family grave site is twenty miles south of Richmond, drove down to let me visit. He told me that is the oldest family grave site in the United States and is maintained by the Henrico Historical Society. Additionally he told me that the Randolph home no longer exists as it was sold to General Pickett of the Confederate Army and that the Yankees gunboats sat in the James River and fired cannon balls into the house until it caught fire and imploded like the World Trade Center. My response was that Al Quaida had nothing on the damn Yankees.
The Bolling family mausoleum at Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia
Next were Williamsburg and a visit to another Randolph family home, Peyton Randolph, first president of the Continental Congress and then down to Jamestowne with the museum there in a search for Pocahontas and John Rolfe. Lastly was a visit to Petersburg and nearby family related areas where a gracious lady, Jacqueline Hudson, who is the registrar of the Frances Bland Randolph Chapter of the DAR in Petersburg, was my guide to Jordan’s Point where the Bland family grave site is and to Blandford Cemetery to visit the Bolling mausoleum, and other sites. I was her guest at the DAR meeting and told the ladies that I would like to become an associate of their chapter as my family was from the area. When I mentioned the family names were Rolfe, Bolling, Bland, Randolph, Poythress and Proctor, one lady exclaimed that I was related to most of the ladies there. Then I told them that is why I want to become an associate member, that I want to learn more about my roots and meet my cousins. One lady told me that she is a white Pocahontas descendant and shared with me the story of the Red, White and Blue Pocahontas descendants. She said she is a white as she is a wanna be. She is descended from John Rolfe but not Pocahontas, I am a red as I am a real Pocahontas descendant being descended from Pocahontas and John Rolfe. The blues are bogus as they have no claim of descent.
Enjoyed your article very much Scarlett~ Very interesting. Such a wealth of information. Good luck on your quest in finding further history of your family,