Bi-racial Relationships of the 60’s–the 1860’s!

The Year 1868

Last week my genealogical research took me back to my second paternal great-grandfather, Lawrence T. “Larl” Boling.  I already knew that Larl married Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Tapp in Fredericksburg, Virginia, but when I looked more closely I found that their wedding took place just one week before Christmas 1868–that was the Christmas day when our 17th President, President Andrew Johnson, President Andrew Johnsongranted unconditional pardons for all persons involved in the Southern rebellion (Civil War). And just ten months earlier on February 24, 1868, he was impeached by the House of Representatives.  The Senate tried the case in a trial that lasted from March to May 1868. In the end, the Senate voted to acquit President Andrew Johnson by a margin of 35 guilty to 19 not guilty – one vote short of the two-thirds needed to convict him for breaching the Tenure of Office Act by removing Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War, from his cabinet.


WildernessWounded1864It was also only about four years earlier in May 1864 in Spotsylvania, Virginia, on land known as the Wilderness Field, where Sarah’s mother, “The Widow Tapp,” lived with her family when the “Battle of the Wilderness,” (Grant vs Lee) was fought, killing more than 50,000 men.  This battle became known as “The Crossroads of the Civil War.”

In glades they meet skull after skull
Where pine cones lay – the rusted gun,
Green shoes full of bones, the mouldering coat
And cuddled up skeleton;
And scores of such. Some start as in dreams,
And comrades lost bemoan;
By the edge of those wilds Stonewall had charged-
But the year and the Man were gone.
Herman Melville – (from “The Armies of the Wilderness”)

Despite their country’s severe turmoil, near the end of 1868, Larl (30) and Bettie (25) started their lives together.  He was from the ancient English aristocratic Bolling family and Bettie’s paternal lineage revealed she was Native American. Somewhat unimaginable for me, when at a time, brothers were fighting brothers over the issues of slavery and the rights of people of color!

                                                Notables of Native American Background  
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                                                April 20, 2020 at 5:16 AM

The 1600’s

An on-demand book (Wicocomico Indian Nation of the Powhatan Empire – the Tapp Family Native American Heritage) that I am ordering traces the Native American Taptico/Tapp lineage back seven generations to 1678.  My own research has taken me back to my ninth great-grandfather, Machywap Thomas Taptico (1630-1689) and tribes that lived along the Chesapeake Bay, the Rappahannock, and Potomac Rivers in the states of Maryland and Virginia. Machywap was the last Chief of the Chicacoan Tribe before it was merged with Wicocomico Tribes in Virginia in 1655-56.  He was selected as Chief of these merged tribes by the English because they thought he was a friend to them and could be easily managed. And, according to the Wicocomico Indian Nation, the English’s selection of Machywap didn’t sit well with the Wicocomico and when threats on his life became serious, the English had to provide him protection from his own tribesmen.

And the irony within all of these periods of time, the stories about power, rights, and freedom–the discussion, confusion, and hypocrisy still remain–not only within North America but throughout the world.  Add to all of these facts that archeological studies spanning hundreds of years still indicate that the first people who arrived in North America were Paleoindians and that their presence dates back about 14,000 years–No, it wasn’t Amerigo Vespucci, Columbus, or the puritans that arrived here first and settled the Americas–rather it was indigenous natives. You can look it up for yourself, archaeologists call this period of North American history Paleoindian, meaning ancient Indian.  So this story became much more than one of a young bi-racial couple surviving during the American Civil War era and the legacies they left us. Thus, this story is far from over… 

For more information about Taptico, see also:

22 thoughts on “Bi-racial Relationships of the 60’s–the 1860’s!

  1. My 8th ggrandfather would be either Machywao Thomas Taptico or Thomas Adam Tapp; total confusion here! Research has produced end result of both gents married to one Mary Lewis. Four William Taptico/Tapps later, and continuing with the rest of my ancesters, , all family members are the same for my family tree.
    Now as for Machywap Thomas Taptico, I show his date of birth to be in 1630, Colony of VA. His parents are listed as Barnabas (“Barnaby the Immigrant”) Macquinnie/Mackinney- various spellings of surname and Mairead MacAongausa. Both parents had origins in Scottland.
    Thomas Adam Tapp b. 1628 London, England. His parents-Richard Tapp and Mary Anne Newman were both of English origins.
    Question: If Machwap Thomas Taptico’s parents were of Scottish origin, how can he be, in any stretch of the imagination, considered Native American? Remember he was appointed tribal chief. The operative word here is “appointed.” Can’t remember a time in Colonial/American American history when native populations were allowed to run their own affairs.

    I am totally stymied by this situation so any ideas for resolution will certainly be entertained. Thanks.
    John William Tapp


  2. Pingback: “Tapp-ing” Into Lives in 19th Century Spotsylvania County | Our Unbounded Heritage: 12th Century & Beyond

  3. I have also been told we are descendant of Wiccocomico tribe. I know or have read about two Tapp families with similar names . Trying to identify. Thanks for the research. My mother is Angela Louise Tapp. Her father was Vincent Lewis Tapp. We are from Logan County,Ohio.


  4. The photo is of Sitting Bull, a Lakota Sioux who lived in the American West in the mid-to-late 1800s. Machywap is not proven as the father of Chief William Taptico. Actually, I added him without any proof in about 2012 as William’s father after I read an article about the Chiefs of the Powhatan Tribes. He was a Chief of a tribe that was a neighbor to the Wicocomico Tribe and was a close choice to give William a father.


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  6. Joanne, did you ever follow-up on the photo attributed as Machywap Taptico? I’ve seen it a few other places as well and I’m curious, because the mid-1600’s seems a wee bit early for photography. Thanks.
    Ryan Tapp


  7. Pingback: “Tapp-ing” Into Lives in 19th Century Spotsylvania County | Our Unbounded Heritage: 12th Century & Beyond

  8. Interesting. Machywap Taptico is my 11x grandfather. My grandmother’s maiden name is Tapp. I am doing a lot of research on this family and was wondering where you got the book you referenced: Wicocomico Indian Nation of the Powhatan Empire – the Tapp Family Native American Heritage. I would love to read it sometime, and prove the heritage to my family.


      • Thank you. Are you a member of the Wicocomico Indian Nation? I want to become one but the directions on the website are a little unclear. If you are a member, could you please share what you did to join the tribe?


      • I am not a member, but I am hopeful other readers who are will respond. The book I mentioned in this post includes contact information, unfortunately I gave my copy to other family members.


      • Ok, thank you. I sent an email to a contact from the website quite some time ago but have not heard back. Thank you!


      • I purchased it from the Smithsonian’s American Indian Museum in Washington, DC. The title: “Meet Naiche”. It’s a children’s book written by Gabrielle Tayac (Piscataway) and gives a good history of the Indians of Piscataway. Naiche was a friend and classmate of my grandson who is pictured with him in the book.

        “Meet Naiche”
        Gabrielle Tayac (Piscataway)
        Photographs by John Harrington (Siletz)

        Following Naiche Tayac’s daily life at school and at home in rural Maryland, young readers learn about significant Piscataway places and ceremonies, get to know Naiche’s grandfather and great-grandfather—both important chiefs—and accompany Naiche and his family to the annual Awakening of Mother Earth celebration.

        ISBN-10: 1-57178-146-3 (hardcover)
        2002, co-published by NMAI and Council Oak Books
        48 pages, 54 color and black-and-white photographs
        83⁄4 x 111⁄2 inches
        Price: $15.95
        Members save: $3.19


  9. I descend from William Taptico. I have been researching for many years. I am puzzled by the photograph you have cited as Machywap. I may be mistaken however I do believe that is a photograph of Sitting Bull.


  10. I have researched King William Taptico and the Wicocomico Indians for years now and I just came across your blog. I am a decedent and would love to learn more and join the registry however, I can’t find any information up to date. I would be so interested to chat with you if you would be able.
    Please email me sometime:


      • I am also researching the King William Taptico and the Wicocomico Indians. My great grandmother was a Tapp. She was a 7 generation to William Taptico I. I am so excited to find this information you have posted. I have been to The Smithsonian Museums and have never seen the Native American Museum. The next time I go I will have to go there. I have never been able to find anything on anyone past King William Taptico I either. Thank you so much for this information.
        Teresa Waltman


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