Our Descendancy–in Red, White and Blue…

America’s Red, White and Blue…

On June 14, 1777 in Philadelphia,  the Second Continental Congress adopted a resolution: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white, in a blue field representing a new constellation.”

First version of the Union jack used in England from 1606 and Scotland from 1707 – the Flags of England and Scotland superimposed.

First version of the Union jack used in England from 1606 and Scotland from 1707 – the Flags of England and Scotland superimposed.

As to the significance of our flag’s colors–they came from England’s “Union Jack Flag,” our Founding Fathers were very familiar with it. Charles Thomson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, explained the colors for America’s flag; “white signifies purity and innocence; red, hardiness and valor; and blue–vigilance, perseverance and justice”.  That’s the long and the short of the story behind America’s Stars and Stripes.

2nd Continental Congress Flag

The Bolling Family’s Red, White and Blue…

Writing about the flag was easy.  Next, comes “the rub” part of this post.  Some of you may already have researched the Bolling Family’s history and are aware of its “red” or “white” blood lines.  For those of you who haven’t, I’m about to give you a brief explanation below:
Red blood line Bolling’s go back to my 9th paternal great grandfather, Colonel Robert Thomas Bolling (1646-1709), and his wife, Jane Poythress Rolfe (1650-1676), who was a granddaughter of Pocahontas (daughter of Thomas Powhatan Rolfe–only son of Pocahontas and Jane Poythress).  Therefore, our  “red line” descendancy refers to our Native American heritage.
The White blood line Bolling’s go back to the same Colonel Robert Thomas Bolling (as, above); the children he bore with his second wife, Anne Merriweather Stith (1665-1710).
Colonel Robert Bolling and Jane Rolfe had a son named Major John Fairfax Bolling who married Mary Elizabeth Kennon and had 8 children– their children too, continued the Bolling’s red blood line from his mother.
Now–There is yet a third group who claims to descend from the marriage of Major John Kennon Bolling (son of Major John Fairfax Bolling and Mary Elizabeth Kennon) and Elizabeth Blair.  It seems that there was a book published about the descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe and after its publication,  a number of Bollings complained that their ancestors were omitted in the list of the children of John Kennon Bolling and Elizabeth Blair. Since they appeared “out of the blue”, they became known as the “Blue Bollings”.
I have done some research, but, it seems not enough.  More is needed starting with Robert Bolling’s Memoir, originally in French, written before 1764; next the English translation in 1803 by Judge John Robertson that 65 years later in 1868 went to print for the first time.  Some of its contents follow:



Robert Bolling, a son of Major John, wrote “A Memoir of a Portion of the Bolling Family” in French, before 1764. It was translated into English in 1803 by Judge John Robertson and later “fell into the hands of John Randolph of Roanoke.” Sixty-five years later in 1868, it was returned to Judge Robertson and put in print for the first time.

On page 5, Robert mentioned the marriage of Major John to Elizabeth Blair, stating that they had many children, some of whom died in their infancy and that ” ….. those who survived him (he died on January 6, 1757) are:

Thomas, 18 July, 1735
John June, 1737
Robert 28 August, 1738
Mary 28 July, 1744
Edward, 9 September, 1746
Archibald, 20 March 1749 (second son of that name)
Sarah, 16 June, 1748 (second daughter of that name)
Anne, 7 February, 1752 (second daughter of that name)

If Memoir is correct with respect to the children of Major John who survived him, then all of the children born before Thomas, 1735, died. The first five children on the VOLTA and OMSS lists – all died young; the first eight children shown on the PRICE list all died young, were never born, or were not Major John’s children. It’s hard to believe.

The list in MEMOIR was duplicated in “Pocahontas and her Descendants” by Wyndham Robertson who said Major John had nineteen children though he named only seven of them. He omitted Edward, 1746, even though Edward had been included in MEMOIR. CHART says that eleven other children died without issue. therefore MEMOIR, Robertson’s list and CHART are of limited value in identifying the “mysterious Bolling.”

The VOLTA and OMSS lists are essentially identical – they constitute one list, which can be compared to the PRICE list. The difference between these lists identifies the names of these children, real or purported, who should be researched further. See Note 1


This book was published in 1887 and re-printed in 1982. As mentioned above, it states on page 32 that Major John had nineteen children even though it lists only seven, Edward being omitted.

In the preface to his book, Robertson states:

I have to lament the want of completeness I sought as a genealogy, baffled in part by ignorance of the sources to apply to, and in large part, also, by the indifference of many to the object in view. To these causes are owing the many bare and unsightly limbs it exhibits, that disappoint the eye by want of their proper foliage. I hope, however, that these very defects themselves will serve to stimulate many, who will regret to see them, to yet supply these waste places, in some future reprint, with their proper garniture. I submit it as it is, however, with all its defects If I have succeeded in laying a safe foundation whereon others may raise a more complete structure, I shall be content.”

Robinson’s flowery prose almost obscures the point he is trying to make, but obviously he thought his book was incomplete and hoped that future writers would fill in the gaps. Since he knew that Major John had nineteen children, one of whom was his grandfather, Thomas 1735, it is puzzling that he couldn’t name at least some of the other twelve children. Thomas and his wife, Elizabeth Gay, were first cousins.

The gaps in Robertson’s list are interesting. If Major John had fathered only the seven children named in Robertson’s book, Major John and Elizabeth would have had no children during the first seven years of their marriage, three children between 1735 and 1738, then no children during the next six years until Mary was born in 1744, followed by four more childless years, then three more children between 1748 and 1752. These irregular gaps were filled by later researchers. For the names of the spouses of the seven children listed by Robertson see Note 2.

I believe the updates to the memoir above, are within the books listed below.  Hopefully, we can further clarify the issue and perhaps even find the answers.

POCAHONTAS’ DESCENDANTS: A Revision, Enlargement and Extension of the List as Set out by Wyndham Robertson in His Book Pocahontas and Her Descendants (1887) Paperback 1997;  Fourth and Fifth Corrections and Additions to Pocahontas’ Descendants Paperback – June 1, 2009 by Jr. E. Brown (Author); and, Further Corrections and Additions by Stuart E. Brown (Author), Lorraine F. Myers (Author), Jr. Stuart E. Brown (Author) Paperback – March 27, 2010

W. S. Rose.

Sorry to leave you hanging on the topic of the blue blood Bolling lines.  If any of my readers have access to any of these books, I would greatly enjoy hearing from you about your findings.

Until next time…

5 thoughts on “Our Descendancy–in Red, White and Blue…

  1. I am just commenting to let you know of the perfect experience my wife’s princess encountered studying your web site. She picked up numerous details, most notably what it’s like to have an ideal helping character to have many more very easily gain knowledge of selected advanced subject matter. You undoubtedly exceeded our own expectations. Thanks for offering such effective, healthy, explanatory and in addition fun thoughts on this topic to Gloria.


  2. I’m betting you’ve heard quite a bit from descendants of this tree, both Pocahontas as well as the Bolling family. My uncle Roger Dennis Mullen has researched our family tree back to these same ends. His research has been thorough and might interest you in the growth and direction of this genealogy across time.

    What I think might interest you even more is following beyond Colonol Robert Bolling back into the first century. You will find names like Ida of Lorraine, their sons Godfrey and Baldwin the first and second rulers of the Kindom of Jerusalem, Eustace II timelessly embroidered (literally…lol) into the Bayeux Tapestry fighting in the Battle of Hastings, the deciding battle of the Norman Conquest of England.

    And even further Eustace II mother was Matilda De Leuven, a bona fide descendant of the Charlemagne and the “Carolinian” bloodline which was highly sought amongst the noble families of that era as they were descended from the House of David.

    If you would like the additional research from Pocahontas to date that my uncle has done, to add a branch of the tree to your more complete research, Im certain he would be happy to. Dennis is a journalism school product from Kansas University, local historian and occasional speaker in classrooms on the historical records and significance of Jesse James and William Quantrill, a lifelong mechanic in Eudora KS and now retired. He sails the East coast most of the year and makes his living writing for sailing publications. Feel free to contact me at mikewelch101@gmail.com as he isn’t likely to reply to unknown email address, and I can forward yours to him. Meanwhile I am copying your pieces here to send to him also.

    Thank you for sharing,
    Michael Theodore Welch

    Liked by 1 person

      • Joanne-

        I left this email with no real way to return to it or receive notification that you had replied. I only have a minute here and found this thread again through a google search of my uncles name. I have an interesting update and will e-mail you directly. The email will come from mikewelch101@gmail.

        Have a beautiful day!


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