Robert Bolling and Jane Rothe

Robert Bolling and Jane Rolfe
( Please note, story is written with some grammatical errors to keep the authenticity of the article.)

Robert Bolling (b. 1646) of All Hollows, Barkin Parish, London, arrived in Virginia in 1660 or 1661 at the age of 14.27 Although details are sketchy, Bolling apparently prospered through trade and land speculation. In 1675, he married Jane Rolfe, the only child of Thomas and Jane Rolfe of Surry County. The couple made their home at Kippax Plantation in what was then Charles City County. The property was likely purchased by Bolling in the last quarter of the 17th century.

After a year of marriage, Jane Rolfe Bolling gave birth to her only child John in 1676. Although few facts are available on the death of Jane in 1676, it is likely that she died of complications from childbirth. Jane Rolfe Bolling is reputed to be buried on the Kippax Plantation property along with her father Thomas.

Robert Bolling was a successful merchant and had an active public life. He was elected to the House of Burgesses in 1688, and as a vestryman of Bristol Parish. By the beginning of the 18th century, his property holdings had increased almost fivefold; at the time of his death in 1709, his property totaled nearly 4,000 acres. Bolling’s lands were well situated to take advantage of Native-American trade patterns. These properties were relatively close to the well-established trading paths that extended in a southwesterly direction from the falls of the Appomattox River. His 500-acre tract in Henrico County was, in the 17th century, still part of the frontier. His extensive landholdings across the river in Prince George County were even better located. The family seat of Kippax bordered on Francis Eppes’s Great Patent and lay between his estate, Bermuda Hundred, and Fort Henry on the Appomattox. Colonel Francis Eppes (1628-1678) ran a store at Bermuda Hundred and imported trade goods from London merchants. He sold them to colonists and independent “selfe-ended traders” who in turn sold the goods to the Native Americans.”

Robert Bolling’s involvement in trade with Native Americans is confirmed by an entry in the diary of William Byrd II. On February 26, 1709, Byrd noted that “a man from North Carolina came to him [Bolling] to buy Indian goods but because he had no pay he [Bolling] let him have none.”

Walter Chiles, a merchant who in 1641 secured permission to venture southwest of the Appomattox River and engage in trade with Native Americans, also owned land in the general vicinity of Bolling’s Kippax Plantation.” For some family members, trading served as their primary source of income. For instance, Robert Bolling’s son John, who lived at nearby Cobbs Plantation, received all the profits of an immense trade with his countrymen and one even still greater with the Indians.

 

Linebaugh, Donald W. Kippax  Plantation: Traders, Merchants, and Planters. An Exhibit Celebrating the Families of Pocahontas.Center for Archaeological Research, the College of William and Mary, Historic Hopewell Foundation, Inc. The City of Hopewell (1995).

 
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