I have numerous Abernathys in my line, and I thought I'd share some infor-
mation that my father, George S. Little, gathered in his research over
some 30 years.
Many claim an 'Indian Princess'... or just a plain old 'Indian' in their lineage,
yet to date we've been unable to identify the particular ancestor.One early
resident of Perry Co., MO, first found in the 1870 census was Jefferson Milner...
born ca 1830 he gave the Cherokee Nation as his birthplace... his wife, Ann was
then age 37, born in Alabama... with their children John 20, Martha 14, Mary 12
and Belle 11 all born in Mississippi... their youngest child was Franklin, b ca
1865 in Illinois.So was Jefferson Milner an Indian?We'd suspect he was, and
his family legend is that he is.
The son, John, born in Mississippi ca 1850 married Sarah Roundtree.She too was
believed to be Indian... She is enumerated in the 1910 census or Perry County,
MO, aged 53, and widowed.John and Sarah Roundtree Milner were the parents of 9
children, one of whom was William F. 'Bill' Milner, long the pilot of the
Chester-Claryville Ferry.We will include more of this family legend in the
'sometime in the future' chapter on Claryville in the Bois Brule bottom... for
now, back to Indian legends.
The most famous Indian Princess of all was MATOAKA 1595?-1617, daughter of
Powhatan, the Chicahominy chief.She is, of course, better known as POCAHONTAS,
from whom so very many today claim descent.There is a tradition, mostly doubted
by historians, that she saved the life of John Smith in 1608.Later, in 1612,
she was captured by the English, and 'Americanized' in Jamestown, where she was
renamed Rebecca.Two years later she married John Rolfe, a colonist, a marriage
approved by both her father and the Governor of the colony.Pocahontas was to
die in England in 1816, on the eve of her return to Virginia.She was buried in
the chapel of Gravesend Church, leaving but one son, Thomas Rolfe.
So, all descendants of Thomas Rolfe take note!!!From some undocumented data,
gathered in bits over a long period of time, we present the following
The Indian Princess POCAHONTAS, 1595?-1617, m. THOMAS ROLFE..
Their only son,
1617 - ?m. Miss Poythness
Their daughter (?) m.Colonel Robert Bolling
John Bollingm.Miss Kennon
Daughter (?)m.Richard Randolph
Daughter (?)m.Colonel Fleming
Daughter (?)m.Dr. William Gay
Daughter (?)m.Thomas Eldridge
Daughter (?)m.James Murray
If this is correct then anyone who descends from Colonel Robert Bolling must
also descend from the famous POCAHONTAS.
And another story:
Much closer to home, being of course Perry County, MO, and a few generations
down the line we found the following in a booklet published in 1926, entitled
"Old Apple Creek Church and its Early Members";
"Joseph Abernathy, known as 'Uncle Joe' was the head of another branch of this
Abernathy family (the previous paragraph made reference to John Abernathy, the
son of Robert).He too was born in Lincoln County, North Carolina.He was
one of the earliest in the Apple Creek settlement.His farm was just west of
the Church grounds, on the south side of the road to Pocahontas.With straight
black hair, dark complexion, high cheekbones, and erect posture, 'Uncle Joe',
according to the traditions coming down from early days, was part Indian... a
descendant of the Virginia Princess, Pocahontas.The town of Pocahontas was
named in honor of 'Uncle Joe' and in recognition of this tradition.Evidently
he was a relative... the testamentary proof indicate she was a brother of the
celebrated Elizabeth Abernathy, who married the son of "Gentleman" John Perkins,
and who 'was said to be the handsomest woman of her day.She was tall and
handsome, and her form and moving was graceful and elegant.Her eyes were dark
and sparkling, and her hair as black as the raven's wing.It is said the
Abernathy's received their dark complexion from the Pocahontas blood. "See
account of marriage of Ephraim Perkins and Elizabeth Abernathy, by Col. M. L.
McCorkle, in "Gentleman" John Perkins, Lenoir Newstopic, Lenoir, N.C. ..."
Truth or fiction???Who can say?... Can anyone expand or confirm???
The above information was found in the Summer 1989 edition of the Perry County
(missouri) Heritage periodical, published by the Perry County Historical
Society, in Perryville, MO.The Society maintains a Historical Home and
Office/Library at 11 S. Spring, Perryville.