POCAHONTAS-L ArchivesArchiver > POCAHONTAS > 2009-03 > 1237214980
Subject: Re: [POCAHONTAS] John Roaffe on ship Confidence in 1638
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 2009 10:49:40 -0400
John Roaffe/Rolfe and his brother Henry were sons of Henry and Honor Rolfe,
of Whiteparish, Wiltshire, England. John was married to Mary Scullard in New
World records, not an Ann, so perhaps there is here a second wife, or a
confusion of names. I have read that Ann on the Confidence was thought to be
his sister, but then where would his wife have been? The following source,
which has multiple entries for the children of Henry and Honor, names John's
wife as one Joann Ann Coles:
Henry was married to someone named Honour (also his mother's name), and some
sources seem to be confused by the two Honor/Honours. Both John and Henry
settled in Massachusetts, altho Henry did not arrive on the Confidence with
I have never seen any indication that these Rolfes were thought to be
related to the John Rolfe who married Pocahontas. I suppose they could
eventually go back to a common ancestor over the generations, but to the
best of my knowledge this has never been demonstrated.
These Massachusetts Rolfes migrated south into NJ & NY and have presented me
with many dead ends in the search for my own Rolfe line (William, b. apt
1769 in VA, d. 27 Jan 1838 in Essex Co., NY). Every Rolfe lead I have
pursued in the northeast, midwest, and west has gone back to this family.
>From what I have found online, the descendants of Henry and Honor are not
completely, nor reliably, worked out and people have posted contradictory
I am working on my laptop, not my desktop where I have bookmarked some of
these websites, but below is some information I just found through a search.
If you are interested in this line of Rolfes, do a search of your own as
there is much interesting information online about them.
-Mary Tim Baggott
Here's something on Henry Rolfe:
NOTES: Henry Rolfe's father (John Rolfe, b. ca.
was the brother of Honor Rolfe's *maternal *grandfather (believe it or not),
as Honor's mother Agnes <http://vault.hanover.edu/%7Esmith/r8.html> also
married a Rolfe (Richard, b. ca.
who may or may not have been directly related to her.
Henry and family are said to have emigrated to New England with Henry's
brother John and a sister, though apparently not on the very same ship.
John and family (described differently in two published transcriptions I'm
looking at presently) sailed on the *Confidence *in 1638. There is no
mention of Henry in either of the transcriptions; presumably he and his
family came earlier, since son Benjamin was born on this side in that year.
Henry is listed as owning land in Newbury in 1642.
Through the kindness of distant cousin Jonathan Rolfe, descendant of
Henry's brother John, I have two more transcriptions for the Confidence voyage
of 1638, indicating that John (aged 50) sailed with his wife "Ann" and their
daughter Hester, plus an 18-year-old servant named Whittle or Thomas
Wittle. The ship sailed from Southampton on April 24, 1638, arriving in
Boston, under Master John Gibson (or Jobson), carrying 200 tons.
Another distant cousin, Marie Thurman-Vann, adds interesting side-notes
to this story. She points out that servant Thomas Wittle is part of a
long-standing family relationship with the Rolfes. Honor Rolfe's great
grandfather Henry Rolfe <http://vault.hanover.edu/~smith/r9.html>, in his 1558
will <http://vault.hanover.edu/~smith/r9will.html>, leaves items to "Alis
Whytehere, my servant," while her husband's father, John
in his 1625 will <http://vault.hanover.edu/~smith/r6will.html>, leaves money
to "Richard Whiteer," who was actually married to Mary Rolfe, sister of the
Henry and John in this generation. (Marrying a servant was not at all
uncommon in Shakespeare's time, and of course did not alter Thomas Wittle's
servant status, who--according to Marie--was the son of Richard and Mary and
thus servant to his own uncle. The coincidence of the same servant family
on both sides of the Henry-Honor marriage confirms that their two Rolfe
lines are fairly closely related.) Marie continues: "Thomas [Wittle]'s
descendant was John Greenleaf Whittier, who wrote a poem
his kinsman, Samuel Rolfe, who went to Harvard and became a minister and was
killed with an axe thrown to his head standing in front of his home in
Massachusetts." (According to Whittier's own notes on the poem, it was
Benjamin Rolfe, and he was killed by a shot through his front door.)
Here's a footnote w info on Henry & John. A search should bring up the
actual wording of their wills:
(45) John Rolfe, who married Mary Scullard, was one of the sons of Henry
Rolfe of Newbury, who died there 1 March, 1643. See will of Henry
Rolfe in *Essex
County Probate Records*, vol. I, pp. 21-2. Henry Rolfe was the brother of
John Rolfe, who died in Newbury 8 Feb., 1664. See will of John Rolfe in *Essex
County Probate Records*, vol. I, pp. 438-9: he leaves £10 to "John Rofe my
brothrs soun and vnto his two daughtrs Marie and Rebecca Rofe five pounds.
For Henry and John Rolfe, see *Register*, vol. 66, pp. 250-1, where their
English ancestry is set forth. It may be noted that at Woodbridge, N. J.,
there was a Benjamin Cromwell (with wife Sarah) who was called a brother of
John Rolfe, Junior, in the probate proceedings of Rolfe, 1697 (*New Jersey
Wills*, p, 394). For this Rolfe family, see Hoyt’s *Salisbury and Amesbury
Families*, vol. I, p. 301; and Paige’s *Cambridge*, p. 645.
Here's a reference to Thomas Wittle/Whittier with a mention of his travel
On Sun, Mar 15, 2009 at 4:22 PM, MDNA <> wrote:
> Any info if this Roaffe is connected to the Rolfe gentleman who married
> Ship: Confidence
> Date: April 24, 1638 (Arrival)
> Departing: Southampton
> Arriving: Boston
> Master: John Jobson
> Ship Description: 200 tons
> John Roaffe age 50
> wife: Ann
> daughter: Hester
> servant: Thomas Wittle
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