The Powhatan Confederacy Past & Present by James Mooney


The Pamunkey

The Pamunkey are the remnant of the nucleus tribe of the old confederacy, and the lineal descendants of Powhatan and his successors. They have maintained their organization as a tribe under colonial and state government, and have kept up more of the Indian form and tradition than any of the others. They have a state reservation of some 800 acres, the same which Jefferson described in 1781, in a bend of Pamunkey river, in King William county, Virginia, with postoffice and railroad station at White House, 24 miles eastward from Richmond. They derive their living almost entirely from the water, taking large quantities of herring and shad by seine, according to the season, with ducks, reedbirds, and an occasional sturgeon for disposal to Baltimore commission houses. Their fields of corn and beans are cultivated chiefly by hired negro labor. They neither vote nor pay taxes, but are governed by an elected chief and council, subject to the supervision of trustees appointed by the state. Deer and wild turkey are still found in their country, and, in continuance of the old colonial allegiance, they make an annual Thanksgiving present of game to the governor of the state. Their chief in 1900 was Theophilus Dennis, who has since been succeeded by George M. Cook, his brother-in-law. They number at home and abroad about 150 souls.

According to the statement of former chief Terrill Bradby of the Pamunkey, aged sixty-six in 1899, the numerous Bradbys of the Pamunkey and Chickahominy tribes all have descent from a white man, his great-grandfather, who, about the Revolutionary period, married a Chickahominy woman, by whom he had three sons, one of whom was Terrill’s grandfather.1

  • Allmond, E. R. (Mattapony), w and 6 c.
  • Bradby, Wm. Terrill (ex-chief), and 6 c and step-c; scattered.
  • Bradby, Wm. S. (w white).
  • Bradby, Cruzetta, and 5 c.
  • Bradby, Riley, and 2 c.
  • Bradby, James E., w and 2 c.
  • Bradby, Roger, and w.
  • Bradby, Charles S. (ex-chief), w and 4 c.
  • Bradby, Evans, m and 3 c.
  • Collins, Simeon, w and 6 c.
  • Collins, Ellen.
  • Collins, Emma J.
  • Collins, Union, w and 4 c.

1 Abbreviations: m = mother; w = wife; h= husband; s= son; d = daughter; c = child or children; grc = grandchildren; grs = grandson; b = brother;sr = sister.


  • Collins, John T., w and 4 c.
  • Collins, Alfonzo (w Mattapony); Philadelphia.
  • Cook, Mindora.
  • Cook, George M., m, w and 5 c.
  • Dennis, Theophilus (ex-chief), and m.
  • Dennis, John T.
  • Dennis, Thomas.
  • Dennis, Elizabeth (Philadelphia?).
  • Hawkes, Delila (h alien mixed-blood); Petersburg.
  • Holmes, Richard L., w and 6 c.
  • Langston, John (w Mattapony), w and 9 c.
  • Langston, Lucy A., and 6 c.
  • Langston, Wm., and w.
  • Langston, James H. (Richmond).
  • Miles, Rev. James P., and 3 c.
  • Miles, Jacob (w white), and 5 c.
  • Miles, Robert W., w and 5 c.
  • Page, A. J., w and 1 c.
  • Page, Ellen.
  • Page, James E., and 1 c (New York).
  • Page, Leroy (Newport News).
  • Sampson, Richard, and 1 c. (New York).
  • Sampson, Sterling Y. (w white), and 1 c.
  • Swett, W. G., and 4 c.
  • Swett, George A. (w Mattapony), w and 1 c; Pinner’s Point, Norfolk co.
  • Swett, Frank.
  • Others with Mormons in the West.

The Mattapony1

The present Mattapony are chiefly an offshoot from the Pamunkey. They have state recognition as a tribe, without citizenship or taxes, and have a small reservation of some 50 acres, with larger personal holdings, on the south bank of Mattapony river, King William county, about 10 miles distant from White House. They live principally by lumbering and farming, and have no chief or council, but combine their affairs with the Pamunkey. They number about 40 souls.

  • Allmond, Thornton, w and 3 c.
  • Allmond, Caley, m, 6 b and sr.
  • Allmond, Esten, and 1 c; also married d with 1 c. in Philadelphia.
  • Collins, Abbie (h Pamunkey).
  • Costello, Norman, and 2 c.
  • Costello, Epharis, w and 5 c.
  • Langston, Mary Eliza (h Pamunkey).
  • Major, Lee, w and 3 c.
  • Reid, Blanche (h white), and 1 c; in Texas.
  • Tuppins, Nannie, 1 c and nephew (Baltimore?).
  • Tuppins, Alice.

The Chickahominy

The Chickahominy, although without regular organization or state recognition, are the largest of the existing bands, occupying individual holdings along both sides of the Chickahominy in Charles City and New Kent counties, besides about 20 persons in neighboring counties. A few Pamunkey reside with them, and both bands are much intermarried. They divide their time about equally between fishing and farming, according to the season. Within the last few years they are making an effort to effect a tribal organization, under the leadership of William H. Adkins. They number in all about 220 souls, of whom nearly three-fourths bear the family names of Adkins and Bradby.

  • Adkins, Wm. H., chief (Bradley’s Store P. O., Charles City co.),w, m, and 7 c.
  • Adkins, Spotswood, w and 8 c.
  • Adkins, James E., w and 11 c.
  • Adkins, Thomas Allen, w and 5 c.
  • Adkins, Thomas (senior), w and 4 c.
  • Adkins, Henry E., w and 11 c.
  • Adkins, Allen, w and 3 c.
  • Adkins, Aurelius, w and 2 c.
  • Adkins, William, w and 7 c.
  • Adkins, Prince Edward, w and I c.
  • Adkins, Tazewell, w and 2 c.
  • Adkins,Edward (Providence Forge P.O., New Kent co.), w and 9c.
  • Adkins, Robert, w and 3 c.
  • Bradby, Sanford (Bradley’s Store. P.O., Charles City co.), w.
  • Bradby, John Williams, w and 2 c.
  • Bradby, Burrell, w (a Pamunkey) and 8 c.
  • Bradby, John A., 1 c.
  • Bradby, Porterfield, w and 3 c.
  • Bradby, Allen.
  • Bradby, Henry Tazewell (Blair’s Wharf P.O., Prince George Co.);w was a Canadian Indian, 6 c.
  • Bradby, Bolen (Bolling?), Fergusson’s Wharf P.O., Isle of Wight co.; w white, 1 s.
  • Bradby, Luella (mouth of Chickahominy, James City co.), 5 c.
  • Bradby, Maria J. (Providence Forge P.O., New Kent co.), 4 c.
  • Bradby, Alexander J. (Boulevard P.O., New Kent co.), w and 6c.
  • Cotman, Robert (Roxbury P.O., Charles City co.; some “foreign” Virginia tribe; grandfather white), w and 3 c.
  • Holmes, Elias (Newport News, Warwick co., from New Kent co.), w and 3 c.
  • Holmes, Irene (Newport News), 2 sr.
  • Jefferson, Thomas (Bradley’s Store P.O., Charles City Co.), 2 b,sr.
  • Jefferson, Peter (Westover P.O., Charles City co.).
  • Jefferson, Sherman, w and 2 c.
  • Jones, John (Bradley’s Store P.O.), w and 5 c.
  • Miles, Graham (Bradley’s Store P.O.), w and 8 c.
  • Miles, Graham B. (unmarried nephew of above), 2 b, 5 sr.
  • Miles, Harold (a Pamunkey, Newport News), w.
  • Miles, Jesse (Westover P.O., Charles City co.).
  • Stuart, John, and w (Providence Forge P.O., New Kent co.).
  • Swett, John J., w, m, and 1 c.
  • Thompson, William (half-brother of Jesse Miles), Westover P.O.
  • Wynne, Ferdinand (a Pamunkey with Chickahominy w,Providence Forge, New Kent co.), w and 11 c.
  • Wynne, Winslow (Pamunkey, brother of Ferdinand Wynne, widower of Chickahominy w ), 1 d (adopted in Pamunkeys), 2s; Tunstall P.O., New Kent co.


The Nansemond

The Nansemond have no state recognition or tribal organization, and reside chiefly in the country southwest from Portsmouth and Norfolk, in Norfolk county. They are all truck farmers, shipping their produce to Norfolk commission houses. Many also have served from time to time as sailors on coasting vessels. Although without any regular chief, their principal man is probably A. A. Bass, of Bowers Hill, Norfolk county. They number about 180 souls. The comparatively large number of family names is due to the frequent intermarriage of children of the original stock, chiefly Bass and Weaver, with “whites” in Portsmouth and elsewhere. In consequence of this dispersion, those at home have lost trace of the names of some of the younger generation abroad, so that the whole number may fairly be placed at 200 of the mixed blood.

  • Bass, A.A. (w white), and 8 c.
  • Bass, Jesse L. (b of above), w white.
  • Bass, Azriah (b of above), m and 6 c.
  • Bass, Winfield.
  • Bass, Paul, and w.
  • Bass, Eli N., and w.
  • Bass, James N. (w white), and 2 c.
  • Bass, J. T. (w white).
  • Bass, Fred.
  • Bass, Josephine.
  • Bass, Iverson (b of A. A. Bass), w white, and 3 c.
  • Bateman, Cornelia (h white), 2 c and 3 grc. Some in Portsmouth.
  • Bateman, Charles (f white); Baltimore.
  • Bateman, Lewis (f white); Suffolk.
  • Bateman, Hal (f white); Suffolk.
  • Bissell, Edward (w white), 3 c.
  • Bissell, Walter (m white).
  • Bissell, Mit (m white).
  • Bond, Ellen (h white), and 5 c; 3 others married to “whites”.
  • Bond, 2 grs of Ellen Bond (in white).
  • Bond, Lemwood, and 2 s (m white).
  • Bright, Elizabeth (h white), and 4 c.
  • Bright, Louisa, and 5 c.
  • Bright, Harlan.
  • Bright, Eva, and 2 b (grc of Elizabeth Bright, m white).
  • Brady, Ella, and 1 c (h white).
  • Caple, Emma, and 1 c (h white).
  • Collins, Kerry (w white); Portsmouth.
  • Collins, John, and — c; Baltimore.
  • Collins, “Bird”, and — c; Baltimore.
  • Collins, Maggie, and — c; Baltimore.
  • Craigins, Mary (h white), and 3 c; Savannah.
  • Gaylord, Maggie (h white), and 3 c.
  • Gray, Harriet Ann (h white), and c; Portsmouth.
  • Green, Jurutha (h white); Portsmouth.
  • Harmon, Edward (white? his wife is a Weaver), w and 5 c; Portsmouth.
  • Harmon, Edward, Jr (grs of above); Portsmouth.


  • Holloway, Missouri (h white), and 10 c; Brambleton.
  • Howard, Sarah (h white), and 5 c.
  • Jones, Emma (f white).
  • Okay, Maggie (h white), and 2 c; Portsmouth.
  • Osborn, Emma (h white).
  • Porter, Amanda (h white), and 3 c.
  • Price, John (f and w white), and 3 c.
  • Price, George (f and w white), and 2 c; Portsmouth.
  • Rowland, Fannie (h white), and 1 c; Portsmouth.
  • Sawyer, Emerson (w white), and 2 c; Brambleton.
  • Sawyer, Samuel (w white), and 5 c; Baltimore.
  • Scott, Gertie (h white).
  • Sebastian, Ann.
  • Simcoe, Mary (h white), and 2 c.
  • Weaver, W. W. (last speaker of the language, died 1902, aged 84), and w.
  • Weaver, James E., w and 4 c.
  • Weaver, W. W. Jr; Portsmouth.
  • Weaver, Cornelius (w white), and 4 c; Philadelphia.
  • Weaver, Henrietta.
  • Weaver, Lavinia, and 3 c; Baltimore.
  • White, Emma (h white), and 2 c; Portsmouth.
  • White, Lovey Ann (h white), and 3 c; Portsmouth.
  • Wilkins, Molly (h white).
  • Williams, Drusilla; Portsmouth.

Other Bands

Besides the four larger bands, we have information orally and by correspondence of several other small groups or detached families of mixed-blood stock of the same Powhatan origin, numbering altogether possibly 120 souls. What seems to be the largest of these, according to Pamunkey information, resides on Mattapony river, about Aylett postoffice, in upper King William county, the principal family names being Adams and Holmes. They are said to number about 40 in all, and to be in very backward condition as compared with the Pamunkey, with whom they have little communication, although sometimes visiting the Mattapony.

Another band of nearly the same number is situated south of Rappahannock river, about Lloyd or Battery postoffice, in upper Essex county, the most common family name being Nelson. They are said to show as much of Indian blood as the Pamunkey, holding themselves apart from both white and negro, and are represented as fairly prosperous and intelligent. They are probably the descendants of the old Nantaughtacund tribe, known later, with others, under the name of Portobacco.

Another small group is reported on the head of Pocoson river, York county, northwest from Hampton, the principal family name being Wise.


On the north side of York river, at Gloucester Point, Gloucester county, are the descendants of a family of Sampsons, whose ancestors came originally from the Pamunkey reservation.

On the Eastern shore there are said to be a very few mixed-bloods still living in the neighborhood of Accomac Courthouse (Drummondtown), in Accomac county; and also a few bearing the family name of Miles near Fisher’s Inlet, in southern Northampton county.

Bureau of American Ethnology
Washington, D.C.


22 responses

  1. Looking for info on Allen Bradby . . .

    1. I’m from Pamunkey but That person seems to be from Chickahominy. Wish I could help.

      1. Do you have any info on the original Bradby? According to William Terrill the original Bradby had 3 sons, James settled with the chicahominy, had 3 sons . . one of them started the Bradby name in the Pamunkey nation . . . is this correct?

      2. Yes. James Bradby married a Chickahominy woman ca. 1725 I hear. William Terrill’s dad William was brother of my grandpa’s great grandpa Edward Bradby.

      3. Hello Ken,
        It’s me again, Ok so I have uncovered a lot of family info since we last communicated . . I took my family line back to 1748. The problem is I am trying to figure out the origins of the Bradby name . . . I have a lot of conflicting info. I will give you what I have an tell me if this makes sense to you. I have a Richard Bradby Born 1710 a White man, married to Elizabeth. they had 3 sons
        Edward Sr b 1748 Richard b. 1750 and James b. 1746. from these people I am trying to connect the Chickahominy and the Pamunkey, I have Edward linked to the Chickahominy and James starting the Pamunkey. can you verify any of this?
        From Documents I have read, there were a lot of “Bradby’s” In Virginia going back as far as 1600’s I am trying to find the family that moved into the Nations and began our families . .
        Thanks for your time

      4. Good info. The Bradbys came from a white man, Richard Bradby, who married a Chickahominy woman. I heard he came from England on a mission to introduce Natives to Christianity. His son, Edward Sr., had a son Edward Jr, who served in the Civil War, had a sister named Caroline, who married a man, Major Cook, father of chief George Major Cook, my great grandfather. I heard Edward Sr. was allowed to come to Pamunkey as a result of his house in Chickahominy, along with many others, being burned to the ground during the Bacon Rebellion.

        Oral history, but it’s the best I can do!


      5. Are you familiar with Terrill Bradby’s account of Origins? This is going to take a bit of copy paste so bare with me.

        “The Bradby line as already noted springs from
        James Bradby, the Baptist evangelist who joined the Indians in 1793. Terrill Bradby, late chief at
        Pamunkey, told Mooney that he had three sons. one of them Terrill’s grandfather. ”

        this is also text from that same document . . . .

        “a James M. Bradby, listed as a resident of New Kent County, seated upon 250 acres located on West Run, one of two tributaries flowing south into Herring Creek and thence into James River. More probably related to the Chickahominy line is Burwell Bradby, resident of Charles City County,”

        Here is more of an accurate account from Terrill

        “Of particular interest is the tradition surround-ing the introduction of the family name, Bradby,
        found both at Chickahominy and Pamunkey. Mooney cites the late Chief William Terrill
        Bradby, of the latter tribe, to the effect that all his namesakes in the two bands stem from a White
        man, his great-grandfather, who lived about the time of the Revolution. This individual married
        a Chickahominy woman, by whom he had three
        sons, one of them Chief Terrill’s grandfather”

        Now this is what I got from E.P. Bradby

        “In 1720 there came to Virginia a man by the name of Bradby. He was known as a dissenter and had fled from England in order to escape the intolerance of the Established Church and secure freedom for himself and his family in the worship of God. He was doomed to disappointment,however, for he found the struggle in Virginia over religious liberty even more bitter than it was in England. But he settled in Virginia and reared his family, at least one of his children,James, inheriting all his father’ deep desire for freedom in the worship of God. In 1793, accordingly, James Bradby, who had in the meantimebecome one of the despised Baptist, fore- swearing the habitations of white men, choose to make his home with the Chickahominy Indians. They gladly received him, gave him full permission to worship God as he pleased, and listened to his teachings of the Word of God. He was finally adoptedinto the tribe, marriedan Indian wife, cast his lot with the Indiansand won practicallythe whole tribe to Christ.”

        I have 2 different dates here I know most of it is Oral history but if we can narrow down the names we can put the puzzle together, I sent you a FB like request . . . talk to you soon . . .

      6. I was just doing some reading on Bacon’s rebellion and I am a bit confused. The dates of the Rebellion were 1676 and 1677, this is almost 71 years before Edward Bradby Sr was born . . . When you said he moved to Chickahominy because their houses were burned out from the rebellion, I think there made be something else going on.This needs more looking into . .

  2. Do you have an email were we can talk off blog? a lot easier I think.

  3. Hello, thanks for posting all this great info. Do you know of anyone who is researching the Pamunkey Langstons? I would like to correspond with someone to find out if my Virginia Langstons are related to them. Thanks.

    1. Don’t know anyone researching any Pamunkey info, actually. Just started a blog to inform folks of info I came across while writing a book. I know the name Langston has been associated with Pamunkey since at least the early 1700s. If your ancestors are from Virginia, there’s a good chance they are connected to the reservation in some way. If you look through places like & search Langston, you may find contacts who can help. Ken

  4. Does anyone know where or why William Bradby is William Terrill Bradby ? My last name is Terrill , even spelled that way . Our family was around since the beginning of the european colonization of America . Recently Ive learned of a possiable connection of our family to the Powhaten and the Pamunkey in particular . any help or if you could steer me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

    1. William Terrill Bradby was the son of William Bradby. He and his brother Edward (my ggggrandfather came from Chickahominy tribe. Hope that helps.

  5. do you know of ambrose lipscomb married a shelyon or gissage

  6. Do you have any information on Union Collins? I was told he was adopted by Chief Cook. Union was my great grandfather and just trying to research anything about him. Thanks!

    1. Collins family has been on Pamunkey for many years. There was a John Collins who married chief William Terrill Bradby’s sister. There’s a John Collins on Pamunkey now. Hope that helps.

  7. What information do you have as far as the Green or Michael family having roots in the Pamunkey or surrounding nations

  8. How’s it going? Quick question, how is the BIA designating CDIB for the pamunkey tribe if you don’t mind me asking. Will they assume the same standards as the western tribes, even if your grandmother was “genetically” 50%, but on the original rolls as both parents being native she is considered 100% and her grandchild if the descended from two generations of non-indian would still be considered 1/4 indian by CDIB? I’m Chickahominy, but heading to Canada for grad school next month. I was informed I’d be better identifying as a Metis than as an aboriginal in Canada if CDIB requirements were incapable of being met when state tribes got federally recognized. My apologies on the long message, I’ve tried reaching out to a couple of the new england tribes, they’ve all told me they don’t used CDIB they designate their one native blood by lineage. Can you assume the same will be true as more virginia tribes become federally recognized?

    Nice wordpress by the way! I was thinking of starting one on how S.T.E.M education can be promoted in native communities in such a way it becomes attractive to our youth.

    1. I would call the Pamunkey museum listed in the West Point directory to find out who to speak with in regards to your question. Good luck.

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