When I began researching my mother’s family line, I was rolling right along, because her family was the one I knew the most about. My mother’s maiden name? check – Janet Shelton. Her mother’s maiden name? check – Irma Frances Elliott [who would absolutely kill me for putting that on the internet, if she had lived long enough to encounter the internet]. Her mother’s maiden name? check – Carrie Frances Mills. I figured that was enough information to really kick off that branch of the tree, so I started filling in the blanks on Ancestry.com and watching all of those little leaves pop up and start waving for my attention. I didn’t know the name of Carrie’s mother, but it didn’t take long to find it. Pocahontas Ann Elliott … wait, WHAT???? [insert sound of screeching brakes here] POCAHONTAS ???
That can’t be right – I never heard that – ever – not even a hint! So I started following some of those little leaves, and every single one of them led to the same conclusion: my great-great-grandmother’s name was Pocahontas Ann Elliott [a distant cousin to the Elliotts her daughter eventually married]. I found U.S. census records and even a couple of other Ancestry trees that seemed to confirm it. Pocahontas Ann Elliott, born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia in 1857 — I could not WAIT to call my mother.
“Mom! You never told me your great-grandmother’s name was Pocahontas!”
“It wasn’t – that’s silly.”
“Yes it was … I found it on-line.”
“Then you found the wrong person. I never heard that in all my life.”
“I’m not kidding. She’s listed in census forms and everything.”
“I am absolutely certain that’s the wrong person. No one ever, ever told me my great-grandmother’s mother was named Pocahontas, and I know my grandmother would have mentioned something like that.”
“But Mama …”
“Nope – it’s the wrong person. Keep looking. ”
So I did. I ordered records from the Virginia Department of Vital Records. The birth certificate of Carrie Frances Mills lists her mother as Pocahontas Ann Elliott. There is a birth certificate for Pocahontas Ann Elliott, listing the same parents I had found for her – Samuel L. Elliott and Nancy Hutson Elliott. There is also a marriage certificate showing Pocahontas Ann Elliott marrying John Henry Mills. Yep – it all checked out. I could not WAIT to call my mother.
“Mom! HA! I was RIGHT!” [I *LOVE* to be right. Ask my husband.]
“Right about what?”
“Your great-grandmother’s name was Pocahontas Ann Elliott Mills.”
“I don’t think so.”
“I have documents that prove it,” and told her about them in detail.
“Well … then I guess it has to be right. Wonder why nobody ever told me?”
We still have no idea where the name came from, or why she was named that. Her brothers have perfectly normal names – John and William. I assume she may have been called Ann, but she is not listed as Ann in anything I can find – it all says Pocahontas. I know she’s not related to THE Pocahontas (of Virginia history fame), but Samuel and Nancy obviously liked the name enough to tag their daughter with it.
I don’t have any pictures of her, but am trying to coordinate with some of Mama’s cousins to figure it out and see if anyone has a photo. I’m also not certain where she is buried – I’m dying to know what her gravestone says. In fact, I don’t even know when she died. She was in the 1900 U.S. census, but I don’t see anything after that.
Still … Pocahontas. Terribly cool.