When I retired from the military in 1972, I wanted to know more about my ancestors and about my relatives. Some of my kind I was very close to while growing up, but I had not seen many of them in the 27 years I was in the service.
I thought I would put together a family tree of the Vanovers, Shorts, Flemings and Brummitts. I was not sure of how to get started. I was working in California and most of my kin were in Virginia and Kentucky.
I ran an ad in The Mountain Eagle and the Coalfield Progress in Norton, Va., asking relatives to send me information about our ancestors and their descendents so I could put it all together in our family tree I was doing. Soon information from many states and overseas filled a large bin in my garage. It took me forever to put everything that I had gathered into something that looked like a family tree booklet.
With the help of my daughter, Donna Kay, doing the typing for me, we soon had finished. At that time I was the manager of printing for my company and had all the tools to start printing. I made a couple of hundred copies and sent out word that if any of my kin wanted copies, to get in touch with me. I ended up printing more copies, and my postage bill was out of sight.
Sometime later I went back to Jenkins to visit my parents, and everyone was telling me what a great job I did on our family tree. My mother then told me something that blew my mind. She said we were descendants of Pocahontas.
My mom was a Short before she married my dad, and my great-great-grandfather, William Short, had married Elizabeth Bolling, and her ancestor was Col. Robert Bolling, who was married to Jane Rolfe, born in 1655, and who was the granddaughter of Pocahontas and Thomas Rolfe.
Then I found out that my great-great-grandfather had also married Mary Polly Birchfield of the family that the small town of Birchfield was named for, and found out that the two wives gave my great-great-grandfather 25 or 30 children.
I’ve been told that maybe Elizabeth Bolling was not the mother of my greatgrandfather, James Tipton Short, born 1817, and that Mary Polly Birchfield was his mother. So I may not be a descendant of Pocahontas.