Nicketti "She Who Sweeps the Dew from the Flowers" Hughes (Powhatan)

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Nicketti Hughes (Powhatan)

Also Known As: "Princess; Nicketti;Hughes;"
Birthplace: Tsenacomaca, Virginia
Death: Died in Henrico, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Opechancanough Mangopeesomon Powhatan and Princess "Scent Flower" T. Powhatan
Wife of Capt. John Hughes
Mother of Mathias Hughes; Edward Hughes; Elizabeth Lewis; Mary Elizabeth Davis; Rees Hughes Jr and 4 others
Sister of Jane "Princess Nicketti" Dodson; Nectowance Powhatan, Werowance of the Powhatan and Hokolesqua Opechan "Stream" Cornstalk
Half sister of George "Goldenhawk" Sizemore, Chief; Pride Chalakahatha; Nepikeweewa "Shawnee Maiden" Chalakatha Cornstalk (aka Greenwood) and Daughter Ojibwe

Occupation: (princess)
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Nicketti "She Who Sweeps the Dew from the Flowers" Hughes (Powhatan)

Rees or Rice Hughes--Research by Nancy Kiser [These are two 2004/2005 postings on the Hughes genforum by Nancy Kiser . Bolding mine. On the web at:,Hughes::hughes::10756.html ] Re: Rees or Rice Hughes, wife Nicketti Posted by: Nancy Kiser Date: December 24, 2004 In Reply to: Rees or Rice Hughes, wife Nicketti by Billie Harris

The following is from Chapter 10 "Traditions of the First Settlers of Old Amherst County" from a book entitled "Tuckahoes and Cohees: The Settlers and Cultures of Amherst and Nelson Counties 1607-1807" by Catherine Seaman.

"Living far from the courthouse of old Henrico, the first settlers often failed to patent the land they settled, leaving more oral traditions than courthouse documents to tell us their story. Traditions have it that as early as 1710-1720, a man known only as Trader Hughes lived with his Indian wife in his trading post built along the banks of the upper James River near Otter Creek. He was among the first white settlers, if not the first, to settle that part of the county, then the wild frontier of old Henrico County.

Who was Trader Hughes? Several men by the name of Hughes had arrived in the Colony in the 1630s, but which Hughes had made his way to the banks of Otter Creek near the borders of old Amherst is not yet known. Neither does anyone know where Hughes met his wife, both may have come from the Tidewater, or Hughes may have been a trader in the western area before he met her. In any case, Hughes was safe enough among the remaining Indians to locate his trading post close to the Indian path that followed the James River through the Blue Ridge to the Warrior's Path. He had the skills to construct a trading post and a stone chimney that lasted for years. Dr. William Cabell, qualifying as assistant surveyor of Albemarle in 1746, used the chimney as a landmark to locate his earliest surveys, and the old chimney continued to appear as a boundary marker in the deeds for many years. As late as 1977, the McLeRoys report the ruins of a massive, two-story log building in the woods behind Otter Lake that they took to be the remains of Hughes's trading post.

Hughes's wife, according to traditions in the Floyd family, was a descendant of Powhatan's brother, Opechancanough (Brown, 1895: 46-47; 57-58; Woods, 1901: 49). Murdered after the Indian uprising of 1644, Opechancanough left a young daughter, "the child of his old age," named Princess Nicketti - 'she sweeps the dew from the flowers,' who clandestinely married an unnamed member of an old "Cavalier" family. Brown writes that "he fell in love with her and she with him."

First, let me say that I think this entire legend is probably a bunch of romantic nonsense. Although there may have been an Indian trader named Hughes who lived on the upper James River in the early 1700s, I doubt very much that his wife was a descendant of the legendary and perhaps mythical Nicketti. Also, although many Indian traders had Indian “wives” as well as white wives, the unions that they entered into with Indian women were not considered legal marriages back in those days. In fact, interracial marriages were illegal. People were very bigoted back then, much worse than today, if you can believe it.

There was indeed a Rees/Rice Hughes who patented land in Tidewater Virginia in the 1600s. Here are some of his land patents, original copies of which can be found on-line at the Library of Virginia:


8 March 1652. 200 acres on the north side of the Yorke River behind the land of George Gills in the main woods. Due for the transportation of John Williams, Robert Symons, Thomas Price and Hugh Griffin. No county name given but this land was probably located in what became New Kent County in 1654. Rice Hughes later assigned this patent to George Smith.

2 December 1656. 410 acres more of less on the southwest side of the York River in the County of New Kent adjoining the land of George Smith and Mr. Langstone. Due for the transportation of 9 persons including John Morely, Eliz. Harwood, Griffith Jones, Jane Urlin, Martin Weele, Margarett & Jno.

1 March 1657. 860 acres in New Kent County including his previous grant of 410 acres together with 450 acres adjoining, part thereof on the southwest side of the York River adjoining George Smith’s corner tree.

28 January 1662. 860 acres in New Kent County formerly granted to him in 1657 and now re-granted. (It was not uncommon for persons who had received grants during the time of Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth to take a re-grant after the Restoration of Charles II, in order to be sure of preserving title to their land.)

I can’t find another patent issued to Rees/Rice Hughes until 1693, which is a gap of 31 years. I suspect that the Rees/Rice Hughes of 1693 was the grandson of the original Rees/Rice Hughes and probably the son of Robert Hughes. The reason I believe this is because a Robert Hughes took out a patent for 855 acres in New Kent County in 1682 which was due for the transportation of 18 persons including Rees Hughes Jr and Elizabeth Hughes. My guess is that Robert Hughes, the son of the original Rees/Rice Hughes, went back to England to find a wife and then returned to Virginia with wife Elizabeth and son Rees Jr. When Rees Jr. grew up, he appears to have in turn named a son Robert. They lived in the New Kent/Henrico County area of Virginia and appear to have been Quakers, as can be seen from the following records from Volume IV of The Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy:

“A scrutiny of the Register of St. Peter’s parish which begins in 1686 is revealing in that it names many men living in Henrico, New Kent and the territory that later became Hanover, Caroline and Louisa Counties whose names also appear frequently in the Quaker records. Among these are: Charles Fleming, John Realy (Raley), Thomas Moorman, James Woody, Rice Hughes, Richmond Terrell, Sisilly Ellison, Alexander Mackeney, Thomas Stanley, Thomas Harris, William and John Johnson, Robert Ellison, Garret Robert Elleson, Robert Hughes and others. How many of these were Quakers in 1686 it is impossible to say, though some were, as a matter of fact, while others may have been “convinced” at a later date.”


1699/1 700, 12, 9. Edward Huyghs gave 500 lbs of tobacco toward the building of a new MH at Curles.

  • 1700, 2, 12. Rice Huyghs condemned for misconduct.

  • 1700, 2, 28. Rice Hughes signed a certificate of a marriage in New Kent County.

  • 1700, 2, 28. Robert Huyghes signed a cert of a marriage held in New Kent County; first time name appeared.

  • 1700, 2, 28. Sarah Hughes Sr. signed a cert of a marriage held in Black Creek MH.

  • 1701, 4, 6. Rice Hughes complained of for his misconduct; condemned for same & placed on probation.

  • 1703/4, 1, 18. Rachel Hughes signed mtg book as a token that she was in unity with this MM as held.

  • 1703, 10, 10. Sarah Hughes Senior & Junior signed a certificate of a marriage held in Henrico County.

  • 1703, 10, 10. Stephen Hughes signed a certificate of a marriage at Wm. Porter’s house, Henrico County.

  • 1705/6, 11, 19. Rice Hughes disowned.

  • 1706/7, 12, 15. Edward Hughes ordered to remove obstacles that caused disturbance or he will be disowned.

  • 1710, 6, 23. Stephen Hughes signed certificate of a marriage at New Kent MH.

  • 1710, 4, 17. Robert Hughes proven a member of this MM when his vote was recorded.

  • 1710, 6, 23. Robert Sr, Robert Jr and Sarah Hughes signed certificate of a marriage held in New Kent.
1711, 4, 8. John Atkinson resigned as clerk of MM having quarreled with Samuel Jordan; MM books turned over to Robert Hughes & G.R. Elyson. Atkinson mentioned that Hughes & Elyson were his friends & were responsible for his appointment as Clerk; he seemed to be a member of the New Kent PM.

  • 1713/14, 12, 12. Sarah Hughes Jr. liberated to marry Thomas Atkinson.

Hope all of this information helps you or someone else who may be researching Rice/Rees Hughes. Good luck with your research, and I am glad that you are someone who actually looks for documentation to substantiate your genealogy.

Nancy Kiser

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Re: Rees or Rice Hughes, wife Nicketti Posted by: Nancy Kiser Date: January 17, 2005 In Reply to: Re: Rees or Rice Hughes, wife Nicketti by Billie Harris 

I have found further evidence in the early records of colonial Virginia which indicate that Rees/Rice Hughes had a wife named Susanna. These records indicate that Rees/Rice Hughes (Hoe) and his wife Susanna had an indentured servant named John Price (Prise) whom they may have either beaten or starved to death. These records also indicate that Rees/Rice Hughes bought an Indian girl, which possibly accounts for the legend that he "married" the Indian Princess Nicketti. Rees/Rice Hughes may have had children with this Indian girl, and it's possible that one of their descendants was the Trader Hughes who lived on the upper James River. I know the actual facts are not as pretty as the legend, but I think we need to be truthful about the past, no matter how reprehensible it was. Here are the additional citations that I have found:


From page 357 Charles City County Court Orders 1661-1664: - January 9, 1662: We whose names are hereunto subscribed being upon the Jury concerning the death of John Prise do find to the best of our knowledge that the said John Prise did come to his untimely end by the reason of his running away from his Mr. Rice Hoe and so was starved for want of victuals which running away we do apprehend was by the means of the sad stripes that appeared upon his body given him by his Mrs. Susanna Hoe upon the 2nd of January but we do not find any mortal wound upon him. Daniel Clarke, Neal Sincler, ffer. Aston, Wm Gillum, Rich. Bradford, John Hattly, Tho. Calloway, Tho Turner, Phillp Owen, Tho. Richard, Jeoffrey Momford, Jno Parish.

From page 359 Charles City County Court Orders 1661-1664:
Bee it knowne to all whom this may concerne that I Manwairing Hamond of Riccohocke Esqr out of the confidence and trust I repose in my trusty and welbeloved friends the Hono’ble ffrancis Morison Esqr, Mr Theoderick Bland, Capt Tho. Stegge, Major Joseph Croshaw and Mr. Stephen Hamelyn doe appoint and constitute the same persons my true and lawfull attornies to oversee all the estate reall and personall I leave behind me in Virginia and they or any thereof them to have hereby power to lett or make sayle of it…this 2 day of June 1662. Signed M. Hammond. Witnesses: George Morris, Sam Huckstepp, ___ Woodward, Rees Hughes.

From page 361 Charles City County Court Orders 1661-1664:
The Court hath passed judgment (according to an obligation produced in Court) agst Rice Hoe for ₤14-1 sterling money to be pd by bills of exchange and secured by the sd Hoe to the use of Major General Manwaring Hammond Esqr or his ass’s or attorneys according to the sd obligation with all costs to be pd by the sd Hoe als exec.

From page 361 Charles City County Court Orders 1661-1664:
Theoderick Bland Esqr for Major General Manwaring Hammond Esqr admitteth and confesseth judgement against the estate of the sd Major General Hamond to secure and justify the service of an Indian Girl by him sold to the said Hoe according to a contract under the hands of Rees Hughes agent for the sd Major General Manwaring Hammond als exec.


Princess Nicketti was a member of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, which was part of the Powhatan Indian Confederation. Her name translated means "She Who Sweeps the Dew from the Flowers" (or "Dewdrop" according to at least one other source). It was said the she was truly a beautiful woman, as were her daughter and granddaughters.

Princess Nicketti is the niece of Pocahontas, as her mother was sister to Pocahontas.

The name Powhatan is pronounced Pow-hat-un.


Information from Arnold gedcom, JD Watson: Opechancanough, the celebrated chief of the Powhatans, was brutally murdered while a prisoner in 1644. He left a lovely young daughter, the child of his old age, the Princess Nicketti. Some years after this graceful Indian maiden had reached the years of mature womanhood, a member (the name is not given)} of one of the old Cavalier families of Virginia "fell in love with her and she with him". This resulted in a clandestine marriage and the birth of of a half-breed Indian girl, (Mary) Elizabeth Hughes, who married about 1680 a Welshman (others say a native of Devonshire, England), named Nathaniel Davis. Nathaniel was an Indian trader and according to some accounts, a Quaker. From these alliances of indian and white man many notable families in Virginia are descended.



Patricia Givens Johnson, Irish Burks of colonial Virginia and New River, (Walpa Publishing, May 1992), 12-13.

Peter W. Houck and Mintcy D. Maxham, Indian Island in Amherst County, (Lynchburg, VA: Warwick House Pub., 1993), 31.

Lisa Alther, Kinfolks: Falling Off the Family Tree, (Arcade Publishing, 2007), 178.

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Nicketti "She Who Sweeps the Dew from the Flowers" Hughes (Powhatan)'s Timeline

Tsenacomaca, Virginia
Age 15
Age 20
Age 25
New Kent, Virginia
Age 28
Age 29
Jamestown, James City County, Virginia
Age 30
Powhatan, Powhatan, VA, USA
Age 30
Powhatan, Powhatan, Virginia, United States
Age 37
Louisa, Louisa, Virginia, United States
Age 95
Henrico, Virginia