Susannah Anderson, of the Pamunkey

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Susannah Anderson (unknown), of the Pamunkey

Also Known As: "Dabney"
Birthdate: (80)
Birthplace: Pamunkey River, St. Peters Parish, New Kent, Virginia
Death: Died in Hanover, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Col. Thomas Swann; Margaret Swann and "Queen" Cockacoeske Powhatan Pamunkey
Wife of Cornelius Dabney Sr. and David Anderson
Mother of Frances Dabney; Benjamin Dabney; Dorothy Trice; Mary Carr; Robert Dabney and 2 others
Sister of Susannah Marriott; Thomas Swann, Jr. and William Swann
Half sister of Samuel Swann; Sarah Swann; Sampson Swann; Judith Swann; Anne Swann and 4 others

Managed by: Leah Hoffman
Last Updated:

About Susannah Anderson, of the Pamunkey

Susannah married Cornelius DABNEY. (Cornelius DABNEY was born ca. 1640 and died ca. 1693). Susannah next married ANDERSON.

Maiden name possibly Swann, but more likely she was from the family of Powhatan Indian Chief Totopotomoi and/or Cockacoeske, of the Pamunkey tribe. (see discussion at

Children named in her will were:

  • Cornelius Dabney
  • Dorothy Trice (wife of James Trice)
  • Mary Carr (wife of Capt. Thomas Carr)
  • David Anderson.

It is unclear if Dorothy was the daughter of Cornelius Dabney or of Mr. Anderson.


Susanna was born about 1643, probably into the family of Pamunkey Chief Totopotomoi and/or "Queen" Cockacoeske Powhatan Pamunkey (she was roughly the same age as Cockacoeske). She died after 5 Feb 1724 in Hanover, Virginia.

"Queen" Cockacoeske (c1640-c1686), female leader of the Pamunkey Indians from Virginia following the death of her husband, Totopotomoi in 1656 until her death in 1686, was the daughter of Chief Opechancanough, the brother of Chief Powhatan.

Cornelius Dabney was interpreter for Cockacoeske.


  1. 3013 W. P. Anderson, Anderson Family Records (Cincinnati, Ohio: Press of W. F. Schaefer & Company, 1936), 106.
  2. Genealogies of Virginia Families
  3. Ancestral File (R)
  4. International Genealogical Index (TM)


  2. McCauley, Lanier, Hankins, Hopkins & Taylor Families

There is not another contemporary “Susanna Swann” that fits the known facts. Although the surname of Swann is frequently attached to her in the historical narrative, I know of no documentary evidence to explain how that name became attached to her. Of course, the absence of facts invites speculation, which leads to an alternative theory, which will probably never be proven or disproven:

At the time that Cornelius Dabney was married to Eedith, he know that he became the interpreter and close companion of Cockacoeske, Queen of the Pamunkey Indians, and widow of Chief Totopotomoi, a grandson of one of the sisters of Chief Powhatan, the father of Pocahontas. Because of Cornelius Dabney‘s close association with Queen Cocacoeske, it may be that he received a woman of the Queen’s family to wed after the death of his first wife, Eedith. According to some family traditions, Cornelius Dabney‘s second wife, Susanna, is considered to have been of the family of Chief Totopotomoi and Cockacoeske. This is plausible and supported indirectly by a persistent family tradition among the Dabneys of Indian descent. If it is true, Susanna was most likely a granddaughter of Chief Totopotomoi and Queen Cockacoeske (perhaps by an English father), or possibly even a daughter, making Totpotmoi and Cockacoeske our direct ancestors (either 10th or 11th grandparents). For this reason, I have included an article on these Indian leaders under “Notable Kin”, even though the relationship has not been proved and probably never will be.


The following is an excerpt from wikitree on this theory:

Another, more speculative but nonetheless intriguing, history has circulated in the Dabney family for generations. It claims that Susanna Swann was, in fact, a full or partial Native American. Some versions say she was the illegitimate daughter of Thomas Swann by a daughter of Algonquin chief Totopotomoi and his wife Cockacoeske, sister of the united clan chief, Powhatan. Other versions say she was a full-blood Algonquin, a grand-daughter of Chief Totopotomoi & wife Cockascoeske, that was "adopted" by Col. Thomas Swann after both her parents died, shortly after her birth.

(Col. Thomas Swann was widowed 4 times and married 5 times during his 64 year life span (1616-1680). He was an influential man in 17th Century Virginia both economically and politically. He also had close ties with the local Native Americans, serving as the official English translator for the Pamunkey Algonquin tribe.)

Some of these legends also indicate that she was not born in 1643 but around 1664 and that Cornelius Dabney was her first husband, married when she was about 18 years old. This would mean that Susanna had her children in her 20s (not 40s) and she was only 34 when her last child, David Anderson, was born (and not 55). [4]

Frank S. Crosswhite has said this of "Susannah Swann":[5] "When a high-status Englishman visited a [1600s] Virginia Algonquian village, he was given sumptuous meals, an elegant high-status house for overnight accommodations and a young woman to share his bed. This was an intentional mechanism to bring genes from high-status Englishmen into the local gene-pool. The villagers knew the identities of the English fathers and bestowed the appropriate father's surname on the appropriate child. Thus, Queen Cockockoeske had a son named John West and her daughter Betty (later Queen Betty ) had the daughter named Susannah Swann. Betty was a daughter of Cockockoeske by Totopotomoi (a ruler descended from the ranking sister of Powhatan)..."


The David Anderson family of Stafford Co., VA had close ties with the family of John West of Stafford, reputed son of Queen Cockacoeske, a Pumunkey Indian, the possible mother or grandmother of his wife Susannah Swann. VA land patents 1702 David Anderson adj. William Andrews at Pamunkey Neck.

  • *

The Quit Rents of Virginia, 1704, by Annie Laurie Wright Smith, Virginia State Archives; 1957.

Anderson, Robert New Kent County 700 acres Anderson, Robert New Kent County 900 acres Anderson, David New Kent County 300 acres Anderson, John New Kent County 100 acres Anderson, John New Kent County 100 acres Anderson, Richard New Kent County 200 acres

This is David and his father and brothers and uncle John

  • *

St. Paul's Parish Vestry 1 Oct 1707 - Pursuant to an order of the court dated July 28, 1707, appointing Mr. David Anderson & Samuel Waddy to clear the Pamonkey River on the south side thereof from Piping Tree to Hardings Landing, formerly Youels, they applying themselves to this vestry for assistance with instruments or materials to comply with the order of the court. This vestry has thought that this parish is not able to comply with that order.

Piping Tree is along the Pamunkey River in the northeast corner of the bend that occurs just above the border between current New Kent County and Hanover County. It is downstream from Totoppotomeys Creek. This bend sticks into KIng WIlliam County and suggests the reason so many records of this family reference a residence of King WIlliam County.

The St. Paul's parish vestry book survived from 1706 to the 1780's and there are precessionings in 1708 and 1711 and so on. Robert Anderson. Sr, and Robert Anderson Jr. and Richard, David, John, Matthew and Thomas Anderson all appear in the 1708 precincts list all of them near each other between Crumps Creek and Tottopotomies Creek and Mechumps Creek to the north of current Mechanicsville, Virginia

1708/9 David Anderson precessioner St. Paul's Parish Vestry Book 1711 David Anderson precessioner St. Paul's Parish Vestry Book 26 Oct 1713 - David Anderson & Samuel Waddy again applied for assistance & were turned down. 1715 David Anderson precessioner St. Paul's Parish Vestry Book 15 Oct 1715 - David Anderson (without Samuel Waddy) again applied and was turned down.

David Anderson 06/16/1714 90 acres King William County VA land patents book 10/ page 127 upper side of mouth of Woodyard Creek or Swamp on Pamunkey River.

VA land patents 1714 David Anderson adj. Thomas Devenport, St. John's Parish 1715 David Anderson adj. William Terrill

This David is not traced well and one reason may be that he crossed to the North side of the Pamunkey River and had land in both New Kent/Hanover and King William County. A further examination of King William Records might provide further information on him.

1. William Pope Anderson, Anderson Family Records, (W. F. Schaeffer & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio; 1936). 2. William Pope Anderson, Anderson - Overton, A Continuation of Anderson Family Records (1936) & Early Descendants of William Overton & Elizabeth Waters of Virginia & Allied Fa, (Cincinnati, Ohio; 1945.). 3. C. G. Chamberlayne, The Vestry Book of St. Paul's Parish, Hanover County, Virginia 1706-1786, (Clearfield Company, Inc.; Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, Maryland 1999).

Also, from

Cornelius DABNEY was married to Edith he became the interpreter and close companion of Cockacoeske, Queen of the Pamunkey Indians, and widow of Chief Totopotomoi, a grandson of one of the two sisters of Chief Powhatan, father of Pocahontas. Cornelius Dabney's second wife, Susanna, is considered by many to have been of the family of Chief Totopotomoi and Cockacoeske. Queen Cockacoeske had an illegitimate son, Capt. John West, by John West, son of Gov. John West of Va. Capt. John West was with his mother, Cockacoeske, and Cornelius Dabney in the late 1670s when the famous Treaty of Middle Plantation was signed by the various leaders of the tribes under Queen Cockacoeske. 
 In 1679 the Pamunkey Indians leased for 99 years "six or seven hundred acres" to Cornelius Dabney (English Duplicates of Lost Virginia Records, compiled by Louis des Cognets, Jr., p. 58). In Sainsbury's Abstracts of Colonial State Papers, in the Public Records Office in London, there are two letters from Cornelius Dabney, the "Interpreter to the Queen of Pamunkey." The first is a state letter from the Queen of the Pamunkeys translated by Cornelius Dabney in his official capacity and transmitted to Colonel Francis Moryson of the Royal Commission of Virginia. The second is a personal letter to Colonel Moryson, dated Virginia, Jun ye 29th, 1678, in which Cornelius Dabney concluded: "...Sr. my wife Eedeth has her humble service p'sented unto y' Hono'. (she) would gladly send y' one of her Boyes a yeare or two hence. My humble service to y' Hono'. I am: Sr: y' Hono's most humble servant in all obedience. Cornelius Dabney." (Charles William Dabney, "The Origin of the Dabney Family of Virginia," Va. Mag. of History and Biography, April 1937, Vol. 45, No. 2, p. 134).
 Cornelius was the interpreter for Queen Cockacoeske of the Pamunkey Indians from Virginia, who was the daughter of Chief Opechancanough whom was the brother of Chief Powhatan. Chief Opechancanough was a brilliant tactician and War Chief. On a raid in 1622 that was comprised of an assault front that was no less than 140 miles in length. His warriors killed over 350 colonists and destroyed the towns' ironworks. This was so effective in hindering the colonists that there were no further raids until 1644. He could have easily wiped out the remaining colonists at Jamestown, however his goal was to curtail the encroachment of the settlers on his hunting grounds that were needed to feed his people. 
This treaty was ratified in the year 1677 and was signed by Queen Cockacoeske who was known as the Weroansqua. An excellent website complete with historical art and pictures that explores the history of the Powhatan Confederacy and associated tribes may be found at The Mariners Museum.

Queen of the Pamunkey tribe. Daughter of Nectowance, Werowance (Chief) of the Powhatan. Granddaughter of Opechancanough Mangopeesomon Powhatan and Cleopatra Powhatan, the sister of Pocahontas, and great-granddaughter of the Great Powhatan, father of Pocahontas, and therefore grandniece of Pocahontas. Some family trees show Nectowance as a son of Opechancanough while others say nephew.

Opechancanough and Powhatan are reportedly buried here also.

Wikipedia gives her birth as circa 1640. gives her birth as circa 1630. Wikipedia also incorrectly shows her as Opechancanou's daughter rather than granddaughter.

Cockacoeske died before July 1, 1686, when her interpreter George Smith reported to the governor's Council that she was "lately dead."

Queen Cockacoeske was the first signer of the Treaty of Middle River Plantation that ended Bacon’s Rebellion in 1677.

First married to her cousin Chief Totopotomoi ("Toby West")(c.1625–1656), son of Thomas West 3rd Baron de la Warr and "Rachel" Powhatan. Rachel Powhatan afterwards had married Joseph Crowshaw and reportedly borne his daughter Unity Crowshaw who married her half-brother Toby West's first cousin, Col. John West II, son of Gov. John West.

Totopotomi (Toby West) ruled from 1649 to 1656. After his death, his widow Cockacoeske ruled from 1656 to 1686. Depicted as an intelligent and powerful seductress, Cockacoeske took her sister-in-law Unity Crowshaw's husband from her, Col. John West II, and bore him a son, Maj. John West (1657-1716).

Later renderings of her likeness often show her adorned with the black pearls that were the signature adornment of the Pamunkey tribe.

Cockacoeske is possibly buried in the burial mound on the Pamunkey Reservation. The Pamunkey Reservation was confirmed to the Pamunkey tribe as early as 1658 by the Governor, the Council, and the General Assembly of Virginia. Cockacoeske became Queen of Pamunkey in 1656 and signed the Treaty of 1677 between the King of England, acting through the Governor of Virginia, and several Native American tribes including the Pamunkey. It is called the most important existing document describing Virginia's relationship towards Indian land. The reservation is located about 12 miles north of the Mattaponi reservation which is near West Point, the site of the West family home.

According to historian William Deyo, it is doubtful that Cockacoeske is buried in the so-called Burial Mound at Pamunkey Reservation where Powhatan, Opechancanough, and other important leaders are said to have been buried, but likely closer to Richmond. The remains were supposed to have been brought here from the sacred Uttamussak temple.

Powhatan’s Mantle p.255: “Cockacoeske’s romantic liaison with the English colonel, John West, an important Virginia official, supporter of Governor Berkeley, and grandson (sic) of former Virginia governor Sir Thomas West, Lord De La Warr, may have furthered her insight into the machinations of colonial politics, and the presence of their son as a future go-between may have given her an added measure of influence.” (The correct relationship was this: Her first husband Totopotomoy/Toby West was the son of Gov. Thomas West; her second husband being Toby’s first cousin Col. John West, son of Gov. John West, the brother of Gov. Thomas and sons of Thomas West 2nd or 11th Baron de la Warr.) “The account of Cockacoeske’s appearance before the governor and council reveals that she was a person of imposing dignity and that she understood the English language. Cockacoeske’s appreciation of European goods is evidenced by her possession of ‘pieces of Lynnen, Broad cloth, and divers sorts of English goods wch the Queene had much value for’ when Nathaniel Bacon’s men raided her encampment. But there are equally strong indications that Cockacoeske remained true to her native cultural traditions.”

The website gives her birth and death dates much later, circa 1650-circa 1725, the most important reference being to her appearance in 1715: "The widow of Totopotomoi, the Pamunkey chief, Queen Anne became the chief of the tribe following the death of her husband during the battle in which he supported the English against other Indian warriors.

"Due to her authoritative position, she was always called "Queen Anne" by the colonists. In 1675 she was called upon to furnish warriors to fight with the Whites during Bacon's Rebellion; this was her first appearance in colonial history. Her appearance at the colonial Council, in which she scornfully rejected the request to furnish warriors for the Whites on the grounds that her people had been neglected for the past 20 years, in spite of their friendship to the Whites, was a dramatic confrontation between Indian and White." (Strategically, appearing before the Council with her in capacity as interpreter was her son John West, the son of councilman Col. John West and in whom the other councilmen took great interest. See: Maj. John West.)

"It was only after strong promises of better treatment by the colonists that Queen Anne agreed to provide the needed assistance. Following the end of the Rebellion, a silver headband, or coronet, inscribed Queen of Pamunkey was presented to her by King Charles II.

"Little more is heard about her following this period, beyond an appearance in 1715, when she visited the colonial authorities to request fair treatment for her people."

The Englishman eyewitness who recorded her appearance before the Virginia Council in 1675 described her as "Majestic."

Virginia Women in History (2004) The Pamunkey Legacy by Nancy Wright Beasley The Treaty of Middle Plantation: Epilogue to Bacon's Rebellion by Martha W McCartney Badge of Cooperation

Pamunkey Nation, Route 1, P.O. Box 226 King William, VA 23086 804-843-3526

Tribal historian William Deyo said, Nov. 7, 2014, "Cockacoeske being the daughter of Necotowance is probably a theory, but I came up with the same theory a few years ago based on some good evidence. I do not believe that I published anything on it, however, and it is comforting to know that someone else has independently come up with the same theory. We know for a fact that Cockacoeske was the granddaughter of Opechancanough, who was the head of the federation because of the matrilineal royal succession through his mother. If Opechancanough's wife was Cleopatra, sister of Pocahontas (also of the royal line of succession), his son could succeed him as leader of the federation. Necotowance was the next in line who became the head of the federation. Totopotomoi was the next to succeed and was the husband of Cockacoeske, who succeeded in her own right after Totopotomoi (who was killed in 1656). I believe that Necotowance married a woman of the same line as Pocahontas and Cleopatra, which gave his daughter, Cockacoeske, the right of succession after her husband."

Among the descendants of Cockacoeske were: Patrick Henry, the orator and Governor of Virginia; Dolly Madison, wife of President James Madison; Dabney Carr (1743-1773), Virginia burgess and brother-in-law of President Thomas Jefferson; Lady Nancy Astor, first woman to sit in the British House of Commons; President Zachary Taylor and his daughter Sarah Knox Taylor, the first wife of President Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy; Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart; Gen. Edmund Pendleton Gaines; Col. George Strother Gaines; and numerous other notable Southern families.

Family links:

 Weroance Nectowance Powhatan (1600 - 1649)

 Toby West (1616 - 1656)
 John West (1632 - 1691)


''' Susannah Pamunkey Dabney (D'Aubigne) (1643 - 1724)'''*
 Jane Totopotomoi West Harrison (1650 - ____)*
 Joseph West (1650 - ____)*
 John West (1657 - 1716)*

  • Calculated relationship

Burial: Pamunkey Indian Reservation King William King William County Virginia, USA

Created by: Ray Isbell Record added: Sep 22, 2014 Find A Grave Memorial# 136257380 Cockacoeske Queen Anne <i>Powhatan</i> West Added by: Ray Isbell

Cockacoeske Queen Anne <i>Powhatan</i> West Added by: Ray Isbell

Cockacoeske Queen Anne <i>Powhatan</i> West Added by: Ray Isbell

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- Lanie

Added: Apr. 18, 2017

My 10th great-grandmother - Sean and Tara (Zubb) Morrissey

Added: Mar. 14, 2017

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Susannah Anderson, of the Pamunkey's Timeline

October 10, 1643
New Kent, Virginia
September 2, 1675
Age 31
St. Peter's Parish, New Kent County, Virginia Colony, Colonial America
Age 32
Age 34
New Kent, Virginia
Age 34
January 22, 1688
Age 44
Pumunkey River, New Kent County, VIrginia Colony
Age 46
February 5, 1724
Age 80
Hanover, Virginia