Lydia Pinn Cole of Fauquier Co., VA

In the 1860 census, in Fauquier Co., VA, one person was identified as Indian, or of Indian descent – and that was Lydia E. Cole, age 30, born in 1830.

cole, lydia 1860

This is the only record in Fauquier County like this in 1860.  Was she truly the only person there of Indian descent?  Why was she designated thus, and no one else was?

Lydia’s maiden name is reported to be Pinn by family members.

In the 1850 census, Lydia Pinn is shown living in Prince William County, listed as mulatto, in the same household with Calvin W. Pinn (mulatto), age 29, Mildred Pinn (mulatto), age 19 and Lucy A. Pinn, age 1, listed as black.  The head of household is Caroline Pinn, 60, so born in 1790, listed as black.

This family only lived two houses from the Sally Cole (age 48, black) family, which may or may not be connected.  In the Cole family, Hampton was listed as age 19 in 1850, black, and in the 1860 census, Hampton Cole is listed as 11 months old.

Caroline Pinn is also listed in the 1840 census in Hamilton Parish, Fauquier County, as a head of household of “free colored,” as are Mary, Nancy and Nelly Pinn.

Thanks to Nick for the 1860 census contribution.

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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7 Responses to Lydia Pinn Cole of Fauquier Co., VA

  1. BlueRidger says:

    These Pinn/Penns you speak of are African American now and some of their descendants are on 23andme. So are the Coles, Redcross and Beverly. You can find some of their photos here

  2. BlueRidger says:

    I think that the Native American Pinn/Penns were probably locked into a small FPOC community with limited choices and ended up marrying whomever was available. Once that happened they probably became acculturated. There are Penns/Pinns who are not African American though.

  3. Channah Leah says:

    My Great Grandfather was Thomas Henry Follin, listed as a Mulatto (I have his photo). He married Mary Ann Mattingly, also from Farquier. She was Irish and they later moved to D.C. Their children, my Grandfather, Thomas Henry Follin m. Bessie Ann Auterback/(Ferdinand Auterback/Susan Bolton)was listed as White because this was then allowed by law, if a Mulatto (Indian) married a European, their children could be listed as white.

    When I was about 12 (1958) my Grandmother, Bessie, told me, “I am Black Dutch and your Grandfather (Thomas Henry) is Black Irish. Above her bed hung a large, black and white photograph of my Grandmother, taken around 1906? in a deerskin dress and headband, holding a spear, with her canoe shored on the riverbank.

    • Kenneth Smith says:

      That is very interesting. My mother says that her grandmother, Bette Penn, used to always wear a shaw and moccasins and knew some Indian words. Not sure what tribe. No evidence of Native American ancestry, but her ancestors were generally listed as mulatto.

  4. travispinn says:

    I have additional information about the Broken Hill Pinns from this time period. Please contact me at

  5. jack B Day says:

    My 2nd great grandfather Thomas Dade was born in Ireland and came to Fauquier Virginia early 1800s. He married an Native American woman named Dolly I have the census records but I can’t find any additional records for Dolly. I have all my ancestry info except “who was Dolly and what tribe was she from.

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