Penelope (Johnson) Clark

Penelope (Johnson) Clark (1684 - 1754)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Penelope Clark formerly Johnson
Born in New Kent County, Virginiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married about 1709 in New Kent, Virginiamap [uncertain]
Descendants descendants
Died in Louisa County, Virginiamap
Profile last modified 31 Aug 2019 | Created 14 Sep 2014
This page has been accessed 5,293 times.
US Southern Colonies.
Penelope (Johnson) Clark settled in the Southern Colonies in North America prior to incorporation into the USA.
Join: US Southern Colonies Project
Discuss: southern_colonies



Penelope's parentage is not documented. She has been said to be a Bolling, Johnson, or Massie. It is likely that she was a Johnson, the daughter of Edward whose baptism is recorded at St. Peter's Parish, New Kent. See a discussion of the possibilities at: (accessed June 27, 2014) [1]


Penelope was probably born 4 August 1684 in New Kent County, Virginia. "Penelope Daughter of Edw'd Johnson Eliz. — ye 4 day of Agost & bapt. ye 17 of ye instant, 1684." [1]


These are some of the traditional ideas of Penelope's ancestry:

Some researchers think this person should be Penelope Bolling, daughter of Major John Bolling and Mary Kennon (he was son of Col. Robert Bolling, grandson of John Bolling and Mary Tudor).

from "Descendants of C. & M. Clark," pp 6-7: Penelope's maiden name: Bolling or Massie or Johnson. In 1913, a Clark-Anthony descendant searched & found no Penelope Bolling. "There was a Penelope Ashley, descendant of Sir Anthony Ashley whose daughter Ann Ashley married sir John Cooper and was the mother of Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftsbury and Lord Proprietor of South Carolina."

Mrs. Wirt Johnson Covington, author of History of Halifax county, VA, and a descendant of Benjamin and Agnes (Clark) Moorman says, "Three Massie women descended from the House of Shaftesbury, through a sister of the Earl who married a Massie, married respectively: William Johnson (father of Benjamin Johnson), a Mr. Moorman, Penelope Massie who married Christopher Clark." It is known that Agnes Clark and Benjamin Johnson were first cousins. Americans of Gentle Birth Vol I, p. 353, says Benjamin Johnson's mother was Penelope Massie, granddaughter of the earl of Shaftesbury.

Another guess from St. Peter's Parish New Kent co, VA: among the issue of Edward and Elizabeth, p. 17, is given, Penelope Johnson born Aug 4, 1684, baptized Aug 17, 1684. DAR Lineage Books show Penelope, wife of Christopher Clark, to have been born Bolling, descendant of Col. John and Mary (Kennon) Bolling. No documentary proof is furnished. Note: Bolling descent leads to John Rolfe and Pocahontas.

In 1738 Chri. Clark bought 3000 acres adjoining Maj John Bolling's. Either a close friend, since he named his son Bolling, or Penelope's family. According to the book "Captain Christopher Clark" by Col. Micajah Henry Clark published 1909, Christopher Clark purchased or patented, as registered in the Land Office Records in Richmond, VA, a total of 50,000 acres of land. "Christopher Clark married circa 1709 Penelope Massie Bolling the granddaughter of Anthony Ashley Cooper (1621-1683) the first Earl of Shaftesbury, Lord High Commissioner of England, father of the Habeas Corpus Act and the former proprietor of the Carolinas." [cited in "Descendants of C. & M. Clark," p. 8, but not clear if this last quote is from the book by Col. Micajah Henry Clark or where.]


Note: According to "The History of Elbert County Georgia", " Penelope Bolling was a direct descendant of the Indian Princess, Pocahontas, through Colonel Robert Bolling, who married Jean Rolfe, granddaughter of the Princess. The name "Bolling" appears in latter generations which gives credit to the fact." p. 392

The fact that one of Christopher and Penelope Clark's sons was named "Bolling" is interesting. One would think that it is a "family" name. There are several theories on Penelope's identity. Some people believe her to be a "Johnson". This theory is espoused by many researchers and there is considerable weight here, as this researcher has put forward:

"I do not think PENELOPE was a JOHNSON. Her daughter was married to a JOHNSON. However, there was a PENELOPE JOHNSON. Some people think the proof is conclusive.

First, this PENELOPE JOHNSON was born in 1684 in New Kent County, Virginia. Christopher was most probably born in 1681.

Secondly, CHRISTOPHER CLARK'S second daughter was named RACHEL, not found in the CLARK family, but the name of PENELOPE JOHNSON'S sister.

Thirdly, this PENELOPE'S brother, THOMAS JOHNSON, recorded land in 1719 in the Register of St. Peter's Parish (pg. 17) right on CHRISTOPHER CLARK'S corner, and was a witness to the will of his (Thomas') niece, AGNES CLARK JOHNSON.

This sounds like fairly good proof and it may well be true that PENELOPE JOHNSON was the wife of CHRISTOPHER CLARK, but here is another theory.

Many people think/thought that the fact that CHRISTOPHER & PENELOPE CLARK'S son is named BOLLING/BOWLING may be a clue to PENELOPE'S maiden name since it is fairly common at least to use it for a middle name of a son. This is a most unusual name for a son and might have some significance or give some clues to his mother's family.

Many people wanted PENELOPE to be the daughter of MAJOR JOHN BOLLING, a friend and neighbor of CHRISTOPHER CLARK'S. This would make PENELOPE a descendant of POCAHONTAS.

I discovered that in Virginia there are the "Red" Bolling's and the "White" Bolling's. I do not know whether or not there was any "put down" to being called a "Red" or a "White" Bolling or if it was just a way of defining each other. The "Red Bolling's centered at least in recent years just West of Richmond in Petersburg. There was no Penelope that I could find in that connection.

0About 1985 I was in the Virginia State Library and found a book (#33019) by Todd Bolen & Lois Bolen Strange ("The BOLLING, BOWLIN, BOLEN Family in America before 1800"). The next time I went back it wasn't there. Thankfully, I xeroxed the appropriate pages pertaining to our family.

Their theory is that PENELOPE was a BOLLING but not of MAJOR JOHN BOLLING'S family. She was related to a different BOLLING family. This one also had a RACHEL in it.

Here is the information I found in TODD and LOIS' book:




4) WILLIAM BOWLING II (WILLIAM I & ANN, THOMAS III, THOMAS II, THOMAS I) b. 1650 d. 1717 m. RACHEL LEWIS & 2nd to ELIZABETH Prince William Co., VA. They lived in Fairfax Co., VA.

5) WILLIAM BOWLING I (THOMAS III, THOMAS II, THOMAS I) 1620 - 1691 moved to Philadelphia PA m. ANNE and 2nd to ELIZABETH

6) THOMAS BOLLING (BOULDIN) III (THOMAS II, THOMAS I) b. 1580 Warwickshire, England arrived in VA 1610 d. 1655 m. abt 1610 to MARY BOWLING (WILLIAM & MARY BOWLING)

7) THOMAS BOULDIN II ( THOMAS I) b. Warwickshire, England

8) THOMAS BOULDIN I b. 1523 lived Shelburne, England

Below is more information from the book cited above by TODD & LOIS for these eight (8) people. But it is your decision whether or not our PENELOPE who married CHRISTOPHER CLARK came from this family. I'm inclined to think she did. "


All of the above information came from this website and location and seems to have been well documented, as seen above:


Husband: Christopher Clark
Wife: Penelope M. Bolling
Child: Edward Clark
Child: Agnes Clark
Child: Rachel Clark
Child: Sarah Clark
Child: Bolling Clark
Child: Micajah Clark
Child: Elizabeth Clark
Date: About 1709 based on the birth of their eldest child
Place: Virginia


From the Atlanta "Sunday American," dated June 22 1930:

"Christopher Clark's wife Penelope Bolling, daughter of Major John Bolling and his wife Mary Kennon Bolling." Reference: Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine, June 1926, p. 364-5.


  • Penelope Who? [1]
  • Mrs. Julian C. Lane, Statesboro, GA, Publisher, Key and Allied Families (Press of the J.W. Burke Co., Macon, GA, 1931)
  1. 1.0 1.1 St. Peter's Parish (New Kent County, V., Chamberlayne, C. G. (Churchill Gibson)., Virginia State Library. (1937). The vestry book and register of St. Peter's parish, New Kent and James City counties, Virginia, 1684-1786. Richmond: Division of purchase and printing.p. 363

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Is Penelope your ancestor? Please don't go away!
 star icon Login to collaborate, or
 star icon contact private message private message private message private message private message a profile manager, or
 star icon ask our community of genealogists a question.
Sponsored Search by

DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Penelope by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Penelope:

Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Login to post a comment.

On 16 Feb 2019 at 21:52 GMT Alexander Clark wrote:

The Johnson ( Johnston) Family of Scotland had a huge part in settling parts of Virginia, Maryland and Northern Ireland ( The Ulster Colony Project) They helped form and sat on the board of the Old Virginia Company. They also owned ships. Including the ships that John Clark the Navigator sailed upon to Virginia. They were also inter-related with the Erskine Family ( Earls of Mar) and thus were tied to the Stuart Kings and Queens. Their movements to Barbados and Virginia coincide with the less influential Clarks. Probably due to politics, the English Civil War and the spread of then very Illegal Quakerism. The Johnson family lived next door to Christopher Clark and he worked with some of them. The Johnson family list him as marrying Penelope. I have Johnsons in my DNA, no Bollings

On 16 Feb 2019 at 21:30 GMT Alexander Clark wrote:

Then there is the Bolling last name which was an attempt to link Penelope with Pocahontas. This was really popular in the early 1900s when the First Lady of the US. Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, wife of Woodrow Wilson, publicly made Genealogy a popular pastime with her claim to be descended from Pocahontas. Major John Bolling had two wives. One descended from the Pocahontas and one who was not. So there are partial Native American Bollings and Non-N.A. Bollings. There is actually no proof at all that Penelope Clark came from EITHER Bolling line from Major Bolling. To make up for this, several people now contend that she must have come from another Bolling line. I have seen some rather old documents that mix the Bolling and Massie relatives together in a big free-for-all.

On 16 Feb 2019 at 21:20 GMT Alexander Clark wrote:

There have been 3 last name contenders since I started researching 45 years ago. The MASSIE last name idea was a way to try and link the family to the Earl of Shaftsbury and the Lady Spencer. There really was a Penelope Massie, but her date of birth and death are all wrong for Penelope Clark. Plus there is actually no good evidence to link the real Penelope Massie to Lord Shaftsbury. The folks who went that route liked the idea that some of the Spencer family is somehow linked to George Washington. And of course when Princess Diana came on the scene, there was a re-birth of folks trying to link up with the Spencer family.I have never understood why anyone would want to link up with Shaftsbury. The man could hardly ever find a back he did not stab.

On 12 Sep 2014 at 18:50 GMT Maggie N. wrote:

Penelope John is not a Bolling . She is a Johnson from another family.

On 23 Jul 2014 at 18:23 GMT Norman Perry wrote:

Johnson-6279 and Penelope-5 appear to represent the same person because: Appears to be the same person

On 22 Apr 2014 at 01:19 GMT Maggie N. wrote:

Does everyone agree that the merges for Penelope should go through ? I do not believe she is a Bolling but who am I to say as I can not find enough sources to say she is a Bolling (-:

On 22 Apr 2014 at 01:15 GMT Maggie N. wrote:

Hi , so Penelope is a Johnson then, not a Bolling ?

On 22 Apr 2014 at 00:40 GMT Lynden (Raber) Rodriguez OCDS wrote:

Johnson-6279 and Bolling-60 appear to represent the same person because: Hello! These two profiles appear to have profound similarities. Another merge is dependent on this merge. Could you take a good look, maybe reconsider some of the disimilarties, and then perhaps complete the merge?

Thank you, Lynden Raber Rodriguez

On 18 Apr 2014 at 22:30 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

Penelope Johnson (Johnson-6279) and Penelope M. Bolling (Bolling-60) have been marked as Unmerged Matches because they appear to be different people even though they're married to the same man and have been shown as mother to the same child.

On 18 Apr 2014 at 22:29 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

Penelope Johnson (Johnson-6279) and Penelope M. Bolling (Bolling-60) have been marked as Unmerged Matches because they appear to be different people even though they're married to the same man and have been shown as mother to the same child.

Penelope is 20 degrees from Cari Starosta, 15 degrees from Marie-Antoinette d'Autriche and 11 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

J  >  Johnson  |  C  >  Clark  >  Penelope (Johnson) Clark

Categories: US Southern Colonist