Powhatan Bolling Starke (18 Jul. 1822-10 Sep. 1870)

Powhatan B. Starke was the son of Dr. Robert Bolling Starke (1781-1839) of Norfolk, VA, and his first wife, Martha Fox Lindsay (1791-1826). This family was also descended from Thomas Rolfe through Jane (Rolfe) Bolling.

Starke attended the University of Virginia in sessions 16-18 (1839-1842). He became a doctor. In the 1850 U.S. census, he is listed as owning a farm and 23 slaves in Brunswick County, VA. On 30 Apr. 1858, Dr. Stark married Elizabeth C. “Betty” Orgain in Charles City County, VA. (Starke-Orgain Marriage) They had no children.

Elizabeth Orgain and her sister, Mary Montgomery Orgain, were heiresses, having inherited a great deal of property and real estate from their father, as well as life tenancies of their uncle Carter H. Edloe’s Mt. Pleasant, Brandon, and Dandridge’s Plantations in Prince George County, VA. (Randolph) In the 1860 U.S. Census, Dr. Starke is living in Charles City County, near Norfolk, with his wife and her sister. He is described as a farmer.

Dr. Starke was active in the Masonic Order. In 1860, he was elected Grand High Potentate of the Grand Chapter of Masons in Richmond, VA, and in 1863, he was elected Grand Senior Warden of “No. 6.” (Daily Dispatch, 1860 & 1863) In the 1880s, a Masonic Lodge in Petersburg, VA was named after him. In the Civil War, Powhatan B. Starke served in the 52nd Virginia Militia. (Virginia Civil War Service Records)

Dr. Starke died in 1870, and is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Norfolk, VA. Elizabeth Starke lived until at least 16 May, 1886, when the Richmond Dispatch noted, “Mrs. Powhatan Starke, of Surry county, spent the week with friends here…”

[Note: Powhatan Starke’s birthdate is from the UVA Matriculation Records. — JLC]


  • Ancestry.com. 1850-1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.
  • “The Cocke Family of Virginia.” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, v.4 (1897), p. 322-332.
  • Hardy, Stella Pickett. Colonial families of the Southern states of America. New York, 1911, p. 47.
  • “Local matters.” The daily dispatch. (Richmond, VA), Dec. 17, 1860, p.1.
  • “Local Matters.” The daily dispatch. (Richmond, VA), Dec. 22, 1863, p.1.
  • Randolph, Peter. Sketches of slave life. 2nd ed., enl. Boston, MA, 1855, p. 21-28.
  • “The Starke Family.” William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, v.4, no.4 (Apr., 1896), p.270-272.
  • Starke-Orgain Marriage. Charles City Marriage Book 1 – Pg – S. http://www.charlescity.org/marriages/marriage-record.php?select=&sort=GParents&textfield=&button=go&recordnum=3148&ascdesc=ASC&recordsall=4375
  • Starke tombstones, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk, VA. Findagrave.com
  • “State Personals.” The Richmond Dispatch, May 16, 1886, p. 4.
  • “Tombstones at Claremont, Surry County.” William and Mary Quarterly, v. 8, no. 2 (Oct. 1899), p. 112-115. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1915913
  • University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
  • “Virginia, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J3WN-3C7 : accessed 08 Nov 2012), Powhatan B Starke, 1861.
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