Dear Reader,

I have decided to share this information with the wider world, for if I die – it will be lost forever should I bow to the desire of several family members who wish to continue to keep it all a secret within our bloodline for various reasons.

1st Cousins Richard and Damon

Regarding the secret Ethiopian connection in our family tree – note that Vivian Arnold DeWever (your maternal Guyana-born granny’s father) was the son of Father Karl DeWeever (of Saba) and Eileen Johnson (of Guyana) who was a granddaughter of Dr. Morris Johnson and Princess Lydia of Ethiopia….here are the main dates in your family tree with relevance to this connection to Ethiopia:

  • 1580 – Thomas Warner is born in Suffolk England, he joined the Army at an early age and became Captain of King James I Guards, he was also later knighted by King James I.
  • 1620 Sir Thomas Warner traveled to the Oyapoc British Colony in what is now Guyana, South America.
  • 1624 Sir Thomas Warner becomes the first English Settler in the Caribbean (St. Kitts)
  • 1787 Princess Lydia Seyon is born in Ethiopia to Prince Egwale Seyon (who became Emperor Newaya Sagad in 1801) – who was a sickly and very much manipulated monarch. Her sister (name unknown to us) was born in 1789.
  • 1803 Dr. Morris Johnson of Barbados purchased a ‘coffee colored with long wavy hair‘ -16 year-old slave who was an Ethiopian Princess called Lydia and her younger sister who was 14 – and made Lydia his wife; her younger sister acted the role of nanny/maid in the plantation estate he soon thereafter purchased in Guyana (possibly in Berbice?) where he moved his family to (after it had just become a British territory)

Princess Lydia told her children and grandchildren her sad story of being the victim of her father the Emperor’s new wife’s jealousy, the step-mother was 18 – a mere two years older than Lidia, they were in Gondar (then the Royal capital of Ethiopia) when his jealous new wife sold the two sisters to Arab Slave Traders from Egypt and told her husband that the girls had been kidnapped by his enemies during the civil war (which started in 1803). The stepmother then saw to it that these two girls were expunged from the royal records and only her own children were recorded, which was a common practice in various imperial households in Ethiopia – as a means to De-legitimize primary heirs and to legitimize secondary ones.

First cousins Damon and Charlie

After months at sea after changing hands several times the two Ethiopian Princesses ended up in Barbados on the slave market – where the elder Lydia was purchased by Dr. Morris Johnson who immediately made her his wife. Princess Lydia claimed that her and her sister were treated well in their captivity however (most likely because of their high value on the auction block as being Royal as opposed to ‘ordinary’ slaves).

Chinese descendant Marjorie Sue-Kirkpatrick (author of the bookFrom the Middle Kingdom to the Americas‘) confirmed the story and saw herself in a Daguerrotype of the Ethiopian Princess wearing white veil, hat, long-sleeved dress and gloves in Guyana where she rarely ventured off the estate of her husband till the end of her days.

  • 1879 Princess ‘Marian the Lucky‘ (later shortened to ‘Marian Lucky‘) was born to Lokono-Arawak Chief Amorotahe Haubariria (who’s mother was a Makushi) and his Akawaio wife Twengga, Marian was the first to be Christianized in the Clan and receive a western education, she was raised by Anglican Missionary Priest William Percy Austin – who later became the Bishop of Guyana – and in 1883 the Archbishop of the West Indies.
  • 1885 Fr. Karl DeWeever marries Mrs. Eileen Johnson (granddaughter of Dr. Morris Johnson and Princess Lydia Seyon of Ethiopia) in Guyana, Karl was born & raised in the Netherlands and was posted as the priest to the island of Saba in the Dutch Windward Islands before being sent to Guyana.

Karl also passed on the ownership of the Argosy Newspaper he created to his son Vivian – who was an entrepreneur but a reckless businessman, sold it.

  • 1886 Vivian Arnold De-Weever was born to Fr. Karl and Eileen Johnson-DeWeever as their only son, they had one other child Irene, the only daughter.
  • 1906 Vivian Arnold De-Weever meets Princess Marian of the Eagle Clan Lokono-Arawaks on a river trip bartering goods for the Sprawstons Company where he was a Manager, falls instantly in love and weds her.
  • 1913 on 29th January George Cecil Corbin was born in Barbados to father Julian Alban Corbin and mother Florence Warner, Florence was a direct descendant of Sir Thomas Warner through his first children who were half Carib (from his common-law Dominican Carib wife in the St. Christopher Colony, now called St. Kitts).

Damon with interpreter and 90 year old Gamo elder from Ethiopia

These half Carib children were well received in Barbados where some emigrated and settled in the mid 1600’s (one son who opted to migrate to his mother’s island of Dominica was made the Governor of Dominica by the English authorities in Barbados) but resented by the pure English children of Sir Thomas Warner and his second (English) wife in St. Kitts, and it was the eldest son of these second set of progeny (who resented the domination by the English in Barbados) that murdered his half brother the Governor of Dominica!”

  • 1914 on 24th of March Hanna Mariah De-Weever was born; she is the sixth child of Vivian and Marian.
  • 1928 on 18th April Princess Marian De-Weever dies in Barbados at the age of 49, she is buried in Westbury cemetery – the only known burial site of an Arawak Royal in the Caribbean.
  • 1930 George Cecil Corbin (then 17) and Hanna Mariah De-Weever (then 16) married, the couple had 8 children, one of whom died at birth, and 7 who survived into adulthood – Sheila (deceased), Daphne, Merton (deceased), Cecil, Audrey (my mother), Judy & Cheryl.

First cousins Damon and Steven

NB Great uncle David Arnold DeWeever said that on several occasions during World War II ‘An Ethiopian Princess appeared to him and warned him about danger to his life that would occur the following day“, he always followed her warnings, and his life was spared as the vehicle or boat he was to have traveled on was either bombed or torpedoed with the loss of all lives aboard – just as she had predicted. As for me (Damon) since I shared this info with the present generation of the family – after years of digging ever deeper including consulting family elders (now deceased) and even elders from Ethiopia (whom I met by chance at a UN sponsored Climate Change conference in Alaska) who were aware of the story of the 2 Princesses and the wicked stepmother who sold them to Arab slave traders, I too have seen her once in a dream, she was with my other great granny Arawak Princess Marian, and they both smiled at me; perhaps happy that their memories have been kept alive by my efforts?

5th February 2012

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7 Responses

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  1. Damon,

    R U aware of any family members who knew of the Ethiopian connection? If not, wouldn’t it be more accurate to state your research as the “Unknown Ethiopian Connection” rather than the “Secret” one?
    This is the first time I am learning of this but I will also say that for a very long time I have felt a connection with Ethiopia and indeed Eritrea. There’s some kind of connection there but I didn’t know what or why I felt it. Maybe this explains it??

  2. Yes Rich, several older ones told me about it before they died, I grew up hearing about it since I was in Secondary School, but they grew up in an age when any non-European ancestry was ‘nothing to boast about’ (especially in Barbados) so it was very much a secret, DNA cannot be erased from one’s ‘genetic memory’ so yes – I would say your instinctual pull/affinity is due to that. Some of these same deceased elders were full of pride in our Amerindian heritage also – in their last years…but things they told me they did not bother to tell their own children (decades before) – who did not show my level of interests & pride in it – due to them not having ever shared all they knew with them in the first place! A vicious cycle of a bygone era, the main thing now is that I tell all of the younger generation all that I know before I too die and take a lot of valuable info with me to the grave.

  3. Hi Damon – Eve here – I remember well when great aunt Irene came to stay with David Arnold Dewever (my grandad) in the UK – this was back in the late 1950s – from memory I can tell in no uncertain terms that she possessed with her glass photographic plates of the two princesses – and she relayed a story about them coming from Ethopia……I will be emailing you in due course…

  4. Hi Damon – My grandfather, Carl de Weever, was born about 1900 on Sint Maarten, the only child of Louis de Weever. Any idea how he fits into the family tree/timeline? Thanks!

  5. Hi Patricia,

    we might very well be related through the DeWever line because our ancestor (also a Karl) left from Saba (next to Sint Maarten) and went to the then Dutch Colony of Guiana, if you can trace your own DeWever line back to Saba – maybe a child of my Karl who may nave taken his youngest 2 children to Guyana – but may have had older ones who already married in the Dutch Antilles before he decided to go to Guiana? You can e-mail me at

  6. Sorry Patricia – my mistake – when he left Saba for Guiana it was already a British colony and no longer a Dutch possession…and if your ancestor was born in 1900 I suspect he could have been a grandson of an elder son of MY ancestor Karl, who stayed in the Dutch Antilles (as there are DeWever’s still in Saba and Sint Maarten as you know), it was common to name a child after a grandfather or grandmother (hence Karl being given again to your ancestor possibly). In less than 100 years my Great Uncle David Arnold DeWever had over 100 descendants (we are professional breeders) so do not doubt the possibility lol.

  7. I understand my fam is from Ethiopia and went to Barbados…where their name was changed to Pierce…..don’t know what their original name was….the first brothers were Richard and Anthony Pierce…..brought two Dutch indentured servants,,,Hanna Van Acca and Maria Van Acca…the two brothers married the two sisters….


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