Captain John Rolfe, Ancient Planter

Is your surname Rolfe?

Research the Rolfe family

Captain John Rolfe, Ancient Planter's Geni Profile

Records for John Rolfe

285,537 Records

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

John Rolfe, Jr.

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Heacham, Norfolk, England
Death: Died in James City County, Virginia
Immediate Family:

Son of John Rolfe, of Heacham and Dorothea Rolfe
Husband of Sarah Hacker; Pocahontas and Jane Rolfe
Father of Bermuda Rolfe; Lt. Thomas Pepsironemeh Rolfe and Elizabeth Pierce Milner
Brother of Eustace Rolfe [twin] and Edward Rolfe

Occupation: Secretary and Recorder-General for Virginia, Captin, Ancient Planter
Managed by: Heather Billig
Last Updated:

About Captain John Rolfe, Ancient Planter

Rolfe, John

1585 – He was born this year in Norfolk, England. At the time, Spain held a virtual monopoly on the lucrative tobacco trade within Europe. Most Spanish colonies in the New World were located in southern climates more favorable to tobacco growth than the English settlements.

1607 - Jamestown had been established by an initial group of settlers in this year.

1608 – After two return trips with supplies by Christopher Newport arrived in this year, another relief fleet was dispatched in 1609, carrying new settlers and supplies across the Atlantic. This "Third Supply" fleet was broken apart by a severe hurricane.

1610 – The two newly-constructed ships set sail from Bermuda, with 142 castaways on board, including Rolfe, Admiral Somers, Stephen Hopkins and Sir Thomas Gates.

1612 – After his wife and child were buried in Bermuda, this year, he established Varina Farms, a plantation on the James River about 30 miles upstream from the Jamestown Settlement.

1614 – He married Pocahontas, daughter of the local Native American leader Chief Powhatan. Chief Powhatan gave the newlyweds property that included a small brick house just across the James River from Jamestown which was used as a home or cottage by Pocahontas and John Rolfe when they were first married.

1615 - Birth of son Thomas in Virginia

1616 – He and his wife traveled to England in 1616 with their baby son, where the young woman was widely received as visiting royalty. However, just as they were preparing to return to Virginia, she became ill and died.

1622 – He died this year, but it is unknown in what manner. He may have been killed by the Powhatan Confederacy during the Indian Massacre of 1622, or at another time during that year of warfare between the colonists and the tribes.

Links to additional material:

--------------------

He was the 1st gentleman to plant tobacco in Virginia & was respected by the colonists. He was the 1st Secretary & Recorder General of Virginia & a member of the Council.

SPOUSES Sarah Hacker (m. 1608–1610, her death in Bermuda) Pocahontas (m. 1614–1617, her death off Gravesend, Kent, where she is buried) Jane Pierce (m. 1619–1622, Rolfe's death)

CHILDREN Bermuda Rolfe (b and d 1610 in Bermuda) Thomas Rolfe Elizabeth Rolfe (1620–1635)

view all 18

Captain John Rolfe, Ancient Planter's Timeline

1585
May 6, 1585
Heacham, Norfolk, England
May 6, 1585
May 6, 1585
Heacham, Norfolk, England
1608
1608
Age 22
Norfolk, England
1609
February 11, 1609
Age 23
Bermuda
1610
June 10, 1610
Age 25
Jamestown, VA, USA

John Rolfe departed England on the third supply fleet headed for the Jamestown Colony in May 1609. John Rolfe was a passenger on the flagship of this fleet, the "Sea Venture." John Rolfe was accompanied on this vessel by his wife, Sarah Hacker, and a small child named Bermuda. The "Sea Venture" was deliberately driven into the reef in Bermuda to prevent the ship from floundering. John Rolfe was in Bermuda (The Somers Isles, named after the Admiral of the Company, Sir George Somers) for ten months while two new ships were being built. Upon the completion of the ships, John Rolfe left Bermuda in May 1610, leaving behind his wife Sarah and the child Bermuda, who had both died. John Rolfe arrived in Jamestown on June 10, 1610 and began his work with tobacco.

June 10, 1610
Age 25
Jamestown, VA, American Colonies

John Rolfe departed England on the third supply fleet headed for the Jamestown Colony in May 1609. John Rolfe was a passenger on the flagship of this fleet, the "Sea Venture." John Rolfe was accompanied on this vessel by his wife, Sarah Hacker, and a small child named Bermuda. The "Sea Venture" was deliberately driven into the reef in Bermuda to prevent the ship from floundering. John Rolfe was in Bermuda (The Somers Isles, named after the Admiral of the Company, Sir George Somers) for ten months while two new ships were being built. Upon the completion of the ships, John Rolfe left Bermuda in May 1610, leaving behind his wife Sarah and the child Bermuda, who had both died. John Rolfe arrived in Jamestown on June 10, 1610 and began his work with tobacco.

1611
1611
Age 25
VA, USA

John Rolfe obtained tobacco seeds from Trinidad and South America (even though Spain had declaired selling tobacco seeds to any non-Spaniard was punishable by death). The native Tobacco in Virginia was not liked by Europeans; so, Rolfe intoduced the seeds of the sweeter strains that he had somehow managed to acquire. In 1611, Rolfe is credited with being the first to commercially cultivate Nicotiana tabacum tobacco plants in North America; export of this sweeter tobacco beginning in 1612 helped turn the Virginia Colony into a profitable venture. Rolfe named his Virginia-grown strain of the tobacco "Orinoco", possibly in honor of tobacco-popularizer Sir Walter Raleigh's expeditions in the 1580s up the Orinoco River in Guiana in search of the legendary City of Gold, El Dorado. The appeal of Orinoco tobacco was in its nicotine, and the conviviality of its use in social situations.

1611
Age 25
VA, American Colonies

John Rolfe obtained tobacco seeds from Trinidad and South America (even though Spain had declaired selling tobacco seeds to any non-Spaniard was punishable by death). The native Tobacco in Virginia was not liked by Europeans; so, Rolfe intoduced the seeds of the sweeter strains that he had somehow managed to acquire. In 1611, Rolfe is credited with being the first to commercially cultivate Nicotiana tabacum tobacco plants in North America; export of this sweeter tobacco beginning in 1612 helped turn the Virginia Colony into a profitable venture. Rolfe named his Virginia-grown strain of the tobacco "Orinoco", possibly in honor of tobacco-popularizer Sir Walter Raleigh's expeditions in the 1580s up the Orinoco River in Guiana in search of the legendary City of Gold, El Dorado. The appeal of Orinoco tobacco was in its nicotine, and the conviviality of its use in social situations.

1612
1612
Age 26
Varina Farms

In 1612, Rolfe established Varina Farms, a plantation on the James River about 30 miles (48 km) upstream from the Jamestown Settlement, and across the river from Sir Thomas Dale's progressive development at Henricus.