Japasaw Iopassus Powhatan, Chief of the Powhatan

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About Japasaw Iopassus Powhatan, Chief of the Powhatan

Japasaw (aka ioppasus)

King of the Patawomeck and Paupauwiske

Japasaw (aka ioppasus)is recognized as the brother of the great Chief

Powhatan, father of Pocahontas, although researchers feel he is only a half

brother.

-------------------- From: THE VIRGINIA INDIAN TRIBES: 17TH CENTURY, Leaflet 57, Apr 1933, 2nd Printing Sept 1940, Dept of Indian Art, Denver Art Museum, Denver Colorado: "POTOMAC or PATAWOMEKE. An important tribe in 1600's centering about a town of the same name in Stafford County, Virginia on a peninsula formed by the Potomac River. Population then about 800. Today perhaps 150 mixed bloods live in the neighborhood, about 8 miles north of Fredericksburg."

"The descendants of the Patawomeke Tribe in Stafford have always been proud of their Indian heritage and have passed down thier descent from Chief Japasaw for many generations. They have lived in the same area in and around Passapatanzy (8 miles North of Fredericksburg, VA, now on the border of Stafford and King George counties), the seat of Japasaw and his son, Wahanganoche, "King of Patomeck", since the early 1600's. footnote 8. "A Brief Outline of Recorded History of the Patawomeck Tribe" William L. Deyo, 2000.

Chief Japasaw was a brother to Chief Powhatan, the first Indian leader met by the Jamestown colonists. Powhatan was the father of Pocahontas. Pocahontas's mother was from the Patawomeck Tribe, one of the tribes in the Powhatan Confederacy.

Chief Wahanganoche, King of Patawomke, is last known to have lived at Passapatanazy in 1662 when Capt. Giles Brent and others were reprimanded for assault and false accusations against the chief. footnote 10, above source.

"The family material on the Indian annihilation goes hand in had with the recorded history of the year 1666 when the General Court of Virginia declared war on the Patawomekes and other area tribes, at which time Capt. Giles Brent and others engaged in battle against the area indians. Since he had a personal grudge against the Patawomekes, havng been reprimanded and punished for his charges and assault against Chief Wahanganoche, it is most logical that they were prime targets. This fits with the Curtis ancestor, a Patawomeke Indian girl named "Ontonah", who was orphaned after both of her parents were killed during a confrontation between the whilte settlers and the Indians. The Curtis family raised Ontonah and gave her the Christian name of "Elizabeth". Elizabeth Ontonah married one of the Curtis boys with whom she was raised. Her name was repeated among her Stafford County descendants even up to the twentieth century.

Information about the 1666 war against the Patawomeke Tribe is vital in understanding their fate. The following is taken from the Minutes of the General Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia, edited by H.R. McIlwaine.

Meeting at James City, July the 10th 1666....It is therefore ordered for revenge

of the former and for the prevention of future mischiefs that the towns of Monzation,

Nanzimond, and Port Tobacco with the whole nation of the Doegs and Potomacks be

forthwith prosecuted with war to their utter destruction if possible and that their

women and children and their goods or as much of it as shall be taken to be disposed

of according to instructions as shall be issued from the Right Honourable Governor. And

it is further ordered that the said war be managed by such officers with such numbers

of men and by such ways and means as the Governor shall think fit.

The book "Pocahontas's People", by Helen C. Rountree, states (p95) that in July 1665 (apparently this should be 1666, per the General Coucil minutes above) war was declared on the Patawomekes, and states, "The outcome of the war is uncertain, but the Patawomecks disappear from the surviving English records thereafter." On the same page it is further stated that in June 1666, the English Governor ordered the Rappahannock County militia to attack and exterminate the Indians within reach, with permission to sell captive women and children into servitude. It should be noted that the domain of the Patawomekes straddled the adjoining counties of Stafford and Rappahannock at that time.

The fate of Chief Wahanganoche, King of the Patawomeke was as follows: He was taken to Williamsburg, Va in 1662 and tried by the court there on charges brought against him and others by Capt. Giles Brent. He was acquitted of all charges and was allowed to return home. Chief Wahanganoche was apparently given a silver medallion during this time, by the Virginia Assembly. (Henings Statutes, vol 2 p 142) After the trial, Chief Wahanganoche and his company headed back to Passipatanzy, but the old chief never made it back home. Chief Wahanganoche's silver medallion was unearthed in Caroline County in the early 1860's, in a area that was logically in the path of the chief on his way home from Williamsburg. A letter written on 1 April 1664 by Col John Catlett to his cousin in England, telling of the events of the past year, told of the capture and trial of the "King of Potomek", indicating that he was, in Catlett's belief, unjustly acquited. He told of the death of the chief on his way home after his release and believed that he got what he deserved. Chief Wahanganoche's death is not described, and it is not clear whether it was natural or by murder.