Opechancanough Mangopeesomon Powhatan (c.1545 - 1645)

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Birthplace: Cinquoateck, Virginia
Death: Died in Buckingham, Virginia
Cause of death: shooting by guards
Occupation: Chief
Managed by: mi² Anderson, (c) ♥
Last Updated:

About Opechancanough Mangopeesomon Powhatan

[NOTES FOR CURATORS AND PRO MANAGERS]

Please merge with http://www.geni.com/people/Opechanacanough-Powhatan/6000000009826281108 .

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[Brother of Chief Powatan (real name Wahunsonacock) When Powatan died in1618, Opechancanough took over. he was much more violent than his brother. in 1622 he invaded Jamestown. Brother Wahunsonacock was the father of Pocahontas. Therefore Princess Nicketti was her cousin. Brother's parents were : Emperior Wahunsonacock Powhatan. Many names are very similar. Note: On Powhatan's death in 1618, Opechancanough, brother of Powhatan and chief of the Pamunkey, became the central power in the Powhatan Confederacy. For many years he was the scourge of the early colonists, and the fierce and implacable enemy of the whites. Constant encroachment and attempts to force European culture upon the Indians led to tensions that erupted in a general war. Opechancanough organized the March 22, 1622 attack, in which some 347 settlers were killed and came close to destroying the entire colony. English reprisals were equally violent, but there was no further fighting on a large scale until 1644, when Opechancanough led the last uprising, in which he was captured and taken to Jamestown. He was kindly treated by the governor, but in a few days shot in the back by one of his guards for some private revenge and died of the wound. He was nearly a hundred years old and very infirm. His successor was Necotowance. The British soon conquered the empire, and, after a few ill fated attempts at rebellion, the Powhatan's were soon destroyed. Survivors fled northward, to Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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A Powhatan chief, born about 1545, died in 1644.

    He captured Capt. John Smith shortly after the arrival of the latter in Virginia, and took him to his brother, the head-chief Powhatan (q. v.). Some time after his release, Smith, in order to change the temper of the Indians, who jeered at the starving Englishmen and refused to sell them food, went with a band of his men to Opechancanough's camp under pretense of buying corn, seized the chief by the hair, and at the point of a pistol marched him off a prisoner. The Pamunkey brought boat-loads of provisions to ransom their chief, who thereafter entertained more respect and deeper hatred for the English. While Powhatan lived Opechancanough was held in restraint, but after his brother's death in 1618 he became the dominant leader of the nation, although his other brother, Opitchapan, was the nominal head-chief.
    He plotted the destruction of the colony so secretly that only one Indian, the Christian Chanco, revealed the conspiracy, but too late to save the people of Jamestown, who at a sudden signal were massacred, Mar. 22, 1622, by the natives deemed to be entirely friendly.
    In the period of intermittent hostilities that followed, duplicity and treachery marked the actions of both whites and Indians. In the last year of his life, Opechancanough, taking advantage of the dissensions of the English, planned their extermination. The aged chief was borne into battle on a litter when the Powhatan, on Apr. 18, 1644, fell upon the settlements and massacred 300 persons, then as suddenly desisted and fled far from the colony, frightened perhaps by some omen. Opechancanough was taken prisoner to Jamestown, where one of his guards treacherously shot him, inflicting a wound of which he subsequently died.

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Pronunciation: (O-pech"un-kä'nO)

Information from Wm. Dey Herbert gedcom, Sara Pollastrini : Chief Opechanacanough led the native american indian attack on Jamestown colony, resulting in the death of 347 settlers. This massacre lead to the collapse of Virginia Company and the return of the colony to the control of the King of England. Chief Opechanacanough died by a brutal murder while in captivity in 1644.

Information from Arnold gedcom, JD Watson: Opechancanough, uncle to Pocahontas, was considered a master tactician. He led the Pamunkey tribe for twenty-five years following the death of his brother, Powhatan. For the first six months following Powhatan's death, Opechancanough reassured the settlers of Jamestown, Virginia of their safety. Opechancanough became Werownsi or Werowance (Good Person) of Pamunkey. However, Opechancanough saw that the settlers were beginning to encroach on his tribe's hunting grounds by clearing the trees to make tobacco fields and driving away the game. He saw a pattern building which he wanted to stop. In 1622, on Good Friday, the Indians struck, killing nearly 350 settlers and destroying the town's iron works. Opechancanough was captured during a peace council with the colonists, but managed to escape soon afterward. The attack had so effectively curtailed the community's growth that Opechancanough did not attack again until 1644. Soon after this assault, the chief was taken prisoner for the last time.

When the English first met him, Opechancanough was in his compound five miles north of Apamatuk on land belonging to the Werowans of Winau (Weanoc). This neck of land lies between the Mattaponi (Mattapanlent) River and the Pamunkey River. Opechancanough's major village was at Menapacuts (Menapacunt) on the Pamunkey River, near the sacred center of Uttamussak.

Some of what was written of Opechancanough and the tribe's homeland by early settlers:

"Wyroans Panaunche a Rychland of Copper and pearle. His country lyes into the land to another [Pamunkey] Ryver. The Copper They weare it in eares, about neckes in long lynckes, and in broade plates on heades. The Kyng had a 'Chaine of pearle about his neck thrice Double, the third part of them as bygg as pease. One hundred acres were planted with beans, corn, peas, tobacco, gourds, pumpkins, and other crops."

Near to Opechancanough's village of Menapacunt was the sacred center of Uttamussak, located on "top of certaine red sandy hils." In the woods there were "three great houses filled with images of their kings, and Devils, and Tombes of their Predecessors. Those houses are neare sixtie foot in length built arbour-wise, after their building [style]. This place they count so holy as that but the Priests and Kings dare come into them." People going up the adjacent Pamunkey River "solemly cast some piece of copper, white beads, or Pocones [red paint powder] into the river" to honor Oke, or Okee (probably Auki) ["Earth-Spirit"]. Opechancanough had similar places in the territory of his brothers.

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Brother of Chief Powatan (real name Wahunsonacock) When Powatan died in1618, Opechancanough took over. he was much more violent than his brother. in 1622 he invaded Jamestown.

Brother Wahunsonacock was the father of Pocahontas. Therefore Princess Nicketti was her cousin.

Brother's parents were : Emperior Wahunsonacock Powhatan. Many names are very similar.

Note: On Powhatan's death in 1618, Opechancanough, brother of Powhatan and chief of the Pamunkey, became the central power in the Powhatan Confederacy. For many years he was the scourge of the early colonists, and the fierce and implacable enemy of the whites. Constant encroachment and attempts to force European culture upon the Indians led to tensions that erupted in a general war. Opechancanough organized the March 22, 1622 attack, in which some 347 settlers were killed and came close to destroying the entire colony. English reprisals were equally violent, but there was no further fighting on a large scale until 1644, when Opechancanough led the last uprising, in which he was captured and taken to Jamestown. He was kindly treated by the governor, but in a few days shot in the back by one of his guards for some private revenge and died of the wound. He was nearly a hundred years old and very infirm. His successor was Necotowance. The British soon conquered the empire, and, after a few ill fated attempts at rebellion, the Powhatan's were soon destroyed. Survivors fled northward, to Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

http://www.gurganus.org/ourfamily/browse.cfm?pid=90804

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Notes

  1. "Library of the Maryland Historical Society, an item of three lines covering eleven years. During the period covered by the fragment, matters became so bad between the Whites and the Indians that Opechancanough , Chief of the Powhatans, was induced to agree upon a line being established which neither White nor Indian, excepting truce bearers, should cross under penalty of being shot on sight. To insure strict obedience to the compact, a law was passed at Jamestown imposing a heavy penalty on any people crossing the line without a special permit from the Commissioners Council and the General Court. This accounts for the item alluded to, which is given verbatim. It reads: "Note:

  1. Dec. 17th, 1641 -- Thomas Rolfe petitions the governor to let him see Opechankeno to whom he is allied, and Cleopatra, his mother's sister."
  2. The record of the General Court was evidently intended to be a verbatim copy though they differ in phraseology and spelling: Note: "Dec. 17th, 1641 -- Thomas Rolph petitions Gov. to let him go see Opechanko, to whom he is allied, and Cleopatre, his mother's sister."
  3. Thomas Rolfe was the son of John Rolfe and Pocahontas. Source: http://www.kentuckykinfolkorganization.com/descendantofSamuelBurks.html

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His name reportedly means either "He Whose Soul Is White" or "At the Waterfall" in the Algonquian language.

He was Weroance of the Pamunkey and a tribal chief of the Powhatan Confederacy of what is now Virginia in the United States, and its leader from 1618 until his death in 1644.

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[LINKS]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opechancanough

http://www.southern-style.com/powhatan_vann.htm

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Opechancanough Mangopeesomon Powhatan's Timeline

1545
1545
Virginia
1600
1600
Age 55
Virginia
1619
1619
Age 74
1622
March 22, 1622
Age 77
Jamestown, Virginia
1624
1624
Age 79
Virginia
1625
1625
Age 80
Tsenacomaca, Virginia
1628
1628
Age 83
Shawnee Nation, Virginia
1630
1630
Age 85
1645
October 5, 1645
Age 100
Buckingham, Virginia
1999
August 19, 1999
Age 100