Matoaka Amonute "Rebecca" Rolfe (Powhattan) (1595 - 1617) MP

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Nicknames: "Pocahontas", "Powhattan", "Princess Matoaka", "Matoika", "Wrolfe", "Lady Rebecca Rolfe", "Matoaka Pohatan", "Lady Rebecca", "Matoaka"
Place of Burial: England, United Kingdom
Birthplace: Tidewater, James City, Virginia, USA
Death: Died in Gravesend, Kent, England
Cause of death: Old World Disease - Pneumonia or Tuberculosis.
Managed by: Carter Castilow
Last Updated:

About Matoaka Amonute "Rebecca" Rolfe (Powhattan)

Although Pocahontas was not a princess in the context of Powhatan culture, the Virginia Company nevertheless presented her as a princess to the English public. The inscription on a 1616 engraving of Pocahontas, made for the company, reads: "MATOAKA ALS REBECCA FILIA POTENTISS : PRINC : POWHATANI IMP:VIRGINIÆ", which means: "Matoaka, alias Rebecca, daughter of the most powerful prince of the Powhatan Empire of Virginia."

In 1995, Roy Disney decided to release an animated movie about a Powhatan woman known as "Pocahontas". In answer to a complaint by the Powhatan Nation, he claims the film is "responsible, accurate, and respectful."

We of the Powhatan Nation disagree. The film distorts history beyond recognition. Our offers to assist Disney with cultural and historical accuracy were rejected. Our efforts urging him to reconsider his misguided mission were spurred.

"Pocahontas" was a nickname, meaning "the naughty one" or "spoiled child". Her real name was Matoaka. The legend is that she saved a heroic John Smith from being clubbed to death by her father in 1607 - she would have been about 10 or 11 at the time. The truth is that Smith's fellow colonists described him as an abrasive, ambitious, self-promoting mercenary soldier.

Of all of Powhatan's children, only "Pocahontas" is known, primarily because she became the hero of Euro-Americans as the "good Indian", one who saved the life of a white man. Not only is the "good Indian/bad Indian theme" inevitably given new life by Disney, but the history, as recorded by the English themselves, is badly falsified in the name of "entertainment".

The truth of the matter is that the first time John Smith told the story about this rescue was 17 years after it happened, and it was but one of three reported by the pretentious Smith that he was saved from death by a prominent woman.

Yet in an account Smith wrote after his winter stay with Powhatan's people, he never mentioned such an incident. In fact, the starving adventurer reported he had been kept comfortable and treated in a friendly fashion as an honored guest of Powhatan and Powhatan's brothers. Most scholars think the "Pocahontas incident" would have been highly unlikely, especially since it was part of a longer account used as justification to wage war on Powhatan's Nation.

Euro-Americans must ask themselves why it has been so important to elevate Smith's fibbing to status as a national myth worthy of being recycled again by Disney. Disney even improves upon it by changing Pocahontas from a little girl into a young woman.

The true Pocahontas story has a sad ending. In 1612, at the age of 17, Pocahontas was treacherously taken prisoner by the English while she was on a social visit, and was held hostage at Jamestown for over a year.

During her captivity, a 28-year-old widower named John Rolfe took a "special interest" in the attractive young prisoner. As a condition of her release, she agreed to marry Rolfe, who the world can thank for commercializing tobacco. Thus, in April 1614, Matoaka, also known as "Pocahontas", daughter of Chief Powhatan, became "Rebecca Rolfe". Shortly after, they had a son, whom they named Thomas Rolfe. The descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe were known as the "Red Rolfes."

Two years later on the spring of 1616, Rolfe took her to England where the Virginia Company of London used her in their propaganda campaign to support the colony. She was wined and dined and taken to theaters. It was recorded that on one occasion when she encountered John Smith (who was also in London at the time), she was so furious with him that she turned her back to him, hid her face, and went off by herself for several hours. Later, in a second encounter, she called him a liar and showed him the door.

Rolfe, his young wife, and their son set off for Virginia in March of 1617, but "Rebecca" had to be taken off the ship at Gravesend. She died there on March 21, 1617, at the age of 21. She was buried at Gravesend, but the grave was destroyed in a reconstruction of the church. It was only after her death and her fame in London society that Smith found it convenient to invent the yarn that she had rescued him.

History tells the rest. Chief Powhatan died the following spring of 1618. The people of Smith and Rolfe turned upon the people who had shared their resources with them and had shown them friendship. During Pocahontas' generation, Powhatan's people were decimated and dispersed and their lands were taken over. A clear pattern had been set which would soon spread across the American continent.

~Chief Roy Crazy Horse

It is unfortunate that this sad story, which Euro-Americans should find embarrassing, Disney makes "entertainment" and perpetuates a dishonest and self-serving myth at the expense of the Powhatan Nation.

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The original burial registry indicates that Pocahontas was interred on 17 Mar 1617 in a vault beneath the Chancellery of the Church in Gravesend, England, which shows the esteem in which she was held. A representative of the church stated "you don't get buried under a church in a private vault unless you are quite important." The church burned in 1727 and a new one was built on the same site. Several graves were opened during the construction and the remains were re-interred in the church courtyard. There is no record indicating which graves from the hundreds on site were moved. Many of those were moved again in 1890 when an addition to the church was built. So, it is not exactly known where her bones are, as stated by Gravesend Chamber of Commerce Director Graham Sawell said. "We believe they may be underneath the church, but without digging up the whole thing, we will never find them"

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

There is positive and indisputable proof (Strong Words for Genealogy) that Pocahontas had a sister named Cleopatra (?Matachanna). This proofwas located in the old 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:

Dec. 17th, 1641 -- Thomas Rolfe petitions the governor to let him see Opechankeno to whom he is allied, and Cleopatra, his mother's sister."

Note:

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."

Links to additional material:

-------------------- Pocahontas

"[Our records start] with the Indian chief, Murmuring Ripple, who died in 1495. According to the olden history, he was the father of Dashing Stream, who was born May 6, 1474, on the banks of a tributary of the Lancer river, which headed in the Blue Ridge mountains. He died in 1540. Dashing Stream was the father of Scented Flower, who was born June 3, 1517, at the junction of the Dan and Staunton rivers in Virginia. Scented Flower was the father of Powhatan [whose real name was Wahunsenacawh, a Pamunkey who became king, or powhatan, of the confederation of coastal tribes], born June 17, 1545, near New River, Va., and died in 1622, at the age of 77 years. [He had] a daughter by the name of Pocahontas, who was born in 1596, near Jamestown, Va."

Oddly enough, this record of Native American lineage is more complete than anything left behind by the family's more "civilized" European ancestors. The reasons are two-fold. First, people almost always immigrate because they are glad to leave their home country, a circumstance that does not encourage the remembering or recording of what came before. Secondly, life was very hard in the early decades of colonial Virginia and there was little time or interest in writing up the details of either people's past history or their current daily lives. Also, those few personal accounts that have survived are often difficult to sort out because of identity confusion, caused by a common tendency to give newborn children the same, timeworn first names over and over and over. Death, which came easily during the early days, further muddied the identification waters because spouses often remarried and the wives naturally changed their names.

While finding good historical data on colonial males is hard enough, it is almost impossible to locate documentation on females. This stems from their status, which was a condition uncomfortably close to chattel. Women were considered men's property--they did not participate in business, were restricted in what property they could own, and couldn't vote or hold public office. As a result, they rarely show up in the public record, a prime source of genealogical evidence. Also, the institution of holy matrimony as it existed in primitive North America often bore little resemblance to the original model back in Britain. In some cases, these "marriages" involved Native American women, making matters that much more delicate. In those days, and indeed well into the twentieth century, individuals having Indian blood were especially restricted with regard to civil and social matters, and rarely appear in the written record. Aunt Mary Barnett spoke to this point as well:

"Ah, well do we remember when our father conveyed the intelligence that the same little Indian girl who was so highly eulogized in our child history . . . was among the number of our great grandmothers. It was given to us as a profound secret, but a real truth, which we pondered over with a feeling of disgrace to think there was Indian blood in our veins. We never dared speak of it. But as time went on everything took a change and so did this."

Taking all these things into account, it's no wonder information on the founding Virginians is so often vague, conflicting, lost [many early public records were destroyed by fire], or simply never put to paper in the first place. It has also become clear that despite their "prominence," the families of English tobacco planter John Rolfe, and his mixed-blood son, Thomas Rolfe, were not excepted from these patterns. As a consequence, it is very difficult, perhaps even impossible, for anyone in America to unequivocally prove descendency from John Rolfe's wife, Matoaka, the favored Powhatan daughter and respected medicine woman who is more commonly known by her affectionate, informal nickname, Pocahontas. Everyone today claiming descent from Matoaka, whether they realize it or not, is fundamentally relying on their family's oral history [See below discussion on Elizabeth Washington of England for the exception].

Until recently, historians had unconditionally accepted the 'Pocahontas genealogy' supplied by nineteenth-century writer and Bolling family descendant Wyndam Robertson (his scholarly standing was bolstered by the presence within the Bolling clan of such notable Virginians as John Randolph and President Thomas Jefferson). The gist of Robertson's conclusions were as follows: Pocahontas had but one child, a son Thomas, and Thomas had but one child, Jane, by his wife, Jane Poythress. Daughter Jane married a Bolling, and from that union came the single bloodline Matoaka left behind.

Based on extensive new research by scholars and independent researchers, we now know that wasn't the whole story, not by a country mile. To begin the narrative anew:

Pocahontas was born circa 1595-96, and was possibly married, at least for a time, to a Powhatan warrior named Kocoum, circa 1610. Vague references have been found suggesting one or two native children were born to this union, but no evidence has surfaced. Kocoum abruptly stepped off the historical stage [for reasons unknown] and in 1613 Pocahontas married John Rolfe [NOT John Smith!]. They had one child, a son, Thomas Rolfe, born in 1614. Pocahontas died of an undetermined illness while on a 1617 business visit to England with her merchant husband and was buried in that country at a place called Gravesend. Their infant son, Thomas, was too small and fragile to withstand the risky sea journey back to America so John Rolfe left him in England under the care of his brother, Uncle Henry Rolfe. Henry raised the boy as an Englishman.

John Rolfe died in Virginia in 1622, either from a lingering illness or during an Indian raid. According to his will, son Thomas could not inherit his father's rather sizable estate before reaching age twenty-one unless he married prior to that time. In what may have been at least a partial response to this stipulation, seventeen-year-old Thomas married Elizabeth Washington in England in 1632. In 1633, Elizabeth died giving birth to a daughter, Anne, who later married Peter Elwyn, and they had at least three sons and four daughters. The Elwyns inherited several of Pocahontas' personal possessions.

In 1635, Thomas Rolfe, now twenty-one years old, returned to the Virginia colony in North America. It is at this point the record gets murky and the serious detective work begins. As previously stated, the official Bolling histories have long maintained their version of events is the only true one--that Thomas had but one child by Jane Poythress, a daughter also called Jane [circa 1650-1676], and that she married Colonel Robert Bolling [1646-1709], and they were the root parents of all of Pocahontas' descendants. But that would mean that during Thomas' entire adult life [by some accounts he died circa 1675, by others circa 1707], he had only one child (The Bollings were apparently unaware of his daughter Anne by the Englishwoman, Elizabeth Washington). Given the way things were done in those days--have as many children as possible to help earn a living and ensure the preservation of the family name--that seems very unlikely. Indeed, there is a large amount of circumstantial evidence suggesting Thomas Rolfe sired several, perhaps many, North American children, and that he did it by several wives.

And it is here the story gets really interesting. While the history books have long insisted Thomas had but one New World wife, the aforementioned Jane Poythress, recent scholarship has shown that Wyndam Robertson, in his 1887 book, "Pocahontas and Her Descendants," took it upon himself, ostensibly in the interest of clearing up all the spousal confusion, to simply designate an 'official wife' ["I adopt (the name) Jane Poythress"]. As a result of this sloppy genealogy by a prominent historian and theologian, 'Jane Poythress,' a clearly arbitrary name, has ever since been identified by nearly all historians as the undisputed, lone American wife of Thomas Rolfe.

New research over the past few decades [Slatten and Moore, John Brayton, and others] has exposed this long-lived, self-serving Robertson fabrication. It has also unearthed tantalizing fresh evidence linking Thomas Rolfe to other females besides "Jane Poythress" (whoever she was). They include: 1) a cousin of Pocahontas named Oconoco, or Oi Poi. One of their children has been identified as Thomas "Powhatan" Rolfe. Oral tradition says he insisted all his life on being called "Powhatan" 2) a Dorothy Jennings of North Carolina 3) an Indian maid of Dorothy's named Mary Grimes

We almost certainly will never know the absolute truth about these women, for the same reasons it may never be determined whether Thomas Rolfe died circa 1675, or if he was the same Thomas Rolfe of North Carolina (then a part of Virginia), "reputed son of Pocahontas," who died in 1707 at a very ripe old age. In any event, the bits and pieces of evidence suggesting Thomas had both white and Indian liaisons has the ring of truth to it. After all, that was the way things were done in those rough and tumble frontier days, far from British legalities and the Church of England. Furthermore, it must be remembered that Thomas Rolfe was one-half Powhatan, a man who throughout his life remained close to his mother's Native American community, despite his ability to also conduct himself as a proper Englishman.

To summarize then, Thomas Rolfe must have had several children, perhaps as many as twelve according to some reports, and they almost certainly issued from more than one wife or mistress. The following offspring have been named in several different accounts, with varying degrees of evidence and conjecture in their support:

- Anne Rolfe Elwyn, born 1633, mother, Elizabeth Washington - John Rolfe, born circa early 1640s, mother, "Jane Poythress" - Thomas Rolfe, Jr., born circa 1645, mother, "Jane Poythress" - William Rolfe, born circa late 1640s, mother, "Jane Poythress" - Jane Rolfe Bolling, born circa 1650, mother, "Jane Poythress" - Ann/Anne/Anna Rolfe Barnett, born circa 1653-65, mother unknown--"Jane Poythress?" Oi Poi? - Thomas "Powhatan" Rolfe, born circa 1665, mother, Oi Poi

Pocahontas was most likely born in Werawocomoco (what is now Wicomico, Gloucester County, Virginia) on the north side of the Pamaunkee (York) River, around the year 1595. Her true name was Matoaka, but that name was only used within her tribe. Native Americans believed harm would come to a person if outsiders learned of their tribal name. Pocahontas was one of many daughters of a powerful chief named Powhatan, who ruled more than 25 tribes.

Pocahontas first became acquainted with the English colonists who settled in the Chesapeake Bay area in 1607. Along with her tribe, Pocahontas watched the colonists build a fort and search for food. The next year, Powhatan's brother Opechancanough captured colonist John Smith. Smith was brought to Powhatan, who decided he must die. According to an account written later by Smith, Pocahontas saved Smith's life by throwing herself down and cradling his head before he was clubbed to death.

After promising to supply Powhatan with several guns, Smith was allowed to return to Jamestown. He did not deliver the guns, but sent many other presents instead. Over the next year, Pocahontas and other tribal women visited the fort and brought food to the settlers. However, in 1609, Smith was forced to return to England after being badly burned in a gun powder accident. After his departure, relations deteriorated between the natives and settlers.

Several years later, Pocahontas was taken hostage by the colonists. She was treated kindly during her captivity and lived in the home of a minister. During this time, Pocahontas converted to Christianity and was baptized with the name Rebecca. While being held in Jamestown, Pocahontas met a distinguished colonist named John Rolfe. The two fell in love and planned to marry. The marriage was blessed by Virginia governor Sir Thomas Dale, as well as Chief Powhatan. Although the chief did not attend the wedding, he sent others in his place and a pearl necklace for his daughter.

In 1615, Rolfe and Pocahontas had their first and only child, Thomas. The following year, the family was invited to England, where Pocahontas became the center of attention of English society. Banquets and dances were given in her honor, and her portrait was painted by famous artists. Pocahontas was received with royal honor by the king and queen. While in England, Pocahontas was also reunited with her friend John Smith, whom she had believed dead.

Before returning to Virginia, Pocahontas contracted small pox. She died in England in March, 1617, at the age of 21. Pocahontas was buried in the chapel of the parish church in Gravesend, England. Rolfe returned to Virginia, where he developed a popular sweet variety of high-grade tobacco. Its export provided a way for the colonists to support themselves. Their son, Thomas, remained in England, where he was educated. He returned to the colonies at the age of 20 and became an important member of the community.

Namesakes

Several places and landmarks take their name from Pocahontas.

  • Pocahontas was the namesake for one of the richest seams of bituminous coal ever found in Virginia and West Virginia, and the Pocahontas Land Company, a subsidiary of the Norfolk and Western Railway.
  • From 1930 into the 1960s, one of the Norfolk and Western Railway's named luxury trains was the "Pocahontas" and ran between Norfolk, Virginia and Cincinnati, Ohio behind the Norfolk and Western Railway's famous J class 4-8-4 streamlined steam engines. In 1946, the Norfolk and Western Railway added the similarly-equipped "Powhatan Arrow" on the same route.
  • The town of Pocahontas, Virginia.
  • Pocahontas County, West Virginia.
  • The village of Indian Queens in Cornwall, UK is sometimes said to be named after her, although this is highly dubious.
  • Matoaca, Virginia is located in Chesterfield County on the Appomattox River. County historians say this is the site of the Indian village Matoax, where she was raised. It is about three miles (5 km) from the present city of Petersburg, Virginia — which in 1784 incorporated another town that had been called 'Pocahontas', where her great grandson, Col. John Bolling, had run a tobacco warehouse. This is still called the "Pocahontas neighbourhood" of Petersburg today.
  • Matoaka, West Virginia.
  • Pocahontas, Iowa is in Pocahontas County.
  • Pocahontas, Arkansas.
  • Pocahontas, Illinois.
  • Po-ca-hon-tas, or The Gentle Savage is a 19th-century burlesque about the woman by John Brougham
  • Fort Pocahontas was an American Civil War fortification in Charles City County, Virginia.
  • Lake Matoaka, part of the campus of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
  • Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield Virginia.
  • Pocahontas Village, a neighborhood in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • MV Pocahontas is a river tour boat operated from Gravesend in London, UK.
  • Four United States Navy ships named USS Pocahontas and one named USS Princess Matoika.
  • Pocahontas, Mississippi.
  • In Henrico County, Virginia, where Pocahontas and John Rolfe lived together at the Varina Farms Plantation, a middle school has been named after each of them. Pocahontas Middle School and John Rolfe Middle School thus reunite the historic couple in the local educational system—Henrico being one of 5 remaining original shires that date to the early 17th century of the Virginia Colony.

Although her life was short, is remembered for contributing to the maintenance of peace between the colonists and the natives. She remains an important part of American folk history to this day.

CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH

37. New and successful attempt to make a settlement in Virginia; Captain John Smith.—One of the leaders in the new expedition sent out to make a settlement in Virginia, while Raleigh was in prison, was Captain John Smith. He began life as a clerk in England. Not liking his work, he ran away and turned soldier. After many strange adventures, he was captured by the Turks and sold as a slave. His master, who was a Turk, riveted a heavy iron collar around his neck and set him to thrashing grain with a big wooden bat like a ball-club. One day the Turk rode up and struck his slave with his riding-whip. This was more than Smith could bear; he rushed at his master, and with one blow of his bat knocked his brains out. He then mounted the dead man's horse and escaped. After a time he got back to England; but as England seemed a little dull to Captain Smith, he resolved to join some emigrants who were going to Virginia.

38. What happened to Captain Smith on the voyage; the landing at Jamestown; what the settlers wanted to do; Smith's plan.—On the way to America, Smith was accused of plotting to murder the chief men among the settlers so that he might make himself "King of Virginia." The accusation was false, but he was put in irons and kept a prisoner for the rest of the voyage.

In the spring of 1607 the emigrants reached Chesapeake[1] Bay, and sailed up a river which they named the James in honor of King James of England; when they landed they named the settlement Jamestown for the same reason. Here they built a log fort, and placed three or four small cannon on its walls. Most of the men who settled Jamestown came hoping to find mines of gold in Virginia, or else a way through to the Pacific Ocean and to the Indies, which they thought could not be very far away. But Captain Smith wanted to help his countrymen to make homes here for themselves and their children.

1 Chesapeake (Ches'a-peek).

39. Smith's trial and what came of it; how the settlers lived; the first English church; sickness; attempted desertion.—As soon as Captain Smith landed, he demanded to be tried by a jury[2] of twelve men. The trial took place. It was the first English court and the first English jury that ever sat in America. The captain proved his innocence and was set free. His chief accuser was condemned to pay him a large sum of money for damages. Smith generously gave this money to help the settlement.

As the weather was warm, the emigrants did not begin building log cabins at once, but slept on the ground, sheltered by boughs of trees. For a church they had an old tent, in which they met on Sunday. They were all members of the Church of England, or the Episcopal Church, and that tent was the first place of worship that we know of which was opened by Englishmen in America.

When the hot weather came, many fell sick. Soon the whole settlement was like a hospital. Sometimes three or four would die in one night. Captain Smith, though not well himself, did everything he could for those who needed his help.

When the sickness was over, some of the settlers were so discontented that they determined to seize the only vessel there was at Jamestown and go back to England. Captain Smith turned the cannon of the fort against them. The deserters saw that if they tried to leave the harbor he would knock their vessel to pieces, so they came back. One of the leaders of these men was tried and shot; the other was sent to England in disgrace.

2 Jury: a number of men, generally twelve, selected according to law to try a case in a court of law; in criminal cases they declare the person accused to be either guilty or not guilty.

40. The Indians of Virginia.—When the Indians of America first met the white men, they were very friendly to them; but this did not last long, because often the whites treated the Indians very badly; in fact, the Spaniards made slaves of them and whipped many of them to death. But these were the Indians of the south; some of the northern tribes were terribly fierce and a match for the Spaniards in cruelty.

BUILDING A WIGWAM. The Indians at the east did not build cities, but lived in small villages. These villages were made up of huts, covered with the bark of trees. Such huts were called wigwams. The women did nearly all the work, such as building the wigwams and hoeing corn and tobacco. The men hunted and made war. Instead of guns the Indians had bows and arrows. With these they could bring down a deer or a squirrel quite as well as a white man could now with a rifle. They had no iron, but made hatchets and knives out of sharp, flat stones. They never built roads, for they had no wagons, and at the east they did not use horses; but they could find their way with ease through the thickest forest. When they came to a river they swam across it, so they had no need of bridges. For boats they made canoes of birch bark. These canoes were almost as light as paper, yet they were very strong and handsome, and they

"floated on the river Like a yellow leaf in autumn, Like a yellow water-lily."[3] In them they could go hundreds of miles quickly and silently. So every river and stream became a roadway to the Indian.

3 Longfellow's Hiawatha (Hiawatha's Sailing).

POCKET COMPASS. 41. Captain Smith goes in search of the Pacific; he is captured by Indians.—After that first long, hot summer was over, some of the settlers wished to explore the country and see if they could not find a short way through to the Pacific Ocean. Captain Smith led the expedition. The Indians attacked them, killed three of the men, and took the captain prisoner. To amuse the Indians, Smith showed them his pocket compass. When the savages saw that the needle always pointed toward the north they were greatly astonished, and instead of killing their prisoner they decided to take him to their chief. This chief was named Powhatan.[4] He was a tall, grim-looking old man, and he hated the settlers at Jamestown, because he believed that they had come to steal the land from the Indians.

4 Powhatan (Pow-ha-tan'). 42. Smith's life is saved by Pocahontas;[5] her marriage to John Rolfe.[6]—Smith was dragged into the chief's wigwam; his head was laid on a large, flat stone, and a tall savage with a big club stood ready to dash out his brains. Just as Powhatan was about to cry "strike!" his daughter Pocahontas, a girl of twelve or thirteen, ran up, and, putting her arms round the prisoner's head, she laid her own head on his—now let the Indian with his uplifted club strike if he dare.[7]

Instead of being angry with his daughter, Powhatan promised her that he would spare Smith's life. When an Indian made such a promise as that he kept it, so the captain knew that his head was safe. Powhatan released his prisoner and soon sent him back to Jamestown, and Pocahontas, followed by a number of Indians, carried to the settlers presents of corn and venison.

Some years after this the Indian maiden married John Rolfe, an Englishman who had come to Virginia. They went to London, and Pocahontas died not far from that city. She left a son; from that son came some noted Virginians. One of them was John Randolph. He was a famous man in his day, and he always spoke with pride of the Indian princess, as he called her.

5 Pocahontas (Po-ka-hon'tas).

6 Rolfe (Rolf).

7 On Pocahontas, see List of Books at the end of this book.

43. Captain Smith is made governor of Jamestown; the gold-diggers; "Corn, or your life."—More emigrants came over from England, and Captain Smith was now made governor of Jamestown. Some of the emigrants found some glittering earth which they thought was gold. Soon nearly every one was hard at work digging it. Smith laughed at them; but they insisted on loading a ship with the worthless stuff and sending it to London. That was the last that was heard of it.

"CORN, OR YOUR LIFE!" The people had wasted their time digging this shining dirt when they should have been hoeing their gardens. Soon they began to be in great want of food. The captain started off with a party of men to buy corn of the Indians. The Indians contrived a cunning plot to kill the whole party. Smith luckily found it out; seizing the chief by the hair, he pressed the muzzle of a pistol against his heart and gave him his choice,—"Corn, or your life!" He got the corn, and plenty of it.

44. "He who will not work shall not eat."—Captain Smith then set part of the men to planting corn, so that they might raise what they needed. The rest of the settlers he took with him into the woods to chop down trees and saw them into boards to send to England. Many tried to escape from this labor; but Smith said, Men who are able to dig for gold are able to chop; then he made this rule: "He who will not work shall not eat." Rather than lose his dinner, the laziest man now took his axe and set off for the woods.

45. Captain Smith's cold-water cure.—But though the choppers worked, they grumbled. They liked to see the chips fly and to hear the great trees "thunder as they fell," but the axe-handles raised blisters on their fingers. These blisters made the men swear, so that often one would hear an oath for every stroke of the axe. Smith said the swearing must be stopped. He had each man's oaths set down in a book. When the day's work was done, every offender was called up; his oaths were counted; then he was told to hold up his right hand, and a can of cold water was poured down his sleeve for each oath. This new style of water cure did wonders; in a short time not an oath was heard: it was just chop, chop, chop, and the madder the men got, the more the chips would fly.

46. Captain Smith meets with an accident and goes back to England; his return to America; his death.—Captain Smith had not been governor very long when he met with a terrible accident. He was out in a boat, and a bag of gunpowder he had with him exploded. He was so badly hurt that he had to go back to England to get proper treatment for his wounds.

He returned to America a number of years later, explored the coast north of Virginia, and gave it the name of New England, but he never went back to Jamestown again. He died in London, and was buried in a famous old church in that city.[8]

8 The church of St. Sepulchre: it is not very far from St. Paul's Cathedral.

A SETTLER'S LOG CABIN. 47. What Captain Smith did for Virginia.—Captain John Smith was in Virginia less than three years, yet in that short time he did a great deal. First, he saved the settlers from starving, by making the Indians sell them corn. Next, by his courage, he saved them from the attacks of the savages. Lastly, he taught them how to work. Had it not been for him the people of Jamestown would probably have lost all heart and gone back to England. He insisted on their staying, and so, through him, the English got their first real foothold in America. But this was not all; he wrote two books on Virginia, describing the soil, the trees, the animals, and the Indians. He also made some excellent maps of Virginia and of New England. These books and maps taught the English people many things about this country, and helped those who wished to emigrate. For these reasons Captain Smith has rightfully been called the "Father of Virginia."

48. Negro slaves sent to Virginia; tobacco.—About ten years after Captain Smith left Jamestown, the commander of a Dutch ship brought a number of negro slaves to Virginia (1619), and sold them to the settlers. That was the beginning of slavery in this country. Later, when other English settlements had been made, they bought slaves, and so, after a time, every settlement north as well as south owned more or less negroes. The people of Virginia employed most of their slaves in raising tobacco. They sold this in England, and, as it generally brought a good price, many of the planters[9] became quite rich.

9 Planter: a person who owns a plantation or large farm at the South; it is cultivated by laborers living on it; once these laborers were generally negro slaves.

THE BURNING OF JAMESTOWN. 49. Bacon's war against Governor Berkeley;[10] Jamestown burned.—Long after Captain Smith was in his grave, Sir William Berkeley was made governor of Virginia by the king of England. He treated the people very badly. At last a young planter named Bacon raised a small army and marched against the governor, who was in Jamestown. The governor, finding that he had few friends to fight for him, made haste to get out of the place. Bacon then entered it with his men; but as he knew that, if necessary, the king would send soldiers from England to aid the governor in getting it back, he set fire to the place and burned it. It was never built up again, and so only a crumbling church-tower and a few gravestones can now be seen where Jamestown once stood. Those ruins mark the first English town settled in America.

10 Berkeley (Berk'li).

50. What happened later in Virginia; the Revolution; Washington; four presidents.—But though Jamestown was destroyed, Virginia kept growing in strength and wealth. What was better still, the country grew in the number of its great men. The king of England continued to rule America until, in 1776, the people of Virginia demanded that independence should be declared. The great war of the Revolution overthrew the king's power and made us free. The military leader of that war was a Virginia planter named George Washington.

After we had gained the victory and peace was made, we chose presidents to govern the country. Four out of six of our first presidents, beginning with Washington, came from Virginia. For this reason that state has sometimes been called the "Mother of Presidents."

51. Summary.—In 1607 Captain John Smith, with others, made the first lasting settlement built up by Englishmen in America. Through Captain Smith's energy and courage, Jamestown, Virginia, took firm root. Virginia was the first state to demand the independence of America, and Washington, who was a Virginian, led the war of the Revolution by which that independence was gained.

What can you tell about Captain John Smith before he went to Virginia? What happened to him on his way to Virginia? What is said about the landing of the settlers in Virginia? What did they want to do? What did Captain Smith want to do? What about Captain Smith's trial? What is said about the church in Jamestown? What happened to the settlers? What did some of them try to do? Who stopped them? Tell what you can about the Indians. What kind of houses did they live in? Did they have guns? Did they have iron hatchets and knives? Did they have horses and wagons? What kind of boats did they have? What happened to Captain Smith when he went in search of the Pacific? What did Pocahontas do? What is said about her afterward? What about the gold-diggers? How did Captain Smith get corn? What did he make the settlers do? What is said about Captain Smith's cold-water cure? Why did Captain Smith go back to England? What three things did he do for Virginia? What about his books and maps? What is said of negro slaves? What about tobacco? What about Governor Berkeley and Mr. Bacon? What happened to Jamestown? What did the war of the Revolution do? Who was its great military leader? Why is Virginia sometimes called the "Mother of Presidents"?

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READING NOTES: This is an excerpt from an old American history book and shows the traditional Eurocentric view of the English settlement at Jamestown and of John Smith's life. It is hopelessly outdated, but for that very reason is valuable: this is what our grandparents or their grandparents were reading. I took a look around the children's book section at a major bookseller the other day as I was planning to buy a book for my little nephew. I thought, hmm. How about an American history book? I was fascinated at how cleverly the books werer packaged, how beautfully they were illustrated and how current their langugage was. Then I began reading and saw that nothing had changed at all. Not a bit. Sure there were other little books about Susussanah and her good friend the slave child Monday holding hands and gathering flowers but so what? What did that show? Was it real? Maybe. But hardly the whole story. There were little books called IF YOU WERE LIVING IN COLONIAL AMERICA, IF YOU WERE LIVING IN THE TIME OF THE CIVIL WAR, IF YOU WERE ON THE SHIP THE MAYFLOWER, etc. All had their charm and some educational value.

But what was the point of view?

There were. to be sure, attempts to include, to show both good and bad people from each group, to show times of sadness and times of joy. Attempts to suggest the horror of war and the necessity of it, sometimes. And reconciliation. Always that.

But what was the point of view of the writer?

Who did she or he think the audience was? What would the Native Ameicans and English settlers have thought of such books? Would they have laughed? Or got angry? Or shrugged? Who are the readers of such books today?

For certain, beng called a savage would smart, then or now. The books of the twenty-first century would not dare use such a term. But it was an everday word for the nineteenth century writer. For certain, havnig it assumed to be the English people's right to come and settle and not be questoned, would be questioned. How would Smith be assessed? Would the settlers have appreciated what he did to same their skins? How would various Native Americans see him aside from his role in entertaining the child (what is now called a "Tween") Pocahontas?

By the way, I am sure you KNOW that John Smith DID NOT not marry Pocahontas. John Rolfe did. His descendents all come from the Bollings, the family into which Jane Rolfe, the only child of Pocahontas and John rolfe's son Thomas "Pepsicanough" Rolfe. There was no son to carry on the Rolfe name though other Rolfe's who were related to the family may claim to be related to John Rolfe; they cannot, however, claim to be related "by blood" to Pocahontas and the Powhattan clan however. And, although they are not properly kin of Pocahontas herself or her Native American frebearer, they are kin to her child Thomas Rolfe (half Cherokee) and his daughter Jane Rolfe and to her Bolling descendants.

You can find all sorts of free ebooks to read at the Gutenberg Project from which this excerpt of this old history book was taken. There are many primary sources on line if their copyright has expired and was not renewed. Nearly all of the classics are online as well. Take a look around. There is also a chapter on Sir Walter Raleigh following the John Smith one. Many are written with the same old-fashioned and naive point of view common at the time. - vb

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The American Colonies of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries all had stringent laws prohibiting interracial marriages. Because Pocahontas and John Rolfe were married very early in the seventeenth century with the approval of the then Governor of the colony, and because Pocahontas was of royal (albeit aborigine) blood, the statutes in Virginia made an exception in their case. The laws of the other colonies, however, were very strict, and the punishment was severe. Thus, Thomas Rolfe was "safe" but only in Virginia or back in England. He chose to return to Virginia to claim the vast amount of land Powhatan had given the couple when John and Pocahontas married.

                             

When Jane Poythress died, after bearing an only daughter, Thomas Rolfe is reputed to have left Virginia and moved to North Carolina, where he is also reputed to have married again. With the laws of North Carolina so strict, both then and during the next century or so, it is understandable that Thomas would never have mentioned the fact that he was half Indian, nor would that information have likely been passed down in the family tales.

If, in fact, Thomas did remarry after he left Virginia and sired a number of male children, it would be reasonable to assume that one or more of them returned to the motherland, particularly if they knew of their ancestor's ethnic background and were therefore nervous about remaining in the colonies."

-------------------- Matoaka "Princess Pocahontas" Powhatan

          b. Sep 17 1595 Gloucester VA, Christened 1614 Henrico VA
          d. Mar 1617 Gravesend, Kent England
             buried Mar 21 1617 St George's Church, Gravesend, Kent
             Died of Smallpox, just after sailing from London with her
             husband and son on their way back to Virginia. After she
             married John Rolfe her alternate name was Rebecca Rolfe

-------------------- Matoaka "Princess Pocahontas" Powhatan

b. Sep 17 1595 Gloucester VA, Christened 1614 Henrico VA d. Mar 1617 Gravesend, Kent England buried Mar 21 1617 St George's Church, Gravesend, Kent Died of Smallpox, just after sailing from London with her husband and son on their way back to Virginia. After she married John Rolfe her alternate name was Rebecca Rolfe

Information from the Powhatan Nation:

In 1995, Roy Disney decided to release an animated movie about a Powhatan woman known as "Pocahontas". In answer to a complaint by the Powhatan Nation, he claims the film is "responsible, accurate, and respectful."

We of the Powhatan Nation disagree. The film distorts history beyond recognition. Our offers to assist Disney with cultural and historical accuracy were rejected. Our efforts urging him to reconsider his misguided mission were spurred.

"Pocahontas" was a nickname, meaning "the naughty one" or "spoiled child". Her real name was Matoaka. The legend is that she saved a heroic John Smith from being clubbed to death by her father in 1607 - she would have been about 10 or 11 at the time. The truth is that Smith's fellow colonists described him as an abrasive, ambitious, self-promoting mercenary soldier.

Of all of Powhatan's children, only "Pocahontas" is known, primarily because she became the hero of Euro-Americans as the "good Indian", one who saved the life of a white man. Not only is the "good Indian/bad Indian theme" inevitably given new life by Disney, but the history, as recorded by the English themselves, is badly falsified in the name of "entertainment".

The truth of the matter is that the first time John Smith told the story about this rescue was 17 years after it happened, and it was but one of three reported by the pretentious Smith that he was saved from death by a prominent woman.

Yet in an account Smith wrote after his winter stay with Powhatan's people, he never mentioned such an incident. In fact, the starving adventurer reported he had been kept comfortable and treated in a friendly fashion as an honored guest of Powhatan and Powhatan's brothers. Most scholars think the "Pocahontas incident" would have been highly unlikely, especially since it was part of a longer account used as justification to wage war on Powhatan's Nation.

Euro-Americans must ask themselves why it has been so important to elevate Smith's fibbing to status as a national myth worthy of being recycled again by Disney. Disney even improves upon it by changing Pocahontas from a little girl into a young woman.

The true Pocahontas story has a sad ending. In 1612, at the age of 17, Pocahontas was treacherously taken prisoner by the English while she was on a social visit, and was held hostage at Jamestown for over a year.

During her captivity, a 28-year-old widower named John Rolfe took a "special interest" in the attractive young prisoner. As a condition of her release, she agreed to marry Rolfe, who the world can thank for commercializing tobacco. Thus, in April 1614, Matoaka, also known as "Pocahontas", daughter of Chief Powhatan, became "Rebecca Rolfe". Shortly after, they had a son, whom they named Thomas Rolfe. The descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe were known as the "Red Rolfes."

Two years later on the spring of 1616, Rolfe took her to England where the Virginia Company of London used her in their propaganda campaign to support the colony. She was wined and dined and taken to theaters. It was recorded that on one occasion when she encountered John Smith (who was also in London at the time), she was so furious with him that she turned her back to him, hid her face, and went off by herself for several hours. Later, in a second encounter, she called him a liar and showed him the door.

Rolfe, his young wife, and their son set off for Virginia in March of 1617, but "Rebecca" had to be taken off the ship at Gravesend. She died there on March 21, 1617, at the age of 21. She was buried at Gravesend, but the grave was destroyed in a reconstruction of the church. It was only after her death and her fame in London society that Smith found it convenient to invent the yarn that she had rescued him.

History tells the rest. Chief Powhatan died the following spring of 1618. The people of Smith and Rolfe turned upon the people who had shared their resources with them and had shown them friendship. During Pocahontas' generation, Powhatan's people were decimated and dispersed and their lands were taken over. A clear pattern had been set which would soon spread across the American continent.

Before Pocahontas married John, She converted to Christianity and took the name of Rebecca.

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

"Matoaka" was her Algonquian name.

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

Her father Powhatan was a historical figure; born in present-day Virginia. She reportedly interceded with her father, Chief Powhatan, to spare the life of John Smith of Jamestown colony (1608). After adopting Christianity, she married John Rolfe (1614) and traveled to England in 1616. She died (possibly of smallpox) on the trip back. Through her son, Thomas Rolfe, she is an ancestor of the Randolph family of Virginia.

Source: www.biography.com

The original burial registry indicates that Pocahontas was interred on 17 Mar 1617 in a vault beneath the Chancellor of the Church in Gravesend, England, which shows the esteem in which she was held. A representative of the church stated "you don't get buried under a church in a private vault unless you are quite important." The church burned in 1727 and a new one was built on the same site. Several graves were opened during the construction and the remains were re-interred in the church courtyard. There is no record indicating which graves from the hundreds on site were moved. Many of those were moved again in 1890 when an addition to the church was built. So, it is not exactly known where her bones are, as stated by Gravesend Chamber of Commerce Director Graham Sawell said. "We believe they may be underneath the church, but without digging up the whole thing, we will never find them"

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

There is positive and indisputable proof (Strong Words for Genealogy) that Pocahontas had a sister named Cleopatra (?Matachanna). This proofwas located in the old 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:

Dec. 17th, 1641 -- Thomas Rolfe petitions the governor to let him see Opechankeno to whom he is allied, and Cleopatra, his mother's sister."

Note:

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."

Note:

Thomas Rolfe was the son of John Rolfe and Pocahontas.

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

Rebecca's more famous name is Pocahontas, which is actually her nickname. Pocahontas means 'little wanton' in Powhatan. Her formal names were Matoaka and Amonute. When she was baptized, she changed her name to Rebecca.

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

Pocahontas (c.1595 – March 21, 1617) was a Virginia Indian chief's daughter notable for having assisted colonial settlers at Jamestown in present-day Virginia. She converted to Christianity and married the English settler John Rolfe. After they traveled to London, she became famous in the last year of her life. She was a daughter of Wahunsunacawh, better known as Chief or Emperor Powhatan (to indicate his primacy), who headed a network of tributary tribal nations in the Tidewater region of Virginia (called Tenakomakah by the Powhatan). These tribes made up what is known as the Powhatan Chiefdom and were part of the Algonquian language family

Pocahontas's formal names were Matoaka (or Matoika) and Amonute;[2] Pocahontas was a childhood nickname referring to her frolicsome nature (in the Powhatan language it meant "little wanton", according to 17th century writer William Strachey).[3] The 18th century historian William Stith claimed that "the 'Indians' carefully concealed [her real name] from the 'English', and changed it to Pocahontas, out of a superstitious Fear, lest they, by the knowledge of her true Name, should be enabled to do her some hurt."[4] After her baptism, Pocahontas was given the English name Rebecca. She was called Rebecca Rolfe by the English after her marriage.

On her conversion to Christianity in 1613, she received in baptism the name Rebecca and shortly afterwards became the wife of John Rolfe. A settler in Virginia, she visited England with her husband in 1616. She died at Gravesend, England while preparing to revisit her native country, and was buried there in St. George's Church on March 21,1617.

Two years later on the spring of 1616, Rolfe took her to England where the Virginia Company of London used her in their propaganda campaign to support the colony. She was wined and dined and taken to theaters. It was recorded that on one occasion when she encountered John Smith (who was also in London at the time), she was so furious with him that she turned her back to him, hid her face, and went off by herself for several hours. Later, in a second encounter, she called him a liar and showed him the door.

Rolfe, his young wife, and their son set off for Virginia in March of 1617, but "Rebecca" had to be taken off the ship at Gravesend. She died there on March 21, 1617, at the age of 21. She was buried at Gravesend, but the grave was destroyed in a reconstruction of the church. It was only after her death and her fame in London society that Smith found it convenient to invent the yarn that she had rescued him.

History tells the rest. Chief Powhatan died the following spring of 1618. The people of Smith and Rolfe turned upon the people who had shared their resources with them and had shown them friendship. During Pocahontas' generation, Powhatan's people were decimated and dispersed and their lands were taken over. A clear pattern had been set which would soon spread across the American continent.

There is positive and indisputable proof (Strong Words for Genealogy) that Pocahontas had a sister named Cleopatra (?Matachanna). This proofwas located in the old 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:

Dec. 17th, 1641 -- Thomas Rolfe petitions the governor to let him see Opechankeno to whom he is allied, and Cleopatra, his mother's sister."

Note:

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."

Our records start] with the Indian chief, Murmuring Ripple, who died in 1495. According to the olden history, he was the father of Dashing Stream, who was born May 6, 1474, on the banks of a tributary of the Lancer river, which headed in the Blue Ridge mountains. He died in 1540. Dashing Stream was the father of Scented Flower, who was born June 3, 1517, at the junction of the Dan and Staunton rivers in Virginia. Scented Flower was the father of Powhatan [whose real name was Wahunsenacawh, a Pamunkey who became king, or powhatan, of the confederation of coastal tribes], born June 17, 1545, near New River, Va., and died in 1622, at the age of 77 years. [He had] a daughter by the name of Pocahontas, who was born in 1596, near Jamestown, Va."

Oddly enough, this record of Native American lineage is more complete than anything left behind by the family's more "civilized" European ancestors. The reasons are two-fold. First, people almost always immigrate because they are glad to leave their home country, a circumstance that does not encourage the remembering or recording of what came before. Secondly, life was very hard in the early decades of colonial Virginia and there was little time or interest in writing up the details of either people's past history or their current daily lives. Also, those few personal accounts that have survived are often difficult to sort out because of identity confusion, caused by a common tendency to give newborn children the same, timeworn first names over and over and over. Death, which came easily during the early days, further muddied the identification waters because spouses often remarried and the wives naturally changed their names.

While finding good historical data on colonial males is hard enough, it is almost impossible to locate documentation on females. This stems from their status, which was a condition uncomfortably close to chattel. Women were considered men's property--they did not participate in business, were restricted in what property they could own, and couldn't vote or hold public office. As a result, they rarely show up in the public record, a prime source of genealogical evidence. Also, the institution of holy matrimony as it existed in primitive North America often bore little resemblance to the original model back in Britain. In some cases, these "marriages" involved Native American women, making matters that much more delicate. In those days, and indeed well into the twentieth century, individuals having Indian blood were especially restricted with regard to civil and social matters, and rarely appear in the written record. Aunt Mary Barnett spoke to this point as well:

"Ah, well do we remember when our father conveyed the intelligence that the same little Indian girl who was so highly eulogized in our child history . . . was among the number of our great grandmothers. It was given to us as a profound secret, but a real truth, which we pondered over with a feeling of disgrace to think there was Indian blood in our veins. We never dared speak of it. But as time went on everything took a change and so did this."

Taking all these things into account, it's no wonder information on the founding Virginians is so often vague, conflicting, lost [many early public records were destroyed by fire], or simply never put to paper in the first place. It has also become clear that despite their "prominence," the families of English tobacco planter John Rolfe, and his mixed-blood son, Thomas Rolfe, were not excepted from these patterns. As a consequence, it is very difficult, perhaps even impossible, for anyone in America to unequivocally prove descendency from John Rolfe's wife, Matoaka, the favored Powhatan daughter and res --------------------

"Thomas Eldredge married a daughter of

Colonel John or Robert Bolling of Virginia. Robert Bolling's wife was a daughter of Thomas Rolfe and Potthress (Indian) and granddaughter of Pocahontas, who died at Gravesend, England."

view all 11

Pocahontas's Timeline

1595
September 17, 1595
James City, Virginia, USA
1605
1605
Age 9
Jamestown, Virginia
1607
December 1607
Age 12
VA, USA

Harsh weather, lack of water and attacks from Algonquian speaking tribes almost destroyed the colony. In December 1607, while seeking food along the Chickahominy River, Smith was captured and taken to meet the Chief of the Powhatans at Werowocomoco, the chief village of the Powhatan Confederacy on the north shore of the York River about 15 miles due north of Jamestown, and 25 miles downstream from where the river forms from the Pamunkey River and the Mattaponi River at West Point, Virginia. Although he feared for his life, Smith was eventually released without harm and later attributed this in part to the chief's daughter, Pocahontas, who, according to Smith, threw herself across his body[6]: "at the minute of my execution, she hazarded [i.e. risked] the beating out of her own brains to save mine; and not only that, but so prevailed with her father, that I was safely conducted to Jamestown".

1609
1609
Age 13
1611
1611
Age 15
Virginia
1612
1612
Age 16
Jamestown, James City, Virginia, United States
1614
April 5, 1614
Age 18
Jamestown, Virginia

In 1614 Rolfe married Pocahontas, daughter of the local Native American leader Powhatan. Powhatan gave the newlyweds property that included a small 20' x 40' brick house just across the James River from Jamestown. Pocahontas and John Rolfe never lived on the land, which spanned thousands of acres to the River. Today that location is known as Smith's Fort Plantation, and is located in Surry County. Smith's Fort was a secondary Fort to Jamestown, begun in 1609 by John Smith, but abandoned in 1610. The 20'x40' house that now stands at Smith's Fort dates to 1763 and is completely original throughout. It is not known who occupied the first house there prior to that time.

1615
January 30, 1615
Age 19
Smiths Fort, Henrico, Virginia
1617
March 21, 1617
Age 21
Gravesend, Kent, England
March 21, 1617
Age 21
Gravesend, Kent, England, United Kingdom