Cockacoeske, Leader of the Pamunkey

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Weroansqua of the Powhatan Confederacy Cockakoeske, and Leader of the Pamunkey

Also Known As: "Cockacoeskie", "Kosiesko", "Kosciusko", "Totopotomoi", "Powhatan", "Queen of Pamunky", "Queen Anne", "Queen Cocacoeske Pamunky"
Birthdate: (52)
Birthplace: Pamunkey territory, King William County , Virginia Colony
Death: circa 1686 (44-60)
Pamunkey Territory, Virginia Colony
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Necotowance, Successor of Opitchapum beginning 1646 as Powhatan Confederate Chief and Namontack, of the Powhatan
Wife of Totopotomoi, Weroance of the Pamunkey
Partner of N.N. and Col. John West, of West Point, Virginia
Mother of "Sonne to the Queen of Pamunkey" John West
Half sister of Patawomek Sis of Cockacoeske, Mother of "Queen Anne" niece of Cockcoeske

Occupation: the weroansqua of Weyanock
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Cockacoeske, Leader of the Pamunkey

Cockacoeskie (ca. 1620-40? -d. 1686) was a 17th-century leader of the Pamunkey tribe but also the Weroansqua or Commander over the Pan NA Powhatan Confederacy, who signed the Middle Plantation Treaty in 1677, in what is now the American state of Virginia. During her thirty-year reign, she worked within the English system, trying to recapture the former power of past paramount chiefs and maintain peaceful unity among the several tribes under her leadership. She was the first of the tribal leaders to sign the Virginia-Indian Treaty of Middle Plantation.[1

William Deyo, PATAWOMECK TRIBAL HISTORIAN said in July 27, 2017 email: "If you study the Pamunkey matrilineal succession that determined the rulers of the Federation, it would be highly unlikely that Totopotomoi could have been a son of Nectowance. Since Cockacoeske was later the ruler of the Federation in her own right, not because she was Totopotomoi's widow, and is known to have been Opechancanough's granddaughter, it follows that "she" was Necotowance's daughter, by his traditional wife of the matrilineal succession." ~ ~ ~ ~Bill Devo, PATAWOMECK TRIBAL HISTORIAN, statement: Nov. 7, 2014, "Cockacoeske being the daughter of Necotowance is probably a theory, but I came up with the same theory a few years ago based on some good evidence. I do not believe that I published anything on it, however, and it is comforting to know that someone else has independently come up with the same theory. We know for a fact that Cockacoeske was the granddaughter of Opechancanough, who was the head of the federation because of the matrilineal royal succession through his mother. If Opechancanough's wife was Cleopatra, sister of Pocahontas (also of the royal line of succession), his son could succeed him as leader of the federation. Necotowance was the next in line who became the head of the federation. Totopotomoi was the next to succeed and was the husband of Cockacoeske, who succeeded in her own right after Totopotomoi (who was killed in 1656). I believe that Necotowance married a woman of the same line as Pocahontas and Cleopatra, which gave his daughter, Cockacoeske, the right of succession after her husband."

Cockacoeske's only documented son, "Indian" Maj. John West,, willed land in Glouchester, VR earlier patented by Toby West who was a de la Warr but not Totopotomoi but signed treaty signature with his 1655 signature and signed on the right hand sign of the treaty and the NA marked on the left side. That land went to the only documented son of Cockacoske, "Indian" Maj. John West of Glouchester, VR was born c. 1656 Cockacoeske's only documented child was her son, John West, born probably around 1656-57 and "reputed the son of an English colonel."[6] On the basis of his name, and birth after her husband's death, he has often been considered an illegitimate son of John West, who established a plantation (now the town of West Point at the confluence of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers, where they form the York River), or his son John West. The Virginia-Indian Treaty of 1677/1680, which this youth signed, identified him as "Cap't John West, sonne to the Queen of Pamunkey."[11== ] (Disproven with ydna testing - FTDNA). Cockacoeske died in 1686, and, as this was a matrilineal society, was succeeded by her niece, Betty.[12]

]

History

While assisting Col. Edward Hill in removing Rapphockans from their new settlement at the falls of the James River in 1656, Totopotomoi was killed in what was sometimes later called the Battle of Bloody Run (not to be confused with the 1763 Battle of Bloody Run in Michigan).[2] The Virginia Governor's Council later censured Hill for his lack of leadership.[3]

Following Totopotomoi's death, the Colonial Government recognized Cockacoeske the Pamunkey "Queen". When Bacon's Rebellion erupted, Governor Berkeley's faction sought help from the Pamunkey against the hostile tribes, particularly their erstwhile enemies the Susquehannock. Sporadic raids by other Indian tribes against settlers on the colony's frontier contributed to an uprising of whites and blacks excluded from the power structure, led by Nathaniel Bacon. Although of the wealthy planter class, Bacon competed for power with Gov. Berkeley, drawing upon the frontier settler's resentments. Although raids had been by the Doeg and Susquehannock tribes, Bacon and his men sought easier wealth, and attacked the peaceful and friendly Pamunkey, Mattaponi, and Kiskiack tribes.[4]

Thomas Mathew, whose history of cheating the Doeg and Susquehannock Indians who lived in Maryland across the Potomac River, may have actually led to the raid that kills his overseer,[5] described Cockacoeske's behavior when summoned to Jamestown and told to honor treaty obligations by supplying warriors against the other tribes:[6]

Our commitee being sat, the Quenn of Pamunkey (descended from Opecancanough a former Emperor of Virginia) was introduced, who entred the chamber with a comportment gracefull to admiration, bringing on her right hand an Englishman interpreter, and on the left her son a stripling twenty years of age, she having round her head a plat of black and white wampum peague three inches broad in imitation of a crown, and was cloathed in a mantle of dress't deer skins with the hair outwards and the edge cut round 6 inches deep which made strings resembling twisted frenge from the shoulders to the feet; thus with grave courtlike gestures and a majestick air in her face, she walk'd up our long room to the lower end of the table, where after a few intreaties she sat down; th' interpreter and her son standing by her on either side as they walked up, our chairman asked her what men she woud lend us for guides in the wilderness and to assist us against our enemy Indians, she spake to th' interpreter to inform her what the chairman said, (tho' we believed she understood him) he told us she bid him ask her son to whom the English tongue was familiar, and who was reputed the son of an English colonel, yet neither woud he speak to or seem to understand the chairman but th' interpreter told us, he referred all to his mother, who being againe urged she after a little musing with an earnest passionate countenance as if tears were ready to gush out and a fervent sort of expression made a harangue about a quarter of an hour often, interlacing (with a high shrill voice and vehement passion) these words "Tatapatamoi Chepiack," i.e. Tatapamoi dead. Coll. Hill being next me, shook his head, I ask'd him what was the matter, he told me all she said was too true to our shame, and that his father was generall in that battle, where diverse years before Tatapatamoi her husband had led a hundred of his Indians in help to th' English against our former enemy Indians, and was there slaine with most of his men; for which no compensation (at all) had been to that day rendered to her wherewith she now upbraided us.

Her discourse ending and our morose chairman not advancing one cold word toward asswaging the anger and grief her speech and demeanor manifested under her oppression, nor taking any notice of all she had said, neither considering that we (then) were in our great exigency; supplicants to her for a favour of the same kind as the former, for which we did not deny the having been so ingrate, he rudely push'd againe the same question "what Indians will you now contribute, &c.? of this disregard she signified her resentment by a disdainfull aspect, and turning her head half aside, sate mute till that same question being press'd, a third time, she not returning her face to the board, answered with a low slighting voice in her own language "twelve, tho' she then had a hundred and fifty Indian men, in her town, and so rose up and gravely walked away, as not pleased with her treatment.

Although appointed to the Governor's Council after the Pamunkey agreed to supply some warriors against other tribes, Bacon's first attacks were against the Pamunkey, who fled into Dragon Swamp. Governor Berkeley declared Bacon a rebel, but he continued his focus against friendly tribes, also killing the Occoneechees by subterfuge after they had captured a Susquehannock fort but refused to give the English (who had not fought) all the spoils.[7] The assembly at Jamestown attempted to reconcile Bacon and Berkeley, but did not repudiate Bacon's policy of exterminating all Indians. Cockacoeske attempted to throw herself at the mercy of the English, and eventually the Assembly authorized a naval expedition against Bacon's camp in Maryland, which miscarried.[8]

After Bacon died of disease, the rebellion fizzled. The crown appointed a commission which criticized both English parties for their ill treatment of the Pamunkey and other friendly Indians, and stressed the importance of restoring peace.[9] Berkeley sailed to England to protest reforms imposed by London, and died shortly after his after landing in May, 1677. Cockacoeske and her son signed the Treaty of Middle Plantation with new Virginia Governor Jeffreys on May 29, 1677 by, which other tribes signed in the next years.[10] Essentially, these tribes accepted their de facto position as subjects of the British Crown, and gave up their remaining claims to their ancestral land, in return for protection from the remaining hostile tribes and a guarantee of a limited amount of reserved land—the first Native American reservation to be established in America.

Family

References

  1. "Treaty Between Virginia And The Indians"
  2. Tucker, Spencer C., The Encyclopedia of North American Indian Wars, 1607-1890: A Political, Social, and Military History, p.606
  3. Department of Historic Resources, "Battle of Bloody Run", Historical Marker Number SA-71
  4. Alfred Cave, Lethal Encounters, at p.151
  5. Alfred Cave, Lethal Encounters, at pp. 147-151
  6. The Beginning, Progress, and Conclusion of Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia, In the Years 1675 and 1676 Jefferson Papers, American Memory Collections, Library of Congress
  7. Alfred Cave, at pp. 155-156
  8. Cave at pp. 159-161
  9. Cave at p. 161
  10. Tucker, Spencer C., The Encyclopedia of North American Indian Wars, 1607-1890: A Political, Social, and Military History, p. 816
  11. "Treaty Between Virginia And The Indians: Signe and Tribe" "Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia", Vol. 1, p.78

Further reading

  • Frederick W. Gleach, Powhatan’s World and Colonial Virginia: Conflict in Cultures (Lincoln and London: The University of Nebraska Press, 1997)
  • Martha McCartney, "Cockacoeske, Queen of Pamunkey: Diplomat and Suzeraine", in Peter H. Wood, Gregory A. Waselkov, and M. Thomas Hatley (eds.), Powhatan’s Mantle: Indians in the Colonial Southeast, (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1989)
  • Helen C. Rountree, The Powhatan Indians of Virginia: Their Traditional Culture. (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989).
  • http://www.powhatanmuseum.com/Historic_Documents.html
  • McCartney, M., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Cockacoeske (d. by July 1, 1686). (2014, May 30). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Cockacoeske_d_by_July_1_1686.

Queen Cockacoeske was the first signer of the Treaty of Middle River Plantation that ended Bacon’s Rebellion in 1677.

She married Chief Totopotomoi (c.1625–1656), who can not be the son of Thomas West 3rd Baron de la Warr and "Rachel" Powhatan. Cockakoeske's son, Maj James West has a ydna of I 3 and that is a different haplogroup of the colonial interim governer family of Wests, which is an R ydna. Rachel Powhatan afterwards had married Joseph Crowshaw and reportedly borne his daughter Unity Crowshaw who married her half-brother Toby West's first cousin, Col. John West II, son of Gov. John West.

" Cockacoeske became the Queen of the Pamunkey after her husband Totopotomoy’s death in 1656 fighting as an ally of the English at what became known as the Battle of Bloody Run. She signed the Treaty of Middle Plantation in 1677 in the wake of settler attacks upon friendly Indian tribes during Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676. The treaty with the English subtly placed Cockacoeske as leader over certain tribes, defined the Indian tribes as tributaries to the English, and ushered in peaceful relations between the colonists and Indians of the Virginia coastal plain. She reigned until her death about 1686." From this it appears that the son John West age 20 at the 1677 signing of the Treaty was a posthumous son of her husband Totopotomoy.

Cockacoeske is possibly buried in the burial mound on the Pamunkey Reservation. The Pamunkey Reservation was confirmed to the Pamunkey tribe as early as 1658 by the Governor, the Council, and the General Assembly of Virginia. Cockacoeske became Queen of Pamunkey in 1656 and signed the Treaty of 1677 between the King of England, acting through the Governor of Virginia, and several Native American tribes including the Pamunkey. It is called the most important existing document describing Virginia's relationship towards Indian land.

According to historian William Deyo, it is doubtful that Cockacoeske is buried in the so-called Burial Mound at Pamunkey Reservation where Powhatan, Opechancanough, and other important leaders are said to have been buried, but likely closer to Richmond. The remains were supposed to have been brought here from the sacred Uttamussak temple.

Powhatan’s Mantle p.255 describes Cockacoeske’s partnership with Col John West II. Cockacoeske’s appreciation of European goods is evidenced by her possession of ‘pieces of Lynnen, Broad cloth, and divers sorts of English goods wch the Queene had much value for’ when Nathaniel Bacon’s men raided her encampment. But there are equally strong indications that Cockacoeske remained true to her native cultural traditions.” In 1675 she was called upon to furnish warriors to fight with the Whites during Bacon's Rebellion; this was her first appearance in colonial history. Her appearance at the colonial Council, in which she scornfully rejected the request to furnish warriors for the Whites on the grounds that her people had been neglected for the past 20 years, in spite of their friendship to the Whites, was a dramatic confrontation between Indian and White." (Strategically, appearing before the Council with her in capacity as interpreter was her son. After promises of better treatment by the colonists, she agreed to provide the needed assistance. Following the end of the Rebellion, a silver headband, or coronet, inscribed Queen of Pamunkey was presented to her by King Charles II. The Englishman eyewitness who recorded her appearance before the Virginia Council in 1675 described her as "Majestic."~~~~ Virginia Women in History (2004) The Pamunkey Legacy by Nancy Wright Beasley The Treaty of Middle Plantation: Epilogue to Bacon's Rebellion by Martha W McCartney Badge of Cooperation


Family links: Parents: Weroance Nectowance Powhatan (1600 - 1649) and N.N.

Spouses:
 Totopotomoi(1616 - 1656)
Children:
 Susannah Pamunkey Dabney (D'Aubigne) (1643 - 1724)*
 Jane Totopotomoi West Harrison (1650 - ____)*
 Joseph West (1650 - ____)*
 Maj. John West (1657 - 1716)*

Burial: Pamunkey Indian Reservation; King William; King William County; Virginia, USA


During her thirty-year reign, she worked within the English system, trying to recapture the former power of past paramount chiefs and maintain peaceful unity among the several tribes under her leadership. She was the first of the tribal leaders to sign the Virginia-Indian Treaty of Middle Plantation.[1] ≈1656 bore a son with Col. John West.  In 2004 Cockacoeske was honored as one of the Library of Virginia's "Virginia Women in History".[2]

Cockacoeske's only documented child was her son, John West, born probably around 1656-57 and "reputed the son of an English colonel."[7] On the basis of his name, and birth after her husband's death, he has often been considered an illegitimate son of John West, who established a plantation (now the town of West Point at the confluence of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers, where they form the York River), or his son John West. The Virginia-Indian Treaty of 1677/1680, which this youth signed, identified him as "Cap't John West, sonne to the Queen of Pamunkey."[12] Cockacoeske died in 1686, and, as this was a matrilineal society, was succeeded by her niece, Betty.[13]

Opechancanough and Powhatan are reportedly buried here also.Cockacoeske died before July 1, 1686, when her interpreter George Smith reported to the governor's Council that she was "lately dead." Later renderings of her likeness often show her adorned with the black pearls that were the signature adornment of the Pamunkey tribe. Cockacoeske is possibly buried in the burial mound on the Pamunkey Reservation. The Pamunkey Reservation was confirmed to the Pamunkey tribe as early as 1658 by the Governor, the Council, and the General Assembly of Virginia. Cockacoeske became Queen of Pamunkey in 1656 and signed the Treaty of 1677 between the King of England, acting through the Governor of Virginia, and several Native American tribes including the Pamunkey. It is called the most important existing document describing Virginia's relationship towards Indian land. . According to historian William Deyo, it is doubtful that Cockacoeske is buried in the so-called Burial Mound at Pamunkey Reservation where Powhatan, Opechancanough, and other important leaders are said to have been buried, but likely closer to Richmond. The remains were supposed to have been brought here from the sacred Uttamussak temple.

Powhatan’s Mantle p.255: “Cockacoeske’s romantic liaison with the English colonel, John West, an important Virginia official, supporter of Governor Berkeley, and grandson (sic) of former Virginia governor Sir Thomas West, Lord De La Warr, may have furthered her insight into the machinations of colonial politics, and the presence of their son as a future go-between may have given her an added measure of influence.” Some think the relationship was this: Her first husband Totopotomoy/Toby West was the son of Gov. Thomas West; her second husband being Toby’s first cousin Col. John West, son of Gov. John West, the brother of Gov. Thomas and sons of Thomas West 2nd or 11th Baron de la Warr; but, this is not possible due to the ydna not matching. “The account of Cockacoeske’s appearance before the governor and council reveals that she was a person of imposing dignity and that she understood the English language. Cockacoeske’s appreciation of European goods is evidenced by her possession of ‘pieces of Lynnen, Broad cloth, and divers sorts of English goods which the Queene had much value for’ when Nathaniel Bacon’s men raided her encampment. But there are equally strong indications that Cockacoeske remained true to her native cultural traditions.” ~~~~Virginia Women in History (2004) The Pamunkey Legacy by Nancy Wright Beasley The Treaty of Middle Plantation: Epilogue to Bacon's Rebellion by Martha W McCartney Badge of Cooperation

Pamunkey Nation, Route 1, P.O. Box 226 King William, VA 23086 804-843-3526

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Cockacoeske, Leader of the Pamunkey's Timeline

1634
1634
King William County , Virginia Colony
1652
1652
Age 18
West Point, Gloucester, Virginia
1686
1686
Age 52
Virginia Colony
1686
Age 52