Pocahontas

Pocahontas

Female 1595 - 1616  (21 years)

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  • Name Pocahontas  
    Born 1595  Werowocomoco, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Female 
    Also Known As Amonute  [2
    Also Known As Mato-Aka  [3
    Also Known As Matoaka  [1
    Also Known As Rebecca Rolfe  [1
    Died 21 Mar 1616  Gravesend, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    • possibly of consumption (archaic name for tuberculosis)
    Buried Gravesend, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    • in the St. George's Church cemetery...
    Person ID I40737  The Hennessee Family
    Last Modified 16 Jul 2018 

    Father Powhatan,   b. 17 Jun 1545, Algonquin Empire, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Apr 1618, Pamunkey River, King William County, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years) 
    Mother Unnamed Native American 
    Married Y  [2
    Family ID F14699  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family John Rolfe, The Immigrant,   b. 6 May 1685, Heacham, Norfolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1621-1622, Jamestown, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 5 Apr 1614  Jamestown, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 4
    • During her stay in Henricus, Pocahontas met John Rolfe. Rolfe's English-born wife, Sarah Hacker, and child, Bermuda Rolfe, died prior to his journey to Virginia. He had successfully cultivated a new strain of tobacco there and spent much of his time there tending to his crop. He was a pious man who agonized over the potential moral repercussions of marrying a heathen. In a long letter to the governor requesting permission to wed her, he expressed both his love for her and his belief he would be saving her soul claiming he was: motivated not by the unbridled desire of carnal affection, but for the good of this plantation, for the honor of our country, for the Glory of God, for my own salvation... namely Pocahontas, to whom my hearty and best thoughts are, and have been a long time so entangled, and enthralled in so intricate a labyrinth that I was even a-wearied to unwind myself thereout[46]

      Pocahontas' feelings about Rolfe are unknown. She married him on April 5, 1614. Though frequently the wedding is placed at Jamestown, there is in fact no surviving record indicating where the ceremony took place. Possible sites include Henricus, Bermuda City, and Jamestown. Richard Buck presided. They lived for two years on Rolfe's plantation, Varina Farms, which was located across the James River from the new community of Henricus. Their son, Thomas was born on January 30, 1615.

      Their marriage was not successful in winning the English captives back, but it did create a climate of peace between the Jamestown colonists and Powhatan's tribes for 8 years; in 1615, Ralph Hamor wrote:

      Since the wedding we have had friendly commerce and trade not only with Powhatan but also with his subjects round about us...

      Rolfe's longtime friend, Reverend Richard Buck presided the wedding.

      Pocahontas's marriage to Rolfe was the first recorded interracial marriage in North American history.[
    Children 
     1. Thomas Pepsironemeh Rolfe,   b. 30 Jan 1615, Jamestown, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 0___ 1680, Hopewell, Hopewell City, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 64 years)
    Photos
    Pocahontas with her son, Thomas Rolfe
    Pocahontas with her son, Thomas Rolfe

    The "Sedgeford Portrait", said to represent Pocahontas and her son, although its authenticity is debated.
    John Rolfe & Pocahontas
    John Rolfe & Pocahontas

    An 1850s painting of John Rolfe and Pocahontas
    Pocahontas (1595-1616)
    Pocahontas (1595-1616)

    John Rolfe (1685-1622) (right, standing behind Pocahontas) as portrayed in The Baptism of Pocahontas, 1840, by John Gadsby Chapman
    Last Modified 21 Nov 2019 
    Family ID F14694  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1595 - Werowocomoco, Virginia Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 5 Apr 1614 - Jamestown, Virginia Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 21 Mar 1616 - Gravesend, Kent, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Gravesend, Kent, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Pocahontas
    Pocahontas

    Portrait engraving by Simon de Passe, 1616.
    Pocahontas
    Pocahontas

    Statue of Pocahontas in Saint George's church, Gravesend, Kent, England

  • Notes 
    • Pocahontas (born Matoaka, known as Amonute, and later known as Rebecca Rolfe, c. 1595 – March 1617) was a Virginia Indian[1][2][3] notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan, the paramount chief[1] of a network of tributary tribal nations in the Tsenacommacah, encompassing the Tidewater region of Virginia. In a well-known historical anecdote, she is said to have saved the life of an Indian captive, Englishman John Smith, in 1607 by placing her head upon his own when her father raised his war club to execute him.

      Pocahontas was captured by the English during Anglo-Indian hostilities in 1613, and held for ransom. During her captivity, she converted to Christianity and took the name Rebecca. When the opportunity arose for her to return to her people, she chose to remain with the English. In April 1614, she married tobacco planter John Rolfe, and in January 1615, bore him a son, Thomas Rolfe. Pocahontas's marriage to Rolfe was the first recorded interracial marriage in North American history.[4]

      In 1616, the Rolfes traveled to London. Pocahontas was presented to English society as an example of the civilized "savage" in hopes of stimulating investment in the Jamestown settlement. She became something of a celebrity, was elegantly feted, and attended a masque at Whitehall Palace. In 1617, the Rolfes set sail for Virginia, but Pocahontas died at Gravesend of unknown causes. She was buried in a church in Gravesend, but the exact location of her grave is unknown.

      Early life
      Pocahontas's birth year is unknown, but some historians estimate it to have been around 1595 based on the accounts of Captain John Smith. In A True Relation of Virginia (1608), Smith described the Pocahontas he met in the spring of 1608 as being "a child of tenne years old".[5] In a letter written in 1616, he again described her as she was in 1608, but this time she had grown slightly to "a child of twelve or thirteen years of age".[6]

      Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan, the paramount chief of Tsenacommacah, an alliance of about thirty Algonquian-speaking groups and petty chiefdoms in Tidewater, Virginia.[7] Her mother, whose name and specific group of origin are unknown, was one of dozens of wives taken by Powhatan; each wife gave him a single child and then was sent back to her village to be supported by the paramount chief until she found another husband.[8]

      Pocahontas's childhood was probably little different from that of most girls who lived in Tsenacommacah. She learned how to perform what was considered to be women's work, which included foraging for food and firewood, farming, and searching for the plant materials used in building thatched houses.[9] As she grew older, she probably helped other members of Powhatan's household with preparations for large feasts.[8] Serving feasts such as the one presented to John Smith after his capture was a regular obligation of the mamanatowick, or paramount chief.[10]

      Names
      At the time Pocahontas was born, it was common for Powhatan Native Americans to be given several personal names, to have more than one name at the same time, to have secret names that only a select few knew, and to change their names on important occasions. Bestowed at different times, the names carried different meanings and might be used in different contexts.[11] Pocahontas was no different. Early in her life she was given a secret name, Matoaka, but later she was also known as Amonute. None of these names can be translated.[12]

      The name Pocahontas was a childhood nickname that probably referred to her frolicsome nature; according to the colonist William Strachey, it meant "little wanton".[13] The 18th-century historian William Stith claimed that "her real name, it seems, was originally Matoax, which the Indians carefully concealed 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."[14] According to the anthropologist Helen C. Rountree, Pocahontas "revealed [her secret name] to the English only after she had taken another religious—baptismal—name, Rebecca".[15]

      Pocahontas's Christian name, Rebecca, may have been a symbolic gesture to Rebecca of the Book of Genesis who, as the mother of Jacob and Esau, was the mother of two "nations", or distinct peoples. Pocahontas, as a Powhatan marrying an Englishman, may have been seen by herself and by her contemporaries as being also, potentially, the mother of two nations.

      Title and status
      Pocahontas has been considered in popular culture to be a princess. In 1841, William Watson Waldron of Trinity College, Dublin, in Ireland, published Pocahontas, American Princess: and Other Poems, calling Pocahontas "the beloved and only surviving daughter of the king".[17] Indeed, Pocahontas was a favorite of her father's—his "delight and darling", according to the colonist Captain Ralph Hamor[18]—but she was not in line to inherit a position as a weroance, subchief, or mamanatowick (paramount chief). Instead, Powhatan's brothers, sisters, and his sisters' children all stood in line to succeed him.[19] In his A Map of Virginia John Smith explained how matrilineal inheritance worked among the Powhatans:

      His [Powhatan's] kingdome descendeth not to his sonnes nor children: but first to his brethren, whereof he hath three namely Opitchapan, Opechanncanough, and Catataugh; and after their decease to his sisters. First to the eldest sister, then to the rest: and after them to the heires male and female of the eldest sister; but never to the heires of the males.

      Mother
      Pocahontas's mother's status would have been lowly. In his Relation of Virginia (1609), the colonist Henry Spelman, who had lived among the Powhatan serving as an interpreter, noted Chief Powhatan's many wives. Each wife gave the paramount chief one child, after which she not only resumed her status as a commoner but was also sent back where she had come from.[20]

      The Virginia Company of London had long seen one of its primary goals as the conversion of Native Americans to Christianity. With the conversion of Pocahontas and her marriage to an Englishman–all of which helped bring an end to the First Anglo-Powhatan War–the company saw an opportunity to promote investment. The company decided to bring Pocahontas to England as a symbol of the tamed New World "savage" and the success of the Jamestown settlement.[49] In 1616, the Rolfes traveled to England, arriving at the port of Plymouth on June 12.[50] They journeyed to London by coach, accompanied by a group of about eleven other Powhatans, including a holy man named Tomocomo.[51] John Smith was living in London at the time and while Pocahontas was in Plymouth, she learned he was still alive.[52] Smith did not meet Pocahontas, but wrote to Queen Anne, the wife of King James, urging that Pocahontas be treated with respect as a royal visitor. He suggested that if she were treated badly, her "present love to us and Christianity might turn to ... scorn and fury", and England might lose the chance to "rightly have a Kingdom by her means".[6]

      Pocahontas was entertained at various society gatherings. On January 5, 1617, she and Tomocomo were brought before the king at the old Banqueting House in the Palace of Whitehall at a performance of Ben Jonson's masque The Vision of Delight. According to Smith, King James was so unprepossessing that neither Pocahontas nor Tomocomo realized whom they had met until it was explained to them afterward.[52]

      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:VIRGINI¥", which means: "Matoaka, alias Rebecca, daughter of the most powerful prince of the Powhatan Empire of Virginia". Many English at this time recognized Powhatan to be the ruler of an empire, and they presumably accorded to his daughter what they considered appropriate status. Smith's letter to Queen Anne refers to "Powhatan their chief King".[6] Samuel Purchas recalled meeting Pocahontas in London, writing that she impressed those she met because she "carried her selfe as the daughter of a king".[53] When he met her again in London, Smith referred to Pocahontas deferentially as a "Kings daughter".[54]

      Pocahontas was apparently treated well in London. At the masque, her seats were described as "well placed",[55] and, according to Purchas, John King, Bishop of London, "entertained her with festival state and pomp beyond what I have seen in his greate hospitalitie afforded to other ladies."[56]

      Not all the English were so impressed. According to Helen C. Rountree, "there is no contemporary evidence to suggest ... that Pocahontas was regarded [in England] as anything like royalty." Rather, she was considered to be something of a curiosity and, according to one observer, she was merely "the Virginian woman".[19]

      Pocahontas and Rolfe lived in the suburb of Brentford, Middlesex, for some time, as well as at Rolfe's family home at Heacham Hall, Heacham, Norfolk. In early 1617, Smith met the couple at a social gathering, and later wrote that when Pocahontas saw him, "without any words, she turned about, obscured her face, as not seeming well contented", and was left alone for two or three hours. Later, they spoke more; Smith's record of what she said to him is fragmentary and enigmatic. She reminded him of the "courtesies she had done", saying, "you did promise Powhatan what was yours would be his, and he the like to you." She then discomfited him by calling him "father", explaining Smith had called Powhatan "father" when a stranger in Virginia, "and by the same reason so must I do you". Smith did not accept this form of address because, he wrote, Pocahontas outranked him as "a King's daughter". Pocahontas then, "with a well-set countenance", said:

      Were you not afraid to come into my father's country and caused fear in him and all his people (but me) and fear you here I should call you 'father'? I tell you then I will, and you shall call me child, and so I will be for ever and ever your countryman.[52]

      Finally, Pocahontas told Smith that she and her fellow Native Americans had thought him dead, but her father had told Tomocomo to seek him "because your countrymen will lie much".[52]

      Death

      Statue of Pocahontas in Saint George's church, Gravesend, Kent, England
      In March 1617, Rolfe and Pocahontas boarded a ship to return to Virginia; the ship had only sailed as far as Gravesend on the river Thames when Pocahontas became gravely ill.[57] She was taken ashore and died in John Rolfe's arms at the age of twenty-two. It is not known what caused her death, but theories range from smallpox, pneumonia, or tuberculosis, to her having been poisoned.[58] According to Rolfe, she died saying, "all must die, but tis enough that her child liveth".[59] Her funeral took place on March 21, 1617, in the parish of Saint George's, Gravesend.[60] The site of her grave is thought to be underneath the church's chancel, though since that church was destroyed in a fire in 1727 her exact gravesite is unknown.[61] Her memory is honored with a life-size bronze statue at St. George's Church by William Ordway Partridge.[62] [2]
    • Pocahontas, Indian name Matoaka (1595?-1617), American Indian princess, daughter of Powhatan, ruling chief and founder of the Powhatan confederacy of Algonquian Indian tribes; born in Virginia. According to a legend, in 1608 she saved the life of Captain John Smith by holding his head in her arms as he was about to be clubbed to death by her father's warriors.

      Many historians doubt the story, which is not found in Smith's detailed personal narrative written at the time. The story first appeared in Smith's Generall Historie of Virginia (1624).

      In 1612 Pocahontas was captured by the English, taken to Jamestown, and baptized Rebecca.

      In 1614 she married John Rolfe, one of the colonists, with the blessings of both the governor and her father. Eight years of peace between the Indians and the English followed the marriage.

      In 1616 Pocahontas went to England, where she met the king and queen and was received with royal honor. She died on the eve of her return to Virginia and was buried in the chapel of the parish church in Gravesend, England. She and her husband had one son Thomas, from whom many prominent Virginians claim descent.

      Biographic entry: B1510

      "Pocahontas," Microsoft (R) Encarta. Copyright (c) 1993 Microsoft Corporation. PocahontasCopyright (c) 1993 Funk & Wagnall's Corporation

      Pocahontas, the daughter of Native American Chief Powhatan, converted to Christianity in 1612, was baptized, fell in love with Jamestown colonist John Rolfe, and one year later married Rolfe. When she sailed to London with her husband, the English thought of her as an Indian princess. While waiting to sail back to America, she became ill with smallpox and died.

      Culver Pictures, Inc.

      "Pocahontas," Microsoft (R) Encarta. Copyright (c) 1993 Microsoft Corporation. Copyright (c) 1993 Funk & Wagnall's Corporation [1]

  • Sources 
    1. [S4035] http://www.smokykin.com/tng/getperson.php?personID=I43253&tree=Smokykin.

    2. [S4039] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocahontas.

    3. [S4771] http://presidentialblood.weebly.com/george-bush.html.

    4. [S4037] http://www.smokykin.com/tng/getperson.php?personID=I43252&tree=Smokykin.