Name: Matoaka Pocahontas Powhatan
Birth: ABT 1595 in Werowocomoco, Pamunkey River, VA, USA
Death: ABT MAR 1617 in "Gravesend", near London, ENG
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- Note: Her proper name is said to be "Mataoka". This is the famous Pocahontas who saved the life of Captain John Smith of Jamestown.
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
Father: Wahunsonacock Powhatan b: 1545 in Werowocomoco, Pamunkey River, VA, USA
- Thomas Rolfe b: 30 JAN 1614 in Smith's Plantation, Va
- Abbrev: Painting of Pocahontas by Thomas Sully (1783-1872)
Painting of Pocahontas by Thomas Sully (1783-1872)