Family:John Smith and Female Smith (1)


Some believe John Smith and "Pocahontas" were married. This appears to be a misunderstanding. John Smith did NOT marry "Pocahontas" - SEE:


MATOAKA, an Indian Princess, better known by her nickname, POCAHONTAS, was born about 1595 in the village of Werowomoco in what is now Gloucester County, Virginia, near the area to become the English settlement of Jamestown.

Her father, Wahnsonecowk, known to the English as Powhatan, was Chief of the Powhatan 32 tribe Confederacy of Algonquin Indians who inhabited the coastal areas where the English came ashore in 1607 and founded the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia.

Pocahontas’ favorite of the Englishmen was Captain John Smith, for whom she appeared to have great affection.During the first year she visited the English settlement frequently, bringing messages from her father along with food and furs to trade with the colonists for items they had such as hatchets and glass beads, greatly desired by the Indians.

The most widely known story of Pocahontas, is one written by John Smith, in which he credits her with saving his life after he was captured by Opechancanough, brother to Chief Powhatan. In his story, the Indian captors force him to kneel and place his head upon a stone. As a large club is wielded above his head, about to bash out his brains, Pocahontas covers his head with her body and begs for his life to be spared. Her father, chief Powhatan, grants her request and Smith is "adopted" as a son of the Chief. In 1610 an English description of Pocahontas is recorded as " of a coulour browne, or rather tawnye, and her age was somewhere between twelve and fourteen. Roundfaced, with the fore part of her grosse and thick black hair shaven close and the very long thicker part being tied in a pleate hanging down to the hips.

Several years after their meeting, Capt. Smith wrote of his initial perception of Pocahontas as " a child of tenne years old, which not only for feature, countenance, and proportion much excedeth any of the rest of his (Powhatan’s) people but for wit and spirit (is) the non-pariel of his countrie".

Relations between the Powhatans and the English vacillated between times of professed peace, during which each side attempted to outwardly befriend the other with desired tradegoods and gifts, and times of outright wars, with large numbers of each side being killed.

Pocahontas is credited with saving the lives of the colonists with numerous secret visits to them in which she delivered desperately needed food and warnings of impending surprise attacks. It is not likely the colony would have survived the cruel winter known as " the starving time" without her help. In spite of all she did to preserve their lives, still of the 100 men and boys left at Jamestown only 40 were to survive. An account of their suffering deaths is " the remainder, using the James River for their drinking water as well as for their sewer, were destroyed with cruell diseases as; swellings (salt water poisoning), fluxes (dysentery), burning fever (typhoid) and by warres. Some departed suddenly, but most of them died of meere famine." Pocahontas’ dear friend, Capt. Smith, left to return to England never to set foot in Virginia again following an accident in which his powder-bag unexplainably exploded as he slept in a canoe during a return trip from exploring up the James River. Many of his English fellow countrymen held a high disregard for his bragging and domineering ways and it has been theorized that the explosion may not have been an accident after all. The explosion ripped a large area of flesh from his thigh, said to have been nine or ten inches square, and he leaped into the James River to ease the horrible burning pain. Pocahontas was told that Smith died in the accident. Her visits to the colony then stopped and her father, tiring of war, moved away from Jamestown to a location about 50 miles further inland.

In a plot to deceive Pocahontas, Capt. Samuel Argall and an Indian named Japazaws and his wife tricked her into going on board an English ship. After the Indians received the copper pot they were promised for their dastardly part of the plot, Pocahontas was left with the English, who planned to use her as a bargaining tool to recover captives and weapons taken by the Powhatans.

Chief Powhatan, knowing the English were very unlikely to harm their friendly benefactor, refused to ransom her. This angered Pocahontas, who knew her father had paid previous ransom requests of the English for less important hostages than his own daughter. Pocahontas was held captive for a year in the house of a minister who taught her the Christian belief. She was an adept student learning anxiously and quickly. It was then her desire to be baptized and become a Christian. At her baptizim she was given the English name Rebecca.

Afterwards she refused to return to her father’s people, but did meet with two of her brothers who relayed the message to their father that she was not only well cared for and happy, but also that she wished to marry an English Gentleman , John Rolfe, with whom she had fallen in love. John Rolfe wrote of his deep inescapable affection for Pocahontas and begged permission to marry the converted "heathen". Chief Powhatan and the English Governor, Sir Thomas Dale, agreed to the marriage, with both anticipating peace between the two nations. Powhatan refused to attend the wedding, held at the Anglican church in Jamestown in April of 1614, but sent his brother and the brothers of Pocahontas along with a pearl necklace for the bride and a gift of land to the couple.

Pocahontas and John Rolfe had only one child, a son, they named Thomas after their dear friend the Governor of Virginia. In 1616 when Thomas was about one year old, the Rolfe family was invited to join Governor Dale in a trip back to England that was planned to raise money to continue to finance the Colony. Several Powhatan family members and friends accompanied the Rolfes on the journey. In England the Princess Pocahontas and Gentleman John Rolfe, her husband, had an audience with the King and Queen and were well received by the Royal Court. She was well liked and in every manner a proper lady.Pocahontas and her son, Thomas, sat for a portrait during her visit to England.

Pocahontas was shocked by a visit from her long lost friend Capt. John Smith, whom she thought dead. At first she hid her face and retreated into privacy for several hours, being overcome with emotion. At length she came out to speak with him, calling him "Father" at one point. When he objected she replied defiantly " Were you not afraid to come into my father’s countrie, and caused feare in him and all of his people and feare you here I should call you father: I tell you I will, and you shall call mee childe, and so I will be for ever and ever your Countrieman." They never saw each other again. In March 1616/1617, after seven months in England the group set sail to return to Virginia. At Gravesend, England, it was determined that Pocahontas was too ill to survive the long voyage and she was taken ashore. Some say it was smallpox, others that it was pneumonia or possibly tuberculosis. As she lay dying she comforted her husband saying, " All must die. It is enough that the child liveth". She was buried in the churchyard cemetery at Saint George’s Parish church in Gravesend, England.

The church record of her death and burial reads, " 1616 March 21, Rebecca Wrolfe, Wyffe of Thomas John Wrolfe Gentleman, a Virginia Lady borne was buried in ye chancell. Entered by Rev. Nicholas Frankwell." As Thomas Rolfe was her only child, all the descendants of Pocahontas descend through him. He remained in London in the care of his uncle Henry Rolfe, where he received his education and at the age of 20 he returned to his native Virginia where he married in 1640 his wife, Jane Poythress of Jamestown. Pocahontas was a significant part of the history of America. Without her help it is likely the Virginia colony would have had a vastly different story recorded.Not only is she credited with preserving the Virginia colony but she also became a link between the Native Americans and the English. Submitted By Jane Roberta Cralle Congdon of Farmville, Virginia

The Child of John Rolfe and his wife Pocahontas, was:

1. Thomas, b. 1615, d.1675, m. 1640 Jane Poythress b.1620 at Jamestown1620 at Jamestown