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Matoaka, later Amonute, ‘Rebecca’ Rolfe

Also Known As: "Matoa", "Matoaks", "Matoaka (birth) Pocahontas (child) Amonate (Ripened) and Rebecca(Baptised into Christanity)", "Pocahontas", "Pocohantas"
Birthplace: Werowocomoco Village, (Current day Tidewater, Virginia), Tsenacommacah, Pre Colonial America
Death: March 21, 1617 (20-21)
Gravesend, Kent, England (Old World disease - pneumonia, tuberculosis, or … )
Place of Burial: Gravesend, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Wahunseneca, Paramount chief of the Powhatan and Mother of Pocahontas & Matachanna
Wife of Kocoum of the Patawomeke and Captain John Rolfe, Ancient Planter
Mother of Lieut. Thomas Rolfe
Sister of Matachanna, of the Powhatan and Matachannu, of the Powhatan
Half sister of Tatacope; wife of Necotowance; Secotin Sonacock, of the Powhatan; Pamouic Sonacock, of the Powhatan; Unknown, of the Powhatan and 7 others

Occupation: Diplomat, Medicine Woman, Spy
Managed by: Carter Castilow
Last Updated:

About Pocahontas

The Virginia Native American woman best known by her nickname Pocahontas (born say 1596 – died 21 March 1617) was born as Matoaka, known later as Amonute, and baptized Rebecca as an adult. She belonged to the Powhatan people, and is notable for her association with the English colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia.

She was the daughter of Powhatan, the Paramount chief of a network of tributary tribes in Tsenacommacah, encompassing the Tidewater region of Virginia. She died in Gravesend, England shortly before March 21, 1617 at age 21, buried in the church there, and survived by her English husband, Captain John Rolfe, Ancient Planter, and their son Lieut. Thomas Rolfe, who had been born January 30, 1615 in the Jamestown Colony.

Extracted from “Portrait engraving by Simon de Passe, 1616” (National Portrait Gallery)

The original English caption (at the bottom of the image) reads "Matoaks alias Rebecka daughter to the mighty Prince Powhâtan Emperour of Attanoughkomouck alias virginia converted and baptized in the Christian faith, and wife to the wor.ff Mr. Joh Rolfe ."[3]

The inscription directly under the portrait reads "Ætatis suæ 21 A. 1616", Latin for "at the age of 21 in the year 1616".

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.".

DNA studies Also if your family line you can join the Pocahontas DNA project on

“New project to identify descendants of Pocahontas underway” March 22, 2019. “More than 100,000 people may be able to count Pocahontas as an ancestor, and a new initiative spearheaded by Gloucester County intends to find them.” link


From, 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.

~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.


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.

Birth date seen as 09/17/1595 without citation.

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


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."

Please note: the names Murmuring Ripple, Dashing Stream, and Scented Flower are fictional.

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.


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.


  • Bibliography
  • Argall, Samuel. Letter to Nicholas Hawes. June 1613. Repr. in Jamestown Narratives, ed. Edward Wright Haile. Champlain, VA: Roundhouse, 1998.
  • Bulla, Clyde Robert. "Little Nantaquas." In "Pocahontas and The Strangers", ed Scholastic inc., 730 Broadway, New York, NY 10003. 1971.
  • Custalow, Linwood "Little Bear" and Daniel, Angela L. "Silver Star." The True Story of Pocahontas, Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado 2007, ISBN 978-1-55591-632-9.
  • Dale, Thomas. Letter to 'D.M.' 1614. Repr. in Jamestown Narratives, ed. Edward Wright Haile. Champlain, VA: Roundhouse, 1998.
  • Dale, Thomas. Letter to Sir Ralph Winwood. June 3, 1616. Repr. in Jamestown Narratives, ed. Edward Wright Haile. Champlain, VA: Roundhouse, 1998.
  • Fausz, J. Frederick. "An 'Abundance of Blood Shed on Both Sides': England's First Indian War, 1609–1614". The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 98:1 (January 1990), pp. 3–56.
  • Gleach, Frederic W. Powhatan's World and Colonial Virginia. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997.
  • Hamor, Ralph. A True Discourse of the Present Estate of Virginia. 1615. Repr. in Jamestown Narratives, ed. Edward Wright Haile. Champlain, VA: Roundhouse, 1998.
  • Herford, C.H. and Percy Simpson, eds. Ben Jonson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925–1952).
  • Huber, Margaret Williamson (January 12, 2011). "Powhatan (d. 1618)". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  • Kupperman, Karen Ordahl. Indians and English: Facing Off in Early America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000.
  • Lemay, J.A. Leo. Did Pocahontas Save Captain John Smith? Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press, 1992
  • Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown. New York: Vintage, 2003.
  • Purchas, Samuel. Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas His Pilgrimes. 1625. Repr. Glasgow: James MacLehose, 1905–1907. vol. 19
  • Rolfe, John. Letter to Thomas Dale. 1614. Repr. in Jamestown Narratives, ed. Edward Wright Haile. Champlain, VA: Roundhouse, 1998
  • Rolfe, John. Letter to Edwin Sandys. June 8, 1617. Repr. in The Records of the Virginia Company of London, ed. Susan Myra Kingsbuy. Washington: US Government Printing Office, 1906–1935. Vol. 3
  • Rountree, Helen C. (November 3, 2010). "Divorce in Early Virginia Indian Society". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  • Rountree, Helen C. (November 3, 2010). "Early Virginia Indian Education". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  • Rountree, Helen C. (November 3, 2010). "Uses of Personal Names by Early Virginia Indians". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  • Rountree, Helen C. (December 8, 2010). "Pocahontas (d. 1617)". Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  • Smith, John. A True Relation of such Occurrences and Accidents of Noate as hath Hapned in Virginia, 1608. Repr. in The Complete Works of John Smith (1580–1631). Ed. Philip L. Barbour. Chapel Hill: University Press of Virginia, 1983. Vol. 1
  • Smith, John. A Map of Virginia, 1612. Repr. in The Complete Works of John Smith (1580–1631), Ed. Philip L. Barbour. Chapel Hill: University Press of Virginia, 1983. Vol. 1
  • Smith, John. Letter to Queen Anne. 1616. Repr. as 'John Smith's Letter to Queen Anne regarding Pocahontas'. Caleb Johnson's Mayflower Web Pages 1997, Accessed April 23, 2006.
  • Smith, John. The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles. 1624. Repr. in Jamestown Narratives, ed. Edward Wright Haile. Champlain, VA: Roundhouse, 1998.
  • Spelman, Henry. A Relation of Virginia. 1609. Repr. in Jamestown Narratives, ed. Edward Wright Haile. Champlain, VA: Roundhouse, 1998.
  • Strachey, William. The Historie of Travaile into Virginia Brittania. c. 1612. Repr. London: Hakluyt Society, 1849.
  • Symonds, William. The Proceedings of the English Colonie in Virginia. 1612. Repr. in The Complete Works of Captain John Smith. Ed. Philip L. Barbour. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1986. Vol. 1
  • Tilton, Robert S. (1994). Pocahontas: The Evolution of an American Narrative. Cambridge UP. ISBN 978-0-521-46959-3.
  • Waldron, William Watson. Pocahontas, American Princess: and Other Poems. New York: Dean and Trevett, 1841
  • Warner, Charles Dudley. Captain John Smith, 1881. Repr. in Captain John Smith Project Gutenberg Text, accessed July 4, 2006
  • Woodward, Grace Steele. Pocahontas. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1969.
  • Further reading
  • Barbour, Philip L. Pocahontas and Her World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1970. ISBN 0-7091-2188-1
  • Neill, Rev. Edward D. Pocahontas and Her Companions. Albany: Joel Munsell, 1869.
  • Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown. Alfred A. Knopf, 2003 ISBN 0-375-41541-6
  • Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas's People: The Powhatan Indians of Virginia Through Four Centuries. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990. ISBN 0-8061-2280-3
  • Strong, Pauline Turner. Animated Indians: Critique and Contradiction in Commodified Children's Culture. Cultural Anthology, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Aug. 1996), pp. 405–424
  • Sandall, Roger. 2001 The Culture Cult: Designer Tribalism and Other Essays ISBN 0-8133-3863-8
  • Townsend, Camilla. Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma. New York: Hill and Wang, 2004. ISBN 0-8090-7738-8
  • Warner, Charles Dudley, Captain John Smith, 1881. Repr. in Captain John Smith Project Gutenberg Text, accessed July 4, 2006
  • Warner, Charles Dudley, The Story of Pocahontas, 1881. Repr. in The Story of Pocahontas Project Gutenberg Text, accessed July 4, 2006
  • Woodward, Grace Steele. Pocahontas. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1969. ISBN 0-8061-0835-5 or ISBN 0-8061-1642-0
  • John William Weidemeyer (1900). "Powhatan" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. This article is mostly about Pocahontas.
  • Pocahontas, Alias Matoaka, and Her Descendants Through Her Marriage at Jamestown, Virginia, in April 1614, with John Rolfe, Gentleman, Wyndham Robertson, Printed by J. W. Randolph & English, Richmond, Va., 1887
  • Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pocahontas.
  • Wikisource has the text of the 1879 American Cyclopædia article
  • External links
  • Pocahontas.
  • "Contact and Conflict". The Story of Virginia: An American Experience. Virginia Historical Society.
  • "The Anglo-Powhatan Wars". The Story of Virginia: An American Experience. Virginia Historical Society.
  • Virtual Jamestown. Includes text of many original accounts
  • "The Pocahontas Archive", a comprehensive bibliography of texts about Pocahontas
  • On this day in history: Pocahontas marries John Rolfe,
  • Michals, Debra. "Pocahontas". National Women's History Museum. 2015
  • cites
  • 1. Engraving, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (NPG), "Aetatis suae 21 An 1616." meaning in the 21st year of her age. Image at NPG Blog
  • 2. Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend, US Parks Service
  • 3. Helen C. Rountree, "Pocahontas," in Encyclopedia Virginia, ( accessed 6 September 2017).
  • 4. Helen C. Rountree, Pocahontas, Powhatan Opechancanough, Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005) 35, 37-8; 176-8.
  • 5. William Strachey, Historie of Travell into Virginia Britania (1612), eds. Louis B. Wright and Virginia Freund, Kraus Reprint Limited, Liechtenstein 1967, p. 62. (In an 1849 edition, the information will be found on p 54.) See also, p 111
  • 6. Smith John, "True Relation" (1608) , ed Deane (1866), with footnotes, [1]. Smith is taken captive, p. 25. Pocahontas visits the fort, p. 72.
  • 7. Smith, John or William Symonds. "Proceedings" (1612). Appendix to Smith (1612), Map of Virginia. In Tyler, L.G (1907), Narratives of Early Virginia, p. 119. Smith is taken captive, p. 130. Pocahontas visits the fort, p. 139.
  • 8. Smith, John, The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and The Summer Isles (London, 1624). Books 3 and 4. 1907 edn, Vol. 1. (Book 3) Smith is taken captive, p. 96. Smith is saved by Pocahontas, p. 101. Pocahontas brings food, p. 103. Pocahontas saves Smith again, p. 162. (Book 4) Pocahontas kidnapped, p. 217. Pocahontas married, p. 220 (extracted from Hamor, but with no mention of conversion). Pocahontas in England, p. 235-240 (includes letter to Queen Anne). Book 4 is also in Tyler, L.G, Narratives of Early Virginia, p. 289.
  • 9. Argall, Sir Samuel Argall, Letter to Nicholas Hawes, dated June 1613, relating the kidnapping of Pocahontas. In Brown, Alexander, Genesis of the United States, Vol. 2 (1897), p. 640. Brown takes it from Purchas, iv, p. 1764, the same source cited by Robertson (1860).
  • 10. Harmor, Ralph, True Discourse (1615), ed. Harwell (1957), p. 4. Describes the capture, detention and marriage of Pocahontas, as told to the English public in 1614. Hamor was an eye-witness, or close to those who were, but he was also a Company propagandist. Includes the letters of Dale (p. 51), Whitaker (p. 59), and Rolfe (p. 61). (All other publications of these letters are derived from Hamor, as manuscripts do not exist).
  • 11. Robertson, Wyndham: "The Marriage of Pocahontas", in Southern Literary Messenger, Vol. 31, no. 2 (Aug 1860), p. 81. Explains and corrects the mistaken date of 1613 given by Stith and many other early writers. Also in Virginia Historical Reporter, Vol. 1 (1860), p. 65.
  • 12. Smithsonian Institution. Do All Indians Live in Tipis? Smithsonian Books, Washington, D.C. 2018. p75-77.
  • 13.+ Parish register burial entry for Rebecca Wroth [sic], 21 March 1616/7, Gravesend, Kent; citing St. George's Church; digital image at "FreeReg" database, ( : accessed 7 September 2017). [Can we get a link to the actual image?]
  • 14. "The Burial of Pocahontas", in Virginia Historical Register, Vol. 2, no. 4 (Oct 1849), p. 187.
  • 15. Kingsbury, Susan M (1906). Virginia Company Records, Vol. 2, p. 105. Henry Rolfe's petition touching "the Child his said Brother had by Powhatan's Daughter".
  • 16. “The Ancestors and Descendants of John Rolfe with Notices of Some Connected Families.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 21, no. 1, 1913, pp. 105–106. JSTOR, (First of 10 articles over three years).
  • 17. Wikipedia authors, Patawomeck, Wikipedia, citing Warner, Charles Dudley, The Story of Pocahontas, 1881.
  • 18. Letter from "Philo" which theorizes that Kocoum = Rolfe. In Virginia Historical Register, Vol. 4, no. 1 (Jan 1851), p 36.
  • 19. Custalow, Linwood & Daniel, Angela. The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History, 2007,
  • 20. Farris, Phoebe, "Pocahontas’ First Marriage: The Powhatan Side of the Story", Huffington Post
  • 21. Misinformation on the Pettus Family (Unsourced blog supporting the Kocoum marriage, daughter Ka-Okee and marriage to Thomas Pettus).
  • 22. Teri Hiatt. Forum. Re: John Smith and Pocahontas, July 13, 2012, reply to Larry Anderson note of the same date. (1) butleigh. org, under Butleigh People for Hiett, Smith; (2),_Richard_(DNB00) Info on Richard Bertie; (3) Info on Peregrine Bertie, John Smith, and Pocahontas; (4) About Dr. John Hewitt (on WayBack Machine) ; (5) Capt. John Smith Capt. John Smith; (6) Womens History About Pocahontas; (7) John Smith (Encyclopedia of Virginia);(8) God Wants You to Colonize Virginia (Blog); (9) Book "Burke's Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage" 107th ed. 3 vol. Wilmington, Del 2003. Accessed 5 March 2020.
  • See Also:
  • Fourth and Fifth Corrections and Additions to Pocahontas' Descendants. Genealogical Publishing Com; 1 June 2009. ISBN 978-0-8063-5242-8.
  • Jamestowne Society: Pocahontas / Matoaka - A6212; died March 1617 Gravesend, England; wife of John Rolfe. accessed 5 December 2020
  • The Pocahontas Archive, collection of materials relating to the study of Pocahontas including Annotated Bibliography of historical mentions of Pocahontas
  • Beverley, Robert, jr., The History and Present State of Virginia, 2nd edn (1722), p. 25-31.
  • Boddie, John Bennett, Historical Southern Families, Vol. 9 (1957-1980), pgs 191-217 and Southside Virginia Families, Vol. 1 (2009?), pages 227-331.
  • Burk, John (1804). History of Virginia, Vol. 1, p. 168.
  • Hardy, Stella Pickett, "Colonial Families of the Southern States of America," 2nd edition (1958), page 71, Bolling family. Refers to Robert Bolling as the Honorable Robert Bolling.
  • McCartney, Martha W. Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, p. 563.
  • Randolph, Wassell, "William Randolph I of Turkey Island, Henrico County, Virginia, and his immediate descendants," Memphis, Tenn. : Seebode Mimeo Service, 1949. Digital version (Hathi Trust)
  • Robertson, Wyndham (1887), Pocahontas and her Descendants, p. 1.
  • Stith, Rev. William (1747). History of the First Discovery and Settlement of Virginia, p. 136.
  • Tyler, L.G , Narratives of Early Virginia, Publisher? (1907); p. 25. Smith is taken captive, p. 44. Pocahontas visits the fort, p. 69.
  • Wheeler, Geraldine Hartshorn, Laying Claim to Pocahontas, Washington Post, July 9, 1995
  • Wheeler, John H., "Reminiscences & Memories of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians," Columbus, OH: Columbus Printing Works (1884); describes Rev. William Hill, Jr.
  • Wikipedia contributors, "Pocahontas," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed March 5, 2017).
  • Wood, Karenne, Ed. The Virginia Indian Trail, 2nd ed. Charlottesville, VA: The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (2008)
  • NEWS STORY. “On the Many Lives of Pocahontas, and Others 'Caught Between'”., (Mar 28, 2019). (accessed 2 October 2022). < link >
  • Ordahl's "Pocahontas and the English Boys: Caught Between Cultures in Early Virginia," out in March 2019 from NYU Press
  • “Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend.” Last updated: September 4, 2022. < link > Bibliography:
  • Custalow, Dr. Linwood "Little Bear" and Angela L. Daniel "Silver Star." The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History. Golden: Fulcrum Publishing, 2007.
  • Haile, Edward Wright (editor) Jamestown Narratives: Eyewitness Accounts of the Virginia Colony: The First Decade: 1607-1617. Chaplain: Roundhouse, 1998.
  • Mossiker, Frances. Pocahontas: The Life and The Legend. New York: Da Capo Press, 1976.
  • Rountree, Helen C. and E. Randolph Turner III. Before and After Jamestown: Virginia's Powhatans and Their Predecessors. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1989.
  • Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005.
  • Rountree, Helen C. The Powhatan Indians of Virginia: Their Traditional Culture. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.
  • Towsned, Camilla. Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma: The American Portrait Series. New York: Hill And Wang, 2004.
  • Available online through the National Park Service is A Study of Virginia Indians and Jamestown: THE FIRST CENTURY by Danielle Moretti-Langholtz, Ph.D. < link >
  • Meeting in the Middle: Myth-making in “The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History.” Kevin Miller. Tsurumi University Kiyo, No. 55-2, Feb. 28, 2018. < link >
  • < “The Four Names of Pocahontas” > updated Nov. 3, 2021
  • “Rolfe Family Record.” Pocahontas. Page 22-23. < link >
  • Cridlin, William Broaddus. (1923). “A history of colonial Virginia : the first permanent colony in America, to which is added the genealogy of the several shires and counties and population in Virginia from the first Spanish colony to the present time.” Page 49, third paragraph. < Archive.Org > “In 1612 Pocahontas is said to have had living, twenty brothers, eleven sisters and eleven stepmothers. Her father's name was Wauhunsenacawah (Wahunsonacock) sometimes called Ottaniack, or Mannatowick, by his subjects, though we read of him only as Powhatan.”
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Pocahontas's Timeline

Werowocomoco Village, (Current day Tidewater, Virginia), Tsenacommacah, Pre Colonial America

Pocahontas's birth year is unknown, but some historians estimate it to have been around 1596 and possible born in Werowocomico, Virginia (Wikipedia, 2020).

Born around 1596, Pocahontas was the daughter of Wahunsenaca (also known as Powhatan), the powerful chief of the Powhatans, a Native American group that inhabited the Chesapeake Bay region. Little is known about her mother.

Her tribal name was Mantoax (or Matoaka) which means “Little Snow Feather” and her given name was Amonute (privately, Matoaka), but she has been remembered by her nickname "Pocahontas," meaning “playful one” (National Women's History Museum, 2015).

January 30, 1615
Varina Plantation, Smiths Fort, Henrico County, Virginia, Colonial America

Pocahontas age 17 or 18 while married to John Rolfe, bore a son in January 1615, named Thomas Rolfe (Wikipedia, 2020).

Their son, Thomas Rolfe and his wife, Jane Poythress, had a daughter, Jane Rolfe, who was born in Varina, Henrico County, Virginia on October 10, 1650. Jane Rolfe married Robert Bolling of Prince George County, Virginia. Their son, John Bolling, was born in 1676. John Bolling married Mary Kennon and had six surviving children, each of whom married and had surviving children. (Wikipedia, 2020).

March 21, 1617
Age 21
Gravesend, Kent, England

The arrival of Pocahontas in London was well publicized. She was presented to King James I, the royal family, and the rest of the best of London society. Also in London at this time was Captain John Smith, the old friend she had not seen for eight years and whom she believed was dead. After seven months Rolfe decided to return his family to Virginia, In March 1617 they set sail. It was soon apparent, however, that Pocahontas would not survive the voyage home. She was deathly ill from pneumonia or possibly tuberculosis. She was taken ashore, and, as she lay dying, she comforted her husband, saying, "All must die. Tis enough that the child liveth." (Find A Grave, 2020).

Her husband, fearing for sickly Thomas, left him to be raised in England. Rolfe died in Virginia in March 1622 shortly before a massacre: the peace had been short-lived. Thomas later settled there and had children. (, 2020).