Indian Heroine of Colonial Times
1595 – 1617
Pocahontas, an Indian woman of Virginia, was born about 1595, and died in Gravesend, England, in March, 1617. She was remarkable for her friendship toward the English colonists, a striking evidence of which is said to have been given when she was about twelve years old.
Captain John Smith was taken prisoner, and it was decided to put him to death. His head was laid upon a stone, and the savages were brandishing their clubs preparatory to dashing out his brains, when Pocahontas threw herself upon the captive’s body, and her intercession with her father saved his life. Recent researches discredit this story.
When Smith returned to Jamestown, he sent presents to Pocahontas and her father; and after this, according to Smith’s narrative, Pocahontas “with her wild train visited Jamestown as freely as her father’s habitation.”
In 1609 she passed through the wood in the night to inform Smith of a plot formed by her father to destroy him. In 1612 she was living in the territory of the Indian chief Japazaws. Captain Samuel Argall bribed Japazaws to betray her to into his hands, and began to treat Pocahontas for her restitution, but they were unable to agree.
While she was on shipboard, an attachment sprang up between her and an Englishman named John Rolfe, and the consent of Sir Thomas Dale and of her father having been gained, they were married at Jamestown in April, 1613. A peace of many years duration between the English and the Indians was the consequence of the union. Before her marriage she was baptized, receiving the name of Rebecca. In 1616 she accompanied Dale to England, where she was an object of great interest to all classes of people, and was presented at court. Pocahontas prepared to leave England, but she suddenly died when on the point of embarking.
She left one son, Thomas Rolfe, who was educated by his uncle, a London merchant, and in after life went to Virginia, where he became a person of note and influence.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence, and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World published by the King-Richardson Co. in 1903.