Friday, June 7, 2013

When the English came ashore and founded Jamestown,
Chief of the Powhatans was sometimes foe, sometimes friend.
Some say that the food brought by Pocahantas
and other young women kept early settlers
 from starving.  
In my own version of "Roots," I've found another fascinating connection to history.  I knew there were several in my dad's ancestry named "Pocahontas."  I thought it might have been one of the trendy names of the eighteenth and nineteenth century; however, I found we had a family link who married her son Thomas Rolfe.  Pocahontas was a real family name!  It actually was a nickname meaning "playful one, frolicsome," but her real name was Matoaka.

Pocahontas did not marry John Smith as Disney portrayed in the movie.  It's even doubtful that she saved his life. (He was known for tall tales to prop up his image.)  From the sometimes friendly Pohowton tribe, she liked to visit the Jamestown colony. Pocahontas was known for her cartwheels while playing with the children.  She was acquainted with Capt. Smith.  Tired of the English invaders, her father moved over fifty miles to get away.  A sea captain who knew her, sought her out, invited her aboard a ship for a dinner at age 17; however, she was taken captive and became a hostage in Jamestown.  Her captors hoped for an exchange for 8 Englishmen and to use her as a shield to keep her father from burning Jamestown. While there she was converted, took the Christian name of Rebecca, and fell in love, though not necessarily in that order.  Her husband was a widower who according to letters truly loved her and asked permission of her father as well as his government to ask for her hand. Eventually he took his little family to England where she met the queen. Sadly, Pocahontas died just as they were departing to return to Virginia.  John Rolfe left for Jamestown without his infant son who was sick also and had to be left in the care of family in England.   John Rolfe died without seeing his son again.  As a young man, Thomas Rolfe came back to Jamestown where he was born and claimed the vast acres given to his father by the chief as a wedding present.  He married Jane Poythress.  Their only child, also a daughter, married a descendent of my father's side.

"How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I surrender you, O Israel?"
Hosea 11:8
Our heavenly Father can not bear to be without us
and desires godly offspring.

If you sift through the centuries, we are all related.  We certainly go back to Noah.  Scientist now have discovered that all genetic material could have come from one woman, every skin color, every eye color, etc.  I think I know her name, our earliest ancestor, Eve, whose name means "mother of all."  Besides that, we have been adopted into the family of God, with Jesus Christ as our elder brother.
These one little, two little wild Indians are descendants of Pocahontas!
They look frolicsome to me.

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