The Rolfe’s, Tobacco, Plantations, and Pocahontas’ Death

Stearns1850

Thomas Dale’s Virginia still suffered under his heavy-handed rule in the early 1610s, but the Rolfe/Pocahontas marriage as well as semi-relaxed private property laws began to have a noticeable affect upon the colony.

Rolfe took advantage of those newly relaxed laws by introducing a new tobacco strain, the Spanish, sweet-scented Orinoco along the James River. Soon after Rolfe’s successfully growing the weed, and sending a 1,200 lb crop to England, other Virginia colonists began growing the crop on the many plantations that sprung into life after 1613.

The Virginia Company began granting land to new settlers both old and new after Samuel Argall ascended to the Lieutenant Governorship. More than 30 plantations were founded upon which Tobacco became the chiefly grown crop. Virginia was now showing signs of profitability, and many believed it to be due in part to the Rolfe/Pocahontas marriage as well as Rolfe’s experimental work. They were now Virginia’s most famous people, and England wanted to see this early modern power couple.

The Rolfe’s journeyed to England in 1616, were a hit, helped bolster the Virginia Company’s books. But the successful junket came at a price. The Powhatan natives were affected by the dirty English civilization. Pocahontas fell ill and died at the outset of their return journey to Virginia. Further, one of Pocahontas’ attendants, Tomocomo, spread his negative reviews to powerful Powhatan leaders upon his return.

Those words had an affect, as Opechancanough, Powhatan’s successor, let the words fester, and began plotting an attack against the English.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

 

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Tobacco being grown at the Frontier Culture Museum

SOURCES:

  1. Berhnard, Virginia. A Tale of Two Colonies: What Really Happened in Virginia and Bermuda? Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 2011.
  2. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  3. Custalow, Linwood “Little Bear” and Daniel, Angela L. “Silver Star.” The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 2007.
  4. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  5. Deans, Bob. The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James. Plymouth, UK: Rowan and Littlefield, 2009.
  6. Encyclopedia Virginia, Sir Thomas Dale.
  7. Doherty, Kieran. Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of Jamestown. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.
  8. Firstbrook, Peter. A Man Most Driven: Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Founding of America. London: Oneworld Publications, 2014.
  9. Glover, Lorri and Smith, Daniel Blake. The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America.
  10. Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.
  11. Hatch Jr., Charles E. The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1991.
  12. Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.
  13. Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.
  14. Kelso, William M. Jamestown: The Buried Truth. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.
  15. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Apathy and Death in Early Jamestown The Journal of American History, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jun., 1979), pp. 24-40
  16. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Captain John Smith: A Select Edition of His Writings. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press published for the Omohundro Institute, 1988.
  17. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge, MA: The Belknapp Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.
  18. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  19. Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.
  20. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  21. Rountree, Helen C. Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500-1722.Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.
  22. Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2005.
  23. Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.
  24. Strachey, William. Collected Works on the Internet Archive.
  25. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  26. Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.
  27. Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

  1. Historic Jamestowne
  2. Virtual Jamestown
  3. The Cittie of Henricus
  4. The Pocahontas Archive
  5. St. George’s Church Gravesend, England (Pocahontas’ Burial Site, though the exact grave has been lost)
  6. Virginia History Podcast Store

 

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Tobacco being dried at the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown

 

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is the only known picture of Pocahontas from her lifetime. It was done by Simon Van de Passe upon Pocahontas visit to England. The next image is The Death of Pocahontas by Junius Brutus Stearns.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “From This Valley by the Civil Wars“, available on Soundcloud.

How Pocahontas Became Rebecca Rolfe

One of the most indifferent Virginia Company investors became one of her most influential, but not on purpose. Sir Robert Rich and his son, also Robert, only bought one share in the Company’s third offering, but they gifted a man-of-war named the Treasurer.

The Treasurer sailed to attack Spanish shipping lanes and outposts, but Argall had work to do in Virginia first. He had to help establish a trade route with the Potomac tribe in the north. The first trip was profitable, but a second was needed just 3 months later. On this second journey Argall received a tip. Pocahontas was visiting the Potomac Tribe.

The Treasurer, the would be Spanish raider,  now became one of the most famous, or infamous  depending on your viewpoint, traps in all of Virginia’s history. Pocahontas was lured on board, and the course of history would certainly change for both the Powhatan’s and the English.

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Alexander Whitaker’s reconstructed “Rocke Hall” at the Cittie of Henricus

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Berhnard, Virginia. A Tale of Two Colonies: What Really Happened in Virginia and Bermuda? Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 2011.
  2. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  3. Custalow, Linwood “Little Bear” and Daniel, Angela L. “Silver Star.” The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 2007.
  4. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  5. Deans, Bob. The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James. Plymouth, UK: Rowan and Littlefield, 2009.
  6. Encyclopedia Virginia, Sir Thomas Dale.
  7. Doherty, Kieran. Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of Jamestown. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008.
  8. Firstbrook, Peter. A Man Most Driven: Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Founding of America. London: Oneworld Publications, 2014.
  9. Glover, Lorri and Smith, Daniel Blake. The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America.
  10. Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.
  11. Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.
  12. Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.
  13. Kelso, William M. Jamestown: The Buried Truth. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.
  14. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Apathy and Death in Early Jamestown The Journal of American History, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jun., 1979), pp. 24-40
  15. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Captain John Smith: A Select Edition of His Writings. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press published for the Omohundro Institute, 1988.
  16. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge, MA: The Belknapp Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.
  17. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  18. Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.
  19. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  20. Rountree, Helen C. Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500-1722.Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.
  21. Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2005.
  22. Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.
  23. Strachey, William. Collected Works on the Internet Archive.
  24. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  25. Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.
  26. Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

  1. Historic Jamestowne
  2. Virtual Jamestown
  3. The Cittie of Henricus
  4. The Pocahontas Archive
  5. Virginia History Podcast Store
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The reconstructed church sanctuary at the Cittie of Henricus

 

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is The Abduction of Pocahontas by artist Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. Painting located at the Virginia Historical Society.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Daughter” by The Vespers, available on Soundcloud.

John Smith’s Time Nears The End

John Smith started to right the ship, but he was beginning to pay a heavy price. He had severely strained relations both with the English and the Native Virginians.

Though he was making progress through Winter 1608 and into Spring 1609, that progress came at high cost. The Powhatans used intrigue and direct attack to dislodge John Smith, but Smith prevailed, sort of.

While events were unfolding in the New World, Christopher Newport arrived back in England with Smith’s letter, as well as two of Smith’s most formidable enemies. The Virginia Company was less than happy at their arrival, but this time, the Company leaders agreed in that something needed to change.

Thus, as Smith was fighting to stay alive in Virginia, he was losing his power as a new charter reformed the struggling Virginia colony. Smith didn’t know it, but he was nearing the end of his presidency, and the colony would never be the same again as a new group of settlers began to take shape in 1609.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  3. Deans, Bob. The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James. Plymouth, UK: Rowan and Littlefield, 2009.
  4. Firstbrook, Peter. A Man Most Driven: Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Founding of America. London: Oneworld Publications, 2014.
  5. Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.
  6. Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.
  7. Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.
  8. Kelso, William M. Jamestown: The Buried Truth. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.
  9. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Apathy and Death in Early Jamestown The Journal of American History, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jun., 1979), pp. 24-40
  10. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. Captain John Smith: A Select Edition of His Writings. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press published for the Omohundro Institute, 1988.
  11. Kupperman, Karen Ordhal. The Jamestown Project. Cambridge, MA: The Belknapp Press of Harvard University Press, 2007.
  12. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  13. Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.
  14. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  15. Rountree, Helen C. Powhatan Foreign Relations: 1500-1722.Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.
  16. Rountree, Helen C. Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2005.
  17. Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.
  18. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  19. Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.
  20. Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

  1. Historic Jamestowne
  2. Virtual Jamestown
  3. The Chancel Burials 
  4. Robert Hunt at Jamestown Rediscovery
  5. Maps of John Smith’s Chesapeake Voyages
  6. Virginia History Podcast Store

 

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is of the four recently discovered graves located within the 1608 Jamestown Church chancel.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Mountain Song” by Little Chief, available on Soundcloud.