Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Rebecca Rolfe

Never heard of her? You actually have, just under a MUCH different name. Lady Rebecca Rolfe was the wife of an Englishman (John Rolfe) who worked for the British Virginia Company that sponsored the early Jamestown settlement in Virginia. He met her in Jamestown, but at that time she had nurtured a growing crush on a man named John Smith. Her birth name was anything but English. She was born a Powhatan Indian named Natoaka, and when John Smith's life was spared by her (allegedly) she was just twelve years old. American folklore has it that they had a wild romance, but he was 29 and failed to mention anything to that effect in his journals of exploration.

**Natoaka saving Captain John Smith's life from death by clubbing.*****

Jamestown was constantly under attack by the Powhatan people, but Natoaka always came to the camp to warn the settlers. Wihout her intervention, the America's may never have been settled by the English for good. She developed a huge adolescent crush on John Smith. He had left for England in 1609, two years after helping to settle Jamestown, and she never visited the camp again.
Skirmishes broke out between the expansionist settlers and the native people, and during one such raid in 1612 Natoaka was taken capive by John Rolfe. She asked of John smith's whereabouts, and he told her he had died in England. John Rolfe quikly began grooming his captive lady for marriage, and in 1614 they married, traveling to England in 1616. She found out from friends soon after that her husband had lied, and that John Smith was not only alive, but living in a nearby town. She had had a son named Tom now, and John Smith had a family of his own. He found out about her, and paid her a visit. He wrote in his journal that she was strangely cold and distant, probably heartbroken over the strange turn of events.
She was never the same, and on the very day she was to return to America with her son and husband, she fell into a coma and died. Was she poisoned, suicide, or just died of a broken heart? She lies buried in an unmarked grave in a town called Gravesend, in St. George's Church. Her descendants are part of America's most noteable families. Tom Rolfe went to Jamestown when he was twenty five years old, and married. They had a daughter, and from this child came descendants like First Lady Edith Wilson, President Woodrow Wilson's wife.
A sad note is that the settlers eventually burned and killed all the Powhatan people, planting tobacco on the place where Pocahontas was born. OH, did I not mention that Lady Rebecca Rolfe, Natoaka, and Pocahontas were the same people?
My bad.....Disney musta left that part out during the creation of their family-friendly animated film.


At 7:01 PM, Blogger Vegas said...

I'm so confused.


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