Pocahontas in the Woods

May 7, 2007 at 9:06 am (art, history, portraiture, Virginia)

A Photo from Neddy

Pocahontas(circa 1595–1617) was a young Indian princess who is said to have prevented the execution of Captain John Smith by her people, the Powhatans. She was the “dearest daughter” of King Powhatan.

“… the conclusion was, two great stones were brought before Powhatan: then as many as could laid hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and being ready with their clubs, to beat out his brains, Pocahontas the king’s dearest daughter, when no entreaty could prevail, got his head in her arms, and laid her own upon his to save him from death: whereat the Emperor was contented he should live to make him hatchets, and her bells, beads, and copper; …” (Memoirs of Captain John Smith).

Afterwards, Princess Pocahontas befriended the English colonists at Jamestown, whom she came to love, and became a Christian. Captain John Smith credited her with saving the Jamestown settlement from starvation.

“Now every once in four or five days, Pocahontas with her attendants, brought him so much provision, that saved many of their lives, that else for all this had starved with hunger. Thus from numb death our good God sent relief, The sweet assuager of all other grief.” (Memoirs of Captain John Smith)

The American princess married one of the colonists, John Rolfe, becoming Rebecca Rolfe and she travelled to England where she was entertained as royalty. She died young, in England, leaving a baby son to be raised by relatives there.

The real Pocahontas has become lost in the legends that have grown up around her short life. Here she stands overlooking the James River of Virginia, from whence appeared those first English sailing ships in 1607. Here she stands, planted on her own sod where her moccasin clad feet skipped and danced so many centuries ago. However, even this statue of her at Jamestown Island, Virginia, has transformed her into something she was not – an Indian maiden of the American plains.

Her mortal remains are planted on a foreign shore across the great sea, at Gravesend, England, as she died on a ship headed back to her native Virginia. Learn about “Pocahontas and the Red Bollings,” watch Neddy’s slide show of Jamestown 2007.

Visit Neddy’s Archives, for more of Neddy.

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The image, Pocahontas in the Woods, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Neddy’s flickr.

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