Surnames/tags: Powhatan Rolfe
- William Deyo, "Our Patawomeck Ancestors," in Patawomeck Tides, Vol 12, #1 (15 Sept 2009): pp. 2-7 Original URL: https://home.nps.gov/jame/learn/historyculture/upload/Patawomeck-Tides-2009.pdf (no longer online); found through Archive.org's WayBack machine at: https://web.archive.org/web/20150930033004/https://home.nps.gov/jame/learn/historyculture/upload/Patawomeck-Tides-2009.pdf. Also transcribed below.
Author is William "Bill" Deyo, tribal historian for the Patawomeck tribe.
This article is often cited as proof that Pocahontas had a daughter named "Ka Okee" through an earlier marriage to an Indian named Kokoum. While the marriage to Kokoum is documented in 1610 by Strachey, there is no evidence of offspring from this marriage.
Some generations down from this supposed daughter are also in doubt. See below.
Because multiple families (Robeson, Peyton, Newton, Gordon and Sullivan) all claimed descent from on Christian (Pettus) Martin (who was said to have had much Indian blood), and because Christian Pettus was born about 1636/7, Deyo concluded that Christian's mother must have been Ka-Okee and a daughter of Pocahontas. "That explained the fondness of the name of 'Rebecca' by the descendants of the Martin family."
That Deyo calls Pocahontas an Indian Princess sheds doubt on his historian credentials; Native Americans had no royalty status within their tribes; "princess" is a European introduction; Native Americans do not use this term about their own people.
Deyo's article makes a number of claims frequently without citing any authority; these claims include:
- Pochontas was claimed as an ancestress by both Roberson and Peyton families.
- that by her first husband Kokoum, Pocahontas had a daughter Ka-Okee who
- married a member of the Pettus family, "likely a brother of Col. Thomas Pettus who had a sister named Christian and owned land that adjoined that of Chief Wahangonoche which was the later home of Ka-Okee's daughter Christian."
- Col. Thomas Pettus had a brother Theodore who came to Virginia in 1623 and was still in VA "near end of 1626 when he made a testimony in court"
- was mother of Christian who m1 Martin, m2 Waddington.
- had her identity as daughter of Pocahontas "probably kept secret by the Patawomecks to protect the safety of the child;"
- that she was raised by the Patawomeck tribe.
- married a member of the Pettus family, "likely a brother of Col. Thomas Pettus who had a sister named Christian and owned land that adjoined that of Chief Wahangonoche which was the later home of Ka-Okee's daughter Christian."
- NOTE: Deyo cites Custalow and Daniel, True Story of Pocahontas, admitting that the book only calls this child "Little Kokoum" [a male!] and that the authors admit they know nothing about the child from the sacred Mattaponi history.
- Mattaponi Chief, O.T. Custalow married Elizabeth Newton of Stafford.
- Rebecca Martin Peyton, claimed to be named after a child of John and Christian [Pettus] Martin; Deyo believes Rebecca was the oldest child of John and Christian; and that she was the first wife of Rev. John Waugh.
- Rev. John Waugh later married Christian, another daughter of John Martin and Christian [i.e., then sister of his first wife "as was often done in the old days"]; this second wife married second Evan Williams.
- Close connections between the Rolfe and Pettus families in England.
- That while Pocahontas visited John Rolfe's estate in England, she "no doubt met the Pettus family" and asked them to check on her daughter Ka-Okee if they ever visited Virginia; and that one of them must have and then married Ka-Okee
- That he could have been a son of William Pettus and Elizabeth Rolfe who were married in 1594.
- Chief Wahanganoche married a daughter of his cousin Ka-Okee; strong connections between Patawomeck and Pamunkey Indians
- Opechancanough married his own niece, Powhatan's daughter, Cleopatra, sister of Pocahontas.
- It was common practice of the head of the Federation to take a wife and then send her away after she had given birth to her first child.
- That the exception was "favorite" wife who lived with the head of the Federation and bore him many children; that she was "favorite" because she was of royal bloodline and through her the male chief could inherit his rule.
- From the above, Deyo concludes that the mother of Pocahontas and Cleopatra was Chief Powhatan's favorite wife Winganuske
- Winganuske had royal bloodline through her mother, the eldest of the two sisters of Chief Powhatan
- Patawomeck tribe was one of the subjects of Powhatan "as he stated in his own words, and a part of the Powhatan Federation.
- In 1622 Capt. John Smith visited Great King of Patawomeck who told Smith that "Optichipam [next brothr of the late Chief Powhatan, who died in 1618] was his brother."
- That Great King of Patawomeck (or Capt. Smith or Opitchipam?) refused gift of beads from opechancanough, the next brother of Opitchipam that were given to him to kill Capt. Rawleigh Croshaw and caused the break from the Powhatan Federation."
- That Japasaw married a daughter of Powhatan, a sister of Pocahontas, and a daughter of Winganuske
- That Japasaw's younger brother was Kocoum (first husband of Pocahontas)
- When Pocahontas visited England in 1616, she took a number of relatives and friends with her, including "two daughters of no lesse than petie kinges" one of whom must have been brother of Wahangonache who succeeded Japasaw.
Individuals Named in this Article
In order of appearance:
- Ka-Okee, Indian girl (through Robeson, Peyton, Newton, Gordon and Sullivan families);
- Pocahontas, Indian Princess
- John Rolfe
- Chief Wahanganoche alias Whipsewasson; married a daughter of his relative Ka-Okee; son of:
- Japasaw, Chief Passapatanzy
- Ontonah, Indian girl through Curtis family
- Christian (Pettus) Martin "known to have had much Indian blood" b abt 1636.
- Wikitree profile of Christian (Unknown) Martin. No evidence she was a Pettus, much less of Native American descent.
- Kokoum, first husband of Pocahontas (this was documented in 1610 by Strachey) "younger brother of":
- Chief Japasaw (lesser chief; never became Great King of Patawomeck; last record 1619/20; close friend but not brother to Chief Powhatan.
- Mattaponi Chief, O.T. Custalow who married Elizabeth Newton of Stafford.
- William Pettus, uncle of Col. Thomas Pettus, who apparently married:
- Elizabeth Rolfe, daughter of :
- Henry Rolfe, John Rolfe's grand uncle
- Col. Thomas Pettus, who brought to Virginia his nephew:
- Thomas Pettus, son of William Pettus (who was brother to Col. Thomas, above)
- Josias Fugate, grandson of (which?) Thomas Pettus; married:
- Mary Martin, granddaughter of John Martin and Christian Pettus
- An unnamed sister of Christian Pettus who married a Mr. Goldsby and is believed to have had a brother:
- Robert Pettis who lived in the same area and who had a daughter :
- Rebecca Pettis, named in will of Thomas Maddison as his godchild. May have been the first wife of John Meese (her cousin)
- Thomas Maddison, said to have been son of:
- Isaac Maddison who lived a while at the Patawomeck village
- Chief Powhatan (Wahunsunacock),
- Great King of Patawomeck - often mentioned (but not named) in records as brother of Japasaw, lesser chief. Deyo claims he was father of Powhatan's wife Winganuske
- Nemattanon, b abt 1545, alias Don Luis de Velasco, "taken by the spanish when he was young and returned many years later"; candidate for father of Chief Powhatan.
- "Since Nemattanon held the same position as Powhatan, he could only have been the younger brother of Powhatan's mother, through whom the 'royal' bloodline flowed.
- "Since the early Powhatans had a tradition of calling a maternal uncle as 'father', that would explain the confusion.
- Winganuske had royal bloodline through her mother, the eldest of the two sisters of Chief Powhatan; Deyo claims her father was Great King of Patawomeck.
- Mary and Elizabeth "daughter of 'no lesse than petie kinges" who travelled with Pocahontas to England in 1616. Apparently sent in 1621 by Virginia company to Somers Islands (Bermuda) where one died during voyage; and the other married in 1622 an Englishman at the home of Governor Nathaniel Butler who encouraged her to write to her brother in Virginia
Evidence mentioned by Deyo
- Reference to an unnamed book by Wyndham Robertson about Pocahontas and John Rolfe.
- Stories passed down by relatives
- Family Bibles
- old letters
- unspecified manuscripts
- Linwood Custalow & Angela Daniel, True Story of Pocahontas, based on "sacred oral history of the Mattaponi Tribe" (which Deyo admits refers to this child as "Little Kocoum" and raised by the Patawomeck tribe.
- Matachanna, supposed sister of Pocahontas "who went to England with Pocahontas and took care of Thomas Rolfe, the son of Pocahontas and John Rolfe.
- Research of Mattaponi Chief, O.T. Custalow who married Elizabeth Newton of Stafford.
- The presence of a portrait of Pocahontas in a Pettus home in England.
- Dissertation of Dr. J. Frederick Fausz of William & Mary College, 1977. (Supposedly explains Native American kinship designations.)
- Quote of Capt. John Smith: "His [Powhatan's] kingdome desendeth not to his sonnes nor children: but first to his brethren, whereof he hat 3 namely Opitchapan, Opechancanough, and Catataugh; and after their decease to his sitsers. First to the eldest sister, then to the rest; and after them tothe heires male and female of the eldest siste but never to the heires of the males."
- "Even though this was the rule, there was a way of getting around it for the children of a male ruler to inherit the leadership of the Federation."
- Chief Richardson, Pocahontas Revealed," which claimed that Chief Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas was being groomed to become a future ruler. (From this Deyo concluded that Pocahontas' mother must have had royal blood.)
- Testimony of Macumps, brother of (female) Winganuske, who named many of Powhatan's wives and children; Winganuske had royal bloodline through her mother, the eldest of the two sisters of Chief Powhatan
- Testimony of Henry Spelman, "who lived for a number of years with Chief Japasaw"
- that Great Patawomeck and his brother Japasaw, the lesser King/Chief, were appointed to their positions by Chief Powhatan.
- Japasaw had two wives, one named Paupauwiske who had a baby son; the other, unnamed,
- Lesser Chief, Gary Cooke, at a recent (at time of writing of the article) Tribal Council meeting stated that Capt. Smith never talked to Japasaw, only his brother.
- Writings of Capt. Ralph Hamor who wrote about the capture of Pocahontas by the English in 1613. Claimed Japasaw had been given a copper kettle and other items by Capt. Argall for delivering Pocahontas to them. That Japasaw's "father had then eight of our English men..."
- Records of the Virginia Company concerning those travelling to England with Pocahontas and John Rolfe in 1616.
- Your Tribal Historian, William L. “Bill” Deyo, became interested in his family roots at a very early age. Stories about the ancestors told by his grandaunt, Anne (Roberson) Hudson, and his grandfather, Leonard Madison Hudson, made him anxious to learn more about these people of the past who were his forebears. The most intriguing stories were about the ancestors of Indian blood, Chief Pasapatanzy, the Indian girl, Ka-Okee, and even Indian Princess Pocahontas, herself. As a child, every Christmas he would put on his Christmas list to receive his family tree, but it never became a reality. As a teenager, he started compiling his own ancestor charts of the names given to him by his elders. During his first week in college at the University of Richmond, he became familiar with the large genealogical collection at the Boatwright Library and was taught by the Reference Librarian, Miss Francis, how to use the various genealogical reference books to trace his ancestry. The most wonderful discovery was a book about the descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe by their descendant, Wyndham Robertson, a former Governor of Virginia. Since so many of Bill’s relatives had told him that he was a direct descendant of Pocahontas, he was determined to find out how that came about. He studied the various descents from Pocahontas and John Rolfe for many months without finding any possible lineage to his family. Over the years that followed, he found many other clues that Pocahontas was an ancestor, but could not find any ancestors who connected with the genealogy of the descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. He eventually decided that, if Pocahontas really was an ancestor, her connection to his family was simply an unsolved mystery. Apparently, the time was just not right for the line of descent from Pocahontas to be known, as will be shown.
- Not being able to solve the lineage back to Pocahontas, Bill began to concentrate on the other ancestral lines. When he was home from college, he would go with his grandmother and grandaunt to visit many of the older relatives in Stafford County in hopes of learning more about distant ancestors. Those visits were vital in tracing the various lines of Indian ancestry. Many relatives knew stories that had been passed down since the 1600s and had Family Bibles, old letters, and even manuscripts written many years ago about our families. Bill learned that he had descents from Chief Wahanganoche, alias Whipsewasson, son of Japasaw (Chief Passapatanzy); from the Indian girl, Ontonah, through the Curtis family; and from the Indian girl, Ka-Okee, through the Roberson and other families. He learned about various other lines of Indian blood in which the name of the Indian ancestor had been forgotten. There was enough information about Ontonah to figure out where she fit in on the family tree, but the Indian girl, Ka-Okee, remained a mystery.
- About three years ago , Bill was determined to figure out exactly where Ka-Okee fit in our genealogy. He knew that she was claimed by the Roberson and Peyton families. When tracing back the ancestry of those two families, there only seemed to be one place where Ka-Okee would fit, as the mother of the ancestor, Christian (Pettus) Martin, who was known to have had much Indian blood. Then, everything else fell into place and fit like a glove. The Sullivan family, known to have had much Indian blood but who did not know the name of their Indian ancestor, also descended in several ways from Christian Martin. Ka-Okee was the name of the previously unknown Indian ancestor of the Sullivans! The later Newton family knew that they had the Indian blood through the marriage into the Monteith family, but there was Indian blood in the early Newton family which was unaccounted for. That mystery was now solved, as the early Newtons also descended from Christian Martin and her mother, Ka-Okee. The Jett family always claimed Indian blood, which was attested to by the late George Gordon, Commissioner of Revenue of Stafford, but from where did that come? It was also through their descent from Christian Martin and Ka-Okee! After putting together a multitude of descendants of Ka-Okee through her daughter, Christian Martin, an amazing thing happened. A book was published by Dr. Linwood Custalow and Angela Daniel about the true story of Pocahontas. The information was obtained from the sacred oral history of the Mattaponi Tribe. The Mattaponi Tribe has a special interest in Pocahontas, as many of them descend from the sister of Pocahontas, Matachanna, who went to England with Pocahontas and took care of Thomas Rolfe, the son of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. The book revealed that Pocahontas first married the Indian, Kocoum, the younger brother of Chief Japasaw, and had a child by him. William Strachey, Secretary of Virginia Colony, wrote that Pocahontas had first married the Indian, Kocoum, in 1610, but did not mention that she had a child by him, a fact that was probably kept secret by the Patawomecks for the safety of the child. The book by Custalow and Daniel calls the child “Little Kocoum,” but the time line near the end of the book states that they really do not know anything about the child from the sacred Mattaponi history, only that Pocahontas had a child by Kocoum and that the child was raised by the Patawomeck Tribe. The book states that the Newton family of Stafford County descends from the child of Pocahontas and Kocoum! Can you imagine the joy of the compiler to learn this after over 40 years of research. It was no wonder that he could not find a descent from Pocahontas and John Rolfe for his family. The descent was not from John Rolfe at all but was through Pocahontas’ first husband, Kocoum! The reason that the Mattaponi Tribe knew that the Newtons and other Stafford families descended from Pocahontas and Kocoum was due to the research of the late Mattaponi Chief, O. T. Custalow, who married Elizabeth Newton of Stafford. Chief Custalow researched the ancestry of his wife, Elizabeth Newton, long before the compiler was born and was able to talk to the elders at that time who knew how they descended from Pocahontas. Years later, when the compiler began his research, the elders at that time knew that Pocahontas was their ancestor but did not know how.
- After finding out about the descent from Pocahontas and Kocoum, the task began to figure out the exact lineage. This was not difficult because every family line which carried the knowledge of a descent from Pocahontas went back to the Martin family and the Indian girl, Ka-Okee. Since we know from a deposition that Ka-Okee’s daughter, Christian, was born about 1636 or 1637, it was not hard to figure out that Ka-Okee, herself, was the daughter of Pocahontas! That explained the fondness of the name of “Rebecca” by the descendants of the Martin family, as that was the Christian name of Pocahontas. The Peyton/Payton family claimed that their Indian ancestor was a daughter of Powhatan and even named a child as late as the 1800s as “Rebecca Martin” Peyton. She was obviously named after a child of John and Christian Martin. Bill, the compiler, believes that Rebecca was the oldest child of John and Christian Martin and was the first wife of Rev. John Waugh. Rev. Waugh’s descendants by his first wife carry the strong tradition of Indian blood. As was often done in the old days, Rev. Waugh later married another daughter of John and Christian Martin, namely their daughter, Christian, who had first been married to Evan Williams and was the ancestor by Williams of some of the families of Elkins, Grigsby, Redman, and Peyton. Rev. Waugh did not have any children by his last wife, Christian. Ka-Okee is believed to have married a member of the Pettis/Pettus family. The name of her daughter, Christian, was a favorite ancestral name of that family going back to their ancestor in England, Christan (Dethick) Pettus, and the descendants of Christian Martin continued to carry on that given name for many generations. Ka-Okee’s husband was likely a brother of Col. Thomas Pettus, who had a sister named “Christian” and owned land that adjoined that of Chief Wahanganoche which was the later home of Ka-Okee’s daughter, Christian. Col. Thomas Pettus did have a brother, Theodore, who came to Virginia in 1623 and was still in Virginia near the end of 1626, when he made a testimony in court. It is important to note that the famous Matoaka portrait of Pocahontas was found in England in a Pettus home! Col. Thomas Pettus’ uncle, William Pettus, married Elizabeth Rolfe, the daughter of John Rolfe’s own granduncle, Henry Rolfe! The compiler did not realize that such close connections between the Rolfe and Pettus families existed in England until he was compiling this article. John Rolfe took Pocahontas to his family estate in England when they visited there in 1616. She no doubt met the Pettus family and may have asked that if any of them went to Virginia to please check on her daughter, Ka-Okee. One evidently did check on her and married her. Since we do not have definite knowledge of the name of Mr. Pettis/Pettus, who married Ka-Okee, he could even have been been a son of William Pettus and Elizabeth Rolfe who were married in 1594. Col. Thomas Pettus brought his nephew, Thomas, son of his brother, William, to Virginia. Is it any wonder that Thomas Pettus’ grandson, Josias Fugate, married his own cousin, Mary Martin, a granddaughter of John Martin and Chistian Pettus and became the ancestor of the Sullivan family of Stafford? Christian Pettus, daughter of Ka-Okee, had a sister who married a Mr. Goldsby and is believed to have had a brother, Robert Pettis, who lived in the same area and had a daughter named Rebecca. Rebecca, daughter of Robert Pettis, was named in the will of Thomas Maddison as his godchild. Thomas Maddison is said to have been the son of Isaac Maddison, who lived for a while at the Patawomeck Village. Rebecca Pettis may have been the same Rebecca who was the first wife of John Meese, her cousin of Indian blood, and would explain why the later Mees/Mays family of Stafford County claimed a descent from Pocahontas. Ka-Okee may have had many other children who were the ancestors of Stafford families. The compiler believes that Chief Wahanganoche, himself, married a daughter of his relative, Ka-Okee, as will be explained. Many of our tribal members may not know their distant ancestry and would not be aware of their own descents from Pocahontas. It would probably help to mention here that some of the families who carry the traditional descent from Pocahontas and Kocoum are: Martin, Threlkeld, Porch, Sullivan, Fugate, Roberson, Curtis, Limbrick, Newton, Green, Butler, Courtney, Humphries, Brown, Jett, Peyton/Payton, Chilton, Burton, Hudson, Jones, Cox, Grigsby, Bates, Berry, Kitchen, Fines, Chinn, McGuire, Payne, Rollow, and many others.
- To explain why the compiler believes that Chief Wahanganoche married a daughter of his cousin, Ka-Okee, is a very important story that forms the very basis of our Patawomeck Tribe and its strong connection to the Pamunkey Indians. We need to go back to the family of Chief Powhatan, the supreme ruler of the Powhatan Federation. He was called Chief Powhatan because that was the name of the Federation. His real name was Wahunsunacock. We have a similar situation with out ancestor, Chief Japasaw, who was called Chief Passapatanzy because that was where he lived. The Great King of Patawomeck was often mentioned in the records as the brother of Japasaw, the Lesser Chief, but his actual name has never been determined. We could just similarly call him Chief Patawomeck or King Patawomeck. For years there has been controversy about the identity of Chief Powhatan’s father. Some of the early records state that he was the son of Nemattanon, alias Don Luis de Velasco, who was taken by the Spanish when he was young and returned many years later. I even stated this in some of my published books, but I now believe that he was not Powhatan’s father. The ages do not match well enough for him to have been a father of Powhatan, since Nemattanon was born about 1543, and Powhatan was born about 1545. Since Nemattanon held the same position as Powhatan, he could only have been the younger brother of Powhatan’s mother, through whom the “royal” bloodline flowed. Since the early Powhatans had a tradition of calling a maternal uncle as “father”, that would explain the confusion. This practice of kinship designation is explained in the dissertation of Dr. J. Frederick Fausz of William & Mary College in 1977. The Powhatans had a matrilineal society, in which the ruling bloodline always flowed through the women. Captain John Smith explained this as: “His [Powhatan’s] kingdome desendeth not to his sonnes nor children: but first to his brethren, whereof he hath 3 namely Opitchapan, Opechancanough, and Catataugh; and after their decease to his sisters. First to the eldest sister, then to the rest: and after them to the heires male and female of the eldest sister; but never to the heires of the males.”
- Even though this was the rule, there was a way of getting around it for the children of a male ruler to inherit the leadership of the Federation. Chief Richardson made the statement in Pocahontas Revealed that Chief Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, was being groomed to become a future ruler. Your compiler, at first, thought that Pocahontas could never have become a future ruler because she was the daughter of a male ruler whose children could not inherit the rule. Then, he started to examine the circumstances and realized that Chief Richardson was right! Pocahontas certainly was being groomed for leadership, but why would that be if she could never inherit that position? Then, came the light! A child of any male ruler could indeed inherit the rule, if, and only if, their mother was of the royal bloodline! All of the male rulers knew this and appeared to have made it a common practice to marry their relatives who were in line to inherit the rule through their royal bloodline. That explained why Opechancanough married his own niece, Powhatan’s daughter, Cleopatra, sister of Pocahontas, because she too was of the royal bloodline. The head of the Federation was allowed to have as many wives as he wished, whereas the other chief of the tribes under his rule were only allowed to have a maximum of two wives. It was the common practice of the head of the Federation to take a wife and then send her away after she had given birth to her first child. The head of the Federation had one child by each wife and the wife was then free to go on with her life and marry someone else. The one exception to this practice was the “favorite” wife. There was at least one favorite wife who lived with the head of the Federation and bore him many children. She was his favorite because she was of the royal bloodline and the only way through which he could have children to inherit his rule. He would, therefore, have as many children by her as he could to create his legacy. Who, then, was the mother of Pocahontas and Cleopatra? It was the favorite wife of Chief Powhatan, Winganuske. She was known to have been his favorite wife and the mother of his then favorite daughter (Cleopatra), after Pocahontas had left his home to be married. We know the names of many of Powhatan’s wives and children by the testimony of Machumps, the brother of Winganuske. Winganuske had the royal bloodline through her mother, the eldest of the two sisters of Chief Powhatan.
- Now, we come to the connection to our Patawomeck Tribe. Our tribe was one of the subjects of Powhatan, as he stated in his own words, and a part of the Powhatan Federation. We also know this from the testimony of Henry Spelman, who lived for a number of years with Chief Japasaw. Because the Patawomeck Tribe was a part of the Federation, its rulers were appointed by the head of the Federation. Both the Great King Patawomeck and his brother, Japasaw, the Lesser King/Chief, were appointed to their positions by Chief Powhatan. In 1622, the Great King of Patawomeck was visited by Capt. John Smith. He told Capt. Smith that Opitchipam [next brother of the late Chief Powhatan, who died in 1618] was his brother. It was at this time that he also refused the gift of beads from Opechancanough, the next brother of Opitchipam, that were given to him to kill Capt. Rawleigh Croshaw and caused the break from the Powhatan Federation. This has long been a point of confusion for many including myself. The Great King of Patawomeck has often been stated, at this time, to have been Japasaw, not his older brother. This was not the case, however. The last apparent record of Japasaw was in 1619/1620, when he made a trip to Jamestown, as a representative of his brother, the Great King Patawomeck. As will be explained later, Japasaw may have died by the early spring of 1622, and it was the Great King Patawomeck, the older brother, who was still alive in the fall of 1622 and talked to Capt. John Smith. Your compiler was very glad that our wise Lesser Chief, Gary Cooke, pointed out in a recent Tribal Council meeting that Capt. Smith never talked to Japasaw, only his brother. Japasaw never became the Great King of Patawomeck. He appears to have been the Lesser Chief or King until his death. The sacred oral history of the Mattaponi, some of which has recently been published by Dr. Linwood Custalow and Angela Daniel, states that Japasaw was a very close friend of Chief Powhatan, but was not his brother. Therefore, if Japasaw was not the brother of Opitchipam and Powhatan, how could his own brother, the Great King of Patawomeck, have been their brother, per his own statement? He was not their brother by blood but was their brother by marriage to their eldest sister! He was the father of Powhatan’s favorite wife, Winganuske.
- When the Patawomecks broke away from the Powhatan Federation in 1622 and allied with the English, they no longer were subject to having their rulers appointed. They held to the system of the matrilineal society and used it internally in their own tribe, just as they had done long before they became a part of the Powhatan Federation and were allied with the Piscataway Tribe. As their bloodlines were then very much a part of the Powhatans, they continued that royal female bloodline. We know from the writings of Henry Spelman that Japasaw had two wives. One was named Paupauwiske, who had a baby son when Spelman was living with them. We do not know the name of the other wife, but we do know something of her identity. When Pocahontas was living with the Patawomecks at the time that she was captured by the English in 1613, Capt. Ralph Hamor wrote about her capture. In his narrative, he mentioned that Japasaw had been given a copper kettle and other items by Capt. Argall for delivering Pocahontas to them. Hamor made the statement about Japasaw “that doubtlesse he would have betrayed his owne father for them…” That tells us that Powhatan was not Japasaw’s own father. However, Hamor then states that “his [Japasaw’s] father had then eight of our English men, many swords, peeces, and other tooles, which he had at severall times by treacherous murdering of our men, taken from them…” The man who had eight of the Englishmen was none other than Chief Powhatan. That was the main reason for capturing Pocahontas, to use her as a bribe to get the eight Englishmen back safely from Powhatan. If Powhatan was not “Japasaw’s own father” by Hamor’s own words, then why did Hamor then call Powhatan the father of Japasaw? It was because Powhatan was Japasaw’s father-in-law by having married one of his daughters, a sister of Pocahontas. By marrying one of Winganuske’s daughters, Japasaw was seeing to it that one of his own children might have a chance of becoming the ruler of the Federation. His son by a daughter of Powhatan did indeed become the Great King of Patawomeck after the Patawomeck Tribe had broken away from the Federation. The only way that could have happened was for Wahanganoche’s mother to have been of the royal bloodline. It was possible for the son of a Lesser Chief to take over his father’s position, even without being of the royal bloodline, but to become the supreme chief, a son of a male ruler must have had the royal bloodline through his mother. This close connection of Japasaw and Pocahontas, along with the fact that Pocahontas married Japasaw’s younger brother, Kocoum, was the reason that Pocahontas was living with the Patawomecks at the time of her capture. Japasaw was the granduncle and the double brother-in-law of Pocahontas. The fact that the Indians married their nieces in order to give their children a chance to rule may seem like incest to us now, but it was perfectly acceptable to them. Many of the great civilizations of the world carried on the same practice. It was even acceptable for a man to marry his half-sister, as long as she did not have the same mother. This was a practice of the great civilization of Egypt, as well as the Hawaiians. I must mention here that our Biblical ancestor, Abraham, even married his own half-sister, Sarah!
- As mentioned above, the compiler believes that the Lesser King of Patawomeck, Japasaw, died in or by the early spring of 1622. When Pocahontas and John Rolfe visited England in 1616, Pocahontas took a number of her relatives and friends with her. The records of the Virginia Company reveal that two of these Indians were daughters of “no lesse than petie kinges.” Their names were Mary and Elizabeth. In 1621, the Virginia Company sent them to the Somers Islands [Bermuda]. One died during the voyage, but the other, thought to have been the one named “Elizabeth,” was married there in the early spring of 1622 to a well-to-do Englishman at the home of Governor Nathaniel Butler, the ancestral uncle of many of the Butlers of Stafford County. Governor Butler encouraged the Indian maiden to write a letter to her brother in Virginia, who, by her father’s late death, had succeeded to his command. If her father was a Lesser King/Chief, and she was a relative of Pocahontas, who had close ties of kinship to the Patawomeck Tribe, it is very likely that he was Japasaw, Lesser King/Chief of the Patawomecks. Her brother would have been none other than our ancestor, Wahanganoche, who would have succeeded his father as Lesser Chief. As the Great King of Patawomeck was still alive, Wahanganoche would not have inherited that position until after his death, which likely occurred on 22 May 1623 at the famous Poison Plot, in which Dr. John Pott prepared a poison punch that killed over 200 Indians at Patawomeck, including many chiefs. Wahanganoche is believed to have also been the young King of Patawomeck when Father Andrew White visited in March of 1634. Since he was still under age at that time, he had a guardian named Archihu, who was his uncle. Since Archihu had not inherited the kingship, he was evidently an uncle by marriage to a deceased sister of Wahanganoche’s mother of the royal blood. Wahanganoche was still probably a boy in his late teens by 1634 but would soon take over sole responsibility of the Patawomeck Tribe as an adult king. There were probably several others who would have been in line for the position of the Great King at the time he inherited it, but it is likely that most of the adults died from Dr. Pott’s poison punch.
- Now, we will go back to the reason for all of this background information. It was to show why the compiler believes that Wahanganoche, King of Patawomeck, married a daughter of his cousin, Ka-Okee, child of Pocahnotas. It was the same practice that his ancestors had carried on for generations before him. By marrying a daughter of Ka-Okee, he would have given his children the matrilineal royal bloodline that had passed down through Powhatan’s eldest sister and the Great King of Patawomeck. At that time, Wahanganoche was very limited at possibilities for a wife to carry on this ancestral tradition. There were probably not many women of the royal bloodline to chose from. Not only were the daughters of Ka-Okee prime candidates, they lived on adjoining property to him. Because Ka-Okee’s daughter would have been half English with very prestigious ancestry on her father side of the Pettis/Pettus family, it is no wonder why Chief Wahanganoche was able to marry so many of his daughters to English colonists of such high social status.
- William L. “Night Owl” Deyo
- August 2009
- ↑ William Strachey, Historie of Travell into Virginia Britania (1612), eds. Louis B. Wright and Virginia Freund, Kraus Reprint Limited, Liechtenstein 1967 p. 62. (In an 1849 edition, the information will be found on p 54.)
- ↑ Cite a strong source for this claim that NA people do not use "princess."
- ↑ Add reference here
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