Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Pocahontas: The Buck Connection

Pocahontas (1595 – 1617) was the famous princess of the Algonquin Nation who supposedly saved the life of Captain John Smith in 1607. In 1614, having been converted to Christianity by the Reverend Alexander Whitaker and given the name Rebecca, Pocahontas married John Rolfe, a prominent Jamestown planter. The Reverend Richard Bucke (1582-1624) was a close friend of John Rolfe and is generally believed to have performed the marriage ceremony of John Rolfe and Pocahontas.

In 1616, John Rolfe and Pocahontas went to England where she was celebrated as an Indian princess. In 1617, Pocahontas became ill, perhaps from pneumonia or even tuberculosis. She died in Gravesend on the River Thames and is buried in St. George’s church. In 1999, during a visit to England, I took this snapshot of her life-size bronze statue at St. George’s Church.

Pocahontas and John Rolfe had one child, Thomas. After being educated in England, Thomas returned to Virginia. The multitude of people claiming to be descendents of Pocahontas are descendents of this Thomas Rolfe. As far as I can tell, the Buck family of Virginia has no early connections to Thomas Rolfe.

By 1619, John Rolfe had returned to Jamestown and married Jane Pierce, daughter of Captain William Pierce. The Buck family of Virginia has connections to the William Pierce family through the Bayly family.

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