March 14, 2008

Pocahontas's other marriage

The following postings discuss a key question in the Pocahontas myth.

Re: Children by Kocoum???????
[mistakes corrected for the sake of clarity]I have a good friend and elder Mrs. MaryAnn Griffith. Mrs. Griffith is one half Innu one fourth Delaware and one fourth Welsh. She is also a retired social studies teacher as well as a geneaologist. She has a friend--a member of the Whitehead branch of the Rolfe family--who asked her to do her family tree so to speak. Ms Whitehead granny lived in the hollows of Appalachia. She is the one who told this story that was passed down the generations. Kocoum and Pocahontas had a daughter christened Hannah who married a Lewis. It is from this line that Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark came from.Another Pocahontas Mystery/Myth?Another small possible myth connected with Pocahontas: was she married to an Indian man before she married John Rolfe? There is a reference to Pocahontas marrying Kocoum, a "captain" of her father's tribe. She may have--she was absent from the colony for a few years. But just as possible is that the nickname Pocahontas ("playful" or "willful" one) was applied to another daughter of Powhatan. The source says the one who married Kocoum was "Pocahuntas ... rightly called Amonate" so Amonate was either another daughter of Powhatan, or Pocahontas (real name Mataoke) had yet another name.Did Pocahontas have two children?Pocahontas had one child with John Rolfe, a son named Thomas. There's no verified proof that she was married or had children before that, only legends.Comment:  The romantic Pocahontas myth is already problematical, since she supposedly gave up her first love (John Smith) and married her second love (John Rolfe). This doesn't fit the romantic concept of everlasting love at first sight, so the Rolfe part is often omitted. The myth becomes simple: Pocahontas found and lost her true love, John Smith.

A teenage marriage and child would blow the romantic myth out of the water. It would make it clear that Pocahontas's life was much more complex and much less romantic than people realize. Three loves, two children, and an early death: hardly the stuff of romantic legend.

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