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Thomas Rolfe

Thomas Rolfe was the only child of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. His maternal grandfather was Wahunsunacock, the chief of the Powhatan tribe in Virginia and his paternal grandfather was John Rolfe Sr.

He would become a link between two nations, but after his mother died in England was raised in England and did not return to the colonies until he was an adult.

Early Life

Thomas Rolfe

Thomas Rolfe was born in Virginia in January 1615. His birth was recorded as the first child to be born with English and Native American blood.

He was named after Governor Sir Thomas Dale who was Pocahontas’ keeper during her capture and eventual marriage to Rolfe.

The Rolfe family traveled back to England and was received like royalty. They toured the country, re-connected with Captain John Smith, and in March 1617 prepared to return to Virginia.

Thomas’ mother became very sick and died before they could return. Thomas was not well enough to survive the trip to Virginia so he stayed with Sir Lewis Stukley and eventually raised by his uncle Henry Rolfe. 

While under their care he received a formal education and would return to Jamestown when he became an adult. He would never see his father again, but his father did not forget him. He willed all the land that was given to him from the natives for his marriage to Pocahontas. 

Thomas remained in his uncle’s care until he reached roughly 21 years of age, by which time his father had already died. As Henry raised Thomas, he felt he deserved compensation from his brother’s estate and, therefore, petitioned the Virginia Council on October 1622, claiming entitlement to a portion of John Rolfe’s land.

Thomas returned to Virginia in 1635. It is assumed he began to cultivate the land his father left him, however, there is no further mention of him until 1641.

Once established in Virginia again, Thomas Rolfe fostered both his reputation as a plantation owner in colonial america and member of his mother’s ancestry.

Later Years

Thomas wanted to rekindle a relationship with his Native American kin, however, the years had not been kind to the English and Powhatan peace. It had been a long time since his mother and father had married and now contact with the natives was forbidden. 

Still, Thomas petitioned the governor to meet his relatives. 

Rolfe married a woman named Jane Poythress, who was the daughter of Captain Francis Poythress, a prosperous landowner in Virginia Colony. 

It would be through his daughter, Jane Wolfe, that the legacy of Pocahontas would continue to live. 

The couple only had one child and not much is written about him after their marriage and Jane’s birth.

It is believed that Thomas died in 1680 around the age of 65.

His daughter Jane went on to marry Robert Bolling. Their son, John Bolling went on to have six children who survived into adulthood and married and had children of their own.

Through that line, many people claim to be ancestors of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. 

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