Living in Pocahontas County, the interest in the real-life Pocahontas is strong and inevitable. We’ve all heard the stories of the young girl saving the life of John Smith, but there is much more to the life of Pocahontas.
Vaughn Judson found a biography called “The True Story of Pocahontas: the other side of history,” by Dr. Linwood “Little Bear” Custalow and Angela L. Daniel “Silver Star.” She wrote the following review:
“The True Story of Pocahontas” gives new meaning to the phrase, “Open for Business.”
This is the story of the encounter of the Powhatan of Virginia and the English colonists as told from the viewpoint of the Native Americans. Pocahontas is the centerpiece, and the historical context of events surrounding her is meticulously documented.
Captain John Smith, of the Jamestown colony, was born in 1580 in Willoughby, Lincolnshire, England. He was 27 years old when he met Pocahontas, a child of nine or 10. John Rolfe, the tobacco planter who married Pocahontas, was born in Heacham, Norfolk, England in 1585. He was highly educated and from an old, affluent Norfolk family.
In 1597/98 Matoaka, better known as Pocahontas, was born to Chief Powhatan Wahunsenaca, commander-in-chief of the Powhatan nation, and his first wife, a Mataponi named Pocahontas. Matoaka later chose her new name to be Pocahontas, after her mother, who died while giving birth to her. Her father often called her Pocahontas before she officially changed her name during her coming-of-age ceremony.
The book traces the colony’s success from starvation to exporter of rapidly growing lucrative tobacco exports. From 1615 to 1616, about 2,500 pounds of tobacco were shipped to England. By 1617, exports of Virginia tobacco to England totaled 20,000 pounds. In 1618 exports doubled. Twelve years later 1.5 million pounds of tobacco were shipped from Virginia.
Powhatan cooperation through the “Peace of Pocahontas” and gift of secret tobacco curing techniques were essential to the English success.
Did Pocahontas really love John Smith?
How many children did she have?
This book gives the true story.
What a perfect way to scrub the Disney version out of your mind.
Vaughn enjoyed this book so much she donated several copies to the libraries, so be sure to look for a copy if you have any interest in the real Pocahontas.

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