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A photograph of the "Sedgeford Portrait," said to represent Pocahontas and her son.[1]

Thomas Rolfe (January 30, 1615 - c. 1675) was the only child of Pocahontas by her English husband, John Rolfe.

Rolfe was born at Smith's Plantation in Jamestown, Virginia. His maternal grandfather was Wahunsunacock, the chief of Powhatan tribe in Virgina. After growing up in England, he married Elizabeth Washington on 13 September 1632, at the St James's Church in Clerkenwell, London. Their daughter Anne was born in 1633. Elizabeth died shortly after Anne’s birth, and in 1635 Rolfe returned to Virginia, leaving his daughter with his cousin, Anthony Rolfe. In 1659, Anne Rolfe married Peter Elwin (1623-1695), of Thurning, Norfolk, England, and left descendants.[2]

Rolfe became a powerful leader in the tribe his grandfather had led. [This claim needs to be verified by a cite, and should be considered myth unless verified.] During this time, he met and married Jane Poythress. He served in the English military until 1675. His only child by his second wife, called Jane Rolfe, was born on October 10, 1650, and in 1675 married Colonel Robert Bolling and herself had two children, John Bolling (born January 26, 1676) and Rebecca Bolling. Many Americans claim descent from Rolfe, including some politicians. In 1675, Rolfe died at the age of 59 or 60, and was survived by his wife and child. Rolfe is buried in Hopewell's Kippax Plantation.

As a result of Thomas Rolfe's birth, the Rolfe family is considered one of the First Families of Virginia. He appears as an infant in the 2005 theatrical film The New World, but does not exist in the 1998 Disney animated straight-to-video film Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World, a sequel to the 1995 motion picture.

References

  1. ^ Palmer, Vera. "Pocahontas' Earrings," Richmond Times-Dispatch (March 17 , 1935), also reproduced at Manataka.
  2. ^ Pocahontas and Stuart Cresswell—The Connection (August 14, 2006) at Threlkeld.org.uk, accessed 18 July 2008
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