Pocahontas and John Rolfe Marry in Church 399 Years Ago Today!

Today, April 5, 2013, is the 399th wedding anniversary of John Rolfe and Pocahontas. Rolfe and Pocahontas were married in the church in Jamestown, Virginia, by the Anglican Rev. Richard Bucke on April 5, 1614. This was the first interracial church marriage in America.

As a point of reference, in this year William Shakespeare was retiring to his home town of Stratford-on-Avon from his writing career in London. Also, King James I of England had commissioned the King James Version of the Bible which was started in 1604 and completed in 1611, three years before this marriage.

New Discovery About John Rolfe’s Birth Date

Baptism record of John Rolfe from Heacham parish church held at Norfolk Record Office

All the sources on the birth of John Rolfe have said he was baptized, along with his twin brother Eustacius, in the village church in Heacham, county of Norfolk, England, on May 6, 1585. Now the Norfolk Record Office, county of Norfolk, England, has reviewed the records and found an error in the previous information.

The Norfolk Record Office has now reviewed the original Heacham parish register which is in their custody and determined that the correct date is May 3, 1585. John Rolfe’s birth date is not separately recorded, but is generally assumed to be the day before or the date of his baptism.

It’s my understanding that in those days baptism was held as close to the time of birth as possible so that those infants who died shortly after birth would be able, in the belief of the time, to go to heaven. So the date of baptism may have been the date of birth or the day after birth.

The Norfolk Record Office has posted this information, as well as an image of the record which is difficult to read, on their Facebook page. Here’s a link. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=540297&l=54156aedd4&id=212070242221022

Other Passengers of Note on the Sea Venture

Namontack

Two Indians, Namontack and Matchumps, who earlier were sent to England by John Smith, are returning to Virginia. Reverend Richard Bucke, an Anglican minister, age 27, is on board. Also on board are Captain George Yeardley whose wife Temperance sails on the Falcon; William Pierce whose wife Joan and 10 year old daughter Jane sail on the Blessing; Mistress Horton and her maid Elizabeth Persons; William Strachey, the gentleman poet who knows Ben Jonson and other literary types and who will become Secretary of the colony and who writes a detailed account of his adventures; Ralph Hamor, who will become Secretary of the colony after Strachey; Stephen Hopkins, a preachy Puritan layman who will later go to the Plymouth Colony with his wife and children but who leaves them behind in England for his Virginia adventure; and Silvester Jourdain, who writes an account of his adventures.

Sailing Aboard the Flagship, the Sea Venture

A sailing ship

On May 15, 1609, John Rolfe and his wife Sarah board the Sea Venture. After all have boarded the Sea Venture and six other ships at the wharf in London’s Woolwich docks, the seven ships sail down the Thames River toward the English Channel. It takes several days. Then the ships sail west along the English Channel to the port of Plymouth to meet the other two ships, the small pinnace Virginia and the even smaller unnamed ketch, to bring the fleet to a total of nine ships.

The flagship, admiral, and largest ship in the fleet is the Sea Venture, commanded by Captain Christopher Newport. Newport also captained the Susan Constant, the flagship of the first fleet of three ships to arrive in Jamestown in 1607. He also captained the First Supply and the Second Supply. This, the Third Supply, is Captain Newport’s fourth crossing to Virginia. Other leaders on board are the Admiral of the fleet and fleet commander, Sir George Somers, and the new Governor of Virginia, General Sir Thomas Gates.

John Rolfe’s Committed Decision

John Rolfe planting tobacco

John Rolfe is ambitious, brave, and committed to his goal and his enterprise. He has to be, as he is facing a dangerous voyage and dicey conditions in Virginia where so many have already died in the previous two years. Rolfe would have known about the large proportion of deaths among the adventurers from disease and Indian attack, as returning ships told the news. Rolfe is also the only person going to Virginia with the intent to grow tobacco and make it into a profitable export crop.

First Interracial Church Wedding in the Americas

Wedding of John Rolfe and Pocahontas

Notably, the wedding of John Rolfe and Pocahontas was the first interracial church marriage in the New World. John Rolfe’s initiative in his personal life as well as his business life set an enduring precedent for American life.

Pocahontas’ marriage to Rolfe led to a period of peace, known as The Peace of Pocahontas, which allowed the English foothold in Jamestown to expand until there were too many English for the natives to kill or expel. This period of peace was directly responsible for the success of the Virginia colony, and John Rolfe was responsible for it.

Economic Success of English in America

Jamestown, Virginia

John Rolfe’s first accomplishment was his sole responsibility for the economic success of the Virginia colony. For years the colony could find no gold, silver, pearls, or cash crop. John Rolfe developed the first and only cash crop, which assured the success of the colony and made it not only viable but wildly successful financially. The History Channel’s 2010 production America: The Story of Us called Jamestown after the success of John Rolfe’s tobacco America’s first boomtown. Without the entrepreneurship of John Rolfe, Jamestown would have been a ghost town.

Unique American Spirit of Entrepreneurship

Tower of Bable

Because of my name, I’ve heard about John Rolfe and Pocahontas my entire life. I didn’t appreciate his critical role in the success of England colonizing America until a visit to Jamestown, Virginia, set me on a path of serious research into the life of John Rolfe. I spent four years researching this book. By a happy coincidence, I was already researching entrepreneurship. I discovered that John Rolfe was America’s first entrepreneur and he set the tone for the unique American spirit of entrepreneurship.

 

As you will see, without John Rolfe’s two major contributions, the Virginia colony would have failed and the French, Spanish, and Dutch, rather than the English, would have colonized not only New Mexico, California, Florida, Canada, Delaware, and New York, but most of what is now the United States. In a very real sense, John Rolfe is responsible for the United States being an English speaking nation.

ENTREPRENEUR?

One entrepreneurial goal.

Money

What is being an entrepreneur all about? The dictionary defines an entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

Who becomes an entrepreneur, and why would you want to be an entrepreneur? Here it is in four words.

Creation. Freedom. Money. Legacy.

Being an entrepreneur is all about creating a venture that you have some control over, achieving the freedom to live life as you wish – doing what you want, when you want, where you want, and how you want – acquiring the money or wealth to do so, and leaving a business or financial legacy. And, oh, enjoying the game along the way.

Why do you need this book? This book will give you time-tested principles of entrepreneurship which will help you succeed in reaching your goals. America’s first entrepreneur illustrates all the important principles of entrepreneurship. America’s first entrepreneur was wildly successful within seven years using these principles after a series of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. His epic story is very inspiring. The industry America’s first entrepreneur created is not only still successful in America after 400 years, but has multi-billion dollar sales year in and year out.