DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Pocahontas (aged 20–21)
Pocahontas (1596 – March 1617) was a Native American woman notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan, the paramount chief of a network of tributary tribal nations in the Tsenacommacah, encompassing the Tidewater region of Virginia. In a well-known historical anecdote, she saved the life of a captive of the Native Americans, the Englishman John Smith, in 1607 by placing her head upon Smith’s when her father raised his war club to execute Smith. Many historians doubt the veracity of this story
DEATH: In March 1617, Rolfe and Pocahontas boarded a ship to return to Virginia; the ship had sailed only as far as Gravesend on the river Thames when Pocahontas became gravely ill. She was taken ashore and died at the approximate age of 21. It is not known what caused her death, but theories range from pneumonia, smallpox, and tuberculosis to her having been poisoned. According to Rolfe, she died saying, “all must die, but tis enough that her child liveth”.
Pocahontas’s funeral took place on March 21, 1617, in the parish of Saint George’s, Gravesend. Her grave is thought to be underneath the church’s chancel, though since that church was destroyed in a fire in 1727, its exact site is unknown. Her memory is honored with a life-size bronze statue at St. George’s Church by William Ordway Partridge.