“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Pocahontas in Pocahontas County, Iowa — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Pocahontas - Playful One, Peacemaker, Princess

Pocahontas - Playful One, Peacemaker, Princess Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, June 19, 2019
1. Pocahontas - Playful One, Peacemaker, Princess Marker
Her Name
As a baby she was named Metoaka or Little White Cloud - promise of rain and good harvest - a sign that the drought would end. As a young girl she was nicknamed Pocahontas, Water Running About Swiftly, after winning both the girls and boys race at a harvest feast. As a young woman she was given the biblical name of Rebecca in the hope that she, too, would unite two peoples.

Her Story
Of his twenty sons and ten daughters, Pocahontas was the favorite of the powerful tribal leader Powhatan. As a young girl, Pocahontas befriended the Jamestown Colony and Captain John Smith, bringing food to the starving colonists and saving Smith's life. After Smith returned to England, Capt. Argall kidnapped Pocahontas. While being held captive, she was baptized, married John Rolfe, and lived with him and their baby son Thomas for two years at his Virginia plantation, Varina Farms. They traveled to England to promote the colony where she appeared before Queen Anne as Lady Rebecca, Indian Princess. The Rolfe family set sail for America but Pocahontas became ill and
Pocahontas - Playful One, Peacemaker, Princess Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, June 19, 2019
2. Pocahontas - Playful One, Peacemaker, Princess Marker
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died at Gravesend, England, at the age of 21. Their marriage brought eight years of good relations between the natives and colonists known as the Peace of Pocahontas.

Her Legacy
Son Thomas returned to Virginia where his descendants grew up to play key roles in our nation's history, including Admiral Richard E. Byrd and First Ladies Edith Wilson and Nancy Reagan. Several towns, counties, parks, ships, and schools across the United States bear the name Pocahontas. Her story - the oldest American legend - has been told for over 400 years. Pocahontas County, Iowa, is one of fifteen counties in Iowa named for an Indian tribe or leader and one of three counties named for a woman. Senator John Howell, a former Virginian, requested the name during the Iowa Legislative Session of 1850 - 51. "He would be pleased to have the name of Pocahontas the Indian Princess of Virginia, remembered." Other names for her story also appear on the county map - Powhatan Township as well as the Cities of Pocahontas, Rolfe, and Varina.

Her Statue - "Miss Pocahontas"
A statue honoring Pocahontas was the idea of Senator Albert J. Shaw and his son Frank. After his dad died, Frank finished the project. Today the statue is owned by William Shaw, son of Frank and Irene Shaw, and maintain by the City of Pocahontas. Designed
Pocahontas Statue image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, June 19, 2019
3. Pocahontas Statue
by W.C. Ballard of Nevis, Minnesota, the statue was constructed by Marcell Moritz of Pocahontas. Built of steel, wood, and cement, she stands 25 feet tall and 7 1/2 feet wide at her shoulders and skirt.

Time Line
~ 1595 Birth of Pocahontas
June 22, 1607 Founding of Jamestown
1613-14 Taken captive and baptized as Rebecca
April 5, 1614 Marries John Rolfe
Jan, 30, 1615 Birth of son Thomas
1616 Family visits London
March, 1617 Pocahontas becomes ill and dies
1622 John Rolfe dies
1635 Son Thomas returns to Virginia
1833 Iowa is opened for settlement
1846 Iowa becomes 29th State
Dec. 3, 1850 Pocahontas County is mapped and named
1876 Pocahontas Center becomes county seat
1892 Incorporation of City of Pocahontas, "Center" is dropped from name
March-Aug., 1956 Construction of Statue
1970 "Miss Pocahontas" Wears Centennial Belle Attire
June 22, 1995 Disney Movie Pocahontas premieres at Rialto Theater

Upper Left Image caption: Painting of Pocahontas after a Dutch engraving by Simon Van De Passe, 1616. Latin inscription translation: Matoaka, alias Rebecca, daughter of the Most powerful
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prince of the Powhatan Empire of Virginia.

Upper Right Image caption: Scene from the Disney movie Pocahontas served as a backdrop for Heritage Park (1995-98).

Lower Left Image caption: 1888 Print of Pocahontas Saving the Life of john Smith.

Middle Image caption: Sedgeford Portrait of Pocahontas and her son Thomas. Kings Lynn Museum, England.

Lower Right Image caption: Greeting visitors along Highway 3. (Sketch by Norman Ramsey, 1982)

Lower Middle Pictures caption: Albert Josiah Shaw (1876-1952) and Frank William Shaw (1910 - 1971)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial EraNative AmericansWomen. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1617.
Location. 42° 43.966′ N, 94° 39.51′ W. Marker is in Pocahontas, Iowa, in Pocahontas County. Marker is at the intersection of 520th St and 230th Ave on 520th St. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 23133 520th St, Pocahontas IA 50574, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 1 other marker is within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Rolfe Freedom Rock Veterans Memorial (approx. 8.4 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on July 3, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 29, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 153 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 29, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 29, 2023