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The Pocahontas-John Smith Story   By:

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THE POCAHONTAS JOHN SMITH STORY

The Pocahontas John Smith Story

By

Pocahontas Wight Edmunds

JAMES H. BAILEY, PH.D., Editor

THE DIETZ PRESS, INC. RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

COPYRIGHT © 1956, BY POCAHONTAS WIGHT EDMUNDS

Quotes from Cornhuskers by Carl Sandburg. Copyright, 1918, by Henry Holt and Company, Inc. Copyright, 1946, by Carl Sandburg. By permission of the publishers.

Quotes from Western Star by Stephen Vincent Benet. Copyright, 1943, by Rosemary Carr Benet. Published by Rinehart & Company.

FROM THE PRESSES OF THE DIETZ PRINTING COMPANY

Introduction

When my Tales of the Virginia Coast was published in 1950 the New York Times (Book Review) page "In and Out of Books" asked the Dietz Press: "Do you really have an author named Pocahontas Wight Edmunds?" Before the printer's ink was dry a reporter rushed in to tell him that his grandmother had that name. I hastened to write that my great grandmother was named Pocahontas as was my mother, my niece and several cousins. Besides we had two Matoacas in our family and all of us are descendants in two lines, since first cousins married about a century ago. The name of the present first lady of Virginia is Anne Pocahontas Stanley, and Pocahontas was that of her mother. If ships, hotels, camps, counties and commercial products appropriate the name, why not descendants? To be named "Pocahontas" is to borrow glory and to attract excitement as surely as dark flannel attracts lint.

When I was five our family visited the Croatan settlement near Red Springs, North Carolina, and my father imprudently revealed the Indian names of his wife and daughter. Mother blushed and I bawled as the drunken crowd of Sunday afternoon clasped us to their bosoms so tenaciously that Father could scarcely extricate us from their clutches. Later in the week, Chief Locklear came calling in a golden, yellow surry with yellow fringe, bearing tribute of native scuppernong grapes. They were offered red and sweet, for red, sweet Pocahontas's sake rather than ours.

I was usually given the Indian role in school plays. In 1923 I was asked to take the Pocahontas role in the mammoth Virginia pageant in Richmond. In 1925 the Fox News Reel introduced me: "Descendant of Chief Powhatan Opens the Biggest Book in the World." This volume was Dr. Matthew Page Andrews's Story of the South , which had stood ten feet tall on the stage of the Strand Theater when I had played "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia" on my violin in front of the illustration of my ancestress.

Lecturers and notables have singled me out of the mob for the name's sake only. The sonorous American poet Vachel Lindsay bent low as he halted a campus receiving line: "My dear, I must kiss your hand!" When Father told Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, who is also a descendant, of his wife's and daughter's names, she told him: "Now, I want to shake both of your hands."

A tobacco company sent an agent to ask if Mother and I, as descendants of John Rolfe, the first tobacconist, would endorse their product. I have received a letter while abroad addressed: "Mademoiselle, la Princesse des Peaux Rouges." That is less surprising when it is noted that a tavern called: "La Belle Sauvage" still stood in England two and a half centuries after her visit. I was told, even before the daily newspaper controversy in 1950 about her burial place that every English school child knows the story of Pocahontas. The English were delighted when my three children and I signed the register book at the Pocahontas Memorial Chapel of Unity on July 3, 1955.

The vestry book at St. George's Church at Gravesend, England declares that Pocahontas is buried under the chancel there. However, in 1907 a Mr. Tucker of Dover Road, Norfleet claimed to have exhumed the very skeleton and relics one mile from the church. In 1923 the Associated Press reported from Gravesend that excavations had been started to locate the bones in the presence of the recorder of the church and representatives of the English Speaking Union and of the British Museum... Continue reading book >>




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