John Rolfe in Two Paragraphs
By Richard A. Cheatham
John Rolfe was the pivotal early American who was the actual husband of Pocahontas. Pocahontas' romance in those early years was not with Captain John Smith, as is often thought. Rolfe's marriage to her at Jamestown brought an end to seven years of fighting between the native Powhatan people and the English. He was also the entrepreneur who, through profits in the Native American plant tobacco, prevented the abandonment of the failing English colony, Virginia. That colony then evolved into the United States of America over the next several centuries. Without John Rolfe's leadership and contributions, the United States of America would not likely exist today.
Rolfe witnessed the many intense challenges that beset the early Virginia Colony, including the failure of the "common storehouse" system and its replacement by widespread ownership of private property by the common man. He was also a member of America's very first representative government, a little parliament called the Virginia General Assembly, years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. He gave us the only first-hand report of the arrival of the first Africans into Virginia in 1619. John Rolfe's story is America's founding story, one unfortunately very few Americans have ever heard.