Questions about Captain John Smith asked by visitors



Captain John Smith drawing from autobiograpy The above drawings are some from Captain John Smith's 1930 autobiography " True Travels and Adventures and Observations of Captaine John Smith"


Some common questions often asked about Captain John Smith and Pocahontas


What was Captain John Smith's job ?

Captain John Smith's job at Jamestown first was as a captain of soldiers, then to trade trinkets for corn to feed the colony, then Governor.


Is there a poem about Captain John Smith of Jamestown?

There are many poems about Captain John Smith written by admirers. There are usually several in each of his books that he co-authored with others and others that he authored by himself.


What happened to Captain John Smith that made him jump overboard?

Captain John Smith jumped overboard upon waking up aboard boat to find that his bag of gunpowder he was wearing about his waist had ignited and was burning like a flare. The water put out the fire. Smith was nearly drowned. Smith survived but was terribly burned and had to go back to Britain.


What are the map or maps did Captain John Smith make (made) and publish?

Smith made maps of Virginia and New England

To find out more , See maps on another of my pages - Click Here


What was the relationship between Captain John Smith and Pocahontas? Did Captain John Smith love Pocahontas?

He probably loved her as a friend.

Captain John Smith described Pocahontas as being 11 years old when she saved him. He was hurt in an accident 1 and 1/2 years later and had to leave to go home.

Captain John Smith never married Pocahontas. Pocahontas married Master John Rolfe in 1614..

When Pocahontas was 21-22 years old, and in London, married with a 3 year old son (Thomas), she saw Captain John Smith and said to him, in response to him calling her Princess, " you shall call me child an I shall call you father ".

Was Captain John Smith ever married?

Captain John Smith was never married.

Are there descendents of Captain John Smith?

There is no record of him having any children


What policy did Captain John Smith make about eating that is credited for saving the colony?

Captain John Smith said that each healthy person, whether laborer or gentlemen, shall (must) gather (find or get) as much food to eat as he (Captain John Smith) did each day or be banished (sent away). The order did not pertain to the sick. The sick did not have to gather food and were provided food. This policy is sometimes called his no work, no eat policy.


What made Captain John Smith 's colony successful ?

Captain John Smith is credited with saving the colony because of :

1) his instituting the policy of making all healthy persons gather food (see question above).

2) his ability to bargain (trade) trinkets for baskets of corn with the Indians to feed tech hungry colonists.

3) his ability to prevent ambush's by the Indians, .

4) his good sense in dealing fairly, and in his manner of trading with the Indians gained their respect.

5) Captain John Smith recognized that the Indians did not respect weakness. Smith used bluff and sternness to make his point with the Indians and the Indians respected his for this. Smith did defend himself when attacked. Smith never ambushed and murdered any Indians as the Governors and their minions did after he left .

6) Captain John Smith created other forts up and down River where the colonists could live and gather food. This would be copied by later leaders.


List a letter written by Captain John Smith?

Captain John Smith wrote a letter and sent it to a friend back in England 13 months after arriving (sent it back with Captain Nelson's ship in June 1608). We are not sure to whom the letter was addressed. Maybe it was written to Henry Hudson, or maybe it was to one of the Willoughby boys whom he grew up with who was now living in London. The recipient of Smith's letter let his friends read the letter and one such person who read it thought the contents of the letter so interesting that he took it and had part of the letter published in a booklet form. (we know this because this was said to have occurred in the introduction in the booklet)

It was called :

A True Relation of Such Occurrences and Accidents of Note as Hath Hapned in Virginia Since the First Planting of that Colony, which is now resident in the South part thereof, till the last returne from thence. Written by Captaine Smith one of the said Colony, to a worshipfull friend of his in England.

Below are a couple of paragraphs from the booklet. To read the complete booklet, go to this web site: Smith's Letter


an excerpt from the letter

    Kinde Sir, commendations remembred &c. You shall understand that after many crosses in the downes by tempests, wee arrived safely uppon the Southwest part of the great Canaries: within four or five daies after we set sail for Dominica, the 26. Of Aprill: the first land we made, wee fell with Cape Henry, the verie mouth of the Bay of Chissapiacke, which at that present we little expected, having by a cruell storme bene put to the Northward:

   Anchoring in this Bay, twentie or thirtie went a shore with the Captain, and in coming aboard, they were assalted with certaine Indians, which charged them within Pistoll shot: in which conflict, Captaine Archer and Mathew Morton were shot: whereupon, Captaine Newport seconding them, made a shot at them, which the Indians little respected, but having spent their arrowes retyred without harme, and in that place was the Box opened, wherin the Counsell for Virginia was nominated: and arriving at the place where wee are now seated, the Counsell was sworne, the President elected, which for that yeare was Maister Edm. Maria Wingfield, where was made choice for our scituation a verie fit place for the erecting of a great cittie, about which some contention passed betwixt Capatain Wingfield and Captaine Gosnold, notwithstanding all our provision was brought a shore, and with as much speede as might bee wee went about our fortification.

   The two and twenty day of Aprill, Captain Newport and my selfe with divers others, to the other number of twenty two persons, set forward to discover the River, some fiftie or sixtie miles, finding it in some places broader, & in some narrower, the Countrie (for the moste part) on each side plaine high ground, with many fresh Springes, the people in all places kindely intreating us, daunsing and feasting us with strawberries, Mulberries, Bread, Fish, and other their Countrie provisions wherof we had plenty: for which Captaine Newport kindely requited their least favours with Bels, Pinnes, Needles, beades, or Glassas, which so contented them that his liberallities made them follow us from place to place, ever kindely to respect us.

another excerpt from the letter

   But within a quarter of an houre I heard a loud cry, and a hollowing of Indians, but no warning peece. Supposing them surprised, and that the Indians had betraid us, presently I seazed him and bound his arme fast to my hand in a garter, with my pistoll ready bent to be revenged on him: he advised me to fly, and seemed ignorant of what was done.

    But as we went discoursing, I was struck with an arrow on the right thigh, but without harme: upon this occasion I espied 2 Indians drawing their bowes, which I prevented in discharging a french pistoll:

    By that I had charged againe, 3 or 4 more did the like: for the first fell downe and fled: At my discharge, they did the like. My hinde I made my barricado, who offered not to strive. 20 or 30 arrowes were shot at me but short. 3 or 4 times I had discharged my pistoll ere the king of Pamaunck called Opekenkenough with 200 men invironed me, eache drawing their bowe: which done they laid them upon the ground, yet without shot:

   My hinde teated betwixt them and me of conditions of peace; he discovered me to be the Captaine: my request was to retire to the boate: they demaunded my armes, the rest they saide were slaine, onely me they would reserve:

   The Indian importuned me not to shoot. In retiring being in the midst of a low quagmire, and minding them more then my steps, I stept fast into the quagmire, and also the Indian in drawing me forth:

   Thus surprised, I resolved to trie their mercies: my armes I caste from me, till which none durst approach me.

   Being ceazed on me, they drew me out and led me to the King. I presented him with a compasse diall, describing by my best meanes the use therof: whereat he so amazedly admired, as he suffered me to proceed in a discourse of the roundness of the earth, the course of the sunne, moone, starres and plannets.

Below are a couple of paragraphs from the booklet. To read the complete booklet, go to this website: Smith's Letter to a Friend


What were the hardships the colonists faced on their way to jamestown Virginia ?

The biggest hardship was leaving London then being stranded in the English Channel due to contrary winds for 6 weeks. Besides the disappointment, the sea sickness, 6 weeks of food that the colonists would have had upon arrival was consumed. Packed aboard the ships four and one half months in super close proximity probably was the cause of much friction and many arguments among them. But, not one died of sickness on the voyage over. This is likely due to the great care ordered by the London Company to see to the health of their workers (colonists) who signed up to go over to Virginia find them Gold.


How did Captain John Smith die and how old was he?

Captain John Smith died at 51 years old. It seems that the end came rather quickly. He was very weak the last days of his life and could barely write.




Captain John Smith

Pocahontas .

Defending Smith .

Smith's Philosophy .

Smith's Friends .

Ambushes attempted on Captain John Smith .

Factions at Jamestown .

Who Shot JR ?Who was Jr? ----we don't know yet who shot him but JR's idenity is revealed .