Tobacco and Jamestown
John Rolfe is best remembered for having introduced tobacco as a commercial crop to Virginia colonists. The production of this valuable commodity shaped the future development of the colony and provided an economic incentive for further expansion and settlement of the New World. Rolfe is also well-known because of his marriage to Pocahontas. This marriage brought a much-needed period of peace between the Indians and the colonists. The couple toured England in 1616 - 1617 and promoted the colony at Jamestown.
John Rolfe was the son of John Rolfe and Dorothea Mason. He was born in Norfolk, England and baptized on May 6, 1585. Little is known of John Rolfe's early life in England. He was married (possibly in 1608) and in 1609 he and his wife set sail for Virginia on board the Sea Adventure. Their ship was wrecked during a hurricane in the Bermudas and the couple remained stranded for several months along with over a hundred other settlers bound for Jamestown. While in Bermuda, Rolfe's wife delivered a daughter (February, 1610) who died shortly thereafter. Eventually the settlers constructed two small ships (the Patience and the Deliverance) and continued their journey to Virginia. In May, 1610 Rolfe and his wife finally reached Virginia but his wife died soon after their arrival.