Transcribed from the VIRGINIA PILOT AND THE NORFOLK LANDMARK. for Sunday March 8 1931
Boy, Who at 13 Came To Virginia in 1608 Was Adopted As Son By Powhatan and Founded Oldest Family To Be Honored
Thomas Savage, "Cabin Boy of Jamestown Colony", Forehather of Many Virginians In Tidewater and On Eastern Shore
On May 18 of this year, a tablet will be unveiled in the Memorial Church at Jamestown, honoring the youth, according to the Virginia State Chamber of Conunerce. It is the Pilgiimage Day of the A. P. V. A. (Associatoin for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities) and the tablet is being erected and a suitable program arranged by this organ.ication. What visions of adventures and intrepidity swirl through the mind in reviewing even no more than the highlights fo the career of Thomas Savage.
Millions of American boys since him have donned the feathered Indian headdress, smeared upon their faces mud for war paint and have made bows and arrows as best they could to play "Iinjuns." Quite a few lads since him have lived among the Indians and have drunk deep of adventure in the primitive wilderness, but Thomas Savage was the first of the English-led people to live such a life. Capt. John Smith, versatile and redoubitable leader of the early colonist, was a friend of Savage. Captain Smith, in his "A True Relation of Such Occurances and Accidents of Noate, as Hath Hapened in Virginia, since the First Planting of the Colony." tells of the r~tum of Captain Newport and the first meeting between Newport and Powhatan. After describing his visit with the Indian King, Captain Smith relates: Smith's Story
"The next day the King conducting mee to the Riuer. showed me his Canowes, and described unto me how hee sent them ouer the Baye, for tribute Beades; and also what Counties paid him Beads, Copper, or Skins. "But seeing Captaine Nuport (Newport), and Maister Scfluener, coIning ashore, the King returned to his house, and I went to meet him (Newport).
With a trumpet before him we marched to the King: who after his old manner kindly received him, especially a Boy of thirteen yeares old, called Thomas Saluage, whom he gaue him as his Sonne. Te requited this kindiness with each of vs a great basket of Beanes. And entertaining him with the former discourse, we passed away that day.and agreed to bargine the next day, and so we returned to our Pinnis" About a week was spent in the village of Powhatan In those of his neighbors, restin& dancing trading and making meny generally. Taking leave of Powhaatan, and likewise the boy, Thomas Savage, Smith recounts:
"The next day we took leave of Powhatan, who, in regard of his kindness gave him (Newport) an Indian. He (was) well affected to go with him for England in steed of his Sonne (i.e. Thomas Savage), the cause, I assure me, was to know our strength and Couniries condition." And thus, less than two months after he had arrived in Virginia, young Savage was left, the only white person with the Indians.
During the spring that followed the colonist experienced much trouble with the Indians, savage individuals and small bands stealing tools and weapons. Indians there were who were enemies of the Englismen. Others were friends. On several occasions young Thomas had acted as messenger between Powhatan and the colonist, beaiing gifts from the King to Jamestown. Several marauding Indians were taken captive and held in the fort and a situation developed whereby Thomas was kept at the fort also.
How much Powhatan had learned to love his white "sonne" is shown in Smith's relation: Visit of Pocahontas "Powhatan, understanding we detained certaine Saluages, sent (in May 1608) his Daughter (Pocahuntas, his favorite), a child of tenne years old; which, not only for feature, countenance, and preportion, much exceedeth any of the rest of his people; but for wit and spirit, (is) the only Nonpriel of his Country. This hee sent by his most trustie messenger, called Rawhurt as much exceeding in defomiitiy of person; but of subatill wit and crafty understanding. "He, with a long circumstance, told mee how eli Powbatan loued amd respected mee; and that I should not doubt in any way his kindnesse, he had sent his child, which he most esteemed, to see me; a Deare and bread besides, for a present; desiring me that the Boy (Thomas Savage) might come again, which he loued exceedingly." Of the captives and their release, and it is to be presumed that young Savage accompanied them,
Captain Smith relates: "In the afternoone, we gaurded them as before to the Church; alter prayer, gaue them to Pocahontas, the King's Daughter, in regard of her fathers kindness in sending her." Henry Spellman tells of seeing young Savage the following year, 1609. In October, when, a few days after his arrival at Jamestown, the white youth came there. Spelhnan's story, in interesting broken English follows, in part:
"To James toune one Thomas Savage with 4 or 5 Indians cam from the great Powhatan with venison to Capt.Percye,who was now president. Alter the delivery thereof and that he must returne he was loth to goe with out sum of his countrymen went with hini, wher uppon I was apoynted to goe, which I the more wilinglie did, by Reason that vital were scarse with us, caiinge with me sum copper and a hatchet (with me) which I had gotten, Cumminge to the great Powhatan, I presented to him such things as I had, which he tooke, 'vsinge me uery kindly, setline the Sauage and me at his owne Table messe." Spelhnan remained with the Indians for about three weeks. Savage's sojourn with Powhatan ended in 1610, when the Indian King gave him leave to visit the colonist.
Four years were to pass before Powhatan and his adopted whit son were to see each other again. Powhatan Loved Youth In 1614 Sir Thomas Dale sent Ralph Hamer; secretary of the council, to Powhatan, whose days were fast ebing. It came to pass that his was the Indian King's last interview with the English. Dale's mission to Powhatan was to obtain his youngest daughter, then 12 years old, to become his wife. His action is hard to explain, being a man noted for truth and stability, for he had a wife in England. He also sent the message to Powhatan that the reason he desired to marry the sister of Pocahontas was because he wished to remain in Virginia and the bonds of marriage would serve of fact he had not planned on staying in the colony.
Of this venture Hamor relates: "I had Thomas Slauage with me, for my interpreter; with him and two Saluages, for guides; I went from the Bettuuda in the morning, and came to Matchot the next night, where the King lay upon the Riuer of Pamavnke. His entertaimnent was strange to me, this boy (Thomas Savage) he knew well and told him; My child, I gaue you leaue, being my boy, to goe see your friends, and these foure yeares I haue not seen you, nor heard of my owne man Namoutack (Namontack, the Indian given the colonist in return for the white lad).. I sent to England though many ships since haue been returned thence." Namontack had been murdered by a companion Indianin the Bermuda Islands hi 1610.
In reply to Dale's request for his young daughter, Powhatan diplomatically refused and expressed his desire that the Indaian and the colonist might live in fiiendship, Powhatan after this occasion, fades from the pages of history. Goes To Eastern Shore Five years later Thomas Savage is found living on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, where he has just located on Savage's Neck. The tract still is known by that name. It is near the town of Eastville.
Several factors perhaps influenced Savage to locate on the Eastern Shore, Poechancenough, the Indian chief, apparently became jealous, not only if Powhatan's love for the young white man, but also because Savage was taking from the Eastern Shore trade he had enjoyed. And the Eastern Shore was rich in trading material, even as it is now. Openchancanough also carried a grudge against Savage because the white man and three others had disgraced the chiefs son and thirteen of his people before a hundred Eastedings, as the Eastern Shore Indians were called. Savage and his three companions, in rescuing Thomas Graves whom the Indians would have slain, challenged the 13 Pamunkes to fight, but they dared not, and the Easterlings laughed at their red brothers.
It was Debedeavon, one of the Laughing Kings, who gave Savage his tract of land. Savag immediately became well established in the Indian councils. When Capt. John Martin visited the Eastern Shore in April 1610, he found Savage already a power among the red men. Likewise when John Poiy went to the Eastern Shore in 1621, Savage was happy, enjoying the good will of the Laughing King and his brother Klotopeake.
The good ship Sea Flower, Capt. Ralph Hamor, in 1621, brought Savage's wife Hannah Tyng, over the Atlantic. Six years later she was granted 50 acres of land in Accomac for having defrayed the expenses of her own transportation.
Another quite eventful passage took place in 1621, when John Poty, with Savage as intetpreter, and a handful of others, journed northinto the Pawtuxunt region. They encountered several old foes of Savage, but managed to make the best of the several situations, returning safely. It was at this time that Savage discovered that Opechancanough had employed on Indian, Onianinto, to kill him.
Hannah Tying bore Thomas Savage, who, in the years since his boyhood, had acquired the title of Ensign, a son in 1624. Through him Capt. Thomas Savage, the line passed. One historian records Thomas Savage as having died in 1627, and another in 1635. However after husband's death, Hannah manied Daniel Cugley.
Appropriate are the words of John Pory, writen in 1624: "This Thomas Savage, it is sixteene yeares since he went to Virginia, being a boy, he was left with Powhatan for Namontacke, to leame the language; and as this Author afthrmith, with much honestie and good successe bath served the publike without any publike reecompence, yet had an arrow shot through his body in then seruice."
Created on ... March 16, 2005