Last updated
Tomocomo represented with Pocahontas in 1906 by Elmer Boyd Smith Pocahontas-26.jpg
Tomocomo represented with Pocahontas in 1906 by Elmer Boyd Smith

Uttamatomakkin, known as Tomocomo for short, was a Powhatan holy man who accompanied Pocahontas (real name Matoaka, later given the name Rebecca Rolfe) when he was taken to London in 1616. [1]


Little is known about Tomocomo's life before his visit to London. He appears to have met Captain John Smith during Smith's time in Virginia, since Smith says that in London they "renewed their acquaintance". [2] His wife, Matachanna, was Pocahontas's half-sister. [3]

Tomocomo must have been trusted by Chief Powhatan, as Powhatan requested him to accompany her in order to count the number of people in England. Arriving at Plymouth, Tomocomo picked up a stick on which to mark notches to keep a tally, but soon grew "weary of that task". [4] Powhatan also asked him to discover whether Smith was still alive (the Powhatan natives had been told that Smith was dead, but, as Pocahontas told Smith "your countrymen will lie much"). [4]

Samuel Purchas, a compiler of travel narratives, met Tomocomo at the home of "my good friend Doctor Goldstone, where he was a frequent guest, and where I have both seen him sing and dance his diabolical measures, and heard him discourse of his country and religion." Purchas believed that the Powhatan people were devil-worshippers and tried to persuade Tomocomo to take up Christianity, but Tomocomo said he was too old to learn new ways. [5]

Pocahontas and Tomocomo were never given a formal audience before King James. However, on January 5, 1617 they were brought before the King at the Banqueting House in Whitehall Palace, at a performance of Ben Jonson's masque The Vision of Delight . According to Smith, both Pocahontas and Tomocomo did not realize who they had met until it was explained to them afterward. Tomocomo was disappointed that the King did not offer a present, saying to Smith "You gave Powhatan a white dog, which Powhatan fed as himself, but your King gave me nothing, and I am better than your white dog." [4]

When Tomocomo returned to Virginia with Samuel Argall and Rolfe in March 1617, he reportedly uttered diatribes (poor remarks) "against England, English people" and against Thomas Dale, governor of Jamestown. The colonists rebutted his claims in front of the Powhatan leaders, and Tomocomo apparently was disgraced. [6] However, Chief Powhatan died the next year, and his successor, Opechancanough, began planning a massive attack on the settlers. Nothing more is known of Tomocomo's life.


Paul O'Connor voiced him in the Animated Hero Classics 1994 episode Pocahontas. O' Connor also voiced Japazaws who lured the princess with a copper kettle to her abduction by Argall.

He was voiced by Brad Garrett in Disney's 1998 direct-to-video film Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World . At the end, he remained in London with John Rolfe's maid, Mrs. Jenkins.

In New Line Cinema's 2005 film The New World , Tomocomo is played by Raoul Trujillo. However, in the film's depiction of Pocahontas sailing on her trip to England, she is accompanied by her uncle Opechancanough rather than Tomocomo.


  1. Dale, Thomas. Letter to Sir Ralph Winwood. 3 June 1616. Repr. in Jamestown Narratives, ed. Edward Wright Haile. Champlain, VA: Roundhouse, 1998. p. 878.
  2. Smith, The General History of Virginia (1624), in Philip Barbour, ed. The Complete Works of Captain John Smith, volume 2. p. 261.
  3. David Price, Love and Hate in Jamestown (New York: Vintage, 2003), p. 164.
  4. 1 2 3 Smith, General History. p. 261.
  5. Samuel Purchas, A Relation of Tomocomo (1617), repr. in Jamestown Narratives, ed. Edward Wright Hale (1998), 880-2.
  6. David Price, Love and Hate in Jamestown (New York: Vintage, 2003), p. 184.

See also

Related Research Articles

John Smith (explorer) English soldier, explorer, writer (1580–1631)

John Smith was an English soldier, explorer, colonial governor, Admiral of New England, and author. He played an important role in the establishment of the colony at Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in America in the early 17th century. He was a leader of the Virginia Colony between September 1608 and August 1609, and he led an exploration along the rivers of Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay, during which he became the first English explorer to map the Chesapeake Bay area. Later, he explored and mapped the coast of New England. He was knighted for his services to Sigismund Báthory, Prince of Transylvania, and his friend Mózes Székely.

Pocahontas 17th-century Native American woman

Pocahontas was a Native American woman, belonging to the Powhatan People, notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. She was the daughter of Powhatan, the paramount chief of a network of tributary tribes in the Tsenacommacah, encompassing the Tidewater region of Virginia.

John Rolfe 17th-century English explorer

John Rolfe (1585–1622) was one of the early English settlers of North America. He is credited with the first successful cultivation of tobacco as an export crop in the Colony of Virginia.

Powhatan Indigenous Algonquian people that are traditionally from eastern Virginia

The Powhatan people may refer to any of the indigenous Algonquian people that are traditionally from eastern Virginia. All of the Powhatan groups descend from the Powhatan Confederacy. In some instances, The Powhatan may refer to one of the leaders of the people. This is most commonly the case in historical writings by the English. The Powhatans have also been known as Virginia Algonquians, as the Powhatan language is an eastern-Algonquian language, also known as Virginia Algonquian. It is estimated that there were about 14,000–21,000 Powhatan people in eastern Virginia, when the English colonized Jamestown in 1607.

Opchanacanough Powhatan Confederacy chief

Opechancanough or Opchanacanough (1554–1646) was a tribal chief within the Powhatan Confederacy of present-day Virginia in the United States, and its paramount chief from sometime after 1618 until his death in 1646. His name meant "He whose Soul is White" in the Algonquian Powhatan language. He was the younger brother of Chief Powhatan, who had organized and dominated the Powhatan Confederacy.

Sir Samuel Argall was an English adventurer and naval officer.

Christopher Newport

Christopher Newport (1561–1617) was an English seaman and privateer. He is best known as the captain of the Susan Constant, the largest of three ships which carried settlers for the Virginia Company in 1607 on the way to found the settlement at Jamestown in the Virginia Colony, which became the first permanent English settlement in North America. He was also in overall command of the other two ships on that initial voyage, in order of their size, the Godspeed and the Discovery.

Thomas Rolfe was the only child of Pocahontas and her English husband, John Rolfe. His maternal grandfather was Chief Wahunsenacah, the leader of the Powhatan tribe in Virginia.

<i>The New World</i> (2005 film)

The New World is a 2005 historical romantic drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick, depicting the founding of the Jamestown, Virginia, settlement and inspired by the historical figures Captain John Smith, Pocahontas of the Powhatan tribe, and Englishman John Rolfe. It is the fourth feature film written and directed by Malick.

Powhatan (Native American leader) Leader of the Powhatan

Powhatan, whose proper name was Wahunsenacawh, was the leader of the Powhatan, an alliance of Algonquian-speaking American Indians living in Tsenacommacah, in the Tidewater region of Virginia at the time English settlers landed at Jamestown in 1607.

Thomas Dale

Sir Thomas Dale was an English naval commander and deputy-governor of the Virginia Colony in 1611 and from 1614 to 1616. Governor Dale is best remembered for the energy and the extreme rigour of his administration in Virginia, which established order and in various ways seems to have benefited the colony, although he was criticised for high-handedness. He is also credited with the establishment of Bermuda Hundred, Bermuda Cittie, and the Cittie of Henricus.

Weroance is an Algonquian word meaning leader or commander among the Powhatan confederacy of the Virginia coast and Chesapeake Bay region. Weroances were under a paramount chief called Powhatan. The Powhatan Confederacy, encountered by the colonists of Jamestown and adjacent area of the Virginia Colony beginning in 1607, spoke an Algonquian language. Each tribe of the Powhatan Confederacy was led by its own weroance. Most foreign writers who have come across a weroance only did so on a special occasion. This is the case because a foreigners presence was special. John Smith noted that there are few differences between weroances and their subjects.

Indian massacre of 1622 Assault by Virginia Indians on English plantations along the James River in the Colony of Virginia

The Indian massacre of 1622, popularly known as the Jamestown massacre, took place in the English Colony of Virginia, in what is now the United States, on 22 March 1622. John Smith, though he had not been in Virginia since 1609 and was not an eyewitness, related in his History of Virginia that warriors of the Powhatan "came unarmed into our houses with deer, turkeys, fish, fruits, and other provisions to sell us". The Powhatan then grabbed any tools or weapons available and killed all the English settlers they found, including men, women, and children of all ages. Chief Opechancanough led the Powhatan Confederacy in a coordinated series of surprise attacks; they killed a total of 347 people, a quarter of the population of the Virginia colony.

<i>Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World</i> 1998 Disney direct-to-video sequel to Pocahontas (1995)

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World is a 1998 American direct-to-video sequel to the 1995 Disney film Pocahontas. While the first film dealt with her meeting with John Smith and the arrival of the British settlers in Jamestown, the sequel focuses on Pocahontas's journey to England with John Rolfe to negotiate for peace between the two nations, although her death is omitted from the film's ending.

Anglo-Powhatan Wars

The Anglo–Powhatan Wars were three wars fought between settlers of the Virginia Colony and Algonquin Indians of the Powhatan Confederacy in the early seventeenth century. The first war started in 1610 and ended in a peace settlement in 1614. The second war lasted from 1622 to 1626. The third war lasted from 1644 until 1646 and ended when Opechancanough was captured and killed. That war resulted in a defined boundary between the Indians and colonial lands that could only be crossed for official business with a special pass. This situation lasted until 1677 and the Treaty of Middle Plantation which established Indian reservations following Bacon's Rebellion.

Starving Time at Jamestown in the Colony of Virginia was a period of starvation during the winter of 1609–1610. There were about 500 Jamestown residents at the beginning of the winter. However, there were only 60 people still alive when the spring arrived.

Henry Spelman (1595–1623) was an English adventurer, soldier, and author, the son of Erasmus Spelman and nephew to Sir Henry Spelman of Congham (1562–1641). The younger Henry Spelman was born in 1595 and left his home in Norfolk, England at age 14 to sail to Virginia Colony aboard the ship Unity, as a part of the Third Supply to the Jamestown Colony in 1609. He is remembered for being an early interpreter for the people of Jamestown as well as writing the Relation of Virginia, documenting the first permanent English settlement in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, and particularly the lifestyles of the Native Americans of the Powhatan Confederacy led by Chief Powhatan.

History of Jamestown, Virginia (1607–1699)

Jamestown was the first settlement of the Virginia Colony, founded in 1607, and served as the capital of Virginia until 1699, when the seat of government was moved to Williamsburg. This article covers the history of the fort and town at Jamestown proper, as well as colony-wide trends resulting from and affecting the town during the time period in which it was the colonial capital of Virginia.

Sedgeford Hall Portrait

The "Sedgeford Hall Portrait", is an oil on canvas portrait in the American School by an unknown artist circa 1830. It depicts Pe-o-ka, wife of the Seminole chief, Osceola, and their son. It was once mistakenly believed by many to be a portrait painted from life of Pocahontas and her son, Thomas Rolfe.

The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History is a 2007 book written by Dr. Linwood "Little Bear" Custalow and Angela L. Daniel "Silver Star" who claim they are revealing for the first time the oral history of the Mattaponi tribe and its contents regarding the story of Pocahontas and John Smith. The authors claim the book is a collection of four hundred years of Mattaponi oral tradition passed down through the tribe's quiakros.