Totopotomoi and Cockacoeske

Chief Totopotomoi (1625 -1656) and Queen Cockacoeske (1640-1686), 10th or 11th g-grandparents (speculative)

 

King Charles II commissioned this ‘frontlet’ as a gift to Cockacoeske, the Queen of the Pamunkey.

Totopotomoi was a grandson of a sister of Chief Powhatan, the father of Pocahontas.  He became the Chief of the Pamunkey Tribe in 1649, succeeding Nectowance sometime after the death of Opechancanough (1554?-1646).  He married Cockacoeske, the daughter of Opechancanough.  Cockacoeske subsequently became the leader of the Pamunkey after Totopotomoi’s death.  Chief Powhatan united more than 30 of the Virginia Indian tribal groups in the Tidewater region of what is now the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States (essentially the southeastern portion of the state), including the area of Virginia around the early English colony at Jamestown.  After the death of Opechancanough the once mighty chiefdom had disintegrated and the English had grown much stronger in the Virginia Colony.   He became a staunch ally of the English and often sided with them in conflicts.  The allied Monacan and Manahoac confederacies were constantly at war with the Powhatan and the Iroquois who were their mortal enemies.   After banding into a league late in the sixteenth century, the powerful Iroquois began a gradual descent upon these weaker tribes of the south, annihilating some and causing others to flee, and eventually to merge for protection.  Totopotomoi was slain in the Battle of Bloody Run in 1656.  His widow, Cockacoeske, then became the leader of the Pamunkey Tribe.  Over the thirty-year span of her leadership, she worked within the English system to recapture the former power of Opechancanough and maintain a peaceful unity among the several tribes under her control.  The Powhatan, who had suffered even more at the hands of the English than at those of the Iroquois, became by 1665 mere dependents of the colony, submissive to the stringent laws enacted that year, which compelled them to accept chiefs appointed by the governor.  After the Treaty of Albany in 1684, the Powhatan Confederacy all but vanished.

For details on the speculative lineage of Totopotomoi and Cockacoeske, refer to the narrative under the heading of Cornelius Dabney.

By the time of the arrival of Captain John Smith in 1607,  they began to ally themselves with the Iroquoians. In 1607,Wahunsenacawh or Powhatan II was the paramount  chief of the largest territory under the leadership of one man in North America. His sway over such a large  territory caused the English to call him a king. Although not all contemporary scholars agree on the territorial  boundary of Powhatan’s domain, this map depicts the most commonly held consensus of the Powhatan  Confederacy boundary area. (Powhatan Museum, King William County, Virginia)

By the time of the arrival of Captain John Smith in 1607, they began to ally themselves with the Iroquoians. In 1607,Wahunsenacawh or Powhatan II was the paramount chief of the largest territory under the leadership of one man in North America. His sway over such a large territory caused the English to call him a king. Although not all contemporary scholars agree on the territorial boundary of Powhatan’s domain, this map depicts the most commonly held consensus of the Powhatan Confederacy boundary area. (Powhatan Museum, King William County, Virginia)

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