Back to Story

John Smith is popularly believed to have contributed significantly to early colonial successes. In fact he was a rogue who early on was indicted by members of the Virginia Colony for many wrongdoings, not the least of which was fabricating the story of Pocahontas saving his life.

From a legal document from 1609 listing the indictments against John Smith.

For representing the indians as overflowing with love and admiration for him; while he showed himself, by word and deed, as a great exponent and advocate of the doctrine, that the only good Indian, is a dead Indian. (p.560)

And now for the more serious matters:

For brutality in his treament of the Nanesemond and other Indians, prisoners as well as others. (p. 487)

For attempting to assasinate Powhatan, shortly after a treaty of peace had been made with him, at the time of his coronation by Newport. (p. 529)

For causing, indrectly, the drowning of the two councilors Scrivener and Waldo, and Captain Anthony Gosnold, and eight others, who were attempting to defeat Smith's unlawful attempt on Powhatan's life (p. 553)

From "The Conquest of Virginia" by Conway Whittle Sams, B.L., Virginia Historical Society, 1929