Toby “Totopotomoy” West


Toby “Totopotomoy” West

East Sussex, England
Death 1 Jan 1656 (aged 39–40)
Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA
Burial King William, King William County, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 137571059 View Source
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Known as Thomas West or Toby West to the English, and Totopotomoy (also Totopomoi) to the Powhatan and Pamunkey Indians, pronounced "To-Pot-omy." He was half English and half Native American Powhatan, born of an English father and Native American mother.

The Chief of the Pamunkey tribe, he gave his life in the Battle of Bloody Run, helping the English Colonists.

He was the son of Thomas West, third Baron de la Warr, and "Rachel" Powhatan. Some researchers refer to Toby West as nephew of Pocahontas while other family trees show his mother as a first cousin of Pocahontas. Some say Rachel's father was the brother of Chief Powhatan while others show Rachel's mother as a sister of Powhatan. It is possible, however, perhaps even likely, that she was a double first cousin of Pocahontas. Toby West married his cousin Cockacoeske, the granddaughter of Pocahontas' sister Cleopatra Powhatan. After his death, Col. John West, the son of Toby's first cousin Gov. John West II, took Cockacoeske as his "Indian wife" or mistress.

Rachel Powhatan accompanied Pocahontas to England where Toby West was conceived and, by some accounts, born. Pocahontas and her entourage resided at Lord de la Warr's country estate, Blackhurst Park, in Sussex while in England. Rachel married or took up with Col. Joseph Croshaw from Virginia either while in England or after her return to Virginia. He was the son of Capt. Raleigh Croshaw, one of the founders of Jamestown, but was in Bermuda and also England (ref., Shawnee Heritage by Don Greene; also Monteith Family and the Potomac Indians by William Deyo).

Two infant baptisms recorded in England for Thomas West, son of Thomas West, one Catholic, one Protestant:
Christening Date: 16 Feb 1616
Christening Place: Rodmell, Sussex, England

Baptism Date: 20 Apr 1616
Baptism Place: Bath, St Michael, Somerset, England

Toby West patented 500 acres in Gloucester County on 27 May 1654, the same day that Capt. John West, Esqr, patented 1000 acres in Gloucester Co. (Cavaliers and Pioneers, Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, by Nell Nugent, p. 232).
Tototomoi became Chief of the Pamunkey and married his cousin Cockacoeske, grand-niece of Pocahontas. He supported the English Colonists, serving with Colonel Edward Hill in the bloodiest battle known to have been fought between Native Americans on Virginia soil, the war between the Siouan and Algonquian tribes, and was slain at the first Battle of Bloody Run on January 1, 1656.
After his death, Toby West's property passed to Cockacoeske's son, Maj. John West.
Cockacoeske later became the wife of Toby West's first cousin Col. John West II (son of Governor John West). Col. John West II was married to Ursula or Unity Crowshaw, daughter of Toby West's stepfather Joseph Crowshaw and Rachel Powhatan. So not only was John West the first cousin of Toby West, but Cockacoeske took her sister-in-law's husband. Unity Crowshaw sued her husband for divorce citing his abandonment of her and his adultery with the "Queen of the Pamunkey."

The burial site of Toby West is not proven to be on the Pamunkey reservation which was officially established as the permanent home of the Pamunkey tribe as early as 1648. But the remains of earlier leaders Opchanacanough and Powhatan were said to have been brought to the burial mound on this site for interment, according to legend, so likely Totopotomoy would be moved here as well, although he probably was buried originally on the battle field at Bloody Run where he died. The bones or mummified remains of earlier leaders were entombed at the sacred Uttamussak temple.

Posted online by Paul Brockman, Dec. 6, 1998: "Looking for confirmation or refutation of Leonard West's thesis that Joseph West, of "The Joseph", Frederick (now Montgomery) County, MD, may have been son of Totopotomoi of the Pamunkey Nation (Powhatan Confederacy), and that Totopotomoi may be the Thomas or Toby West who patented land above John West of West Point and the same Thomas West who was sent to school at St. George's, Bermuda."

William Deyo, official Tribal historian of the Pamunkey, wrote: There is overwhelming evidence that Maj. John West was the son of Cockacoeske and her second husband John West II.

Among the descendants of Toby West and Cockacoeske were: Patrick Henry, the orator and Governor of Virginia; Dolly Madison, wife of President James Madison; Dabney Carr (1743-1773), Virginia burgess and brother-in-law of President Thomas Jefferson; Lady Nancy Astor, first woman to sit in the British House of Commons; President Zachary Taylor and his daughter Sarah Knox Taylor, the first wife of President Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy; Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart; Gen. Edmund Pendleton Gaines; Col. George Strother Gaines; and numerous other notable Southern families.

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  • Created by: Ray Isbell
  • Added: 21 Oct 2014
  • Find a Grave Memorial 137571059
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Toby “Totopotomoy” West (1616–1 Jan 1656), Find a Grave Memorial ID 137571059, citing Pamunkey Indian Reservation, King William, King William County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Ray Isbell (contributor 47188697) .