Indian Thomas, First Indian with a Christian Name

In Jamestown in 1663, we see the first instance of an Indian being given a Christian name, except for Pochahontas who was renamed Rebecca after her 1614 married to John Rolfe.  Prior to this, the Indians, when mentioned, were either simply referenced as an Indian slave or their Native name was used.  They were probably given Christian names or nicknames on plantations all along since Native names would have been difficult for Europeans to pronounce.

In 1663, an Indian man is referenced as Thomas, but no surname is used at this point.  In this record, Thomas complains of illegal detention by Mr. Hoe.  The court orders Rice Hoe to provide Thomas, the Indian, with two new canvas shirts and one pair of new canvas drawers; and pay all costs of suit.

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About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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2 Responses to Indian Thomas, First Indian with a Christian Name

  1. stevie says:

    Here is another enteresting story of how the Norris name became a christian indian name too.
    And as My paternal grandmother was indian as well as a borris prior to marriage, I find it quiet
    enteresting.
    http://www.wvgenweb.org/barbour/norris.htm

  2. stevie says:

    I meant “Norris” not “Borris.”

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