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Following a series of attacks between Native Americans and English colonists, Powhatan Chief Opechancanough agreed to meet Captain William Tucker and the other English soldiers for a "Peace Meeting" in the Pamunkey Territory in the future state of Virginia. Chief Opechancanough was returning English prisoners taken during the previous year of hostilities which included raids on the English settlements along the James River. During the meeting, however, Chief Opechancanough and his men were served poisoned wine and then attacked while in a weakened state. This duplicitous action on the part of the English became increasingly common during the early colonial period. The English wounded Opechancanough and approximately 150 other Natives but failed to kill the Native leaders as they had planned. Following another set of battles and atrocities committed by and against Native Americans in this region in 1644, the colonists captured Opechancanough and a soldier assigned to guard the prisoner shot him in the back.


  • This historical marker was dedicated in 2008 and tells the story of the duplicity of some of the area's colonial settlers. Photo by Bernard Fisher.

The English served the Indians poisoned wine at a meeting that took place at the site of the marker near the intersection of Chelsea Road and 14th Street in West Point Virginia. The meeting took place in May 1623 where the English called for a toast claiming to seal the agreement between Chief Opechancanough and Captain William Tucker in that the English soldiers captured by the Indians earlier that year would be set free and returned safely back to Captain Williams. 

The wine they served the Indians on the said toast, was poisoned resulting in more than 130 Indians getting sick and many were shot or stabbed to death by the soldiers. The meeting was aimed at peaceful negotiations, but owing to a lack of trust and a lack of honest intentions to negotiate in good faith, Captain Williams and his men committed mass murder.
 
Captain Willam Tucker was leading the group of English soldiers all the from Jamestown. During the war that took place in 1622, the Indian chief Opechancanough organized an attack on the English settlement along the James River. The poisoning attack was therefore in revenge of the attack coordinated by the Indian head, The main goal of serving the poisoned wine was to kill the Indian leader, who actually got away. Chief Opechancanough disappeared for about seven years. He was eventually killed by the English soldiers. Many Indians at the peace meeting lost their lives following the poisoning attack. Another aftermath of the attack was the tremendous decrease in population in Virginia.

The landmark is marked by the Department of Historic Resources Highway Market in Virginia near the west point. The reason for the historic landmark is the fact that the event was considered as an outstanding and shocking event. The poisoning was a shock to everyone since the meeting was meant for a peaceful negotiation (Cave 2013).

The landmark is a historical matter since it was an unexpected turn of event that shocked everyone. The many lives lost at the meeting could only be remembered using a landmark inscribed with what happened at that meeting ( Miller 2011).

CAVE, A. A. (2013). Lethal encounters: Englishmen and Indians in colonial Virginia. Bison

            Books.

CHAMPION, R. (2008). From history to genealogy plus DNA. New York, iUniverse, Inc.

COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG FOUNDATION. (2010). Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown:

            The official guide to America's historic triangle. Williamsburg, Va, Colonial

            Williamsburg Foundation, in association with John F. Blair, Publisher, Winston-Salem,

            N.C.

MILLER, D. W. (2011). The taking of American Indian lands in the Southeast: a history of

 territorial cessions and forced relocation, 1607-1840. Jefferson, N.C.,

McFarland. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/concordiaab-ebooks/detail.action?docID=679315.

RAJTAR, S. (2009). Indian war sites: a guidebook to battlefields, monuments, and memorials,

            state by state with Canada and

Mexico. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=1026635.

TUCKER, N. (1996). Colonial Virginians and their Maryland relatives: a genealogy of the

            Tucker family and also the families of Allen, Blackistone, Chandler, Ford, Gerard,

            Harmor, Hume, Monroe, Skaggs, Smith, Stevesson, Stone, Sturman, Thompson, Ward,

            Yowell, and others. Baltimore, Md, Clearfield Co.

Fisher, Bernard. Photograph of the Indians Poisoned At Peace Meeting Marker. Historical Marker Database. April 03, 2009. Accessed March 15, 2018. https://www.hmdb.org/PhotoFullSize.asp?PhotoID=58122.