Author: Joshua Eckhardt


Ralph Hamor (bap. 1589–by October 11, 1626)

Ralph Hamor was a secretary of the Virginia colony, member of the governor’s Council, and author of A True Discourse of the Present Estate of Virginia (1615). Baptized Raphe Hamor, he used that given name his entire life, although later references to him most often used a modernized spelling. Hamor was educated at Oxford and possibly Cambridge, and soon became involved in the Virginia Company of London, sailing to the colony in 1609. He served as its secretary until June 1614, when he likely returned to London. There he wrote A True Discourse, which offered the first published account of the marriage of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, as well as Rolfe’s cultivation of tobacco, the martial administration of Sir Thomas Dale, and the establishment of the city of Henrico. As such, Hamor’s book became an essential source for understanding Virginia, both then and now. He returned to Virginia in 1617 and prospered, joining the governor’s Council in 1621, surviving the Indian attacks of 1622, and subsequently participating in the sometimes violent interactions with Virginia Indians that constituted the Second Anglo-Powhatan War (1622–1632). He was tangentially involved in some of the controversy that surrounded the demise of the Virginia Company and remained on the Council until his death in 1626.