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Gravesend & Pocahontas

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

The ASHMORE'S Journey Begins. . .

Gravesend Today

Video: CharlyCroker

The Ashmore's Link With Gravesend

The Ashmore loaded its shipment of merchandise in London before being towed by tugboat to Gravesend. This is where she picked up her passengers and their cargo. Lillie Curtis and her family boarded in Gravesend on Sunday the 21st of May 1882.

Weather in 1882

The Ashmore set sail in England’s spring where the average temperature was 16.8˚C. The average low was 7.5˚C. Daylight lasted 6.26 hours and their average rainfall was 1.61” a day. No wonder the family thought winters in New Zealand were pleasant in comparison.

Video: MrSamcab21

Railway Transport

The Gravesend railway station was opened in 1849. The Curtis family travelled from their home in Lincolnshire to Gravesend, a journey of 135 miles. Today it takes 150 minutes by car. I have no tickets as proof of how they travelled to Gravesend, but considering the number of children and all the household items they brought with them, this mode of transport seems the most likely.​



Gravesend is an ancient town in north-west Kent. It’s 35km southeast of central London on the River Thames. The port is situated on the south bank and has been of strategic importance throughout maritime history.

The town lies north of the Roman Road that connects Gravesend to London with the Kent coast, now called Watling Street.

A leper hospital was founded in Gravesend in 1189. The first Mayor was elected in 1268 and the first town hall was built in 1573. A cast iron pier was built in 1834, having the first iron cylinders used in its construction.



The population of Gravesend in 2016 = 74,000.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Pocahontas, the American Indian, is buried in Gravesend 

Pocahontas was the daughter of a Native American chieftain named Powhatan, one of his 27 children. She was coerced onto a English ship by a rival Native American group so she could be held for ransom. Captain Samuel Argall who ordered her capture, and paid the compensation with a copper kettle. While held for ransom in Jamestown, Pocahontas learned the European customs, language and religion. This made her a convenient diplomat for the English colonists to use in their negotiations with the Native Americans.

Pocahontas was sent to her father to defuse the strained situation that had begun with her own kidnapping. Pocahontas won peace, assuring her father she was happy and preferred to stay in Jamestown than return home. This prevented more bloodshed between the two groups.

Pocahontas became a symbol of peace. She met a wealthy widower named John Rolfe and the two married on April 5, 1614. Rolfe who had come over to Virginia to farm tobacco, had lost his wife and child on the ocean crossing.