Before the English sailed into the Chesapeake Bay and named the Elizabeth River, there was a Native American settlement there. The Chesapeakes apparently were not subjugated or allied with Powhatan, though the reports by the leaders in the early days of Jamestown are contradictory.
In 1585, the Roanoke Colony settlers may have visited the Elizabeth River or Nansemond River watersheds. Those colonists then abandoned their attempt to settle permanently on the barrier islands, but leaders of the next effort planned to start anew on the south shore of the Chesapeake Bay.
Of course, that last batch of English colonists had their plans changed. In 1587 their ship captain dumped them back at Roanoke Island again, in order to have more time to attack Spanish ships. (Captains got a share of the profits in any Spanish shipping they could capture.)
There is speculation that the English in "lost colony" ended up, willingly or unwillingly, with Chesapeakes. Powhatan destroyed tribe around time arrived at Jamestown, and claimed to have remainder of Roanoke process, but no independent evidence residue - such as a collection iron tools weapons was even seen.
Powhatan may have "planted" his own town at the original homeland of the Chesapeakes, after destroying them in 1607-08. There was plenty of protein in the brackish waters to support a large town there, and Powhatan knew he had to secure the fringes of his paramount chiefdoom (the area he controlled) while he coped with the intrusion of an alien people in the center of it.
tributaries of the Elizabeth River
Source: Virginia State Water Control Board, Elizabeth River 205(j) Water Quality Plan (Figure 1)