Samuel Jordan

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Samuel vs Jordan (1578-1623) was an early settler and Ancient Planter of colonial Jamestown, and one of the first colonial legislators[1]

Jordan traveled to Virginia in 1610, according to his 1620 patent: Samuel Jourdan of Charles Citty in Virga. Gent, an ancient planter who hath abode ten years Compleat in this Colony and performed all services to the Colony that might any way concern him etc and to his heirs and assignes for ever for part of his first genll. dividend to be augmented &c, 450 acs. on his personal right, etc. and ...[for] the personall claim of Cecily his wife an ancient planter also of nine years continuance, one hundred acres more and the other 250 acs. in recompence of his trans. out of England at his own charges of five servants, namely John Davies, who arrived in 1617 for whose passage the sd. Samuel hath paid to the Cape. Mercht., Thomas Matterdy bound apprentice to sd. Samuel by indenture in England dated 8 Oct 1617; Robert Marshall brought out of England by Capt. Bargrave in May 1619, at the costs of sd. Samuel; Alice Wade the same year in the George, etc., & Thomas Steed in the Faulcon in July 1620; and maketh choice in 3 several places: one house & 50 acs. called --ilies Point [Bailies Point] in Charles hundred, bordering E. upon the gr. river, W. upon the main land, S. upon John Rolfe and N. upon the land of Capt. John Wardeefe [Woodlief]; 2ndly, 1 tenement containing 12 acs., etc., encompassed on the W. by Martins Hope, now in tenure of Capt. John Martin, Master of the Ordinance; & 388 acs. in or near upon Sandys his hundred, towards land of Temperance Baley, W. upon Capt. Woodlief, etc."[2]

On the tract of 388 acres mentioned in the patent ("...towards land of Temperance Baley, W. upon Capt. Woodlief..."), Samuel Jordan established a plantation known as "Jordan's Journey" (also known as "Beggar's Bush").[3] In 1622 Jordan acquired an additional 100 acres (0.40 km2) on the north side of the James River by assignment (i.e. by purchase) from Mrs Mary Tue, sister and executrix of Lieutenant Richard Crouch.[4]

Wife and Children[edit]

Samuel Jordan was born 1578 in Wilshire, England, and died 1623 in Charles City, Virginia. He married Frances Baker in 1595 in England. She was born in 1580 in England, and with Samuel had four children, Anne Maria (1596-1630), Robert (1598-1622), Thomas (1600-1684), and Samuel (1608-1644). Frances died in 1608 in England, and in 1609 Samuel emigrated to America. [5] Robert was killed at the [Indian massacre of 1622],[6] and Thomas later represented Warrasquoke in the House of Burgesses.[7][8]

Samuel Jordan married his second wife Cecily in 1618 in Virginia. She had arrived on The Swan as a child. Cicely in the patent quoted above is described as "an ancient planter...of nine years continuance", and is shown in the 1625 census[9] as age 24, having come to Virginia on the Swan in August 1610,[10] at which time she would have been ten or eleven years old.

It appears that at the time of her marriage to Samuel Jordan (sometime before 1620, as shown by the wording of the patent quoted above), Cecily was a widow with a small daughter named Temperance Baley. There is no direct evidence of this first marriage, but Temperance Baley is mentioned as an adjoining landholder in Samuel Jordan's 1620 patent, and she appears in the census of 1625[9] aged seven, living at Jordans Journey in the Muster of Mr William Ferrar and Mrs Jordan. John F. Dorman concludes that she was probably a daughter of Cecily Jordan from a first marriage to a Baley.[11]

In 1622, the local Indian tribes organized a surprise attack on the English colonists. During what became known as the Indian Massacre of 1622, many men, women, and children were killed in a coordinated series of attacks led by Chief Opechancanough of the Powhatan Confederacy. After the attack, most of the outlying settlements were abandoned for the time being, and the inhabitants evacuated to safer locations. A limited number were kept as inhabited settlements, including "A Plantacione of Mr Samuell Jourdes" (presumably Jordan's Journey), Kecoughtan, Newport News, Southampton Hundred, Flowerdew Hundred, Shirley Hundred.[12] At the time of the Feb 1623/4 census, 42 people were living at Jordan's Journey.[13]

Death; Widow's Remarriage[edit]

Samuel Jordan died by June 4, 1623[14] His widow became the target of pursuit of two men, one the Rev. Greville Pooley and the other William Farrar, a grand-nephew[15] of Nicholas Ferrar (a merchant and leading member of the Virginia Company). When Greville Pooley's offer of marriage was declined, he complained to the Court, in an action which has been called the New World's first breach-of-promise suit.[16]

Pooley's suit was unsuccessful, and in 1625 Cecily Jordan and William Farrar married. The marriage produced three known children (Cecily, John, and William); son William inherited, and became the founder of the Virginia Farrars.[16]

Today there are numerous descendants of Cecily Jordan Farrar, from her presumed first marriage (through the marriage of her daughter Temperance Baley to Richard Cocke,[17]) and from her third marriage to William Farrar;[16] but descendants of her daughters from her marriage to Samuel Jordan have not been traced.


  1. ^ "Samuel Jordan represented Charles City at the first representative legislative assembly in the new world which convened at Jamestown, 30 July 1619." Adventurers of Purse and Person, 4th ed., ed. John Frederick Dorman, v. 2, p363
  2. ^ Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers, 226
  3. ^ Virginia: the First Seventeen Years, Charles E. Hatch Jr, U. of VA Press, 1957, p67
  4. ^ Nugent, p.49
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ Probably an error for 1611; see "Concerning George Yeardley and Temperance Flowerdew", James P. C. Southall, The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 55, No. 3.
  11. ^ Adventurers of Purse and Person, Vol. 1, p.120)
  12. ^ Kingsbury, Records of the Virginia Company of London, Vol. 3, p612
  13. ^ List of the Living and Dead in Virginia, 1623, Colonial Records of Virginia, State Senate Doct., Extra, p. 41
  14. ^ . 'America and West Indies: June 1623', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 1: 1574-1660 (1860), pp. 46-47. URL: Date accessed: 19 January 2011
  15. ^ The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 50, No. 4 (Oct., 1942), pp. 350-359
  16. ^ a b c Dorman, John Frederick, Adventurers of Purse and Person, 4th ed., v.1, p927
  17. ^ Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, v.1, pp120-197