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Jordan Documents and Manuscripts

History of the Jordan Family of Surry County, Virginia -- Part 1

Prepared by Joseph Luther

Works in Progress, February 1990


The history of the Jordan family must begin with Captain Samuel Jordan of Dorsetshire, England.  Samuel Jordan was a member of the Virginia Company and in June of 1609 set sail from Plymouth Harbor, bound for Virginia.  There were nine ships in this fleet, containing some 500 settlers known as the "Third Supply."

The fleet was "caught in the tail of a hurricane" and became part of Shakespeare's immortal tale, TEMPEST.  Of the original nine ships, one was sunk, and the flagship, called the Seaventure, was wrecked off the coast of Bermuda.  For three days and nights the crew bailed frantically to keep the ship from foundering.  In the end, the Seaventure was wedged between two rocks on the coast of Bermuda.  Most of the cargo and all hands were salvaged.

The flagship carried Sir Thomas Gates, Governor of the colony; Sir George Somers, commander of the London Company's naval operations; and Vice-Admiral Christopher Newport, commanding the ship.  Among the passengers on the flagship Seaventure was Samuel Jordan.

Also on the Seaventure was Silvester Jourdain.  Perhaps the first authentic news of the disaster to reach England was Jourdain's pamphlet on the discovery of the "Barmudas" published in London in the late autumn of 1610.  Silvester Jourdain (Jourdan) was the son of William Jourdain of Lyme Regis, Dorsetshire.  He stayed in Virginia but a few weeks.

The remaining seven ships reached Virginia one by one in August of 1609.  The first year for these 300 settlers in Virginia was a dreadful experience.  This was known as "the starving time" when the infant colony was reduced from 500 to "a haggard remnant of 60 all told, men, women and children scarecely able to totter about the ruined village."

At the height of the despair, in May of 1610, the leaders finally arrived from the Bermudas in the pinnace Deliverance which had been constructed by the shipwrecked crew.  Given the grim situation, a decision was made to abandon the colony in the early summer of 1610.

Just as the settlers were making ready to leave the Virginia colony, Lord Delaware's three ships arrived bringing new hope and courage, and Samuel Jordan.

Samuel Jordan is called "the ancient planter" due to his early arrival in Virginia in 1610.  He established himself near Charles City on the plantation which is known as Jourdan's Journey.  His age at this time was in excess of thirty years.

Samuel Jordan does not appear in the literature again until 1619, when he was a representative to the first legislative assembly ever to be convened in America.  At that session in Jamestown, Samuel Jordan and Samuel Sharpe, both survivors of the Sea Venture, sat side by side as the two representatives of Charles City.

In 1620, married Cecily Reynolds Bailey.  This is a young woman of some international reputation and speculation.  Much has been written about her various marriages and affairs.

Arriving in the summer of 1610 aboard the Swan, Cicely Reynolds was only ten years of age.  Soon after she married William Baily.  Samuel Jordan's later land grant would be in an area called Bailey's Point.  This was owned by William Baley, the first husband of Cicely Reynolds.  They had one child, Temperance Baley, born in 1617, who was named for Temperance Flowerdew, the future wife of General Yardley.

Apparently, William Baley died soon after the marriage, for in 1620, Cicely Reynolds Baley married Samuel Jordan.  Cicely Reynolds Baley's mother was Samuel Jordan's first cousin in Dorsetshire.  The Jordan ancestor in England, Thomas Jordan of Dorsetshire, had at least two children:  Thomas, Jr. and Cicilie.  Cicilie, married in 1580 to "Robert Fitzpen als Fippen of Wamouth in Com. Dorset."  Their youngest daughter, Cicilie Fitzpen, was born in 1593 and married a man named Reynolds.  Their daughter was Cicely Reynolds.  Thomas Jordan Jr.'s son, Samuel Jordan, married in Dorsetshire and had three children by this first marriage, including Thomas Jordan who was born in 1600.

The year 1620 is notable here for it is the year in which the Mayflower landed at New Plymouth, Massachusetts.  The Jordan line had been in America for ten years prior to the Mayflower.

Samuel Jordan and his wife Cicely are described in their grant, "Samuel Jordan of Charles Citty in Virga., Gent., an ancient planter who hath abode ten years Compleat in this Colony" and "Cecily his wife an ancient planter also of nine years continuance".  In the land-grant for 450 acres, "Given at James City 10 December 1620," signed by George Yardley, "Knight, Governor and Capt. Genl. of Virginia, etc."

The land-grant is described as being "in severall places:  one house and 50 acs. called Bailies Point in Charles hundred, bordering E. upon the gr. river, W. upon the main land, S. upon John Rolfe and N. upon land of Capt. John Wardeffe; 2ndly, 1 tenement containing 123 aces. 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."

Apparently, Samuel Jordan's patent ranks next in date to "the earliest extant patent" which was granted by Governor Sir George Yardley to ancient planter William Fairfax, Yeoman of Charles City.

The adjoining land of John Rolfe is of special interest.  It was John Rolfe who married Pocahontas, the Indian princess, in 1614.  They were neighbors of Samuel Jordan.

The adjoining lands of Temperance Baley was a tract of 200 acres in the "Territory of Greate Weynoke", where "William Baily" and "Samuell Jordan" had tracts of land also.  Apparently Temperance Baley's share had been allotted to her as "the sole heir of her father" under the law of 1618.  In essence, Samuel Jordan also controlled these lands, as Temperance was not more than three years of age at the time.

It should be noted that Temperance Baley later became the first wife of Richard Cocke and mother of his two oldest sons, Richard of Bremo and Thomas of Malvern Hills. They were married about 1637.  Richard Cocke was County Commandant of Henrico, a member of the House of Burgesses, from Weyanoake in 1632 and from Henrico in 1654. His son, Thomas Cocke, married Mary Brashare, sister of Margaret, who became the wife of Thomas Jordan, son of Samuel Jordan.

In 1622, there were Indian raids in the area.  Samuel Jordan brought his neighbors into his home "Beggars Bush" at Jourdan's Journey and from this fortified position held off the Indians until relieved.

Samuel Jordan died in 1623, leaving two children by his marriage to Cicely:  Mary Jordan and Margery Jordan.  He also left his step-daughter, Temperance Baley, as well as his three children by his first marriage in Dorsetshire.

Immediately after the death of Samuel, Jordan, rich, landed, gay and fascinating Cicely was courted intensely by Parson Greville Pooley and Councillor William Farrar.  Cicely discarded Parson Pooley with little ceremony and Farrar moved into Beggers Bush.  Word of the scandal, aided by an outraged Pooley, spread through colonial America.  Pooley sued and the issue became too much to be handled by the government of Virginia and was remanded to England for disposition.  Farrar married Cicely Reynolds Baley Jordan.

Cicely became, in fact, the ancestor of the lines of Jordans and Farrars, as well as the children of Richard Cocke, which includes another line of Jordans.  She did all this by the age of 24.

1600 -

Thomas Jordan, born in 1600, the son of Samuel by his first marriage in Dorsetshire, came to Virginia in 1618 in the ship Diana.  He was a soldier in the service of General Yardley.

In the Census of 1624, he is shown as living in "the Maine" on his father's land patent, at Pasbyhayes.  His land grant of 1624 was for land that the Virginia Company had given his father, Samuel, but the father had never taken out the patent on the tract.  Thomas Jordan was a Member of the Houses of Burgesses from Warrosquoyacke (Isle of Wight County) in 1629, 1631, and 1632.  He was Commissioner in 1627.

In 1635 he was granted 900 acres known as the "Great Indian Field Neck" near the head of Warroquoiacke River, beginning at the western side of an old Indian town.  This was near the head of Pagan River.  He was granted this land by Governor West for transporting 18 persons.  One branch of the Jordan family still possessed this grant until 1840.

Thomas Jordan married Lucy Corker, daughter of Captain Corker, and had at least three children:  Thomas, Jr., Richard and Phillis.

Thomas Jordan followed the Puritan trek to Nansemond as he patented land there soon after receiving his Isle of Wight grant.  Thomas Jordan died in 1688 in Surrey County.  His will includes, "a pair of very old Virginals and a bass viol."

The son of Thomas and Lucy (Corker) Jordan, Thomas Jordan, Jr. who was born in 1634.  He married Margaret Brashare (Brasseur) in 1660.  She was the daughter of Robert Brashare and the sister of Mary Brashare who married Thomas Cocke, Cicely Reynolds Baley Jordan Farrar's grandson.

Margaret Brashare was one of the first known converts to Quakerism in the Virginia colony.  She was born in 1642.  She became a Quakeress when she was sixteen in the year 1658.  Soon after her marriage in 1660, her husband, Thomas, also converted to the faith:  "in ye yeare 1660 hee received ye truth and Abode faithful in it."

Hinshaw's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN QUAKER GENEALOGY notes, "Thomas Jordan was probably the most influential Quaker in lower Virginia being a man of position and substance."

In 1661, he was held, as he writes, "in six weeks imprisonment for being taken at a meeting at my own house and released by the King's proclamation."  The latter royal intervention speaks of the influence of the Jordan family in both Virginia and in England.

In the same year, Thomas Jordan also "suffered" the following abuses for his Quaker beliefs:  ". . .  for being taken at a meeting at Robert Lawrence's and bound over to the court of Nansemond for refusing to swear according to their wills and against the commands of Christ, was sent up to Jamestown a prisoner for upwards of ten months.  Presently John Blake took away my three servants and left my wife in a distressed condition with a young child at her breast . . . which servant was kept nine weeks and released by order of the Governor.  There was taken by John Blake, sheriff  of Nansemond, two feather beds, two feather bolsters, and furniture which together with other goods amounted to 3,907 lbs. tobacco and also a serving man who had three years to serve.  There was taken by Thomas Godwin, sheriff, ten head of cattle amounting to 5,507 lbs."  This testimonial was signed, "Thomas Jordan, Chuckatuck, 1st month, 1661."

In 1666, Thomas Jordan [II] was deeded 550 acres in Nansemond County.  The Norfleet family owned land adjacent to them.  Thomas and Margaret Jordan had ten sons, as follows:

 1.  Thomas [III], born 1/6/1660 married Elizabeth Burgh.
 2.  John, born 6/17/1663 married Margaret Burgh.
 3.  James, born 11/23/1665 married Elizabeth Ratcliff.
 4.  Robert, born 7/11/1668 married Mary Belson.
 5.  Richard, born 6/6/1670 married Rebecca Ratcliff.
 6.  Joseph, born 7/8/1672 married Ann ___.
 7.  Benjamin, born 7/18/1674 married ?.
 8.  Matthew, born 11/1/1676 married Dorothy Bufkin (widow).
 9.  Samuel, born 2/15/1679 married Elizabeth Fleming.
10.  Joshua, born 6/1681 married ?.

Thomas Jordan "departed this life the eighth day of the tenth month of the sixth day of the week about the second hour of the afternoon and was buried the 12th day of the said month on the third day of the week of the year 1699."  As his memorial notes, in part, " . . . he stood in opposition against the wrong and deceitful spirits, having suffered the spoiling of his goods and the imprisonment of his body for . . ."


Source: Prepared by Joseph Luther, Feb 1990

Online transcription by Susan Shields Sasek -- items in curly brackets { } are my notes.

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