Cicely <I>Jordan</I> Farrar

Photo added by Al Francis

Cicely Jordan Farrar

Death unknown
Henrico County, Virginia, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 32245175 · View Source
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9th great grandmother

Name also spelled, Cecely, Sislye, Sisley.

I have had so many suggestions regarding this memorial. Please if you do have a suggestion, provide proof, otherwise it will remain as is.

Intellectual dishonesty frequently rears its ugly head in the case of the parentage of Cecily (__?__) Bailey Jordan Farrar. Stating theory as fact doesn't make it so, but it does mislead the uninformed who will further propagate it. There is no primary evidence that Cecily's maiden name was "Reynolds" or any other of the several proposed names seen in the genealogical literature. No genealogical society will accept it. Many publications, including misleading family trees on, Find A Grave memorials and Wikipedia are guilty of propagating this distortion of the facts. Note: Neither the "Jamestowne Society" nor the "Order of Descendants of Ancient Planters" accept a maiden name for Cecily Farrar or a given name for her 2nd husband, Baley (Bailey). Even the present version (1-21-18) of the Wikipedia Reference titled "Cicely Jordan Farrar" in its first paragraph misleads the reader by stating: "She (Cicely) was the only child of Capt. Thomas Reynolds and Jane Phippen Pierce" It appears their reference for this statement is: "Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5" by John Frederick Dorman, Vol. I, 4th Ed., 2004, pp926-929. If you go to the first sentence on page 928 of this same reference, it states: "Cicely, whose maiden name is NOT (my emphasis) known, came to Virginia in the "Swan" with Sir Thomas Gates,........". This Wikipedia statement should have been qualified by informing the reader that it is an unproven theory. The "Jamestowne Society" and the "Order of Descendants of Ancient Planters'" information on Cecily states: Sisley (__?__) Jordan born 1600, England, died after 1637, Henrico Co. (Ancient Planter), wife of (__?__) Baley, Samuel Jordan, and William Farrar. NOTE: Many unprovable assumptions abound about the final years of this fascinating woman's life including the "theories" that she had two marriages after the death of her third and final husband, William Farrar, (I). It is claimed that she married Peter Montague of Lancaster County, VA and Thomas Parker of Macclesfield, Isle of Wight Co., VA confusing the exact date of her death. Marriages to either or both of these two men have been discounted by documentation and are not accepted by genealogists or hereditary societies including the "Jamestowne Society" and "Descendants of Ancient Planters". It is possible that descendants of these two men probably have agendas.

(NOTE: The name "Cecily" is seen spelled several ways in the genealogical literature.) Ten year old Cecily "__?__" (To repeat for emphasis because my tiny voice in the wilderness will have a difficult time changing the pervasive genealogical error that her maiden name was "Reynolds"): absolutely no primary record of her maiden name, the names of her shipboard chaperones or the names of her parents or guardians in Virginia exists but there are many unproven theories stated as fact) arrived from London at Jamestown aboard the "Swan" on 10 Jun 1610. The "Swan" was one of a fleet of three ships under the command of Lord De La Warr (Thomas West) which along with the "Tryall" and the "Noah" carried 250 passengers and a year's worth of provisions for 400 colonists. The period of November 1609–May 1610 is known as the dreadful "starving time" when the infant colony was reduced from about 500 souls to "a haggard remnant of 60 all told; men, women and children scarcely able to totter about the ruined village". Recent archaeological excavations at Jamestown have discovered instances of "cannibalism" during the "starving time". Local factors also contributed to the "starving time" including famine caused by a severe prolonged drought, proven by recent tree ring studies, in the area and local Indian hostility which included the Indians ceasing to share the little food they had with the starving colonists. From the 1607 establishment of the colony, no plans had been made to make the colony self sufficient by growing its own food. All food, up to this point, was brought on supply ships or from the Indians. Lord De La Warr's (pronounced "Delaware") rescue fleet arrived in the nick of time to prevent the colony from being totally abandoned and prevented Virginia from becoming another failed venture like the colony on Roanoke Island in the 1580s. The only surviving record of the passengers on the "Swan" is in the Virginia Muster of early 1624/25 taken 14 years after the voyage which lists "Sisley Jordan" and ten other persons.

One can almost envision Cecily being a playmate of Pocahontas, who was about 5 years her senior, and even possibly attending Pocahontas' wedding to John Rolfe in 1614. NOTE: John Thomas Rolfe, Jr., his wife and infant daughter were aboard the "Sea Venture" when it shipwrecked in July 1609 en route to Virginia. A hurricane pushed the "Sea Venture" to the desolate coast of uninhabited Bermuda. John Rolfe survived but his wife and daughter did not survive the 9 months of the stranding. This harrowing experience is discussed in detail on the Find A Grave memorial dedicated to Thomas Jordan, Sr.. NOTE: The shipwreck of the "Sea Venture" is immortalized by the Bermuda Coat-of Arms and Shakespeare's play, "The Tempest". This shipwreck also affected the future of Cecily because her second husband, Samuel Jordan, was also a survivor of the "Sea Venture" shipwreck. His story of the "Sea Venture" wreck is discussed on the Find A Grave memorial of his son, Thomas Jordan. Jr.

Circumstantial evidence indicates that Cecily married a man named Bailey at the age of about 16/17. There is no direct evidence that Cecily married Bailey but a six year old Temperance Bailey was recorded as living at Jordan's Journey in Charles City, 1623/24 (home of Samuel Jordan and his wife, Cicely) and was also recorded there in the muster (1624/25) of the unmarried but residing in the same household William Farrar and the widowed Cecily Jordan. Since Temperance Baley was a land owner at the age of three, it is evident that her father was dead and, as there is no record of a guardian to manage the estate, the probability is that she was the daughter of Cecily by a previous marriage. Thus, it is generally accepted that Cecily married a Mr. Bailey (given name unknown) circa 1616 resulting in a child born in 1617 named Temperance Bailey. Mr. Bailey possibly died of malaria, which was endemic in Jamestown in 1619, making Cecily a widow for the first time and leaving his 200 acres to his 3 year old daughter, Temperance, making her a wealthy child. Her land was located adjacent to Samuel Jordan's land (see attached map for location of Temperance Bailey's land adjacent to Samuel Jordan's land). Apparently, Samuel Jordan's land patent ranks next in date to "the earliest extant patent" (Ref: Nugent, Introduct., p.xxiv), which was granted by Gov. Sir George Yardley to Ancient Planter "William Fairefax, Yeoman of James Citie," 20 Feb 1619/20 (Ref: Nugent, p109). Samuel Jordan's extant patent was dated 10 Dec 1620. Temperance Baley's patent, which she received from the death of her father, was dated 20 Sept 1620 but isn't extant. As Temperance Bailey Browne (her first husband was John Browne), she later became the first wife of Richard Cocke and her descendants are well documented (see attached historical marker).

Cecily was said to have introduced the art of flirting into Virginia; she was the original southern belle and no doubt enchanting and beautiful for she won the hearts of some of the colony's outstanding citizens.

Secondly, she married Samuel Jordan (1578-1623), a much older (by 22 years) and richer man, in 1620. They were living at Beggar's Bush (later known as Jordan's Journey) the alliteratively named fortified home of Samuel Jordan in 1623 (see accompanying map for the location of Samuel Jordan's residence). This marriage produced two daughters, Mary Jordan (b. 1621) and Margaret Jordan (b. 1623 after her father's death), whose lineages can't be traced presently (see accompanying historical marker).

Cecily first met William Farrar as a refugee from his destroyed house after the Powhatan Indian surprise attack on 22 March 1622 (see map for approximate location of his plantation on the Appomattox River). He had fled to her husband's fortified house to save his life and that of the other survivors from his household. Fortunate circumstances (read: manipulated circumstances, as he obviously was attracted to her) prevented him from leaving this refuge before the death of his host, Samuel Jordan, in 1623. (A court on 7-8 Aug 1625, presided over by Governor Sir George Yardley and six other important colonists including Mr. William Farrar ordered "no planter shall remove from ye plantation whereupon he is seated, without penalty.... and to be returned to his former plantation only if the Governor and Council permit...."). Editorial: I suspect it would have taken a direct order from the Governor to have forced Samuel Jordan to move out of the Jordan household as he was smitten by Cecily.

In the very early period of the colony, the grief of a widow was of short duration, for a suitor usually stood at her doorstep almost as the funeral procession ended. The Rev. Greville Pooley (46 year old minister of Parish Fleur-Dieu Hundred, near Jordan's Journey) who oversaw the burial of her husband, Samuel Jordan, proposed marriage shortly (3-4 days) afterward. Cecily was pregnant and one version of the story states that she accepted his marriage proposal on the conditions he wait until she delivered her baby and not brag publicly about his good fortune by her acceptance of his proposal. He couldn't resist bragging, so being somewhat fickle Cecily also accepted the marriage proposal of William Farrar. Pooley accused her of what became known as "Breach of Promise", the first such suit in the Americas. He laid his claim before the governor and council: "June 4, 1623 they examined witnesses Capt. Isaac and Mary Maddison and Serj. (Sergeant) John Harris touching the supposed contract of marriage between Mr. Greville Pooley and Mrs. Cecily Jordan 3 or 4 days after her husband's death". It was too knotty a question for the Virginia court so they referred it to the Virginia Company's "Council in London" and on 24 Apr 1624 it was laid on their table, and after reading same, the court "entreated the Rev. Samuel Purchas to confer with some civilians, and advise what answer was fit to be returned in such a case". In the end, they declined to pass upon "so delicate a matter" but their indecisive response to the colony was made moot by Rev. Pooley giving up his claim and marrying someone else. Tragically, in 1629 he and his entire family were massacred by Indians.

The career of the fascinating Cecily as a heart breaker caused the General Assembly to pass a law for the protection of Virginia bachelors, thus giving her a place in jurisprudence history. Ultimately, it was decided that a woman promising herself to two men at the same time was against ecclesiastical law and notification of promises must be given to the Council or the local parish.

William Farrar (age 42) and Cecily (age 25) finally married on 02 May 1625 in Henrico County amid the scandal of William residing in her household during the settlement of the civil suit (Breach of Promise). As the cohabitation of an unmarried heterosexual couple was illegal, their living arrangements had attracted the attention of their neighbors and ultimately, the authorities. On 02 Jan 1625, Nathaniel Causey (then a resident of Jordan's Journey) testified that "he had never seen Mrs. Jordan and Mr. Farrar indulge in unfitting behavior but he had seen them kiss". Her marriage to William Farrar, (I) produced three children; William, (II), Cecily and John.

When William Farrar, (I) died in 1637, Cecily was probably still alive but there is no record of her after 1631 when she was mentioned in a deed. If she survived her husband, one would think she was still a youthful, flirtatious woman. Many people assume she married for the fourth and fifth times but there is no proof that she did. Women of the era generally didn't have the option of staying unmarried after the deaths of their husbands unless they were wealthy as Cecily was. Many unproven assumptions abound about the final years of this fascinating woman's life.

Cecily has the designation of "Ancient Planter" and through my efforts is now recognized and accepted for membership by the "Jamestowne Society" as also the wife of William Farrar, (I). Originally, they only recognized her as the wife of (__?__) Bailey (Baley) and Samuel Jordan. Cecily is also, through my efforts, accepted for membership in the prestigious hereditary society, "Order of Descendants of Ancient Planters".

Cecily probably lived her final years on Farrar's Island, Henrico Co., VA and was most likely buried there in a presently unknown grave (see attached map for the location of Farrar's Island and related historical sign).

1) "The Farrars" by William B. and Ethel Farrar, 1964, p14.
2) "John Pankey of Manakin Town, Virginia, and His Descendants", by George Edward Pankey, Vol. I, 1969, p418.
3) "The Farrar's Island Family" by Alvahn Holmes, 1972, pp122-124.
4) "Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5" by John Frederick Dorman, Vol. I, 4th Ed., 2004, pp927-928.
5) "Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607-1635" by Martha W. McCartney, 2007, pp433-434
6) "Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families" by Douglas Richardson, 2004, p303.
7) "Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families" by Douglas Richardson, 2005. p316.

Bio by Gresham Farrar.

Family Members


See more Farrar and Jordan memorials in:

  • Created by: brenda joyce
  • Added: 17 Dec 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 32245175
  • Daisy Kiley
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Cicely Jordan Farrar (1600–unknown), Find a Grave Memorial no. 32245175, ; Maintained by brenda joyce (contributor 47000293) Unknown.