Jamestowne Society                                                                         Contact Us

Membership Criteria
Ancestors and

Herschel H. Helm
  Jamestowne Collection

Company Meetings
    and Bus Tours


Jamestowne Society
   (the national site)

Washington & Northern Virginia Company -- Biographies of Ancestors of Members
William Farrar

William Farrar was baptized 28 April 1583 at Croxton, Lincolnshire. He was the son of John Farrar and Cecily Kelke of Banetby-le-Wold, Lincolnshire, whom John married 25 August 1574 in London. John Farrar was a relative of Nicholas Ferrar, Sr, a merchant and senior member of the Virginia Company of London. 
        William Farrar arrived in Virginia in August 1618 aboard the Neptune. At the time of the massacre in March 1622 the records state that ten persons including two servants were killed at Mr. Farrar's house on the Appomatuck River. However, in fact, his patent of land there was not recorded until May 1625.


In 1624 he was recorded living at Jordan's Journey and in the muster of the following year he, age 31, was still shown there with Mrs. Sisley Jordan, age 24. William had been appointed the administrator of her husband, Samuel Jordan's, estate on 19 November 1623. The records show complications in the relationship of William Farrar and Mrs. Sisley Jordan  -- insomuch as apparently right after the death of Mr. Jordan, Mrs. Jordan committed herself to becoming the wife of Reverend Greville Pooley, who was subsequently unwilling to release her from the agreement when she

changed her mind.
      William Farrar became the successful suitor for her hand, and this led to the earliest recorded breach of promise suit in America. When the case reached London it was returned to Virginia "not knowing how to decide so nice a difference" and asking for "the resolution of Civill Lawiers." In Jan 1625 Reverend Pooley withdrew his suit and promised to make no further claim. By May 1625 William and Sisley must have been married when Farrar's appointment as the estate's administrator was canceled.

       On 14 March 1626 William Farrar was appointed to the Council where he apparently served for the rest of his days. He was named in August 1626 a commissioner with authority to determine whether the court should be held at Jordan's Journey or at Shirley Hundred.  

       In a 1628 will, William's father, John, left him lands, annuities, and 50 pounds sterling upon his return to England. He returned there in 1631 long enough to sell --  for 200 pounds -- the properties and annuities to his brother Henry Farrar, living in Berkshire. The names of Cecily his wife and Cecily and William, two of his children, appear in the deed. Another son, John, was born in 1632.
      William Farrar died in 1637 before 11 June, the date on which his son William received a patent in Virginia as his heir for 2000 acres in Henrico County.

     Both sons did well. William, born in 1627, was a captain of militia in 1655, a justice of Henrico County in 1657, and a member of the House of Burgesses in 1660 and from 1661 to 1676 before dying between 1676 and 1678.  
     John was also prominent in Henrico County as a lieutenant colonel of militia, justice from 1677 when county records began, sheriff in 1683, and a burgess from 1680 to 1682 and in 1684 before dying about 1685. The life of their sister, Cecily, is more difficult to follow with any certainty.


1. "Ancestry of William Farrar of Henrico County, Va", by Mrs Henry Cook and Mrs Louis Buckley; Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol 50, pp 350 359
2."General Historie", by John Smith, 1624, Vol IV; p. 149; published in "The Complete Works of Captain John Smith", edited by Philip L. Barbour; Vol II, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 1986

Nov 04