CAPTAIN SAMUEL JORDAN
by Joseph Luther
Captain Samuel Jordan was from Dorsetshire in England, the son of Thomas Jordan. He was a member of the Virginia Company. In June of 1609, he set sail from Plymouth Harbor, bound for Virginia. He was a passenger on the Sea Venture, one of the nine ships which, in all, contained some 500 settlers, known as the "Third Supply" (Virkus, 1942; Carrington, 1924). According to tradition, his voyage to the New World became the basis for Shakespeare's play The Tempest.
The fleet was "caught in the tail of a hurricane" in the Atlantic. Of the original nine ships, one was sunk, and the flagship - the Sea Venture - bearing Samuel Jordan, was wrecked off the coast of Bermuda, thus forming the basis of The Tempest. For three days and nights the crew of the Sea Venture worked to keep the ship from foundering on the rocks. Wedged on the craggy shore, the Sea Venture was secured long enough for the crew and passengers to escape and most of the cargo was salvaged.
The Sea Venture, the flagship of the Third Supply, carried Sir Thomas Gates, Governor of the Virginia colony. On board was one John Rolfe. Also on board was Sir George Somers, commander of the London Company's naval operations. Vice-Admiral Christopher Newport commanded the ship on which Samuel Jordan found himself wrecked.
Also among the passengers was one Silvester Jourdain, also of Dorsetshire, and therefore likely a relation of Samuel Jordan. It is probable that the first authentic news of the Sea Venture disaster to reach England was through Jourdain's pamphlet on the discovery of the "Barmudas" published in London in the Fall of 1610. Silvester Jourdain was the son of William Jourdain of Lyme Regis, Dorsetshire (Southall).
The company of the ship-wrecked community from the Sea Venture built a new ship from the salvaged remains, a pinnace named the Deliverance. They sailed to Virginia and arrived there in May of 1610. They found a desperate community (Hatch, 1957).
Those seven ships of the Third Supply, which had not been lost in the hurricane off Bermuda, had reached Virginia in August of 1609. For the survivors, the next year was known as the "starving time." The colony was reduced by disease and starvation from 300 to "a haggard remanent of 60 all told - men, women and children scarcely able to totter about the ruined village."
At the height of their despair, the pinnace Deliverance sailed up the James River in May of 1610. Meeting with the colony members, the decision was made to abandon the Virginia colony in the early summer of 1610. Just as the colonists were preparing to leave Virginia, Lord Delaware's three ships arrived bringing supplies, hope, and courage. The colony remained in Virginia. (Hatch, 1957)
Samuel Jordan is called "an ancient planter" of Virginia due to his early arrival in May of 1610. He established himself in Charles City County on the plantation known as Jordan's Journey. His home was called "Beggar's Bush," named for a play by Fletcher (Kornwolf, 1976). He was, at this time, more than 30 years of age. He does not appear again in the records of Virginia until 1619 when he was a representative to the first legislative session in Jamestown. Samuel Jordan and Samuel Sharpe, both survivors of "the tempest," sat side by side as the two representatives of Charles City (Carrington, 1924).
Another Jordan genealogy, The Family History of Charles Wesley Jordan of Georgia (Russey, 1971), notes that Samuel Jordan had four children in England by his first marriage. These children were Anne Marie who married Laurence Hulet; Robert who was killed by Indians in Virginia on 22 March 1672; Thomas, discussed later; and, Samuel, Jr.
In 1620, Samuel Jordan married Cecily Reynolds Bailey. She was a young woman of some international reputation. Much has been written about her various marriages and affairs. Arriving in Virginia in 1610 aboard the Swan, she was only ten years of age. Soon, she married William Bailey. Samuel Jordan later acquired a land grant near Bailey's Point, which had been owned by Cecily's husband. The daughter of William and Cecily Bailey was Temperance Bailey, born in 1617, who was named for Temperance Flowerdew, the future wife of General Yardley. (Nugent, 1934)
Apparently, William Bailey died soon after his marriage, for in 1620 Cicely married Samuel Jordan. Cicely's mother, in Dorsetshire, was Samuel Jordan's first cousin.
On 10 December 1620, Samuel and Cicely Jordan were given a land grant, by George Yardley, "Knight, Governor and Captain General of Virginia etc." Apparently, Samuel Jordan's patent ranks next in date to the earliest extant patent - which had been given to William Fairfax. The land adjoined those of John Rolfe and Pocahontas. They had been shipmates on the Sea Venture and now were were neighbors.
On 22 March 1622, Samuel Jordan brought his neighbors into his fortified dweling during the Indian raids. Many settlers were killed during this warfare, but Jordan managed to offer secure shelter to numerous families. Unfortunately, his own son, Robert, was killed in this attack.
Samuel Jordan died in 1623, leaving two children by his marriage to Cicely: daughters named Mary and Margery. Samuel Jordan also left a step-daughter, Temperance Bailey. He, of course, had four children born in Dorsetshire, including his son, Thomas Jordan.
Cicely went on to create a major scandal in her relations with Parson Pooley and William Farrar, whom she later married (Southall).
The location of Jordan's Journey may be found on the map at the present day Jordan's Point. A bridge on route 156 across the James River is very close to this point. The site of the Flowerdew One Hundred Plantation, which may be visited, is very close to the Samuel Jordan plantation site, as well as the George Jordan plantation site.
Son of Samuel Jordan
Thomas Jordan, son of Samuel, was born in 1600 in Dorsetshire. He came to Virginia in 1618 on the ship Diana. He was a soldier in the service of General Yardley (Torrence, 1979; Carrington, 1924)
In the census of 1624, Thomas Jordan is shown 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 Jordan.
Thomas Jordan was a member of the House of Burgesses, representing Warrosquoyacke (Isle of Wight County) in 1629, 1631, and 1632. He was a Commissioner in 1627. Soon after, he patented land in Nansemond in Surry County.
Thomas Jordan, whose wife's name is unknown, had at least three children as noted in Boddie's Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County Virginia: " Thomas Jordan Jr. who married Margaret Brasseure (Brashere); Richard Jordan of Isle of Wight who married Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher Reynolds; and a daughter who married Thomas Davis. Christopher Reynolds is, by the way, an ancestor of my mother's line. See the Reynolds Group in the Ramsey Book.
Thomas Jordan died in 1688 in Surry County. His will includes "a pair of very old Virginals and a bass viol."
Thomas Jordan's son, Thomas Jr., was born in 1634. This is the Thomas Jordan of Chuckatuck. He married Margaret Brashare (Brasseure) in 1660. She was the daughter of Robert Brashare and the sister of Mary Brashare who married Thomas Cocke, the grandson of Cicely Reyonds Bailey Jordan Farrar (Torrence, 1979).
Margaret Brashare was one of the first known converts to Quakerism in the Virginia colony. Soon after their marriage, she converted her husband, Thomas Jordan, 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."
During his life as a Virginia Quaker, Thomas Jordan suffered many indignities, imprisonment, and seizures of personal property as the Quakers were persecuted by the local authorities. He died in 1699. As his memorial notes, "... he stood in opposition against the wrong and decitful spirits, having suffered the spoiling of his goods and the iimprisonment of his body for ye truths sake, and continued in the truth unto the end of his days..."
This Thomas Jordan is often mistakenly confused with the Thomas Jordan who was the son of Arthur H. Jordan and nephew of LCol. George Jordan. A correct genealogy of this Thomas Jordan's line is shown on page 2268 of the Edward Pleasants Valentine Papers, as edited by Torrence (1979), in Harrison's (1910) The Harrisons of Skimino, and in J.B. Boddie's Historical Souhtern Families, Vol. IV, as well as Drew's (1981) Genealogies of Virginia Families.