OF REDLANDS, CALIFORNIA  - Founded 24 January 1895




The Influence of the Farrer Family on the

Virginia Company and Self Governance

Few if any families were so deeply involved in the founding of Virginia, as the family of Nicolas Farrer Sr. We often see history on Virginia’s horrendous struggle to become established without the background story of the Virginia Company of London. The Company provided the colony its founding, funding, administrative and spiritual leadership.

The Virginia Company had battles of its own, which resulted in new management, which was largely influenced by the Farrers; but ultimately the problems stemming from Sir Thomas Smyths’ administration could not be overcome, and the charter was revoked. None-the-less by 1624 the colony was stabilized and the great adventure was assured.

This paper abbreviates the trials of the Company and the Farrer family’s dedication to the establishment of Virginia and its representative government.


Ron Burgess Biography


Ron holds degrees in fine arts and business from the University of Colorado. Upon graduation he started a retail specialty store, which grew to seven stores in metro Denver.

He took a position with a national consulting firm in 1982, which eventually brought him to the home office in Riverside where he was Director the Management Services Division which included new product development and continued training for 120 field consultants.

Ron started his own management consulting practice in 1989, where he still spends the bulk of his time. Ron, son Jon, and wife Molly started RedFusion Media in 1999. Today it is the leading web design and Internet marketing company in the Inland Empire.

Ron has published over 100 articles on business strategy and marketing management, and today he gives his third Fortnightly paper.



The Influence of the Farrer Family on the

Virginia Company and Self Governance




                                    Presented to the Fortnightly Club of Redlands
November 5, 2009

Ronald L. Burgess


Momentous trends are not often noticed at the time, and so those with foresight and fortitude are not always given up to history. Big ideas are rarely the property of one person, as mankind builds upon the shoulders of previous generations.

The Farrer family was instrumental in the very way of life we enjoy in the United States, and fits this description. Today the family is obscure and all but forgotten in the dialogue that surrounds the history of the making of our nation at its very conception. 

This extraordinary family is the one of Nicholas Farrer the elder. He and four sons, played roles in the governance, management and early settlement of the Virginia Colony and Company; John, Nicholas Jr., William and Robert. We focus on Nicholas Jr. here due to time constraints.

Today we trace much of our taste for self-governance back to Virginia’s House of Burgesses. Except for the in-depth study, we are content to read the names of Captain John Smith, the several Colony Governors, and the formal Sir John Smyth, Lord Southampton and Sir Sandys. But the innovation of self-governance (while always influenced by others) may well be the handiwork of the Farrers.


The harrowing crossing from Marsallis France ended on the Spanish Rivera, where Nicholas Farrer the younger disembarked dressed in the Italian garb he had acquired. Speaking the Italian language impeccability, he was an Englishman, who passed as a mercenary on his way to Flanders where the Spanish Flemish wars raged.

The year was 1618, a time of religious turmoil. With the inquisition still prevalent, given his Protestant faith and English heritage, could be troublesome in Spain. Young Farrer, made his way to the cultural heart of Madrid where his resources became exhausted. Upon careful investigation he was connected with a trusted Englishman possessing knowledge of his family in London, whereon he learned of family difficulties. He immediately resolved to head home by the shortest route possible.

This journey proved to be a trans-Pyrenees trip on foot, alone to St. Sebastian, where he would engage a ship to his homeland. With only a rapier for protection and his cunning masquerade as an Italian mercenary, he began the long trek overland.

His travels yielded much danger and blisters, but he arrived safely in St. Sebastian, only to be becalmed for a week until a small ship was able to set sail. Nicholas, having almost no resources convinced the ship’s captain that he was a seasoned sailor who would work for passage to Dover. His last leg brought him up the Thames to London, where he stepped onto the dock just three blocks from his father’s house. Exhausted and travel worn, for five long years, he turned onto Scythes Lane where the big house of his father known throughout London for his hospitality, sat in full command of the short street. The grand doors being unlocked, he stepped in rather than knock, whereupon the servant was startled from the great room and his father who was receiving guests stepped forward to inquire who he was.

Falling to his knee, his long hair obscuring his face and dressed in the common clothing of a Spaniard; unable to recognize this person, the elder did not approach. But the younger said, Father, “I beg you for your blessing and good wishes, as I am returned from five years abroad,” thereby interrupting the meeting being held at that moment in the Great Room.

For months the great house on Scythes Lane had been the regular meeting place of the administrating group of the Virginia Company of London. The likely attendees were the Earl of Southampton, Sir Wriothesley, (the famous Shakespeare supporter), Sir Edmond Sandys, brother John Farrer, several company stockholders and on occasion Sir Walter Raleigh, Richard Hawkins- and years previously Sir Francis Drake , intimates of his father.

The Great Room had frequently been graced by the greatest Merchant Adventurers of history, and the exhausted pious; greatly humble younger Nicholas had arrived and disturbed the auspicious group. But to his surprise, he was warmly greeted (with full knowledge of his potential). He was immediately enlisted in their service, for the Virginia Company of London was in a dire situation.




Like his father John, Nicholas Farrer, the elder was a merchant.  Both held the prestigious position of Master of the Skinners Guild in London. Skinners controlled the trade of tanned skins and furs. Furs were prized for the fashion and the position they represented, being reserved by royal order, certain kinds of furs for specific class status in life. As a controlled trade, it was possible to do well especially when in some favored position of the crown.

The Farrers were a very ancient family begun in England by Henri de Ferrieres, stupendously rewarded for his part with the horsemen in 1066 by William the Conqueror. Over the centuries they had intermarried with royal lines throughout western Europe. The lavish wealth was long gone, but the Farrer name retained its nobility and prestige even into the sixteenth century.

As the elder Nicholas gained wealth, he became well acquainted with Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, and other merchant adventurers and explorers. Investing in the East India Company he and other gained vast wealth. He put this wealth to many causes, he was a very religious man, supporting Reverent White in his local church, reseating and remodeling the building, just a block from his Great house on Scythes Lane. He educated his children with the best tutors, and sent them to Cambridge and Oxford. He invested heavily in the Virginia Company, and later gifted money to educate and baptize Native Americans.

His sons, Erasmus and William, became barristers (attorneys), but young Nicholas was somewhat a child prodigy. At age 13 he entered Clare Hall – Cambridge where he completed his degree and advanced degrees by age 20. His intellect, fed by tireless study, devotion and organization, advanced Nicholas to become a physician and learned scholar in divinity.

While studying at Clare Hall, in 1606, his father joined those petitioning the king for charters to explore and settle what had become known as North America above Spanish Florida. Two charters were granted; one was the Plymouth Company and the other the London Company of Virginia. Nicholas the elder would invest substantially in the London Company.

In 1613 he was advised due to his frail body and bouts of distemper, to travel abroad before taking a position at Cambridge. He was introduced to Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I, who had just married the Duke of Palatine, and were traveling back to Europe, so he had the opportunity to become attached to their procession.

Arriving in Holland instead of visiting the usual privileged haunts he busily met with different denominations and faiths located in the liberal Amsterdam. As his hosts turned south toward the Palantine, Nicholas broke from them and chose to travel first through upper Germany.

On this way to Hamburg, his one-eyed carriage driver called attention to three rotted corpses hanging from chains in a tree. “Those three scoundrels attacked a young English merchant and myself and stole our property, then later were apprehended and hanged here where we were abducted.”  Nicholas had heard the story already, for the English merchant was his brother Richard, who had previously written him about it, mentioning his driver, a dependable servant with a “patch on one eye.”

In Hamburg he was kindly welcomed and entertained by English merchants upon whom he had “bill and letters of credence” to deliver whatever money he needed, obviously leveraging his fathers reputation for trade on the continent. He relished the centers of learning in each kingdom, and sought out the ablest masters to teach him their mysteries, among other curious arts was “artificial memory.” The Germans were exquisite mechanics and to every trade he tried an apprenticeship for a week or fortnight.  His vocabulary was such that he could dialogue with an architect in his own phrases or a mariner in their sea terms knowing the word of every rope and pin in the ship. Free time was spent reading the choicest German authors.

Visiting all the lesser courts he then carefully surveyed the imperial county and city of Vienna continuing to study forms of governments, philosophies, and religious nuances. 


He then moved toward Italy, stopping in Padua and Rome, as well as other regions before turning to Marseilles. Adventure and intrigue, as well as severe sickness punctuated the years as he studied from all who could teach him. This paper cannot cover these in detail.

Recovering from near death in Marseilles, with only his clothes, which resembled a knight of Malta, or Italian mercenary, Nicholas departed from Marseilles, having bought passage on a small English ship, to the coast of Spain.




The King granted the formation of two companies in 1606. The Virginia Company, being run by merchant adventurers led by the most celebrated Sir Thomas Smyth, was quick to put together a party to land in 1607. The Plymouth Company would require another twelve years before launching on the trip that would land on Cape Cod in 1620.

England had become a sea power by the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, but Spanish shipping and imports from the new world were still substantial. King James had recently negotiated a new treaty with Spain that opened up a generally peaceful settling of North America: so the English were emboldened and sent several exploratory “adventures” to North America where they would stay clear of the Spanish and at the same time search for the passage to the East Indies.

Planting colonies would accomplish several goals. First, they would state claim to their own land and perhaps build an empire as Spain had.

Second, they hoped to find gold and precious metals. Spain continued to import precious metals from South America. Third, they hoped to combat the Catholic converts of the Spanish by having Protestant converts of their own, desiring strongly to save the savages for Christianity, inhabiting the lands of what would be called Virginia. Religious attitudes were deep and polarized. The intent to treat the natives well and integrate them into the British system cannot be played down even if its priority would fall to third. Nearly everywhere the Spanish went they militarily subjugated and enslaved the natives. The British, on the other hand had a somewhat idealistic, but more noble intent for the time in which they lived. They would trade and embrace the natives.

The endeavor was an enormous undertaking for the times. No single person could finance such a huge adventure, so the Virginia Company became one of the first common stock companies the world had known.

Three ships were immediately outfitted for the trip. But many mistakes were made upon arrival. The location of Jamestowne had little fresh water; gentlemen thought their lot was to be served, so did not work, while others were ill equipped to deal with Indians. The worst early outcome was the divisiveness of the governing council, which proved to be the undoing of the first wave of settlers. The first three years and the next several waves of immigrants saw enormous casualties due mostly to starvation and mismanagement. All told, just one-sixth of the settlers survived until 1615 from the first thousand settlers. This is one of the worst attrition rates in any historical endeavor of large scale.

By 1609 a completely new round of financing and organization was necessary. New innovative ways to raise the enormous sums of money needed, spawned creative ways of fundraising. The company went to the guilds and asked for annual subscriptions of support. One was the Skinners Guild, headed by Nicholas Farrer Sr. and member Sir Thomas Smyth, first treasurer of the company.  The ownership would be divided by stock with dividends to be due in 1616.

Eventually, realizing that no gold would be found in the area, they understood that a new strategy of planting would be necessary to sustain the colony, and that they must eventually find a cash crop that would create value enough to repay the investors. In 1616 the dividend was due to investors, but the company was without any cash to make payments, so it traded land for the shares as its only asset was the land itself; the demand for which was buoyed by more settlers, and a new head right system that 50 acres was given to the financing party of an immigrate. By 1618, eleven years later the company was still raising funds to support activates to build up the colony.


The Treasurer, or principal official, of the Company at this time was Sir Thomas Smyth, whose corruption and inefficiency had dragged down its fortunes to a low ebb, while the high-handed action of his relative, Samuel Argall, the Governor, had willingly precipitated a crisis in the colony itself. The adventurers insisted that something must be done, and the imperative necessity for improved management was emphasized by the growth of a Spanish party at Court, which treated the infant colony as a possible rival to the older settlements of Spain in the New World; to be crushed at all costs.

The influence of the Spanish party seems surprising today, but it was probably just part of the political climate. The Spanish were not only protagonists, but the King’s excuse to bring forward his agenda as well. King James had been growing wary of the cost, loss of life, the rapidly growing tobacco trade, which he abhorred, as well as having to deal with growing voices from his most influential advisors and Parliament who were vested in the company. This turmoil lead to the removal of Sir Thomas Smyth, where in Sir Edwin Sandys and John Farrer were then elected as Treasurer and Deputy in early 1619. But the controversy did not cease. Rival factions in Parliament published papers on the state of the plantation.

Within two months of his return to London, and dramatic entrance to the big house, Nicholas the younger became fast friends with Sir Edward Sandys, to the extent that they were “seldom asunder.”   The meetings taking place, concerning the failing state of the company were due to new charges and investigations surrounding these issues. Nicholas had dropped into a hornet’s nest, one that clearly threatened the Farrer finances.

Sandys immediately began to better organize the company, with John Farrer as deputy. Nicholas became an unofficial secretary and prime advisor to Sandys and his brother. Many historians have focused on the governor as the policy maker; but in fact the Governor who generally resided in Jamestowne, was really the onsite manager of the colony who answered to the Treasurer of the Company, Edwin Sandys, who was the formal executive. Second in rank was the deputy, who was really the administrative officer of the company. So the onsite governor answered to the deputy and the treasurer.

Duties of the deputy treasurer included responsibilities of contracts and business arrangements relating both dispatch of shipping, provisions, and passengers, to take receipt, store, and market all cargoes from the colony. John Farrer replaced Alderman Johnson who was the target of some of the more serious charges. The issues include the mis-management of the magazine, or supply inventory. Accordingly a new audit was required as a result of Sir Thomas Smith’s years at the helm.

New Leadership

From this point on, the meetings of the Company were held at the “Big House.” The Ferrar mansion at St. Scythe’s Lane, where ‘Mr. Farrer, the father, from his singular affection for that Houourable Company, himself being one of the first adventurers on that plantation, and the Somers Islands, allowed them the use of his great hall, and other best rooms of his house, to hold their weekly and daily meetings.’ The new officers speedily put matters on a more businesslike footing, and kept regular records of their proceedings. Several early writers on the Farrers state “nobody who is familiar with the literary style of John Farrer and his brother can fail at every turn to recognize their handiwork.”

Sandys and the Farrer brothers quickly made changes. In the year of 1618, the population stood at 1000 persons. During the first year following the change, a total of 1261 emigrants left for Virginia, over 800 at the company’s charge. By the summer of 1622, the council announced that over 3500 people had migrated to Virginia since the spring of 1619. This remarkable record was a testimony to the very great gifts of Sandys and the Farrars.

But the actions that were perhaps much more important than the administration of the Company were the changes in governance. In 1611 in an effort to bring discipline, order and protection to the colony, Sir Thomas Dale was made marshal under the authority of Governor West. He ruled with a military discipline and forced colonists to work under peril of severe punishment. While he established Henrichus and managed to increase coordinated production, his subjects were disheartened and began to return to London rather than put up with his tyranny. He returned, with John Rolfe and Pocahantas to London in 1616.

The governance was outlined and directed by the Company, but the Governor had great latitude to govern the colony. Almost immediately the new Company administration of Sandys, Nicholas Farrer, and his brother John, began to develop a new constitution, under which the first representative assembly convened in America and met on July 30, 1619. Governor Yardley had arrived in Jamestowne with explicit instructions to completely overhaul the governance of Virginia.

 The system they developed included a Governor, a three-man council and a new body called the House of Burgesses. The new body similar to parliament would become the tool that elected representatives from each city or county would come to protect as an expression of freedom from mother country.  It was the first elected representative government in the new world. The writing style and structure of the orders were clearly the voice of Nicholas. Sandys was supportive in the effort, but likely the Farrers did the heavy lifting.


In the year 1618 brother William Farrer, sailed to the new world. Record of his immediate activities in Virginia have been lost to date, but is clear in later years that he played an important part in the colonies’ development. One sees the opportunity to inspect the policies and practices of the local government at a time of such turmoil. William a bold and gracious man, an barrister, would obviously have the insight for investigation and the influence of his brothers and old family friend Treasurer Sandys to open doors.

Nicholas had always been extraordinary, and he was now able to utilize his genius to better purpose than ever. Therefore it is not very surprising to find him thanked, along with his brother John, in the Treasurer’s first Annual Review, delivered in the spring of 1620, when we read:

“He could not but very greatly commend Mr. Deputy for
his fidelity, care, and industry, who, neglecting his private
business, had employed his whole time, together with the
great help and assistance of his brethren, in performing so
well his charge, full of incredible trouble.”

A few weeks later, there appeared an admirable apology for the Company, put forth with a view to encountering the slanders disseminated by the “Spanniolising faction” and the malcontents, led by the ex-Treasurer, Sir Thomas Smyth, entitled, A Declaration of the State of the Colonie and Affaires in Virginia, issued by “His Majesties Counsel for Virginia,” which again “bears every mark of being the handiwork of Nicholas Farrer.” It is a crisp and business-like array of facts, marshaled with a keen eye to their relative importance and cumulative effect—the work of a ready and practiced writer and clear thinker, of one who knew the world, and could take broad and far-sighted views of the great problems of statesmanship.”   At that time Nicholas Farrer was then only twenty-seven years of age.

The year 1620 began with new challenges.  Auditors and the new administration found discrepancies of £3000 in the accounts of Sir Thomas Smyth, who, with his friends, was therefore active in trying to discredit Sandys’ administration. The Spanish faction had so effectually influenced the King, that he took the serious step—in direct contravention of the Company’s patent—of prohibiting the re-election of Sandys to the Treasurership after his first year of office, and of requesting the Court to elect one of his own.

The “quarter court” which was the mandatory quarterly meeting of the Virginia Company council held in Westminster, in May of 1620, adjourned without electing a treasurer. Instead they appointed a committee to “acquaint the King with the true facts regarding the managing of their business this last year.”   Nicholas, on the other hand was overwhelmingly elected as Deputy.

Southampton presided in Sandys’ absence, but evidence exists that he acted as before. However John and Nicholas Farrer were actually running the Company business, so the formal head was probably of no consequence.  This is evidenced by several lavish compliments by Sandys and Southampton about Nicholas, Sandys said. “with so much presence of mind, and yet with so much deference and submission to his majesty. . we acknowledge the merits of this person and are please to say he well understood state affairs and that it was fit he should be taken off this business and employed in higher. For though I wore the noble name yet this must be the man to act for him and them too.”

Satisfying the challengers and defending the Company from stiff opposition fell primarily to Nicholas. At one point a full account was demanded to be produced in just four days. Nicholas worked non-stop to prepare an excellent report pulling many documents together to form one well organized document. Completing his report Sunday morning, he turned the report over to three scribes to re-write and produce an exact copy. The report defending the Company’s action was completed just in time to deliver it Monday morning. All were astonished at this feat. Nicholas surmised that the report would not be returned, and his guess was correct, the material and other documents have not been found to this day. However Nicholas held a complete copy, which would prove to assist him later in court and preserve the historic record.

 Even during this discontent in London, many developments in addition to self-governance and emigration policy were developed. Named Virginia after the new colony was John and Nicholas’ niece Virginia Collet. She, having many intellectual curiosities similar to Nicholas’ still as a teenager, researched and promoted the development of silkworm farming. The colony, able to grow Mulberry trees, seemed a natural fit. She along with John drew and published one of the earliest maps of Virginia, still in existence.

Additionally between 1620 and 1622 a glass foundry and iron foundry were each established, and the long planned university where Indians would be educated was patented. Ten thousand acres were set aside on the west of Henrico (the location of Farrer’s Island today) at Coxendale, and buildings were being constructed by 1622.

Tobacco had become the major cash crop of the colony. John Rolfe developed a milder strain than what was grown by the Native Americans by about 1612. Friends brought several strains to him from several locations. He settled on the Oronoco strain, though to be from Trinidad. Early husbandry was in Henricus, and then produced on Rolf’s plantation just north in Varnia.

Henricus, was the second town developed in the colony. In 1611 Sir Thomas Dale had located a longer term more defendable location for a city. He placed his new city some 51 miles up the James River on a hill that formed a long peninsula, around which the James River flowed. From its perch looking east down the river, it could command the river should the Spanish attempt a confrontation.

The famed Pocahontas daughter of Chief Powhatan was kidnapped to hold as a hostage against attack. She was held in Henricus, where she converted to Christianity. Enamored with her, John Rolfe asked Governor Dale for her hand in marriage, creating a peace between Powhatan and the colony.

The narrow peninsula where Henricus was established was at some point turned into an island by cutting a narrow channel at the narrowest point. This may have been for defensive purposes. The island was renamed in the late 1630’s as an honor to the late William Farrer by the House of Burgesses, and is known today as Farrer’s Island.

Acknowledge John Farrar here ( two hundred years)

As previously stated, William sailed to Virginia in 1618. His early location is not known, but he shows up in the record again in 1622. By 1622 Pocahontas had sailed to London she died on the return trip. Her father was also dead and his brother who was still bitter from previous conflicts then ruled the kingdom. With Pocahontas gone, had no Opechancanough binding reason for peace.

Since Captian John Smith, relations with the Native Americans were not friendly despite the times when trading did occur. Atrocities occurred on both sides, but the peace while Pocahontas and Rolfe were married had lulled the British into a hope for the dream that they would Christianize and educate the Native Americans; the dream that was one of the foundations of old Nicholas Farrer. Over the years of the early 1620’s, the two sides traded, worked together and developed friendships. The colonists loaned tools, hired workers and fed them at their tables. But saw an opportunity to drive the British from their native land. So at an appointed time and hour on Palm Sunday 1622, in a coordinated attack, the Indians took hoes, hatchets, shovels and rocks and suddenly sprang from the dinner table, field or woods and attempted a complete reversal of the British successes. On that infamous day nearly one-third of the British men women and children were murdered.

William Farrer was living in the Henricus area, one of the most western areas of settlement, and likely had no palisade or fortifications. Only he escaped. Ten others were slain. It is not fully understood if this location was part of Henricus or separate, but both he and Henricus were virtually wiped out. We do know that William escaped to the river in a canoe and rowed most of the night downstream to Jordan’s Journey, a fortified plantation twenty miles down stream. Here he found refuge with the mistress Cisile Jordan, a widow with three children and some two-dozen others living on her plantation. It seems that they were one of the very few plantations with little loss due to the fortifications around the main buildings. Nicholas later married Cislie and had two boys who became stalwarts of the west end, and were representatives in the House of Burgesses.

One Christianized Indian who rowed across the James River to warn them saved Jamestowne itself. Contact between the too cultures enabled the natives to understand the significant date that was chosen by Opechancanough , Palm Sunday.  Progress toward lasting peace may have been forestalled on this one fateful day.

The shock of the 1622 massacre reached London during the audits and issues with the king and Sandys detractors. Much was made of the unready nature of the colonists, which further strengthened the Kings arguments. Little defense was made for the massacre; even Nicholas Farrer wrote a very rare harsh letter to the governor admonishing the lack of preparation.

Three hundred and fifty were killed in the massacre, and another 500 as a result of the dislocations caused by the massacre and burning of food stores.

The die was cast: on May 24, 1624 the court recalled the London Company of Virginia charter, and it was no more. Hundreds lost their entire investment, as the government simply took control of all Company assets and finances.

The Farrer family, was heavily vested in the company, in cash and emotional currency. The King placed the Virginia Governor in his charge and set up a Virginia privy council of three, modeled on his own government. Oddly he left the House of Burgesses in place, although it was called to session at the wish of the Governor. The locals had become fond of a little self-governance, and soon came to expect it as part of being Virginian.

The grave issues that brought the Company down amazingly did not long tarnish the Farrers. The King, especially for young Nicholas, declared the strong esteem for hard work and intellect.  In that 1624 Nicholas, “without the least endeavor or seeking it, was by the means of some lords in the Virginia Company chosen a member of the House of Commons” by a large contingent where he served admirably. Both John and Nicholas served on the King’s Virginia Commission from 1631-1634.

The character of Nicholas Farrer as a public man has been worthily summed up by the American historian, Bancroft, in words upon which it would be hard to improve:

“Nicholas Farrer was one of the least selfish men that ever
lived ... the conduct of business gradually fell into the hands
of the latter [Nicholas Farrer], who proved himself able and
indefatigable in business, devoted to his country and its
Church, at once a Royalist and a wise and firm upholder of
English liberties. ... English character nowhere showed itself
to better advantage than in the Virginia Company after
the change in its direction.”

Upon the losses of shares in the Virginia company, Nicholas Jr. was made Executor of the family estate and he removed his mother, John’s family and his sister Mary Collett’s family to an ancient abandoned manor in Huntingtonshire called Little Gidding. The plague was upon London and he moved the family to the country, while he stayed in London even when 4000 died each week.

Harkening back to his youth he desired a pious life of study and prayer. He became a deacon in the still forming Church of England, and repaired the little church on the estate so that it became a chapel that exists today. His life in Little Gidding was just as remarkable in the religious world as his secular life had been. The subject of Nicholas’s time in Little Gidding would require a paper as lengthy as this. And so I summarize the rest of his life working on reconstruction, restoration and doctrinal order of the Church of England as stated by historian and biographer H. P. K. Skipton:

“A life of self-devotion which should revive in the Church of England the best and essential features of the monastic and ascetic ideal, he did so to such purpose as to regain definitely for that Church a rightful heritage of which it had been in grievous peril of permanently losing.

Nicholas the younger died and was buried at Little Gidding in 1636.

John living in Little Gidding published the map of Virginia in 1657, which his neice probably drew.

This less well-known brother Richard emigrated to Virginia in 1636, around the time of the settlement of their fathers estate. He initially located on the James River at a place called Curles Neck. This odd geographic feature was in Varnia, where Rolfe had settled and much tobacco was grown by then. It was also immediately adjacent to Farrer’s Island It would have been an easy walk from one to the other. William died the following year leaving two sons, who both served the in the House of Burgesses and were officers in the militia. William’s family lived on the Island for over two hundred years.

Richard survived the second Indian massacre in 1644 but died in 1647 leaving three young children. The two boys Richard and William were noted in local government and court issues, and like their cousins, they each had descendents who fought as officers in the Revolutionary War, on America’s side, finally winning back the Virginia their ancestors had lost to King in 1624, 150 years before.

In the century and one-half until the American Revolution, Virginians had set a model of practical independence, even though they still remained emotionally tied to the crown. The idea of a representative government was bred into the educated classes. Other new states would model their colonies around the example of the first colony.  The practice of allowing anyone who would settle and work the land an opportunity to increase his wealth, was a direct result if his own work.

The extraordinary Farrer Family, Nicholas Senior and Junior, John, Richard, and Virginia Collette, are nearly unknown today, and individually do not stand with the giant personalities of Virginia history. However perhaps they do represent the single family who collectively influenced the entire development of the Virginia Company and the colony until it was finally a reality.



Nicholas Farrer By Doctor Jebb page 255

Social life of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century. Philip Alexander Bruce, P. 81

The Virginia Company of London, 1606-1624, Wesley Frank Graven, Clearfield Company Inc. Baltimore MD, 1957.

Nicholas Farrer By Doctor Jebb page 255Page 238

The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown, She sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America, Lorrr Glover and Dianiel Blake Smith, Hold and Company 2008, P 55.

Life and Times of Nicholas Farrer, Skipton P 27

The Virginia Company of London, 1606-1624, Wesley Frank Graven, Clearfield Company Inc. Baltimore MD, 1957.p 39-40

Nicholas Farrer By Doctor Jebb page 255-256

ibid, P42

ibid., P. 43

The Life and Times of Nicholas Farrer by H. P. K. Skipton (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1907)

ibid., p 40

ibid, p.

The Virginia Company of London, 1606-1624, Wesley Frank Graven, Clearfield Company Inc. Baltimore MD, 1957. Page 47

The Life and Times of Nicholas Farrer by H. P. K. Skipton (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1907)

Henricus Historical Park, Henrico County Va. From the re-enactors.

Henricus Historical Park, Henrico County Va. From the park curators.

The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown, She sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America, Lorrr Glover and Dianiel Blake Smith, Hold and Company 2008, P 259-261.

The Virginia Company of London, 1606-1624, Wesley Frank Graven, Clearfield Company Inc. Baltimore MD, 1957. p 55.

The Life and Times of Nicholas Farrer by H. P. K. Skipton (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1907) p 42

Nicholas Farrer By Doctor Jebb page 273

The Life and Times of Nicholas Farrer by H. P. K. Skipton (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd., 1907) p 65

In 1617, John Rolfe shipped to England the first cargo of the crop that would define Virginia’s economy and society throughout the seventeenth century.  The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown, She sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America, Lorrr Glover and Dianiel Blake Smith, Hold and Company 2008, P 232

Additional Sources:

  • The Virginia Company of London, 1606-1624, Wesley Frank Craven , 1957, Clearcreak Company Inc.
  • Head and Heart-A History of Christianity in America, Gary Wills, 2007, The Penguin Group
  • The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown-The Sea Ventrue Castaways and the Fate of America, Lorri Glover and Daniel Blake Smith, 2008, Henry Holt and Company
  • What Hath God Wrought-The Transformation of America 1815-1848, Daniel Walker Howe, 2007, Oxford University Press
  • The Cousins’ Wars-Religion, Politics, & The Triumphof Anglo-America, Kevin Phillips, 1999, Basic Books, a member of Perseus Books Group
  • The Virginia Dynasties, Clifford Dowdey, 1969, Bonanza Books, New York
  • The Jamestwon Project, Karen Ordahl Kupperman, 2007, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
  • Founding Mothers & Fathers- Gendered Power and the forming of American Society, Mary Beth Norton, Vintage Books, 1996, Random House, New York
  • Mayflower - A Story of Courage, Community and War, Hathaniel Philbrick, 2006, Viking
  • A Great and Godly Adventure-The Pilgrims and the Myth of the First Thanksgiving, Godfre Hodgson, 2006, Perseus Books Group
  • Slave Nation-How Slavery United the Colonies & Sparked the American Revolution, Alfred W. Blumrosen and Ruth G. Blumrosen, 2005, Soiurcebooks Inc.
  • The Americans; The Colonial Experience, Daniel J. Boorstin, 1958, Vintage Books

Home Page

Copyright © 2007 The Fortnightly Club of Redlands, California 
Website maintained by RedFusion Media