This is the first post for a new year – 2019. I have been on the road and super busy this week, so I was all set to punt and republish a story about the first time I ever went to the library to research and my first ancestor discovery. But, starting the new year with a retread is lame, so maybe a short post about my first immigrant ancestor to this country would be in order.
While my wife, Kathleen, may have descended from a number of famous and infamous Mayflower immigrants (notably, the Billingtons), my ancestors were here to greet them when the Mayflower arrived.
Cicely Reynolds (b. 1600, England, d. about 1660, Virginia) is my first immigrant ancestor to the New World. She arrived in Jamestown in August 1611 aboard the Swan with Sir Thomas Gates. According to “The Second Boat”:
“Cecily Reynolds was born about 1600 at Waymouth, Dorsetshire, England, daughter of Thomas Reynolds and Cecily Fitzpen. Cecily arrived on August 1610 at Jamestown, VA on the ship “Swan” under the auspices of several near-relatives of Dorsetshire. She made her home with Capt. William Pierce and his wife, Joan. In 1615, in the Pierce home in Jamestown, VA, she married her first husband, Thomas Bailey. Thomas was a young Governor’s Guard and had come to Jamestown, VA in 1612. Thomas died of malaria in 1619, leaving their only child, Temperance, born 1617, which married Richard Cocke about 1632. Cecily Reynolds Bailey married (2) Samuel Jordan (of Jordan’s Journey) on 20 Sept 1620. The Jordons’ famous neighbors were, to the south, John Rolfe, who had married the young Indian Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan. After her death, Rolfe wed in 1619, Jane Pierce, daughter of Capt. William Pierce. John was killed by Indians in the 1622 “Great Massacre.” A neighbor to the north was Capt. John Woodlief who in 1619 hosted the first Thanksgiving in America at his Berkeley Plantation. Authentication to this as the first Thanksgiving – and not the one in 1621 in Plymouth Plantation – is contained in a mandate from the London Company to Capt. Woodlief, saying “We ordain the day of our ships’ arrival at the place for plantation on the land of Virginia (Berkeley Plantation) shall be yearly kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.” Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson officially recognized this event.”“The Second Boat”, vol. 12, number 4, Sept-Oct 1991
If you have ever studied the history of Jamestown, you might recognize that Cicely arrived at a particularly bad time. The harvest of 1611 was poor and that winter was known as The Dying Time. By the next spring, the settlement was reduced to just a handful of people. Those that were still alive were considering their options for abandoning the settlement.
Connie Lapallo has written a trilogy of historical novels, or maybe you would call them fictionalized histories, of Cicely and the women and children of Jamestown. These are fascinating and really provide a view into what things might have been like during those difficult first days. She also has some well thought out and well reasoned new ideas for Cicely’s ancestry in England and how she came to Jamestown. The first book in the series, “Dark Enough to See the Stars in a Jamestown Sky” traces Cicely and her arrival and first years in Jamestown. Take a look at this and Connie’s other books in the series
Cicely is also remembered for being the source of one of the first scandalous lawsuits in Jamestown. After Cicely’s second husband, Samuel Jordan, died, Cicely had a number of suitors. Apparently, Rev. Greville Pooley felt like she had engaged herself to marry him. So, when she married William Farrar instead, he brought suit for breach of promise. The suit is well documented in the colonial records.
Cicely Reynolds is the ancestor of a large number of famous families that can claim Jamestown lineage. She is my 10th great-grandmother:
- Susan Louise Bailey (1919-2006) m. Robert Harrison Dickson, Jr. (1919-2007) – my grandparents
- Charles Council Bailey (1868-1935) m. Viola Tennison (1875-1970)
- Hume Field Bailey (1829-1891) m. Sarah Louise Council (1837-1915)
- Francis Baker Bailey (1796-1855) m. Evalina Belmont Hill (1802-1854)
- Peter Cock Bailey (1765-1844) m. Sarah Baker (d. 1822)
- Roger Cocke Bailey (1727-1790) m. Mary Rennard (1732-1777)
- Temperance Cocke (1698-1770) m. Abraham Bailey, Jr. (1694-1774)
- William Cocke (1674-1717) m. Sarah Perrin
- Thomas Cocke (1638-1696) m. Agnes Powell
- Temperance Bailey (1617-1652) m. Richard Cocke (1597-1665)
- Cicely Reynolds (b. abt 1600, d. abt 1660) married Thomas Baley (b. abt 1580, d. 1619, Virginia)
So, there you have it. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would have been like to come to Jamestown and to live through all that, not only she and the Jamestown settlers, did, but the succeeding generations. That small group of settlers, the vast majority of whom died in their first years in the New World, laid the groundwork and foundation for us today. Hopefully, we can continue to live up to their ideal.