The first reference to 1 Thomas Farmer is in "The Living and The Dead in Virginia" "Att ye neck of land, Thomas Farmer, February 16, 1623", Hotten, pa. 170; again in the Muster roll of Settlers in Virginia 1624 "Thomas Farmer, age 30, in the Tryall 1616", Hotten, pa. 204. He came to Virginia four years before the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts. He survived the March 22, 1622 Indian Massacre in which over four hundred English settlers were killed.
The Neck of Land is an area of a thousand acres, more or less, that the James River meanders around, which is now called Farrars Island. It is located in Henrico Co., which was an original shire whose records are supposed to begin about 1632. Due to Bacon's Rebellion and conditions leading up to it few records of Henrico Co., are extant before 1676. The records that have been found that refer to 1 Thomas Farmer are Colonial records made before Henrico County was formed. He was a member of the House of Burgesses in Jamestown in 1629-30 from the "Plantation of the College and The Neck of Land", (Virginia State Archives, Henning's Statutes, Book 1, pa. 147) It is reasonable to believe he became a resident of Henrico Co., when "The Neck of Land" was made a part of that county in 1632.
The date of 1 Thomas Farmer's birth appears to be either 1586 or 1594 depending on the interpretation of the above information from Hotten, pa 204. If the former date, he would have been 71 when 2 Henry Farmer I was born in 1657. If the later date, he would have 63 when 2 Henry Farmer I was born. In either case it is entirely possible that he could have been the father of 2 Henry Farmer I. There is no record of 1 Thomas Farmer after 1624, except that he was a member of the House of Burgesses 1629-30 from the "Plantation of the College and the Neck of Land", which was on the frontier of English settlements at that early date. Counties had not been formed and records of births and marriages were not kept. It is possible that 2 Henry Farmer I was the grandson of 1 Thomas Farmer considering the difference in their ages. No record is extant of any other Farmer in that locality who might have been 2 Henry Farmer I's father. The proximity of "The Neck of Land" (Farrar's Island) where 1 Thomas Farmer lived to the Plantation of 2 Henry Farmer I on Proctor's Creek in what is now Chesterfield Co., only a few miles apart, and the fact that 2 Henry Farmer I named one of his sons Thomas, and that the name Thomas runs through succeeding generations are very strong evidence of the relationship. Mrs. A V D Pierrepont, professional genealogist, after two years of study and research of Farmer records, wrote that she firmly believed that 1 Thomas Farmer was the immigrant ancestor of the Henrico Co and the Chesterfield Co Farmers, based on the strong circumstantial evidence. Mrs. Pierrepont, in the process of tracing the line of ancestry of 6 Benjamin Farmer back to 1 Thomas Farmer, the immigrant, thru 2 Henry Farmer I, decided to trace the descendants of all of 2 Henry Farmer I's sons, who were : 3 Benjamin, 3 Thomas.
Mrs. Pierrepont proved the line of descent from 1 Thomas Farmer, the immigrant ancestor, to 6 Benjamin Farmer:
1.Thomas Farmer, b in England in 1586 or 1594. 2.Henry Farmer I, b in Henrico Co Va about 1657 (Henrico Records Book 5, p. 317) 3.Henry Farmer II, b. Henrico Co., Va., before 1696, died. 1753. 4.Elam Farmer, b. Henrico Co., Va., about 1725, died 1784. 5.Hezekiah Farmer, b. in Chesterfield Co., Va., about 1760, died 1826. 6.Benjamin Farmer, b. Chesterfield Co., Va., 1783, died in Kentucky June 8, 1837.
2 Henry Farmer I and his sons lived in the eastern part of Chesterfield Co., on Proctor's Creek near Farrars Island. Later generations lived in the central part of the county. By 5 Hezekiah's time many of them lived in the northwestern part of the county, known as the Skinquarter section, twenty miles northwest of the court house. In the latter part of the eighteenth century the Farmers began moving west and south to other Virginia counties and to other states.
The writer inspected two monuments erected on Farrars Island many years ago by the Association for The Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. One of the monuments commemorates the location of a town named Henricopolis for Henry, Prince of Wales, which was established by Colonial Governor Thomas Gates in 1611. After the Indian Massacre of March 1622, the town ceased to exist. The other monument commemorates the location of the "Plantation of the College Lands" which had been set aside by the London Company in the 1620's for the establishment of a college. The college lands extended from the falls in the James River, along the northern bank of the river southward ten miles, to "The Neck of Land" (Farrars Island). In 1618, the colonists obtained a charter from King James I for the "University of Henrico". It was never more than an idea; a tract of wild land and a charter from the King of England. After the Indian Massacre at Henricopolis in 1622, the plan for the University was put aside and not revived until 1692, when King William and Queen Mary established William and Mary College at Williamsburg, Va.
Henrico County, named in honor of Henry, Pricne of Wales, is the county in which Richmond is situated. Richmond is located at the falls (head of navigation) in the James River ten miles up from Farrars Island. Henrico Co., established in 1632, originally comprised the present Henrico and Chesterfield counties, but in 1749, Chesterfield was made a separate county. The James River separates the two counties. The records of 1 Thomas Farmer's descendants are Henrico Co., records until 1749, after which they are Chesterfield records for they lived across the James River from Farrars Island in the part of Henrico Co that became Chesterfield Co.