Okay, this might qualify as only a possible fascinating find, since I don’t yet have a definitive answer, but this clue that I found has definitely fascinated me. Here it is.
While recently corresponding with a fellow genealogist, we chatted about Revolutionary War pensioner John Stufflebean and his wife, Elsie/Elsee Larrison. They likely married shortly after their 12 August 1795 marriage bond was posted in Bourbon County, Kentucky.
John had lost his young wife, Priscilla Ross, shortly before that and Elsie was a widow, married to a Mr. Ketchum. It appears that Elsie and her first husband had one son, Joseph, born about 1794 if his age is correct in the 1850 census. Joseph is the only Ketchum who appears in any early Kentucky records so his father’s name is a mystery. If the Ketchums had any other children, their names have been lost to time, if they even survived childhood.
My genealogy correspondent mentioned that he thought Elsie Larrison was from Pennsylvania, and Washington County, in particular. I had also seen that information, but it is unsourced and undocumented. It’s just “out there” and has been for years – even before the internet.
Larrison isn’t a terribly common name in colonial America. Most were living in New Jersey in the 1700’s from what I could tell. Since Elsie Larrison might not have been married to Mr. Ketchum in 1790, it seemed like that census might be a good place to begin with online searching.
The 1790 census search for “Lar*ison” brought up only two hits. “Lar*ason” brought up no hits. One was for John Larrison of. . . . . Washington County, Pennsylvania. I have no idea if this census enumeration is the origin for the statement that Elsie Larrison was from Washington County. This John Larrison was head of a household with six members, four males with only one male over 16, plus two females. This appears to be a husband and wife with four children, so it is possible they could be Elsie’s parents.
By 1800, the only “Lar*ison” who comes up at all is Isaac Larrison of Bethlehem, still in Washington County, Pennsylvania. He is aged 26-44 with one female aged 16-25, three males under 10 and one female under 10 so this is a young family.
Next, I looked for Ketchums, using “K*ch*m.” 104 hits came up with 5 in Connecticut, 3 in North Carolina, 6 in Vermont, 5 in Massachusetts, 3 in New Hampshire and 2 in Pennsylvania. Both of the Pennsylvania hits were in Allegheny County.
It was interesting to discover that Allegheny and Washington Counties border each other. If these are the correct Larrison and Ketchum families, they might have lived near the county line.
However, I tried one more search and this is my Fascinating Find. Remember to think outside the box when looking for chinks in those brick walls. I tried a new wild card search: “C*ch*m.” Only one hit came up, but it was for a man living in Washington County, Pennsylvania.
This is probably the same Philip Ketcham living in Greene County, Pennsylvania in 1800. Greene County is just south of Washington County, in the southwest corner of the state.
I now have a Larrison family living in the same county at the same time as a Ketchum family and there are two additional Ketchum families in a bordering county.
This tiny clue might prove to be the breaking down of a long-time brick wall. You can bet that this is on my “to do” list for further research. I will keep you posted on any future discoveries.