Larrison Family: Where Are the Clues Pointing Us?

I’ve rambled on now about the Larrison family for several days over the last week or so. Where has all this information gotten me? Well, there is no definitive answer yet about possible siblings George and Elsee Larrison or there parents, but there are a number of clues that have made themselves known. It’s time to recap some of the data.


Hunterdon County, NJ to Estill County, KY, about 650 miles
Source: Google Maps

There are two research questions – Is George Larrison the brother of Elsee Larrison? – and, if so – Who are the parents of George and Elsee Larrison?

Kentucky Clues

  1. Estill County, Kentucky records create a FAN club between the Stufflebeans, Larrisons, Stouts, Parkes, Ketchams, Barnes, Snowdens and Stewarts that all lead back to the Hunterdon County, New Jersey area.
  2. George Larrison’s known children include: Elsee, Abigail, George, David and William. Was Elsee named for George’s possible sister, Elsee Larrison Stufflebean?
  3. George Larrison first appears on an 1800 tax list in Madison County, Kentucky. He purchased land in Estill County, next door, in 1809. The Stufflebeans also lived in Estill County. He was born 1760-1770, based on census records. Given that daughter Elsee married David Stewart in Madison County in 1807, placing her birth year no later that 1793 and possibly as early as 1787, George was most likely born c1765 at the latest.
  4. Elsee Larrison deposed in 1844 that she was 82 years old, so born c1762.
  5. Elsee Larrison Stufflebean had many sons – William (thought to be her stepson), James, Michael, Andrew, Jacob, Hiram, Richard and John. James and Andrew, two of her oldest sons, have names that definitely never appear in the German Stufflebean clan. It also appears that the Stufflebeans lost at least two unidentified sons before they reached adulthood.
  6. Elsee Larrison Stufflebean’s youngest child, Richard, reported in 1880 that his father was born in New York (proven true) and his mother was born in Pennsylvania (possible, but New Jersey is also possible.)
  7. Elsee Larrison married (1) Joseph Ketcham and had at least one child, Joseph, born in the early 1790s, before Joseph Sr. died. The Ketchams have  a long FAN club association with the Larrisons stretching back into the mid 1600s in Newtown, New York.

While no direct evidence has been found proving that George and Elsee Larrison are siblings, I believe they most likely are. The strongest pieces of preponderance of evidence are (1) that they are in the same FAN club by marriage connections and neighborhood, (2) are both born in the 1760s, (3) are the only known Larrisons (not a common surname in  itself) anywhere in Kentucky and (4) George’s eldest daughter was named Elsee.

That pretty much sums up the crumb trail in Kentucky. At this point, I would be very surprised to discover that they were NOT siblings!

New Jersey Clues

Connecting George and Elsee to parents is a totally different conundrum with a chasm called Pennsylvania in between them and New Jersey. First, we need to review New Jersey evidence.

Cutting to the chase in New York and New Jersey means accepting for the moment that William Larrison who died in 1749 was most likely a son of John Larrison and grandson of James Larrison, the immigrant. There has been no finding of evidence that would negate that belief and it actually has no bearing on the possible parentage of George and Elsee.

1. William Larrison, born probably in the 1670s or 1680s, removed from Newtown, New York to what became Hunterdon County, New Jersey in the early 1700s and appears on a Hunterdon County tax list in 1722. He died in 1749, leaving a will that named: eldest son James, William, Thomas, John and George, in that order. He also named daughter Elizabeth Stout and made her husband, David, executor of his will. A codicil written on the same day as his will further identified daughters Martha Hyde, Mary Higgins, Rebeckah Brittain, Deborah Shippey and Keziah Van Tilburg. Because he named his son-in-law, and his own son John (NOT James), as executors, I believe Elizabeth was one of his oldest children and David was likely older than William’s other children, too. Birth years for William’s children are only estimates, but I believe the estimate that James was born c1695 is too early. There is no mention of a previous wife and his known wife, Keziah Parke, was said to have been born c1717. Their children’s births began about 1737. I believe James Larrison was more likely born about 1710-1715. If no other children were born in between those surviving and the children were born approximately every 2 years, then we can estimate, if sons were named in birth order: Elizabeth, born c1710, James c1712, William c1714 (and died 1777), Thomas, c1716, John, c1718 and George c1720, Martha c1722, Mary c1724, Rebeckah c1726, Deborah c1728 and Keziah c1730. Yes, I’ve seen birth dates for some of these children, but no documentation to support their sources, so I am sticking with my estimated dates. I also realize that the sons and daughters except for eldest son James and likely eldest daughter Elizabeth were mixed in terms of birth order, but this gives a visual picture of the range of years. If James was really born c1695, then the range would be Elizabeth c1697, James c1699, William c1701, Thomas c1703, John c1705, George c1707, Martha c1709, Mary c1711, Rebeckah c1713, Deborah c1715 and Keziah c1717. Both of these alternatives seem to be reasonable.

2. William’s son, James, married Keziah Parke, c1734 and had a SUPPOSEDLY well documented family (but I find no documentation for family members): John, born 1737; married Mary Pelton, but had no children; Andrew, born 2 February 1739; died c1800; married (1) Miss Green (2) Lavina Severns; William, born 24 January 1741; died 21 October 1816; married Francina Blackwell; Anne, born 11 February 1743; married Judge Jared Sexton; Roger, born 1745; married Lenar?; Elizabeth, born 1747; married Aaron Runyon; Catherine, born 1750; married (1) Benjamin Sexton, 24 November 1779 (2) Benjamin Parke; Achsah, born 1752; married John Humphrey; Elijah, born 1754, died 26 October 1827; married Elinor Stout; David, born 8 March 1757, died 29 November 1800, married Jerusha Smith.

3. Little is known about William’s sons, John Larrison and George Larrison, although it has been remarked that George is thought to have gone to Pennsylvania.

4. George Larrison married Abigail Moone, daughter of Dr. Jacob Moone, of Somerset County, New Jersey, who left a will in 1740 identifying them and their daughter, Keziah Larrison, who was to receive her bequest when she was 18 years old. It is not known whether this George is the son of William, but he is an excellent fit. If this George is the son of William, then he most likely was born no later than 1718 if he married at 21 and had one child in 1740.

5. William Maple married Keziah Larrison, daughter of George and Abigail, c1773. William Maple is enumerated in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1790. Also in Washington County are one John Larrison and one Philip “Catcham.” This John Larrison had a daughter, Nancy, born c1773, who married William Gibson and they moved on to Guernsey County, Ohio. John Larrison was then born no later than 1750 and possibly much earlier. Is he the son of William Larrison who died in 1749?

6. In 1840 John Stufflebean, Revolutionary War pensioner, was living in the home of David Snowden in Estill County, Kentucky. David’s father, David Snowden Sr., also served in the Revolution and lived in Washington County, Pennsylvania at that time.

7. John Larrison of Washington County, Pennsylvania appears on a 1781 tax list, owning 200 acres, 3 horses and 3 cattle, and again on a 1786 list. In 1790, there is one male over 16, three males under 16 and two females in his household. One of the females would be his daughter, Nancy. Is the other female his wife or a daughter? No way to determine that answer as he is not there in 1800.

8. Finally, although she was born much later, there is an Elsee Larrison, born c1804, who married Joseph Buren of Middlesex County, New Jersey. She is said to be the daughter of David Larrison and grandchild of William Larrison (who died 1777) and great grandchild of William Larrison who died i n1749. Elsee is most definitely a Larrison name passed down through the family.

To sum up the New Jersey clues, at first glance, given that Elsee Larrison Stufflebean had two older sons named James and Andrew, I would suspect that she, and George, might be descended from James Larrison and Keziah Parke. However, James’s and Keziah’s son George, born c1770, married Catherine Lambert, daughter of the New Jersey governor 1802-1804, John Lambert, and remained in New Jersey, as apparently did their other children.

Where do I got from here? Well, I mentioned that little chasm in the way of getting to Kentucky. In 1790, the following counties existed and were within striking distance of the Pennsylvania Road (today I-76) and are counties in which Larrisons – George and whoever else – might have lived in after they departed from New Jersey: Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Huntington, Lancaster, Mifflin, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Washington, Westmoreland and York. There are 19 counties in all, but it isn’t an overwhelming task.

Virginia Clue

While researching a totally different family, I was looking at entries on various pages and, totally by chance, my eye was drawn to one name in a list of many. It was in Chalkley’s volumes of the Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish. The name I saw was George LARSON in volume 2 on page 414. His name was included on a 1748 delinquent tax list and it said “not found.” That was the one and only entry for any name like Larson or Larrison so I have to wonder. Might George Larrison have meandered into Augusta County, Virginia for a while on his westward trek?

My plan? I will be trying the easy way first by checking indexes for land records, court minutes and probate, along with tax lists, hoping against hope that I can connect the dots together. Time will tell.

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