Taking a Closer Look at George Larrison of Estill County, KY and a Ketcham Migration NJ to KY

A few days ago, I began looking for new clues that might help identify the parents, siblings and/or first husband (Mr. Ketcham) of Elsee Larrison Stufflebean.

It seems likely that Joseph Ketcham, born in the early 1790s, was the son and only child of Mr. Ketcham, who died sometime before Elsee married John Stufflebean in August 1795 in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

I’ve found several more tantalizing tidbits that seem to relate to the Ketcham family and the Larrisons.

Remember, these are only potential clues because the information is found on several of the many questionable online family trees.

First, the FamilySearch family tree includes a Joseph Ketcham, born around 1715 and who might have married Gertrude Johnson. They reportedly became the parents of nine children, including Joseph Ketcham Jr., who died as a young man. It wasn’t known if he died during the Revolution or where he actually died. However, Joseph Jr. was reportedly born 30 March 1751 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Nothing apparently is known about whether or not he was married.

This young man looks like an excellent candidate to be the husband of Elsee Larrison. You might think I am jumping to conclusions, which maybe I am, BUT and this is a big but, this Ketcham family migrated to – – – – – Shelby County, Kentucky ——after the close of the war. Whether or not this man was her husband, I don’t know, but the family is living in Hunterdon County, New Jersey in the same time period as the Larrisons AND they all migrated to Kentucky by 1800.

It is claimed that Joseph the father migrated to Kentucky with the family, but I haven’t been able to document that. The first Ketcham that appears in Shelby County records is Daniel Ketcham, who is supposed to be a son of Joseph and Gertrude.

Daniel Ketcham appears in not one, not two, but THREE records in 1800 in Shelby County. He bought land, sold land and is the first Ketcham to show up in any Shelby County record.

To sum up all this Ketcham data, what is important to this mystery is that Ketchums lived near Larrisons in New Jersey during the same time period – pre-Revolutionary War years.

Now it’s time to take a closer look at George Larrison who first appears in Madison County, Kentucky on the 1800 tax list and remains there until 1809, when he purchased 200 acres of land in Estill County and appears on the tax list for that county.

George Larrison, coincidentally or maybe not, first appears in Kentucky in 1800, like the Ketchams, but George is on the 1800 tax roll for Madison County. In those early days of settlement, counties were much bigger than their modern counterparts and Jefferson County (from which Shelby was set off) was not terribly far away and located slightly to the northwest of Madison County.

A number of different wives’ names have been attributed to George Larrison, but the truth is that no primary source giving her name has been found (by me) in Kentucky.

George bought 200 acres of land in what became Estill County in 1809. No wife’s name is included in the purchase. He sold off 40 of those acres in 1830. Again, no wife’s name is given and no dower rights are mentioned. He sold off the remaining 140 acres in 1833, with no wife or dower mentioned here, either.

Gilead Roop to George Larrison
Deed Book A:187-188
Estill County, Kentucky

George Larrison to Henry Roach
Deed Book D:398
Estill County, Kentucky

George Larrison to Frederick Wills (Wells?)
Deed Book E:304
Estill County, Kentucky

I am not going to take the time to transcribe these deeds because the only item of interest is that George signed with his mark on the 1830 deed.

As mentioned, George makes his first appearance in Kentucky in Madison County and remains on the tax list there until 1808. However, he is only taxed for himself and one horse. It doesn’t appear that he ever owned land in Madison County.

There are two marriage records that MIGHT pertain to George’s family while they lived in Madison County. In the first, William LARSON married Rosina Ham on 23 December 1802. Now, I’m not even sure that the surname is LARSON. It could be Wilson or who knows what?

Source: FamilySearch

What do you think? Also, I am not sure that George would have had a son old enough to marry as early as 1802. I tend to doubt that this record pertains to my George Larrison’s family.

The second record is for Eliza LARRISON to David Stewart on 31 May 1807:

Source: FamilySearch

If this is a child of George Larrison, then David Stewart must have died young and she remarried, as there is a marriage record in Estill County for one Betsey Larrison who married John Rogers on 30 December 1811. There is nothing in the dates to preclude these two Eliz./Betsey from being one person.

There is a David Steward enumerated in Madison County in 1810. He is in his 20s, as is the adult female and there is one young female also in the home. No David Stewart is found in Madison or Estill Counties, so it is possible that he died and Betsey remarried in Estill, where her father and siblings were living.

George Larrison appears on the tax rolls of Estill County from 1809 until 1831. The 1832 tax book is missing and he sold his land in 1833. By then he was elderly and his name is not found in any further records.

George and his family were enumerated in the 1810 census of Estill County. Let’s assume that Elizabeth who married David Stewart is his daughter to see where she fits in the family. Since no consent was given, we will assume she was at least 18 when she first married and she might have been 21.

Male 45+ (George)
Female 45+ (unknown wife, often called Elizabeth)
Elizabeth, born c1790; married (1) David Stewart, 31 May 1807, Madison County, Kentucky (2) John Rogers, 30 December 1811, Estill County, Kentucky
Female 16-25(born 1785-1794)
Female 10-15 (born 1795-1800)
Male 10-15 (born 1795-1800)
Male 10-15 (born 1795-1800)
Male -10 (born 1800-1809)
Male -10 (born 1800-1809)

No Larrison is found in the 1820 census and I suspect that, like the Stufflebeans, they might have trekked off to Indiana to try life out there. Also like the Stufflebeans, some of the family didn’t find Indiana to their liking and moved on. In George’s case, he returned to Estill County, where the family was again enumerated in 1830.

There is a very different family configuration in 1830, probably the result of son George Jr. marrying Nancy Dunaway on 26 June 1817 in Estill County.

Here is the 1830 household of George Larrison:

Male 80-89 (born 1740-1750)
Female 80-89 (born 1740-1750)
Male 60-69 (born 1760-1770)
Male 30-39 (born 1790-1800)
Female 30-39 (born 1790-1800)
Male 15-19 (born 1811-1815)
Male 10-14 (born 1816-1820)
Male 10-14 (born 1816-1820)
Female 10-14 (born 1816-1820)
Female 5-9 (born 1821-1825)
Female 5-9 (born 1821-1825)
Female -5 (born 1826-1830)
Male -5 (born 1826-1830)
Male -5 (born 1826-1830)

This is clearly a blended family and I think the key is George Jr. and Nancy Dunaway, who married in 1817. Before we try to figure out who is who, there are a number of Larrison marriages found in Estill County.

1. Betsey Larrison married John Rogers, 30 December 1811
2. Abigail Larrison married William Rogers, 7 June 1813
3. George Larrison married Nancy Dunaway, 26 June 1817
4. William Larrison married Nancy Parks, 15 January 1822
5. David Larrison married Sally Barnes, 19 September 1822
6. Manerva Larrison married James Barnes, 21 March 1830
7. Mariah Larrison married Elisha Barnes, 6 January 1833
8. Jacob Larrison married Fanny Townsend, 30 December 1835
9. Washington Larrison married Sally Crow, 1 August 1838

I don’t think any of the children born after 1810 were children of George Sr. and his unknown wife. It is certainly possible that George might have remarried wherever the family disappeared to in 1820, but that wife would apparently have died before the 1830 census.

I am also assuming that the male aged 60-69 is George. I haven’t a clue who the elderly couple in their 80s is! I think most of the younger children belong to George Jr. and Nancy. Assuming the babies arrived every two years, all of these children would fit (except for maybe one girl, unless twins?) with parents who married in 1817.

Tomorrow, we will review tax records and any other sources that might be found to shed more light on George Larrison of Estill County, Kentucky.






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