Combing through Pennsylvania records is proving to be a bit difficult. First, I have no idea who thought up the indexing system for county land deeds, but it is extremely cumbersome given that indexes are not in straight alpha order and digital images take way longer to scroll through than a microfilm.
I can’t believe that I actually just said – indirectly – that I prefer microfilm, but I did!
Added to the indexing issues is the fact that I couldn’t find a single land deed for Larrisons in Pennsylvania, my main focus is the clue that it is thought that George Larrison, son of William who died in 1749, settled there.
Hunterdon County, New Jersey 1797
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
The Larrisons were mostly settled in New Jersey in the area in or near what became Hunterdon County. Because Hunterdon County borders Pennsylvania, migrating family members could actually have walked to Pennsylvania as it’s that close.
I am not one who like to admit defeat, but a distinct lack of Larrison records in Pennsylvania covering the middle portion of the 18th century might be a permanent brick wall linking the New Jerseyans with the Kentuckians, or even the Ohioans, where many later Larrisons settled.
New Jersey has the same dearth of easily accessible mid-18th century records as Pennsylvania. With the early federal censuses missing for New Jersey, there is a gaping hole.
As we leave New Jersey, we have John Larrison and his brother, George, each probably born in the 1710-1720 time period and named in the 1749 will of their father, William Larrison.
It is possible that this George is the same George Larrison who married Abigail Moone, probably c1737, had one child, Keziah, and all were named in the will of Abigail’s father, Dr. Jacob Moone.
For a while, I wondered if Keziah’s name tied her father to James and Keziah Parke’s family, but Keziah was an in-vogue name at the time and George himself had a sister Keziah who married (Henry?) Van Tilberg.
Here are the few crumbs I’ve found:
1. Jacob Larrison, born c1750 reportedly in Pennsylvania, served in the American Revolution. His widow, Joanna, was allowed a small “gratuity” for his service by the state.
The family lived in what became Lycoming County in 1795 after it was set off from Northumberland County and then Tioga County was set off from Lycoming in 1804.
In 1830, Theodore Larrison, aged 50-60 (born 1770-1780) was living next door to John Larrison, aged 20-30, in Tioga County. There is also a Jacob Larrison, aged 20-30, living in Jackson Township, like the other Larrisons. This Jacob married Elizabeth Grey according to the 1912 death certificate of their daughter, Anna Everett.
It seems likely that these Larrisons are all descendants of the Revolutionary War soldier, Jacob Larrison. Jacob is not a name found anywhere in the earlier Larrison lines and I have to wonder if Jacob is a son of George and Abigail (Moone) Larrison who was named for Abigail’s father.
In support of this theory, two men appear on the 1787 tax list for Muncy Creek, Northumberland County – Jacob Larrison and Peter Moon.
Next, it is important to understand county formation dates when looking at Washington County, Pennsylvania. Each of these counties was formed from the parent county. It means a lot of digging is required to locate potential records for families that might have lived in Washington County years before it was formed:
Lancaster, formed 14 October 1728
Cumberland, formed 27 January 1750
Bedford, formed 9 March 1771
Westmoreland, formed 26 February 1773
Washington, formed 28 March 1781
Greene, formed 9 February 1796
2. John Larrison, born no later than 1760 and possibly quite a bit earlier, appears on the 1781 tax list for Cumberland Valley Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. This man is not in Bedford County at the time of the 1790 census.
2A. Somewhat intriguing is a record for one Larrison Campbell who appears on the 1st Pennsylvania Battalion in Captain Robert Cluggage’s Company organized in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. This man served from 18 May 1776 to 18 July 1776.
3. John Larrison, born no later than 1760 and possibly quite a bit earlier, appears on the 1781 tax list for Washington County, Pennsylvania, which makes him eligible for patriotic service during the American Revolution. However, Washington County formed in 1781 from part of Westmoreland. Therefore, it appears that this John is not the same man as John above. He also appears on the Washington County tax lists in 1782 and 1785 and in the 1790 census. At that time, there was one man over 16, three males under 16 and two females. One of the females is said to be Nancy Larrison who married William Gibson and removed to Guernsey County, Ohio. John Larrison died after 14 July 1804, according to the DAR Patriot Index.
John Larrison (born no later than 1755) also appears in Washington County in 1800 with one male 45+, one female 26-44, three males 16-25, one male under 10 and three females under 10.
4. Phillip Catchem (Ketcham) was also living in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1790. There was one male over 16, one male under 16 and two females at home. Phillip is a name found in the Ketcham family as early as the 1660s.
5. William Maple is a third FAN club member living in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1790. There was one male over 16, one male under 16 and two females in the household. This man married (1) Keziah Larrison, daughter of George and Abigail (Moone) Larrison. He is said to have died in Jefferson County, Ohio before August 1813. His second wife was Annie Moore.