Elsee Larrison Ketchum Stufflebean

Elsee Larrison Ketchum Stufflebean is worthy of a fresh look in my research. She was born about 1762, likely in New Jersey or Pennsylvania since that was the home of most colonial Larrison families. She married Joseph Ketchum and likely had a son, also Joseph, born about 1794. Joseph Ketchum Sr. probably died in Bourbon County, Kentucky and Elsee declared that she married John Stufflebean as her second husband in the fall of 1792 or 1793, according to John’s Revolutionary War pension file. Few facts about her have sources cited and almost nothing has been posted about her life before marrying John. Here is a transcription of her widow’s pension declaration made on 30 Apr 1845:

State of Illinois, On the twenty thirtieth day of April in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty five personally appeared before the Circuit Court in and for the county of Randolph in the State of Illinois, judicially sitting Elsee Stufflebean, a resident in the county of Randolph aforesaid, aged eighty three years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on her oath, make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the Act of Congress passed July 7, 1838 entitled “An Act granting half pay and pensions to certain widows.” That she is the widow of John Stufflebean who was a private in the Army of the Revolution, in which, as she has always understood and verily believes he enlisted in the State of New York during the war, and in which he served until he was taken a prisoner by the Indians in the service of the British, – This fact however she knows not of her own knowledge, but only as she has always heard and understood from her said husband John Stufflebean in his life time and sincerely believes to be true, but she knows of her own knowledge that the said John Stufflebean in his life time was, from the twenty ninth day of March I the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty three until the time of his death, a pensioner under the laws of the United States and regularly drew his pension as such pensioner, and that during all that time and at the tim of his death he the said John Stufflebean had in his possession an original pension certificate of which the following is a true copy: to wit: “War Department Revolutionary claim, I do certify that in conformity to the law of the United States of the 7th June 1832 John Stufflebean of the State of Kentucky, who was a private in the Army of the Revolution is entitled to receive eighty dollars and cents per annum during his natural life, commencing on the 4th of March 1831, and payable semi-annually on the 4th of March and 4th of September in every year. Given at the War Office of the United States this twenty ninth day of March one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight. Lew Cass Secretary of War” Examined and countersigned J.L Edwards, commissioner of pensions. Recorded in the pension office in Book E. Vol. 7 page 27 by Daniel Boyd clerk” which original certificates she the said Elsee Stufflebean surrendered to the pension Agent at Springfield in the State of Illinois upon her receiving the arrears of pension due to said John Stufflebean at the time of his death but retained a copy of the same as above written. Said John Stufflebean was transferred from the Roll of Kentucky to that of Illinois on the 5th of October 1842 and resided in Illinois until the time of his death She further declares that she was married to the said John Stufflebean in the fall season and to the best of her recollection and belief in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety two or one thousand seven hundred and ninety three. She is unable to state the month or year of her marriage to said John Stufflebean with any greater certainty than she had done above. It took place in or near the town of Paris now called, in Bourbon County in the state of Kentucky more than fifty one years ago, and of this fact she is certain and that she and the said John Stufflebean lived harmoniously and uninterruptedly together as husband and wife from the time of their marriage until the time of his death; this is to say for upwards of fifty one years immediately preceding his death, during which space of time she had by the said John Stufflebean ten children, the said John Stufflebean was illiterate and could not write even his own name, nor can any of this children write and no family record of the marriage of herself and and the said John Stufflebean has ever been made or kept. Nor does any such record exist at this time to her knowledge; nor does she know of any person now living who was present at the time of her marriage with the said John Stufflebean. The marriage ceremony was performed by one John Todd who to her best recollection an belief was a preacher of the Gospel but she has no reason to believe that the said John Todd is now alive and if he is alive she knows not where he lives, nor does she know that any record of said marriage was ever made. She was at the time of her marriage to the said John Stufflebean the widow of Joseph Ketchum deceased and her maiden name before her marriage to the said Joseph Ketchum was Elsee Larrison. She further declares that he last husband, the said John Stufflebean died on the sixteenth day of January in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty four near to the town of Kaskaskia, in the county of Randolph in the State of Illinois, at the advanced age of one hundred and ten years eleven months and one day; that she was not married to him prior to his leaving the service, but the marriage took place previous to the first of January in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety four, viz at the time or rather in the year seventeen hundred and ninety two, or seventeen hundred and ninety three above stated.

Sworn and subscribed on her
the day and year above written Elsee X Stufflebean
in open Court before the Judge mark
thereof Gustavus Koerner
Judicially sitting
Gustavus Koerner

John A. Langlois, clk.
of said circuit court

I’ve made a few previous attempts at finding her family and identifying her first husband, Joseph Ketchum, without success.

Today’s fresh look has already paid off in one way, as a quick check for Ketchums in Kentucky in the 1790’s immediately produced an image of the marriage bond filed by John Stufflebean on 12 August 1795 in support of his marriage to “Alice” Ketchum. Elsee , in her senior years, was off by a couple of years when she said declared that married John in the fall of 1792 or 1793 and it wasn’t quite fall, but close.

Marriage bond of John Stufflebean and Alice Ketchum,
Bourbon County, Kentucky, 12 August 1795

It is important to know a little county history here because most Stufflebean records are found in Estill County, not Bourbon. The top half of Estill County formerly sat in Bourbon until the county was set off in 1808. In 1870, Lee County was formed, in part, from Estill County, with the new Lee County seat being Beattyville. The Stufflebeans lived in the area of Bourbon County that eventually became Estill and Lee Counties.

Next, the Ketchum name isn’t common in Kentucky in the late 1790’s and early 1800’s so looking at Elsee’s FAN club (family and neighbors) only yields one result, but it is a promising one. There is a marriage record for a Joseph Ketchum who married Sarah King on 5 April 1818. This is likely a child of Joseph Ketchum and Elsee Larrison because (1) one of the marriage bond signatures is that of Hiram Stufflebean, who would have been his half brother and (2) in the 1820 census, Joseph “Kitchum” is living near James Stufflebean, his step brother.

The Ketchum family is on my Family History Library “to do” list when I am there next month. I am sure there is more out there to be found somewhere and I’m hoping to chip away at another brick wall. I will post an update after the FGS-RootsTech 2015 conference.

Recommended Reads

Here are my favorite posts for the week:

Making Appointments for Genealogy Tasks by Paula Stuart-Warren on Genealogy by Paula

The Ins and Outs of Probate for Genealogists – Part Seven – a Simple Probate File by James Tanner on Genealogy’s Star

52 Ancestors – Levina DOSS – Another Unmarried Mother and How She Helped Me Bring this Challenge Finale to an End with a Bang! by Cathy Meder-Dempsey on Opening Doors in Brick Walls

Free Online Access to ScotlandsPeople Valuation Rolls by Gail Dever on Genealogy a la Carte – Free access is good until January 6.

200,000 Additional Gravestone Records from Poland Now Searchable on JRI-Poland by Dick Eastman on Eastmans’ Online Genealogical Newsletter

The History of Mapmaking (and a Peek at the Future) by Sunny on LisaLouiseCooke.com

Check Local Libraries for Old Newspapers – Tuesday’s Tip by Nancy on My Ancestors and Me

Tuesday’s Tip: SlideShare.net Has Some Genealogy Presentations by Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings

Searching for Ernest by Bernard Handler on John Tew’s Filiopietism Prism

Say Goodbye to Frustration in the New Year in Ten Easy Steps by Vera on Find Lost Russian & Ukrainian Family

Key Genealogy Categories for Targeting Your Goals by Miriam Robbins on AnceStories

5 Things I Learned While Blogging in 2014 by Amy Johnson Crow in No Story Too Small


A New Year’s Eve and Day I Will Never Forget!

Most of us have memories of how we have spent a New Years  Eve or two, but my memory is a bit more unique than the usual party night out and then watch football games on the 1st.

Back in 1987, I was expecting our son, who was due on 8 January 1988. I kind of hoped that he would make his appearance on Christmas Day, especially since the doctor estimated his weight at 7 lbs. or more just before Christmas. However, that was not to be.

My mother, Doris, had traveled from New Jersey to California for the holidays, but had booked her return flight for January 1.  All I heard from the time she landed was, “You need to have that baby by the 31st because I want to meet my grandchild before I go back home.” Fine with me, but the baby had to cooperate!

Dave also wanted me to have the baby by the 31st, but for an entirely different reason – the TAX DEDUCTION! He also instructed me not to have the baby on January 1 because he didn’t want to miss the football games.

Well, New Year’s Eve day came and my mom and I spent the day walking around South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, CA. Everyone said walking a lot was good to get labor started.  We window shopped, sat and watched the shoppers and walked some more. We had a light lunch and headed home.

As evening got closer, I was starting to hope that the baby waited another day to come, as he was supposed to be born at Loma Linda Medical Center, about 25 miles from our house. The last place I wanted to be on New Year’s Eve was on a California freeway with everyone who had been out celebrating that night. All was quiet, though, and instead of ringing in 1988 at midnight, I went to sleep early. Guess it was all that walking around I had done!

Then, it happened. I looked at the clock and it was 1:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day. My water had broken and labor started. I woke Dave up and told him it was time to head to the hospital. His response was – we’ll go in the morning!!! Well, that didn’t happen.

Next thing I knew, we were right where I didn’t want to be that evening – on the freeway making the 25 mile trip to the hospital. I have no memory of the traffic around us – Dave says there were a lot of cars considering the hour – but we made it to the hospital.

All went well and baby Michael was born at 11:42 a.m. The hospital was short of mothers in labor that day and he was actually the first baby born there in 1988, even though he didn’t make an appearance until almost noon. He got an adorable little outfit, which I have kept all these years:

Michael as Baby
First Baby of 1988

Everything worked out fine in the end – well, almost everything. The trip to the hospital was uneventful. Grandma talked to some kind airline agent who let her change her reservation to two days later at no extra cost and I was happy that Michael came a week early after all. Dave was thrilled that our son was healthy and happy, but he lost out on both directives that he had given me about not having the baby on January 1. There would be no tax deduction for 1987 and he was too tired after being up all night to watch the New Year’s Day football games!

Doris & Ruby with Newborn Michael
Grandma Ruby (L) and Grandma Doris (R)
meeting their newborn grandson

It’s hard to believe that this happened twenty-seven years ago, but today I want to wish my son Michael a very happy birthday. Love, Mom



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