Tag Archives: Larrison

Reminder: Always Check the Original Source!

As I research various families, I always seek out the original source. That’s not always possible – originals are sometimes lost, repositories not cited, etc. – but often, the original source is extant, can be found and definitely should be viewed before accepting details as accurate.

Here is an excellent example from my husband’s Larrison family.

Revolutionary War pensioner John Stufflebean married Elsee (Larrison) Ketchum in Estill County, Kentucky in the summer of 1795.

Without a doubt, Elsee is part of the colonial New Jersey Larrison family, but connecting the dots from Elsee to parents and grandparents is problematical.

George Larrison, also in Estill County, Kentucky in the 1790s, is almost certainly Elsee’s brother.

Therefore, I have been collecting Larrison clues in the great expanse of land between New Jersey and Kentucky.

Here is a tidbit I found in a book online:

Note that the bottom line of this abstract mentions the Larison Brothers. The patent is dated 1784 and would prove that at least two Larrison/Larison family members had land in Kentucky and were possibly already living in what was then Fayette County.

I’ve tried to find this land patent, but haven’t been successful. However, recently, a new Larrison cousin, who lives in Kentucky AND works as a land surveyor, had no problem finding this patent and kindly shared an image of it with me.

Here is a crop of the pertinent portion:

This is beautifully legible handwriting for the time period. Look at the last line:

to a Hickory Corner of Terrason & Brothers & John Carnan thence

I have no idea who thought this entry said Larison Brothers, but it absolutely does NOT!

How many hours could I have wasted tracing people and places mentioned in the original abstraction see above? Answer: Too many!

Many thanks to my husband’s distant cousin who got to the bottom of it very quickly!


English Origins of Colonial NJ Larrison Family?

I love, love, love New England records! What does that have to do with a colonial New Jersey family? Everything!

Sometimes answers come in the most unexpected places, like New Haven, Connecticut court records.

My husband is the Larrison descendant, as Elsie Larrison married Revolutionary War soldier John Stufflebean. There is still one missing link, but circumstantial evidence and eliminating other men leads me to believe that Elsie Larrison Stufflebean and George Larrison, both living in Kentucky by the 1790s, were children of George Larrison of New Jersey. Family genealogies state that George Larrison reportedly went to Pennsylvania.

With the exception of finding George in Pennsylvania, the Larrison family history goes back to John and James Larrison who lived in Middleburgh and Newtown, Long Island, New York, by the 1660s.

Early Larrison family historians came up with a fanciful story about John being a Danish lord that has long since been debunked. Given that the Dutch controlled New York in its infancy, it seemed more likely that the Larrisons might have been Dutch.

Now, however, thanks to some New England research, I think the truth is that John Larrison was English, through and through.

Sometimes, genealogy gifts appear out of nowhere. A Canadian Larrison cousin, Jim, found my blog and we began exchanging Larrison notes and ideas. He mentioned that a researcher placed John Larrison in New Haven, Connecticut before he removed to New York.

Although the earliest Larrison generations are long gone, I feel like I’ve gotten to know them fairly well. They were a contentious lot, not easy to get along with, not even with each other.

How can I be sure of that? Well, the Larrisons’ second home was the court room. I am thankful that they spent years filing complaints, suing and counter-suing because without those court records, we would know almost nothing about them.

Once I heard that a researcher had identified John Larrison in Connecticut, I set out to find the records. It turns out that Frederick C. Hart, Jr., FASG, completed a research project for the Seeley Genealogical Society. The society, in turn, posted the report on its website.

The first list of attachments to the report contained clues that I think have solved the mystery of the Larrison family origins:

A. “Lawre(n)son – Seeley Events,”

A quick summary of the details state that Richard Malbon was a signer of the New Haven agreement in 1639. By 1 March 1643, the New Haven Court found John Laurence and Valentine, servants to Mr. Malbon, guilty of embezzling their masters goods, keeping disorderly night meetings with Will Harding, plotting with him (Harding) to carry off their masters’ daughter “to the farms in the night,” and concealing all these misdeeds, “all of which they confessed and was whipped.”

On 4 January 1643, John Lawrenson was fined a shilling for being late to military training.

In May and June 1647, John Lawrenson was back in court for being late to watch and was fined 2 shillings.

On 1 February 1647/48, John Lawrenson and his wife were fined 20 shillings for selling “strong waters.”

That was the last Lawrenson appearance in the New Haven Court.

The family apparently moved on to Stamford, where they were back in court once again, on 3 December 1648, for selling wine without a license.

On 1 March 1651, “James Leareson,” who Mr. Hart says might or might not be the same man as John Lawrenson, was an “adjoining resident” in Stamford, Connecticut.

The final mention of John Lawrenson in Connecticut was recorded on 5 May 1651 when Obadiah Seeley states that John Lawrenson had paid all his debts.

Mr. Hart continues on, noting that John and James “Lorison” appear to be the same two men found in the Stamford, Connecticut records in 1651, but by 9 March 1661, were residents of Newtown, Long Island, New York.

Mr. Hart’s Seeley research, by coincidence, has provided several clues to the English origin of the Larrison family of New Jersey, who are all descendants of this John “Lawrenson.”

The biggest clue is the discovery that John Lawrenson was a servant of Mr. Richard Malbon, who returned to England c1648. Malbon is a unique surname in New England and is not a common surname in England. For him to have the social status to be a signer to the original New Haven agreement in 1639, I would guess that he was likely born before 1600.

A quick check of English church records includes the baptism of one Richard Malbon in 1585 in Prescot, Lancashire, England. FamilySearch adds the full date of 1 March 1585 and includes the church – St. Mary’s.

Out of curiosity, I also looked for the baptism of John Lawrenson. There were two, one baptized on 9 January 1608, the son of James Lawrenson and a second baby baptized 13 Janaury 1611, the son of George Lawrenson, both in – – – – – drum roll – – – – St. Mary’s Church, Prescot, Lancashire, England!

Both James and George are names that continue in the New Jersey Larrison family well into the 1700s, so are not much help in guessing which John, if either, is the man who lived in Connecticut and New York.

More work needs to be done on both the Malbon and Lawrenson families because the name appears often in the late 16th and early 17th century, both in Lancashire and next door in Chester towns.

The 1585 Richard Malbon and 1608 or 1611 John Lawrensons might or might not be the men who lived in New Haven, Connecticut.

However, I’d say the evidence points quite strongly to not a Danish or Dutch origin for the Larrison family, but instead to English origins in either Lancashire or Chester.






Larrisons in the 1700s Outside of New Jersey

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.