Tag Archives: William Larrison

William Larrison of Old Hopewell, New Jersey


Newtown (Elmhurst, Queens) to Hopewell, New Jersey
Source: Google Maps

As mentioned in the preceding Larrison family posts, there are definite gaps in the timeline. For those who haven’t been following along before today, there were two brothers, James and John Larrison, who were the earliest immigrants of the name in Newtown, New York by 1656.

The sticky wicket appeared when each had a son named John, with no birth or baptismal records to identify each, and the cousins were not far apart in age. Mary (MNU) Larrison Ponten deposed in 1689 that her son, John Larrison, was born in Newtown in June 1652.

I hypothesized (and others have come to the same conclusion) that John and Mary’s son was the man who regularly appears in the Newtown court records until 1684/85 and he is the same man who is found in Southampton, New York records in September 1686. That John Larrison died in 1693, leaving a will naming wife Mary and one child, also a daughter named Mary. Therefore, John Sr. and his son, John Jr., have no male Larrison descendants today.

James Larrison married Leah (MNU) and only one child, his son John, has been located in those early Newtown records. If there were other surviving children, they have been lost to time.

However, because James had a documented son, John, the conclusion has been drawn by most researchers that John is the progenitor of the Larrison who lived in the area of today’s Hunterdon County, New Jersey by the early 1700s. At this point in time, I agree with those other researchers!

There is but a scant paper trail for John, or Johannes Larrison in New Jersey. First, the area of Hunterdon County where the family settled was part of Burlington County until Hunterdon was set off from part of it in 1714. In later years, other counties were set off from Hunterdon and today, the Larrison home is found in Mercer County.

Once again, I have no image to back this up, but there is a land deed from the West Society of New Jersey, dated 18 March 1698/99 that purportedly includes Johannes Lawrenson in Maidenhead, Burlington, New Jersey as one of a group of grantees receiving 100 acres of land “of the Society’s 15000 acre tract above the Falls of the Delaware to be used as a meetinghouse, burying ground and schoolhouse.” Subscribed 155 Jan 1st 1712. Parts 1 & 2, page 113-14.” (First Settlers of Piscataway and Woodbridge, by Orra Eugene Monnette).

If this Johannes Lawrenson is our John Larrison (very possible, given that the surname moved back and forth between the two spellings), then John Larrison was living in New Jersey by 1699.

These early New Jersey land records are quite difficult to locate (there is currently a program to begin digitizing the collection), but this does provide a convenient link between John Larrison in Newtown and the New Jersey family.

The Larrisons who lived in New Jersey all appear to be descended from one man, William Larrison, said to have been born in Newtown, New York about 1672/73 and who migrated to New Jersey c1710. It is said that William Larrison is found on the 1722 tax list of Hunterdon County, New Jersey, but I haven’t located an image of that document.

The best I could do was the image, above, from the History of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, showing William Larason taxed for 11 horses and cattle, 9 sheep and 160 acres of land.

I have not found any documentation for the birth year of this William Larrison. I tend to believe that it is an estimation based on the supposed birth year of his eldest son, James Larrison. I’ll discuss that in a moment.

However, William Larrison died in 1749 and he left a will! Although I have not been able to locate an image of this document either, its contents have been published in multiple sources. The Early Germans of New Jersey: Their History, Churches and Genealogies by Theodore Frelinghuysen Chambers is one well regarded source that talks about his will.

William Larrison wrote his will on 7 April 1749 and a codicil leaving bequests to his daughters was added the same day. It was probated on 30 May 1749.

Quite annoyingly, William mentioned “my wife” but did not give her name.

Children:

  1. James, called “eldest son” in William’s will; married Keziah Parke; this family stayed put in New Jersey and the children seem to be fairly well documented.
  2. William, died 1777 and left a will naming wife, Patience, and children – Thomas, Andrew, James, Elizabeth, Mary, Nancy and David. If the daughters were married, no indication of their surnames was given. His children were likely somewhat young as William specified that James and David were to be sent to school. Online websites given a birth year (undocumented) of 1707 for this man. However, with two sons to be sent to school, it seems William might have been born quite a bit later than 1707. If James, William’s eldest son, was born closer to 1710, then this man might have had unmarried daughters and two sons of school age when he died in 1777.
  3. Thomas, said to have gone to Virginia and possibly he or a son Thomas, on to Ontario, Canada
  4. John, said to have settled in Chester, Morris County, New Jersey and had seven sons (unproven information)
  5. George, said to have gone to Pennsylvania
  6. Elizabeth, born c1712, if David Stout (1732-1827, Mason County, KY), Revolutionary War soldier was her son and her firstborn child; married David Stout before 7 April 1749. (Four other Stouts from NJ died in Kentucky.)
  7. Martha, married Mr. Hide before 7 April 1749
  8. Mary, married Mr. Higgins before 7 April 1749 (One Azariah Higgins from NJ died in Fayette County, Kentucky in 1812.)
  9. Rebecca, married Mr. Brittain before 7 April 1749
  10. Deborah, married Mr. Shippey before 7 April 1749
  11. Keziah, married Mr. Van Tilburg before 7 April 1749 (One Henry Van Tilburg from NJ died in Jefferson County, Ohio.)

Before any further discussion, I would like to address the birth year and age of eldest son James Larrison. Most online data gives a birth year of 1695 and death year as 1792, aged 97 years old. However, I cannot find any primary record to support either of those dates.

Those same websites estimate Keziah’s birth year to be c1713 and their date of marriage in 1734, with the first child born in 1735. No mention is made of a previous wife/wives for James Larrison or children by an earlier marriage. Because of that, I tend to think that James Larrison was born closer to 1710 and he would have been in his mid-20s when he married Keziah. This is important because it shifts the estimated birth years of his siblings further into the future.

If James was born in 1695, and assuming he was the oldest of all the children of William Larrison, then the likely range in which William’s children were born would be from 1694-1717, as there were eleven siblings named in the will.

If James was born closer to 1710 and he was the oldest of all the children, then the birth range of William’s children would be more like 1710-1732.

As it appears that Elsee Larrison Ketcham Stufflebean was probably descended from William’s sons John or George, that could make a difference as to whether there is a missing generation between William’s sons and Elsee. However, I am getting ahead of myself. Just keep this in the back of your mind!

At the moment, it is looking like George Larrison, son of William and (?) Larrison  might be Elsee Larrison Ketcham Stufflebean’s line. He is said to have gone to Pennsylvania, so it remains to be seen if I can pick up his trail. Elsee’s son, Richard, in the 1880 census, did give Pennsylvania as his mother’s birthplace. He correctly identified his father as having been born in New York, so I can only hope that he is also right about Elsee’s place of birth.