January 1996

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Excerpts from the Journal of

Emma Larison Colwell

1857 - 1950

Transcribed and annotated by

Derick Van Schoonhoven

History from George H. Larison, Lambertville, N. J.

The Larisons are of Danish descent. Their ancestor John Larison, in the war between the King and Nobles in 1665, had his property confiscated, and, leaving the country, went to the seashore disguised as a peasant, where he escaped to Scotland and soon afterwards came to America. Landing on Long Island, he purchased a large tract of land upon which he settled.

He had six sons, two killed by the Indians. Four survived whose name[s] were Roger, James, William and John.

Roger went to Pennsylvania and nothing was afterward heard of him.

James settled on Stoney Brook, Hopewell township, now in Mercer County, New Jersey, where he bought an estate of 250 acres of land and reared a family of six sons. He died there in 1792 and was buried on his farm. His 6 sons were John, Andrew, Roger, William, Elijah, and David. His daughters [were] Achsa, Rachel, and Catherine.

William who owned the original tract of land in Mercer County died there about the close of the eighteenth century. John lived in the same neighborhood, where he died at an advanced age leaving seven sons.

Roger Larison settled near Perryville, now Jutland, on the south side of Musconetoong Mountain, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. He was a thrifty farmer and had plenty of this world's goods to start his children in life. Roger was a sergeant in Captain Henry Phillip's Company, Regiment of Hunterdon in the Revolutionary Army. Unto Roger and his wife Lenah were born James, John, Theodoris, Margaret, Elizabeth, Rebecca, Catharine, and Rachel.

James settled on a large farm in Bethlehem townhip, Hunterdon County, and had a son John R. Larison. Theodoris was a teacher and an athlete, was famed as a boxer in those days. He went with his cousin Andrew, the drover, to the lake country to whip a band of bandits who a short time before had plotted to rob Andrew.

They accomplished their undertaking to the gratification of both. Staying at a farm while Andrew was collecting his drove, Theodoris noticed some qualities in one of the daughters of their host that awoke in him emotions which met a response from the maid. He helped Andrew home with his drove to New Jersey. It being sold he bade Andrew goodby, saying that he was going to the Lakes to take care of the lamb that dwelt in the house of their host. A year hence, when Andrew next visited the lake country in quest of sheep, he found Theodoris wedded to the daughter of their host with whom Andrew had so often stayed while collecting sheep.

The host [was] one Updyke who had migrated from Hopewell, Mercer Co., New Jersey.

[Theodoris's sister] Margaret married a Fitch. Elizabeth married a McGill, went to Ohio. Rachel married John Case. Catharine married Barnie Bigler who was the chief man in forming the Mansfield Baptist Church at Port Murray, Warren County, New Jersey.

[From letter, Dec. 22, 1888, to Dr. George Larison, a physician practicing in Mercer County, N. J. by John Larison (1808 - 1891) who was a Baptist minister in the Bradford and Tioga Quarterly Meeting, Sullivan, Tioga County, Pa. ]

[My parents were:] Theodoris Larison born Aug. 26 - 1773, Elizabeth Updyke born July 29 - 1785.

Theodoris Larison was married soon after he came from Jersey. They were married Nov. 27 - 1802. [B]orn to them were Anna, Jacob, John, and Louis.

The first winter after father and mother were married he taught school in the neighborhood of Ulysses, Tompkins county, N. Y. I think he never taught after that. He then went on forty acres of land grandfather gave to mother [and] lived there until the spring of 1811. He then went on an old farm on the other side of the lake. The fever was raging there. Mother took it and died. Father then went in the army, served two terms in war of 1812. [His first service was in Capt. Camps Co. Cavalry, NY Vol. as a private, and the second in the 7th Artillery Regiment, NY, as a private, both during the War of 1812.] His children were taken back to Ulysses among mother's folks: Stayed there until the spring of 1821. He then took a farm in Wyrox, Bradford county, Penna., and got his family together.

In the spring of 1824 we went to Jackson, Tioga County, Pennsylvania.

Father stood well in society in Ulysses and vicinity. There being he had gone in the woods where the land was good and cheap. Within less than fifty miles. It started a wish to view that country.

The Updykes had become numerous and rather crowded. Five of mother's brothers came to view the country. That led to others. Over 60 different men stayed with us that summer viewing the land. The town of Jackson had been settled partly several years before, but by poor people generally. The cold season of about 1816 to 1819 discouraged them. [This refers to 1816, the year known as the year with no summer. Snow fell every month of the year, seeds failed to germinate, plants grew slowly and stunted, and crops failed.] They left their little possessions and houses. Ten vacant houses stood in the neighborhood. The land was good. In a very short time the whole place was settled mostly by enterprising men. It is now a rich country.

We had no housekeeper the first summer. In the spring of 1825 father married a widow Dewey. Father lived with his last wife until March 1857 and died on the farm where he began in 1824. [He] was buried in Jackson Cemetery. Anna (father's oldest) married Cornelius Coolbough, Jacob married Elizabeth Grey, Louis married Henrietta Spencer. She died, then he married Marietta Shaffer.

I, John Larison, married Mary Huntly, May 15, 1828. She was born in Chenango, June 17, 1803. We lived together until Oct. 20, 1886 when she died leaving a family of six sons and their wives, 17 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren all in good health. She was all a good woman could be to a man. Our boys live: Theodoris in Ridgeberry, Oscar in Caton, Louis in Addison, Levi in Elmira, Horace in Ridgeberry, David in Ridgeberry.

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