The Twin Brothers
I take no particular joy in poo-pooing the “Twin” story told by Edna.But I am a genealogist and I want facts.Actually, should someone, someday prove Edna’s story to be true I would be happy, as I have said, it is a great story.
As to our alleged ancestor, Thomas (1675), we don’t have a history.The real facts are we can’t prove that Thomas (1675) has any connection to Virginia.We can’t prove that Thomas (1675) had a twin named Pierre.In fact, there is no known verifiable source that can even prove our Thomas (1675) ever existed at all!
It is not for lack of trying on the part of numerous Morrisette researchers, to include myself.I really wanted the “twins” story to be true.I have even found a place where the mysterious Thomas (1675) might have fit if he ever existed.
Let’s go back to Edna’s book.In it, on page 8, she quotes Mrs. Ruth Byrne nee Martin (1916) of Green Farms, Connecticut.The letter was dated 27 Jan 1964.Ruth’s mother was Mitylene Martin nee Morrisette (1878), of Princess Ann County.I have no idea where Mrs. Martin’s letter might be today but I will copy it (unaltered) from Edna’s book.
…Our original family Bible was burned and my grandfather started the only one we have from memory.As he did this immediately, we have always considered that he was accurate as far as he went.His Bible is dated 1875, when he was 30 years old.He begins with “Thomas Morrisett” born in Esicks County, Scotland, May 1 1675, emigrating to this country with John Roldolph expedition in 1695, settled in Princess Ann County, Virginia, near Cape Henry and died June 1 1768, age 93 years. The original home site is in Back Bay, Virginia.My grandmother said that this Thomas had three sons and each of them built a house on this land.I believe at least one of them is still standing.
Anyhow, Thomas married Mary A. Wade, the daughter of Magen Wade, who was born March 15, 1679 in Scots County, England, came here in 1690, married May 8 1698, died March 5 1774…. Since your ancestor came to North Carolina, ca 1720-25, he must have been one of the original Thomas’s sons. I believe one was named Peter….
I now know the person who is mentioned in the letter as recreating the family history in the Bible was Peter Waller Morrisette and the grandmother mentioned in the letter was his wife India L. Dudly nee Morrisette.By my research, Peter would have been 26 years of age when he created the new Bible entries, from memory, in 1875.Peter Waller is descended from Pierre Morrisette.He is the third great grandson of Pierre, or the third grand nephew of Thomas (1675).I have to ask myself, why would a descendant of Peter have such an intimate knowledge of Thomas (1675) so as to be recallable from memory?
What about the 1695 John Roldolph Expedition.I suspect if we could find manifests from this expedition we might find our mysterious Thomas (1675), or not.I am sorry to say I can find no record of a John Roldolph or his expedition. I believe, however, I have a lead.Could Roldolph be a misspelling of Randolph?For there was a John Randolph associated with Virginia about 1695.The Virginia Randolphs are as old as Virginia itself, possibly as far back as 1645.In fact, William the patriarch, of the family has been called the father of Virginia.
William was extremely rich, politically powerful and acquired massive tracts of land.He was one of the founders of William and Mary College.He had five sons who inherited their share all of his power and wealth.One of those sons was Sir John Randolph who became a member of Virginia’s House of Burgesses.Some notables that descended from these five Randolph brothers were, among others, President Thomas Jefferson, Supreme Court Justice John Marshal and General Robert E. Lee.
One or more of William’s 5 sons built a large brick home with a high cupola on what had been called Turkey Island in the James River.That name was changed to Randolph and later to Tuckahoe Island.It is said that they imported all of the bricks for the house from England.The house was built sometime during the 1690s.
I am now speculating but it seems my speculations are as good as any body else’s.Is it possible that The John Randolph Expedition was a small fleet of ships that brought those bricks to America, possibly paid for with tons of Virginia tobacco?I think it could be so and it is this lead that I will pursue in any future hunt for Thomas (1675).
As a note to other researchers, there was also a John Rolph sometimes spelled Rolfe.But his dates are wrong he was born in 1585 and died in 1622 in Jamestown.You may already recognize him as the husband of Pocahontas.
So, was Thomas (1675) a Huguenot?If he existed he would almost certainly have been a Huguenot.Huguenot is just a name for a certain group of Protestants.So at the time a Frenchman was either a Catholic or a Huguenot.There was no notable congregation of Catholics in Virginia at that time.There were Catholic Frenchmen in the New World, at the time, but they were busy fighting the Spanish in Florida and Louisiana and plying up the Mississippi River… Ahh, St. Louis.
If we are to believe the 1695 arrival date, mentioned in Mrs. Martin’s letter he would have arrived 5 years before his “supposed” twin brother in the four ship loads of Huguenots who arrived in 1700 and started the settlement at Mannikintown.This is entirely possible.Remember, however we are lead to believe that Thomas (1675) settled in Princess Ann County which is close to Norfolk.
If we are to accept what Edna has told us we must also accept that Thomas (1675) was born in France not Essicks County Scotland.It is entirely possible that he may have lived in Scotland or England, but I prefer to believe, if he existed, he was born in France.By the way, I can find no record of an Essicks (any spelling) in Scotland.Nor can I find any mention of Scotts County England.There is an Essex County in England.It is near London and Gravesend.