It's good to meet you again in cyberspace. It's been awhile.
Thanks for the additional information.
I've been looking on the internet (at non-subscription sites only though) for my William among the NJ ROFF descendants of the Massachusetts ROLFEs for years now to no avail. On the other hand, some of these families are not yet fully documented so I may find him there eventually.
Last summer I found biographies of brothers Rollin & DeForest ROLFE in an 1889 historical account of Otoe County, Nebraska, that said that their grandfather Moses had roots in Virginia and I pursued this lead only to discover that this family went back to the Massachusetts ROLFEs with no evidence that anyone in this line had lived in Virginia, and also no evidence that my William was in this line.
A granddaughter of William's son Samuel – Harriet Almina ROLFE KREINBRING (1878 IA – 1946 IL) – left notes that gave William's birth as having been in Virginia with ancestors John ROLFE & Pocahontas. A descendant in Cleveland of Samuel's son Aaron David ROLFE has a family history of being "related" to John ROLFE, husband of Pocahontas. My line is through William's daughter Phebe ROLF VanORMAN and we have a family history of descent from John ROLFE & Pocahontas. I have done email with descendants of at least three other children of William & Mary, and these lines do not have a family history of such a descent. An early biography of a son-in-law of William & Mary's oldest child Aaron claims that he was "of English parentage and was a native of Essex County, N.Y." Records show that Aaron was born in NY state so "parentage" must refer to lineage. Which could mean my William was born in England, or it could mean William's immigrant ancestor was born in England.
Although it was popular in some places to jump on the Pocahontas bandwagon in the mid to late 1800's, & claim descent, this would not necessarily have been the case in the more recently settled areas of the country where it was less acceptable to have Native American blood. So if family histories of descent from Pocahontas have survived in these places, I would be more apt to give them credence. Moreover I have found that there is generally some truth in the majority of family stories, so I don't feel I can completely ignore this one in our family, even though it goes against the accepted genealogy for Pocahontas.
Looking at the 1785 census for Hanover Twp, Morris Co., NJ, I suspect that my William is living in the household of either Elisha or Zerah ROFF/ROLF (I've seen only the census index at this point, not the actual census). At that time William would have been 16 or 17 years old. Just 2 or 3 years older than Elisha's son Aaron whose death in 1796 is listed on the Bill of Mortality (URL given in my previous posting). So my operating hypothesis is that William is a son or a nephew of Elisha. Zerah is apparently younger than Elisha, going by a wedding date for Zerah of 1774 to a bride who was probably only 14 years of age.
The father of William's wife-to-be Mary DICKERSON/DICKINSON was named Daniel, and he had sons Nathaniel and Thomas. So I am thinking the Daniel, Nathaniel, and Thomas shown on the 1785 Hanover Twp. census and on the tax lists you give for Hanover Twp, are Mary's family. She would have been about 15 at the time of this 1785 census, probably living with her father Daniel. Mary's mother was named Phoebe/Phebe GENUNG, but she would not be the one by that name listed on this census, because Daniel's wife would not have been a head of household. However Mary's mother had a brother named Thomas who died the year of this census and who is not listed on the census. And the wife of Thomas was Phebe WARD GENUNG so I believe that the Phebe GENUNG listed on this census is the widow of Thomas.
In 1792 a certain Judge HATCH settled in the hamlet of Brookfield, Essex County, NY, about 30 miles south of Plattsburgh. He brought with him a group of settlers who came either to work the ore deposits as bloomers or to farm. William & Mary were probably in this group as their first child Aaron was born in about 1792 in NY state, not in NJ where they were allegedly married. William & Mary raised their family here and are buried in Brookfield Cemetery, along with other family members. Brookfield no longer exists as a town but the cemetery is about 6 miles west of the current town of Essex.
"Willia Rolfe" was on the 1800 Old Willsboro Road List (Willsboro being about 4 miles north of Essex Town) with his three brothers-in-law Nath'l DICKERSON, Ephraim HAYWARD, & Stephen MOORE. Ephraim & Stephen were married to Mary DICKERSON's sisters Phebe & Rhoda, while Nathaniel was married to Stephen's sister Nancy MOORE. At the time of the 1785 Hanover Twp census, Phebe & Rhoda DICKERSON would have been ages 20 and 14 respectively and were presumably living in the household of their father Daniel. Ephraim is listed on this census as Ephraim HOWARD Junior. A Stephen MOORE is listed on a May 1776 Poll List in adjacent Mendham Twp.
Mary's father, Daniel DICKERSON, served in Captain Josiah HALL's Company, Eastern Battalion, Morris County Militia in 1781 and earlier. There is a Josiah HALL listed in the 1785 Hanover Twp census. Two of Josiah's daughters married two of Daniel's sons.
Right now I don't have ready access to a list of people in Essex County, NY, censuses who might also have been listed on Hanover Twp, Morris County, NJ, censuses and tax rolls, but it looks from what I have here that a group of people from Hanover Twp ended up in Essex County, NY, with many of them related to each other.
Then there is the matter of a will that was written on 24 Jan 1765, in Elizabeth Town, Essex Co., NJ, and probated on 16 Dec 1781. An Elisha Rolfe is named as witness but it is not clear to me from the wording if he was witness to the will itself or was somehow a witness to the probate. If this Elisha was a witness in 1765 for this will, and if he is the father of my William Rolfe, then it seems unlikely, altho not impossible, that William was born in Virginia in 1769.
If the witnessing was done in 1781 the conflict is that he is found on Hanover Twp, Morris County, tax polls in 1776, 1783, & ff. Essex County is adjacent to Morris County and modern-day Elizabeth is about 20 miles mostly east of modern-day Hanover & it is certainly possible that Elisha lived in Elizabeth Town before settling in Hanover Twp, Morris County, but it seems as if he wouldn't have moved back and forth.
Do a search here for "Rolfe" to find the wording of this will:
According to one of my sources, both families, the DICKERSONS and the ROLFEs/ROFFs, came from Suffolk County on Long Island, to Morris County, NJ., and all these ROFFs were descended from the Massachusetts ROLFEs. And Elizabeth certainly could be considered to be en route for someone migrating from Long Island to Morris County.