Family Data

Contents

 


      The Crossett Name
arms
Ms Frances Plimpton was retained in 1937 to produce a genealogy of the family of Edward Clark Crossett. In doing so she relied upon “data” given her from a “search made in Ireland in 1927”. Her book states no other source for this material. She simply states “References in the possession of Edward C. Crossett.” These references have not been found after diligent search and contact with Mr. Crossett's descendants. Ms. Plimpton's notes, copies of some of which are in my possession, simply restate what appears in her book. Most of her personal work was conducted with records from early New England and stands on much firmer ground.
    Unlike Ms. Plimpton, I find the Irish data less than convincing. The book posits one Anthony du Crozat, a French Huguenot refugee to Ireland as the origin of the family name, it having been “anglicized” in a single generation.
    The first recorded instance of the name that I have found occurs in a 1596 English legal document regarding a land transaction in London. Also in England the will of a gentleman names James Crossett as a friend in 1656. Other English legal documents include the name. Ms. Plimpton dismisses English references to the name as not being of “Norman origin”. Presumably, research was carried out in Ireland because of family tradition as to the Crossett origins. A search of on-line files will reveal many Crossetts and variations such as Crosat, Croste, and others occuring in England, France, and Scotland in the 17th century; none, however, are found in Ireland.
    As to the book's Irish records of unknown authorship, there appear to be several problems. First the book states that Anthony du Crozat (was) a Huguenot refugee from France during the reign of Louis XIV and came to Londonderry, Ireland in 1640. Louis XIV did not begin his reign until 1643. I believe this error may be attributable to two books, one by Charles Lart; Huguenot Pedigrees. This 1924 book describes the presence of Antoine Du Crozat in Ireland and mentions it in the context of persons fleeing the persecutions of Louis XIV. This citation may also partially account for the name in the Crossett Genealogy  This Marc Antoine du Crozat is not the same man as he who is mentioned in that book who seems to be a young man of limited means. The other much earlier book, John O'Harts Irish Pedigrees  (1887) lists du Crozat as a name of huguenot immigrants to Ireland prior to Louis XIV. There are surely two Huguenot men by that name present in England and Ireland in the 1600s. The first frequently lived  and is buried in London where he represented  King Charles II. He had previously served as secretary and interpreter to the French ambassador to  England. Although a Huguenot, he and his family were royalists. He never married. His will does not mention another of his name in Northern Ireland. His nephew, who bore his uncle's name, resided in Dublin and is he who is mentioned in the Lart book. Both are of the wrong time and place. In short, the men referred to in the books might superficially point to a du Crozat origin for a Crossett family from Northern Ireland but the similarity is only skin deep. The likelihood of there being a third person named Antoine du Crozat from that family in that same generation seems very slim but there is an Antoine Crozat who was second cousin to Marc Antoine du Crozat de la Bastide. He became governor of Louisiana and was a noted art collector. He, too is not our man.  Perhaps, however, there is one of another family. The arms I have used for the family (for decorative reasons) are not those of the men already mentioned who are of a family in Langudoc, France, (the de Creissels) but of a Crozat family in Dauphine, France between the Rhone River and Italy.
    There is no doubt that today there are Crossett families in Northern Ireland. Some use a variant spelling. I certainly have no positive proof for tossing out the Plimpton book as regards Ireland; the Crossetts clearly came here from Ireland with related families; the matter of fact presentation of the data makes me uncomfortable. For example, it is said Anthony married Laura Thompson in 1647 and they had six children, three boys and three girls. Dates of birth are given for the boys, none for the girls. Presumably the information would be gathered from church records. If we know all their names why not their birth dates, or rather, when they were baptized. We are also given the marriage history of the boys but not the girls of whom “no record” is quoted. Also church records, why are spouses not stated for the girls? The second generation, that is now no longer Crozat but Crossett, continues the pattern. James married Elizabeth Rogers of Dungannon. This has to be a church record. They had eight children; four boys and four girls. Again, birth dates are given for the boys and not the girls. The history of their children is interesting. "Anthony Jr." (although no Anthony Sr. is apparent) joined the English army. This should point to a government record. None has been found. Edward married a Miss Hastings of Larne and went to Australia in 1708! If so, they were among the first people to see it. Captain Cook did not claim it for England until the August of 1770.  ...“the four girls married the sons of local farmers”. No comment is given.
    The third generation, who emigrated, are presented in some detail as Ms. Plimpton's activity in the research begins. Two wives of William Crossett are mentioned, the first having died in 1712. Relying on documents available in America a supposition is made that Martha Hamilton Crossett came here as a widow in 1727 and brought four sons. The book, List of Immigrants Who Came to America 1700-1777 , refers to Martha, a widow, and four sons being in Rutland in 1727. The dates of the son's births presented in Plimpton's data said to have come from Ireland are in error with the exception of the first boy, Archibald. A son Frank is simply unaccountable. Three documents support the idea that William Crossett did not die in Ireland, but came to America with the family. That the intact family came to Boston, Massachusetts not in 1727, but in 1716 and that three of the sons were born in America, not in Ireland. The first document in support of this claim is Salome Hamilton's Hamilton Genealogy  of 1894. In that book she describes the arrival in America of the Crossett and Hamilton families together. On their voyage a child was born either to a Crossett or a Hamilton. A granddaughter of the immigrants who knew the people avowed to her that it was John Hamilton who was born at sea and that it was in the year 1716, the Crossett child being an infant in arms (Archibald), born 1715. That 1716 date is on John Hamilton's tombstone.
    The second document is from a report of the selectmen of Boston documented by Michael O'Brien in a 1979 reprinting of his Irish Settlers in America. Seven ships arrived in Boston in the summer of 1716 from Europe. One, the America arrived in July from “Lisburne in Ireland”. The Hamiltons, Crossetts, and Savages all came from around Lisburn which was not a seaport. They ultimately settled in the Lisburn Proprietary, later called Pelham, Massachusetts.
    The third document is a family Bible or journal kept over a number of years by the Crossett family in central Massachusetts. The material is now in the care of the Swift River Valley Historical Society. A photocopy of the original is on microfilm from the LDS Church. This very valuable document shows, that William and Martha's son Robert Crossett was born in 1723. It also repeats the idea that Martha came as a widow but in 1711,  but is clearly in error as to that date. Robert's birthdate is sure, recorded by his immediate family. The document  traces the families of Robert, Archibald, and William and mentions the daughter, Margaret, who was  a half sister to the boys. Son John is mentioned but not accounted for in these records. Further supporting the early date of arrival is the marriage of Margaret Crossett in 1720 at Worcester, Massachusetts to John Stevenson. Their daughter Margaret was wife of the first pastor of Pelham, Rev. Robert Abercrombie.
    In summary, the Irish document given to Ms. Plimpton is difficult to credit on many accounts. Hence, the origin of the Crossett name is in question, although clearly found in Ireland and elsewhere in the late 17th century.