Hi, Yes many of those names look familiar. Attached is
an inquiry that has been on the net for a while with many of these names in it. Contact me so we can talk. !-317-254-0464.
Jan Rolison Farren
Rolison, Rawlinson, Rollinson Researchers: Can you help us find George?
My grandfather, George E. Rolison never meet his grandfather and namesake, George Rolison. In fact, old George's children were quite young when he passed -- the oldest Margaret Frances, only 11; sons Benjamin
Franklin and William Francis, wee lads of 6 and 8 years old. In early 1860, just prior to Civil War, George and Elizabeth Meggs moved their young, growing family from Dallas County, Alabama to a largely wooded area in Clarke
County, near Pierce Springs, Mississippi. Then, just as mysteriously, George retuned alone to Selma, Alabama (Bessemer?) His decision to move the family
was never clearly explained to his wife or children. So, understandably, there remains much speculation among Rolison family members and researchers as to his reason and action.
In the way of trade, George was a railroad agent, working in Selma, Alabama. Perhaps, as some researchers think he realized the upcoming demand on rail the war would bring thus sensing the demanding, and indeed, dangerous
times ahead, he opted to secure his family and face the war outcome alone. According to family history/lore past down some five generations George died of complications from pneumonia, November 30, 1863.His remains was never retuned to his family, and despite, concentrated effort from many
Rolison researchers, old George E. Rolison's final resting place is still not known to his family. Ironically, even today, we know little more about his family background than did his young wife and children in 1860. For many
hundred of thousands of descendants, Rolison family history stop with him! George Rolison's early demise, coupled with his mysterious impenetrable past, surely made an impact on his descendants. The individuals this strange and
enigmatic man put forth are family oriented, family focused, individuals who cherish their collective family history with a passion. I for one suspect this is what old George was aiming for all along.
George Rollison's ethnicity has been questioned in every subsequent generation. He is said to have been mixed with both English, Irish, African American and native Indian blood lines. This may well be an avenue to explore since the only known photograph of any of his children is a photograph of daughter, Mary Dallas Rolison, depicting a young women of decidedly ethnic features. This was found in an article (date unknown) detailing the family's move to
Clarke County, Mississippi. This article was in the possession of Effie Cora Rolison Kemp, California. She was the daughter of Benjamin Franklin Rolison, George Rolison's youngest son.
There is some indication that he may have descended from the Elizabeth Rawlinson line written about in the Pettiford_Ridley document found below. Elizabeth Rawlinson, born say 1708, was called "Elizabeth Rawlinson the younger" when she was presented for not listing herself as a tithable in York County on 20 November 1727 [OW 16:489], perhaps the same Elizabeth Rawlinson
who was presented again in York County on 15 May 1738 [OW 18:414]. She was probably the mother of3 i. William1 Rollison, born say 1727. 3.
William1 Rollison, born say 1727, was a "mollatoe" taxable with his unnamed
wife in William Person's Granville County, North Carolina Tax List in 1750 .
On 1 August 1764 he recorded a plat for 400 acres adjoining his land in South
Carolina on the North side of the Santee River near present-day Richland
County [South Carolina Archives, Plats 8:62]. He was head of a Camden
District, Richland District household of 3 "white" males and 3 "white"
females in 1790, living near Henry Bunch and Benjamin and Isaac Jacobs who
were also counted as white [SC:26]. He was probably the father or grandfather
ofi. Benjamin1, granted a memorial for 200 acres in Craven County, South
Carolina, in the fork of the Wateree and Congaree Rivers in present-day
Richland County on 15 February 1769 and granted a memorial for 300 acres in
the same area adjoining William Rollinson on 6 February 1770 [South Carolina
Archives, Memorials 8:420; 10:57]. He was head of a Richland District
household of 7 "other free" in 1810 [SC:176a].ii. Abigail, recorded a plat
for 250 acres in Craven County, South Carolina, in the fork of the Wateree
and Congaree Rivers adjoining William Rollinson on 22 May 1771 and sold this
land on 14 September 1773 [South Carolina Archives, Memorials 20:180;
Charleston Deeds H-4:222-6].iii. Sam, head of a Richland District household
of 6 "other free" and 2 slaves in 1810 [SC:178].iv. William2, head of a
Richland District household of 7 "other free" in 1810 [SC:171].v. Nathaniel,
head of a Richland District household of 6 "other free" in 1810 [SC:171].vi.
John2, recorded a memorial for 100 acres in Craven County, South Carolina, in
the fork of the Wateree and Congaree Rivers on 23 May 1771 [South Carolina
Archives, Memorials 10:446]. He was head of a Richland District household of
6 "other free" in 1810 [SC:179].vii. Benjamin2, head of a Richland District
household of 6 "other free" in 1810 [SC:179].viii. Catherine, head of a
Richland District household of 6 "other free" in 1810 [SC:175a].ix. William3,
head of a Richland District household of 2 "other free" in 1810 [SC:177a].x.
John3, head of a Richland District household of 3 "other free" in 1810
[SC:177a].xi. James, head of a Richland District household of 2 "other free"
in 1810 [SC:178].
Some of George Rollison's descendants refered to him as 'Black Dutch.' There are at least six quite different groups of people described as "Black Dutch." It is conceivable that George could have descended from any of these.
1. Melungeons are a Mestee group originating along the VA-NC border, particularly Henry and Patrick County, VA, and Rockingham, Stokes and Surry counties, NC. They, like other Mestee groups of the Southeast, were formed by
an amalgamation of various mixed-race and nonwhite people, particularly the remnants of Indian groups which had absorbed a lot of Black, White and Mulatto people.
Melungeons sometimes call themselves Black Dutch, Black Irish or Black German to hide their mixed race origin while explaining their being darker than most
2. Another Mestee group, the Ramapo Mountain People or Ramapough Indians, are
sometimes called Black Dutch. This is more true when they leave the Ramapo
Mountain area (NJ-NY border) than when they are in this location. They are
the descendants of free Mulattos from Dutch farms in the Hudson Valley who
moved to the mountains, where they may have mixed with some remnant Indians,
who probably would have been the Munsee group of Lenape (Lenni-Lenape or
Delaware) Indians, definitely Algonquian speaking Indians of the East Coast. T
3. Schwarzer Deutsch or Black Germans, found along the Danube River in
Austria and Germany, in the Black Forest and, to a lesser extent, along the
Rhine River, have dark hair and eyes, unlike the fairer people both north and
south of them. Their descendants in America may be called either Black Dutch
or Black German.
4. Tziganes or, more commonally (but erroneously), Gypsies, are another group
called Black Dutch in America. A Tzigane from Germany, who could speak
German, could be accepted much better by saying he was Black Dutch than if he
admitted to being Gypsy.
5. Dutch and Belgian Jews were sometimes called Black Dutch in America
because they spoke Dutch or Flemish and were darker than the other Dutch and
6. Mulattos, Quadroons, Octaroons and other mixed children of German, Dutch
or Flemish fathers who appeared mostly White, but were too dark, would use
the term in order to live in White society. Of course, they frequently
learned the term from one of the other types of Black Dutch and then would
sieze it as their own.
Things we think we know about George Rolison:
No burial site or death record has been found for George Rolison. In a oral history circa. 1969, Fresno, California, the oldest living descendant of George Rolison, granddaughter, Effie Cora Rolison Kemp, stated her grandfather had been buried in Lower Peachtree, Wilcox County, Alabama. We now know that George Rolison and Elizabeth Meggs may have had kin living in that area. We also know that the Civil War was raging throughout the south in 1863 and transport of bodies was very difficult "people were often buried where they fell" one historian noted.
Little is known of George Rolison's life between 1860 and his death in 1863. In family records dating back to that time his death is recorded as November 30, 1863, Salem, Alabama, cause of death complications from pneumonia. George Rolison returned to Alabama after moving his family to Pierce Spring's, Clarke County, Mississippi. Prior to the move to Pierce Spring's George Rolison worked as station agent in Salem. Alabama. He apparently continued to make his way back to visit his family in Mississippi since the youngest daughter Ella Rebecca Rolison was born in 1863 three years after George Rolison and Elizabeth Meggs moved from Alabama.
It is known that Elizabeth Meggs never remarried and that she and the children continued to live in Mississippi. Needless to say, Elizabeth would have found life difficult during the years after George Rolison's death. Elizabeth, a young woman of only 34 years old, alone with eight children, ranging in ages form 11 to 1 year old, would have faced many challenges. Despite the economic and physical hardships of the time the family thrived and survived. Eight of George and Elizabeth's children grew to adulthood and raised families in or near Pierce Spring's. We know little about the financial condition of the family but documentation for Confederate Bonds in George and Elizabeth Rolison's name have been located. A confederate bond for 400 dollars was cashed 1864 by Elizabeth Meggs Rolison in Mobile, Alabama.
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