Untangling the Combs - A Combs &c. Research Project

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Updated 21 Apr 1999
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Background: Joseph Combs II of Stafford, Frederick and Loudoun Cos, VA may have married Elizabeth HARRISON, d/o Burr and Ann BARNES Harrison. Joseph's brother, John Combs, Sr., did marry Seth BULLITT, d/o Benjamin and Elizabeth (HARRISON?) Bullitt, the latter said to have been the sister of Burr HARRISON (See also Bullitt Families).

The source for the marriage of Joseph and Elizabeth HARRISON Combs II is supposed to have been the Family Bible Record of her brother, Cuthbert HARRISON; however, we have been unable to locate a transcription of the bible record; and based on the following, there seems to be considerable question as to exactly what the bible record states.

See also Miscellaneous Combs-Harrison Connections.

Extracted from "Five Generations of the Family of Burr HARRISON of Virginia, 1650-1800," John P. Alcock, Heritage Books, Inc., 1990:

Burr HARRISON was born 21 May 1699, Dettingen Parish (Records of Dettingen Parish, p. 124)
"Burr HARRISON married Ann, daughter of Matthew BARNES, at the bride's home at Portobaco [Charles Co], Maryland." (Kentucky Bible Records, Kentucky Genealogical Research Committee, DAR, 19488 [sic], pp. 10-22, Bible of Cuthbert HARRISON, son of Burr and Ann BARNES Harrison)
Burr HARRISON "departed this life on Wednesday the 18th of October at 2 o'clock in the morning on 1775." (Kentucky Bible Record, op. cit.) (His will is not extant, but indexed in both Stafford and Prince William)
Issue of Burr and Ann BARNES Harrison (Kentucky Bible, Cuthbert HARRISON):
Thomas (1723-1756) m Anne PEYTON
Jane (1726-1759) m John LINTON
Seth (1729-?) m John PEYTON
Elizabeth (1731-1781) m Joseph Combs
(1734-1790) m Mary Anne BARNES
Anne (1736-?) m Craven PEYTON
Matthew (1738-1798) m. four times
Sarah (1740-1815) m Leven POWELL
George (1745-1805) m Elizabeth BEALE
Cuthbert (1749-1822) m three times

In the article, "Harrison of North Virginia" by W. G. Stanard, published in the "Virginia Magazine of History and Biography," Vol. XXIII (1915), pp. 214-216; 331-333; and 443-445, Stanard refers to an old family bible record as a primary source for one line of the family, although he does not further identify it. According to the article, the contents of the bible record included:

Burr HARRISON was the "eldest son of Cuthbert HARRISON, born in the City of Westminster in the parish of St. Margarets, the 28th day of December 1637."

Stanard adds that the parish register confirms that Cuthbert HARRISON was baptized at St. Margaret's, Westminster (Greater London), Middlesex, England, on 3 Jan 1637/8, and that he was recorded as a justice of Stafford Co, VA in 1698. He died in 1706 according to "a family account." A later issue includes from Dr. J. H. Berkeley of Baltimore the added information that the parish entry indicated Cuthbert was the s/o a Cuthbert HARRISON who was also father of a second son, Alexander, baptized at St. Margaret's in 1644. The latter parish register entry listed the mother's name as Susan. About Burr HARRISON I, Stanard states that in 1700, Stafford records included a request by Burr HARRISON to be appointed guardian to the children of Edward SMITH, he having married the widow who was now deceased. In a Stafford deed dated 8 Dec 1701, Burr HARRISON of Stafford conveys to James BLAND of St. Mary's Co, MD, 600 acres in Stafford. On Oct 1702 Burr HARRISON as guardian of William, Edward and Katherine SMITH, children of Edward and Lettice SMITH, and grandchildren of Ann SCARLETT of Stafford, and refers to the sale of land to George MASON.

Thomas HARRISON "of Chappawamsick," Stafford Co, VA (son of Burr Harrison I) was born Sept. 7, 1665, died Aug. 13, 1746.

Stanard adds that on 10 Jul 1700, Thomas HARRISON was included among the civil and military officers of Stafford, and that on 16 May 1733, Thomas HARRISON, Sr. was bond for his son, Thomas HARRISON, Jr. as Sheriff of (newly formed) Prince William Co, VA. The index to missing Stafford Co, VA Will Book (1729-1748) includes wills for Thomas and Ann HARRISON. Stanard also states that the bible record lists Thomas I' sons as Burr, Thomas and Cuthbert, adding that "an account preserved in the family" states that Thomas also had a son, William. In Vol. XXIII, pp. 215-216, it is reported that, in addition to his sons, Thomas was the father of (a) Elizabeth HARRISON who married in 1737, Benjamin BULLITT of Prince William (father of Seth BULLITT, w/o John Combs, Sr., s/o Joseph Combs I of Stafford Co, VA); (b) Frances HARRISON who m Valentine PEYTON (d 1751); and (c) Ann Frances HARRISON who married John McMILLAN. Note: In a later issue, Elizabeth HARRISON Bullit's death year is given as 1742.

Burr HARRISON [II] was born 21 May 1699, died 18 Oct 1790, married July 31, 1722, "Ann daughter of Matthew BARNES of Maryland."

Stanard adds that Burr II was appointed a justice of Prince William in 1731. Of the children of Burr and Ann BARNES Harrison II, Stanard lists them as (according to the Family Bible):

Thomas, born March 3,1723.

Stanard adds that this is the Thomas HARRISON who m 2 Jul 1747, Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co, VA, Anne Waye, daughter of John PEYTON.

Jane, born Dec. 9, 1726, married LINTON, died April 3, 1759.

Stanard adds that another account states she was born Sept. 12, 1726, and married a TRIPLETT.

Seth, born Nov 30, 1729, married John PEYTON.
Elizabeth, born Jan. 30, 1731, died August 1780, married Combs.

Stanard adds that "another account" states that Elizabeth married a LINTON, raising the question as to whether her marriage was part of the marriage record. If it was part of the bible record, did the record list the husband only as Combs or as Joseph Combs?

Burr, born June 16, 1734, died Aug 2, 1790.

Stanard does not credit the Family Bible Record as having been the source of either Burr's birth or death although it appears probable (based on the remainder of these articles) that it was the source for at least the birth date. He adds that Burr died testate in Prince William Co, VA, his will dated 5 Feb [sic] and proved 7 Feb 1791. His will mentions his brother Cuthbert (he also had a son, Cuthbert, to whom he gave a military claim for 2,000 acres in Kentucky). Stanard states that Burr married Sept 1760 (location not stated), Mary Ann BARNES (d/o Matthew BARNES), d testate 2 Dec 1803, will proved 2 Jan 1801 [sic]. He does not state which Matthew BARNES was Mary Anne's father.

Ann, born Jul. 31, 1734, married Craven PEYTON of Loudoun.

Stanard adds that "another account, on what authority is unknown, states that she was the Ann HARRISON who on Apr. 15, 1745, married in Overwharton Parish, George BALL" [Ed. Note: This marriage record has not been located in King's "Overwharton Parish Register.."]

Matthew, born Oct. 7, 1738.

Again, Stanard does not list the Family Bible Record as having been the source for this birth date. he adds that Matthew was a merchant at Dumfries (Prince William) and that he married (1) Miss SLAUGHTER; (2) Miss WOOD, d/o Gov. James WOOD; (3) Miss WEBB; and (4) Eleanor TYLER.

Sarah, born Dec. 17, 1740, married in 1765, Col. Liven POWELL, of Loudoun County.
George, born March 22, 1745

Stanard adds that "George removed to Kentucky where he is said to have left descendants."

Cuthbert, born August 11, 1749 at 10 o'clock in the morning.

Stanard adds that Cuthbert was baptized 17 Sep 1749, died 1824 (locations not stated); "married (1st) on Jan. 7, 1773, by Rev. Peter MUHLENBERG, Minister of Dunmore Parish, to Anne (born March 31, 1734), daughter of Taverner and Frances BEALE of Orange County [VA]. Cuthbert HARRISON removed to Kentucky when he married secondly Frances HOLT (who died within a year leaving no surviving issue), and thirdly Anne TANNEHILL."

Ed Notes: (1) Three Cuthbert HARRISONS appear on the 1820 Kentucky Census Index, one each in the counties of Hardin, Lewis and Nelson. A fourth Cuthbert was in Mason Co, VA (where a James M. BEALE is also found); and a Cudbert [sic] HARRISON was in Franklin Co, IL. (2) There was no Dunmore Parish in VA. This marriage record appears to have instead been in Dunmore County, VA which was formed from Frederick in 1772, and renamed Shenandoah in 1777. Shenandoah Co, VA records include a (Dunmore Co) marriage bond for Cuthbert HARRISON and Ann BEALE, "sister of James," which was reg. 4 Jan 1774. The bondsman was Edwin YOUNG. (See also Miscellaneous Combs-Harrison Connections for a second Combs family's connection to Cuthbert HARRISON of Shenandoah).

The ancestry of Anne BARNES, wife of Burr HARRISON, is further documented by the will of her father:

Jun 1745 - 10 Feb 1745/6. Charles Co, MD Will Book 24. Will of Mathew BARNES. Names wife Mary and Ch: Godshall, Mathew, Philip, Henry, Jane HEREFORD (dau), Elizabeth COURTS (dau), Ann HARRISON (dau), Frances HARRISON (dau) Ex: Mary BARNES (wife), Henry BARNES (son) Pro: 2-10-1745; 308, 24 (Combs Researcher Loren Gardner )

LG Notes: Matthew BARNES was the s/o Henry BARNES, d ca 1676, Charles Co, MD. His will, dated 11 Oct 1675, proved 5 Oct 1676, names son Matthew BARNES, Dau. Christian BARNES, sons Thomas, Francis and John COSTER, and to Edmond BARNES, personality. Wife Sarah, execx. Overseers: Rober. ROBINS, Chas CULLES. Test: Robt. ROBINS, Wm. STANDFORD, Edward BARNES (5.95 Maryland Calendar of Wills), Henery BARNES md Elizabeth GREENE in Baltimore Co, MD 27 Oct 1654.

Miscellaneous Combs-Harrison Connections
  1. In 1818, a John Combs married in Nelson Co, KY, one Fanny (Frances?) HARRISON. According to his War of 1812 Pension file, he served in Nathaniel Grigsby's Virginia Militia. Was this the Nathaniel GRIGSBY of Early Loudoun Co, VA? Or is the abstract in error and this a Kentucky Militia unit from Nelson county (where also is found a Nathaniel GRIGSBY. The same?)? What was the ancestry of Fanny HARRISON? Was she kin to Cuthbert HARRISON of Nelson Co, KY (see numerous land transactions)? Was there a connection between Nathaniel GRIGSBY and Nancy GRIGSBY who married Nicholas Combs of Shenandoah Co, VA?
  2. One Charles TAYLOR d. 1785 in Shenandoah Co, VA, leaving a widow, Barbara (last name unknown). They lived in Abrahams Birds District where one Burr HARRISON had a farm and also where Tavenor BEALE lived. Tavenor BEALE''S daughter, Ann, married 24 Sep 1772, Cuthbert HARRISON whose sister, Elizabeth, is said to have been wife of Joseph Combs (see above). After Charles' death, his widow, Barbara, married 20 Jul 1786, Shenandoah, Job Combs, s/o Robert Combs of Monmouth Co, NJ and Shenandoah. In 1771, in Loudoun Co, VA, the Capt. Joseph Combs who is said to have married Elizabeth HARRISON tithed an Edward TAYLOR. Coincidence?
  3. In Talbot Co, MD pre-1719, one Francis HARRISON, m Dorothy, d/o Elizabeth ROE, widow of (1) William Combs and (2) Nicholas LOWE. Were the HARRISONS of Talbot somehow kin to the HARRISONS of North Neck Virginia? (It is not known if Dorothy was issue by Combs or LOWE.)
  4. In Washington Co, TN, one Emeline Combs, possibly the d/o RW William and Michal TRAYLOR Combs (Starr), married in 1853, one Jesse J. HARRISON.
  5. In Holt Co, MO, John J. Combs m in 1874, Louisa J. HARRISON.
  6. According to some oral family traditions, the full name of Henry Combs, s/o John and Nancy HARDING Combs, Sr. of Stafford, Frederick & Shenandoah Cos, VA, was Henry Harrison Combs. If so, named after whom?

See also the Combs Research List Archives for possibly more about this family and/or others of this surname.

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