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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Larrabee

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 747-748 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The surname Larrabee, sometimes spelled L'Arabie, D'Arabie, and Arabie, in foreign documents and books, is of undoubted French origin, or has long existed in France. Tradition states that a Count Larrabee figured conspicuously in French history, and that the Larrabees — devoted Huguenots — fought for their religious rights under the brave Coligny. The family, once numerous in France, were nearly all killed in the Huguenot wars or driven from the country. The first persons in New England bearing the name, of whom there is an authentic record, were either brothers or near relatives. A Greenfield Larrabee was before the court as "a mariner" in New London, Connecticut, for doing some work on board his vessel during a storm, on a Sunday in 1637. In 1647, ten years later, William Larrabee, "a stranger," was called to answer for the same offense. Charles H. Larrabee, in the Hathaway genealogy says: "The Rev. Charles Larrabee was a Huguenot pastor, who escaped with a portion of his flock from the South of France, during the massacre which followed the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, October 16, 1685, and landed at Baltimore, Maryland. From him have sprung all of the name in America. Some of the descendants are in Baltimore, some in Connecticut, one branch went to Maine, one to Vermont, and one to Upper Canada." But the two facts cited above show that Greenfield Larrabee was in New London in 1637 and William in 1647. There are families in Canada named Laraby and Larabe. They are genuine French Canadians and speak the language. Any tradition that makes the Rev. Charles Larrabee the American ancestor, must place his coming before and not after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 1685, as the family was surely here in 1637. This is attested by various excellent authorities.

(I) The Amsterdam family of Larrabee are, according to the best evidence obtainable, descendants of Greenfield Larrabee, styled, "an original emigrant," who appeared in Connecticut as early as 1637, when he was brought before the court as before related. He is mentioned as a seaman, belonging to the "Phoenix," in 1647. His name often appears on the old documents at subsequent periods. He married Phoebe Brown, widow of Thomas Lee. It is conjectured that if Greenfield Larrabee was of foreign birth, he was an Englishman of French ancestry. His name Greenfield was evidently taken from the English Greenfield family, one of whom may have been his mother. Children: Greenfield (2), John, see forward, Elizabeth, Joseph and Sarah.

(II) John, second son of Greenfield and Phoebe (Brown-Lee) Larrabee, was born February 23, 1649. He removed to Windham, Connecticut, from Norwich, with a family. In 1691 he had broken land, built a house, and established himself upon a tract granted him upon condition that he build upon it and run a ferry for seven years. He was admitted and enrolled an inhabitant of Windham, May 30, 1693.

(III) John (2), son of John (1) Larrabee of Windham, Connecticut, was born in Windham, it is thought about the year 1700. He was a soldier of the colonial army, and was killed at the battle of Louisburg, Canada, in the war against the French. His wife Hannah died in Windham, August 15, 1756. It is said she sat up nights and spun to earn money to buy the communion service for the old Congregational church in Windham. On a monument in Windham, Connecticut, there is an inscription to her memory, and beneath, the following: "John Larrabee, husband of Hannah Died in battle at Louisburg, March, 1746."

(IV) Richard, son of John (2) and Hannah Larrabee, was born in 1732, died January 28, 1828. He served in the revolution, as the following record from the war department at Washington shows: "Richard Larrabee was a private in Captain Simeon Smith's Company, in a Battalion commanded by Colonel Seth Warner, Continental line during the Revolutionary War. He enlisted in February, 1777, to serve during the war. Name appears on the roll dated November 10, 1777, with remarks on furlough by General Lincoln, August 27, twelve days; returned from captivity August 27. His name also appears on roll covering the period from March to June 1779, from which it appears he was at Fort Edward. A return of prisoners dated at Quebec, November 8, 1772, shows that he was returned as a prisoner of war from this province for exchange, sometime subsequent to November 1, 1779, that he belonged to the section including New York and New England and that he was sent by way of the sea to Boston." Prior to the war he settled in New Hampshire. He married Patty Webster, a member of the family of Daniel Webster, and closely related to that great statesman's father. That Ebenezer, his son, was killed at the battle of Bunker Hill, is stated by qualified authority.

(V) Seth, son of Richard and Patty (Webster) Larrabee, was born February 26, 1776, died January 4, 1850, nearly attaining the great age of his father. He served in the war of 1812. He settled in the Mohawk valley on a new unbroken land in the town of Amsterdam, Montgomery county. He is buried in the village cemetery at Glenville, not far from where he lived. He married Nancy Groat, of the pioneer family of that name, early settlers at Crane's Village. She died in 1857, surviving her husband seven years. They had sons Roswell, Caleb C., who settled at Jackson, Michigan, and Louis, of Montgomery county.

(VI) Roswell, son of Seth and Nancy (Groat) Larrabee, was born in the town of Amsterdam, Montgomery county, New York, 1826. He learned the carpenter's trade, later engaging in mercantile life. He was a practical, capable business man, and was successful in his undertakings. He died at the age of sixty-seven years. He married Sarah Van Vleck, a lifelong resident of Fulton county, New York, descendant of an early Dutch family. Children:

  1. John E., see forward.
  2. Irving J., born November 28, 1859; married Harriet Hannon.
  3. Annie, married John King, of Utica, New York; has daughters Florence and Edith King.

(VII) John E., eldest child of Roswell and Sarah (Van Vleck) Larrabee, was born in Amsterdam, November 24, 1851. He was educated in the public schools. In 1867 he located in Amsterdam, where he worked for nine years as a clerk. In 1876 he began business for himself, in company with L. L. Dean, who had established a hardware store, and continuing until the present time (1910). In 1882 Mr. Dean withdrew and William G. Barnes succeeded in 1890, and Larrabee started his present establishment, which he has since conducted under his own name. He is the leading hardware merchant of the city. His present store on Market street was opened for business in 1890. He is an energetic, capable and reliable business man, whose long career in trade has been crowned with deserved success. He is affiliated with the Presbyterian church and the leading fraternal and social organizations of the city. Politically he is a Republican.

He married, in Amsterdam, Louise Leavenworth, born in that city May 16, 1863, daughter of Edwin and granddaughter of Treat M. Leavenworth. Children:

  1. Catherine L., a student of Wellesley College.
  2. Hilda, attending the Amsterdam high school.

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