Clarissa Hall (Wilcox) (1796 - 1827) MP

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Birthplace: Palmyra, Wayne Co., NY
Death: Died in Palmyra, Wayne Co., NY
Managed by: Anne Kathryn Phillips
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Clarissa Hall (Wilcox)

Long before the age of political correctness, some Churchills delighted in extolling the legend of their Native American blood, believed to have been introduced through Jennie Jerome's maternal grandmother, Clarissa Willcox. Despite the much-mooted Indian features of some of Clarissa's descendants, there is no genealogical evidence to support Indian ancestry in the Jerome lineage.

In Jennie: The Life of Lady Randolph Churchill, Vol. 1, Ralph G. Martin wrote that Randolph S. Churchill in his biography of his father noted that the mother of Jennie's grandmother Clarissa was one Anna Baker whose "mother's maiden name is not recorded in the genealogies" and "is believed to have been an Iriquois [sic] Indian." Although Randolph did write something like this it is ironic that any Churchills or Churchillians give credence to Jennie, which was withdrawn in Britain over its false allegation that Sir Winston's brother Jack was not Lord Randolph's son. In any case, the fact is that we now know not only Anna Baker's mother's name but something of her background - thanks to an unearthed 1951 typescript on the descendants of the Baker family. .....

.... Anna Baker Willcox's daughter Clarissa was born 30 September 1796. David and Anna Willcox are buried together in Palmyra, where their headstones may still be seen. Anna's father, Joseph Baker, died 15 June 1796 and in his will named his daughter, "Anne Willcocks.".

Biographer Martin went on to suggest "the possibility that Anna Baker may have been raped by an Indian and that [her daughter] Clarissa Willcox may have been half-caste" which, even for prurient writers, is quite a stretch. There were no Iroquois Indians in Nova Scotia where Anna likely spent much of her young womanhood. While there were certainly Iroquois in upper New York State, where she moved as a 25-year-old wife and mother, her husband's will mentions their daughter "Clarind Willcox" and her sisters, which in itself seems definitive. Of course it is possible that Clarissa may have been an illegitimate half-Indian, with the Willcoxes bringing her up as a daughter; but this is harder to believe than the simple, forthright facts as recorded by her colonial family in their probate records. The absence of proof does not make a story untrue; but it does not establish it, either.

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Clarissa Hall's Timeline

1796
September 10, 1796
Palmyra, Wayne Co., NY
1817
December 24, 1817
Age 21
Palmyra, Wayne, New York, United States
1825
July 16, 1825
Age 28
Palmyra, Wayne, NY, USA
1827
July 1827
Age 30
Palmyra, Wayne Co., NY