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  • ID: I66226
  • Name: Clarissa Wilcox
  • Surname: Wilcox
  • Given Name: Clarissa
  • Sex: F
  • Birth: 10 Sep 1796 in Palmyra, Wayne county, New York
  • Death: Jul 1827 in Palmyra, Wayne county, New York
  • _UID: 332EBD40BB403B4FB6C4BA86FB3384509FF4
  • Note: WARNING: Family myth says Clarissa was a descendant of a Native American, but there is no gen ealogical evidence to support it. Some sources show a birthdate of 10 Sep 1796, others 30 Sep . 1796. ?Not only did Winston Churchill have Revolutionary blood in his veins but, possibly , native American as well. According to family tradition, Jennie's maternal grandmother, Clar issa Willcox, was half-Iroquois. Clarissa's father, David Willcox, is recorded as marrying An na Baker and settling in Palmyra, New York in 1791. The implication is that Clarissa may hav e been a half Iroquois accepted into the family. The truth will perhaps never be known. It i s unsurprising that such matters, most especially in those days, went unrecorded. What is cer tain is that Winston's mother, Jennie, and her sister Leonie, firmly believed the story to b e true, having been told by their mother, Clara: "My dears, there is something you should kno w. It may not be chic but it is rather interesting...." Furthermore, the family portrait of h is maternal grandmother Clara, which I have inherited from my grandfather, lends credence t o the suggestion that she may have been quarter-Iroquois, with her oval face and mysteriousl y dark features. ?In recent years, genealogical researchers have sought to cast scorn on th e suggestion that Clara's descent is other than ?American Colonial of English background? (se e "Urban Myths? by Elizabeth Snell below). But this fails to explain why, some 130 years ago , Clara would have told her daughters the story, at a time when it would have been deeply unf ashionable to make such a claim. Nor does it explain the evidence of Clara's features which h ave little in common with the Anglo-Saxon. Furthermore, it is undisputed that the densely woo ded country south of Lake Ontario around Palmyra, New York, where Clarissa Willcox was born , was the heartland of the Iroquois nation.? --Winston S. Churchill ?Long before the age o f political correctness, some Churchills delighted in extolling the legend of their Native Am erican 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 Je nnie: The Life of Lady Randolph Churchill, Vol. 1, Ralph G. Martin wrote that Randolph S. Chu rchill in his biography of his father noted that the mother of Jennie's grandmother Clariss a was one Anna Baker whose ?mother's maiden name is not recorded in the genealogies? and ?i s believed to have been an Iriquois [sic] Indian.? Although Randolph did write something lik e this it is ironic that any Churchills or Churchillians give credence to Jennie, which was w ithdrawn in Britain over its false allegation that Sir Winston's brother Jack was not Lord Ra ndolph's son. In any case, the fact is that we now know not only Anna Baker's mother's name b ut something of her background - thanks to an unearthed 1951 typescript on the descendants o f the Baker family.? --Elizabeth Snell ?Biographer Martin went on to suggest "the possibilit y that Anna Baker may have been raped by an Indian and that [her daughter] Clarissa Willcox m ay have been half-caste" which, even for prurient writers, is quite a stretch. There were n o Iroquois Indians in Nova Scotia where Anna likely spent much of her young womanhood. Whil e there were certainly Iroquois in upper New York State, where she moved as a 25-year-old wif e and mother, her husband's will mentions their daughter "Clarind Willcox" and her sisters, w hich in itself seems definitive. Of course it is possible that Clarissa may have been an ille gitimate half-Indian, with the Willcoxes bringing her up as a daughter; but this is harder t o believe than the simple, forthright facts as recorded by her colonial family in their proba te records. The absence of proof does not make a story untrue; but it does not establish it , either. ?In the absence of any real proof we are left with are the stories passed on throu gh the Jerome family over the years, of some ancestor's supposed Indian blood. That these sto ries existed, and were believed, is undeniable; but they could have any number of origins. I t is just as possible that other children, confronted with a dark complexioned Anna Baker, te ased and even convinced her that she had Indian blood as that she really was, however improba bly, part-Indian. ?The Churchill world does not easily give up its myths, no matter how fanc iful. Sir Winston, to whose romantic nature the story appealed, was known to believe it, as d id some members of his family, including all the writing Leslies beginning with Anita Leslie' s father. Sir Winston's grandson, in his preface to The Great Republic, his new book of his g randfather's writings on America, while stating his continued bias to believe, leaves it to t he reader to decide if there is Native American blood in the Jerome line.? --Elizabeth Snell
  • Change Date: 5 Jul 2005 at 16:13:55

    Father: David Wilcox b: 10 Jan 1762 in Dartmouth, Bristol county, Massachusetts
    Mother: Anna Baker b: 27 May 1762 in Sackville, Nova Scotia

    Marriage 1 Ambrose Hall b: 29 Aug 1774 in Lanesboro, Berkshire county, Massachusetts
    • Married: 24 Dec 1817 in Palmyra, Wayne county, New York
    1. Has Children Clarissa Clara Hall b: 16 Jul 1825 in Palmyra, Wayne county, New York

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