John Parsons and Mary Grills

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Parents   :   John Parsons' parents not known                   Sampson Grills (b 1710) and Mary (b 1715) married South Hill

John Parsons (b 1739 South Hill Cornwall, m Mary Grills 1759 South Hill, d 1810)      
Mary Grills (b 1743 South Hill, d 1794)
    Elizabeth Parsons (b 1760 Stoke Climsland, d bef 1762)      
    Mary Parsons (b 1761, d bef 1769)      
    Elizabeth Parsons (b 1762, d aft 1810)     
    Thomasin Parsons (b 1764, m John Hawton 1786 Stoke Climsland, d 1843)      
    John Parsons (b 1765 Stoke Climsland, m Susannah Hoare 1792, d aft 1810)
    James Parsons (b 1767 Stoke Climsland, d aft 1810)     
    Sarah Parsons (b 1768 Stoke Climsland, d bef 1811)    
    Mary Parsons (b 1769 Stoke Climsland, m  James Hawton 1791 Stoke Climsland, d 1843)      
        Francis (Frank) Hawton  (b 1799 Stoke Climsland Cornwall, m Jane Dingle 1820 Stoke Climsland)
            Margaret Hawton (b 1828 Stoke Climsland, m William Burton Mitchell 1846 Stoke Climsland Cornwall, d 1922 Essendon Vic)
                William Mitchell  (b 1850 Tregorick Cornwall, m Ellen Adelaide Cubit 1880 Sandridge Melb, d 1889 Bethanga, Vic )
                       Ernest Harold Mitchell (b 1887 Whiteford, m  Liela Muriel Roach 1914 Kew, d 1960 Wodonga)
    Richard John Parsons (b 1773 Stoke Climsland, d bef 1811)     

Cautionary Note

The dates for Mary Grill's birth, marriage and her parents may be sus. The following is from an email from Richard Grylls, author of the book GRYLLS & GRILLS, published in 1999.
    Chapter 3 in Vol 1 deals with the deluge of people named Grills who lived in Southill or South Hill [either acceptable but not South Hills], Cornwall in the 1600s and 1700s.  They are also shown on Trees 1A to 1G in Vol 2.  Your John Parson and Mary Grills are on Tree 1G.  The document concerning their marriage settlement has survived.  I don't have a copy, but I'd be surprised if it did not mention John Parson's father's name.  The family were from the nearby parish of Stoke Climsland.  Mary Grills's sister Grace, married George Parson of Stoke Climsland.  I have a suspicion that George and John were brothers.  Are you aware if either of them left a will?  That's not something I've looked for.
    You mention the burial date of Mary Parson nee Grills?  Do you think she was buried in South Hill?  I reckon she was born in 1736, daughter of Sampson and Mary Grills of Trefinnick, South Hill.  Sampson died in 1790 and left a will.  His daughter Grace had already died, but he mentioned her son Richard Parson, son of George Parson of Lamerton (Devon), gent.  Sampson Grills also mentioned his married granddaughters, Elizabeth the wife of Thomas Robyns of Plymouth, surgeon, and Mary Knighton whose husband was of ?????? Knighton Esq. of Whitchurch, Devon.  Elizabeth and Mary were the daughters of John Parson, butcher of Stoke Climsland.
On receipt of the above I trawled FamilySearch, and just got more confused. I found more Mary Grills
Mary Grills (b 4 Sep 1743 South Hill) m John Parsons 7 May 1759 South Hill -  (Mary's parents Sampson and Mary)
Mary Grills (b 1743 South Hill) m John Parsons 1763  -  (Mary's parents Sampson b 1710 and Mary b 1715 , married <1742>)
Mary Grills (b 22 Jan 1729 South Hill)  (Mary's parents John and Grace)
Mary Grills (b 18 Oct 1834 South Hill)  (Mary's parents Henry and ?)
Mary Grills (chr 19 Feb 1735 South Hill)  (Mary's parents Samp and ?)
I also found the website   which votes for line one, above
Richard's Mary Grills b 1736 South Hill daughter of Sampson and Mary Grills disconcertingly is not on the list.
All this is will have to wait till I get a chance to check out Richard's book.
Richard's Mary Parson's question also awaits further research

I sent this information to Richard, and an extract of his reply follows
    I did a lot of my Grylls/Grills research in the late 1970s and early 1980s. IGI was only just becoming available!  I collected a huge amount of Grills etc. information from the original registers, from wills, and from any other documents I could find.  [You'll be pleased to hear that I still encounter the occasional original document which I had not found earlier, but no shattering revelations, sadly.]
    IGI is only very partial for the parish of Southill.  To get something more complete, try
I haven't looked at recent updates on this site, so do not know how far back Lynda has transcribed the Southill register.  But worth a try anyway.  The Grills Clan in Southill bred like rabbits, so there were plenty of young ladies called Mary Grills to choose from!
    I'm inclined to trust wills and what's written in them.  So, I think that the Mary Grills who married John Parson was indeed the one born in 1736 and the one mentioned as 'Mary Parson' in her father's (Sampson) will.  I'm also inclined to think that Sampson knew accurately who his granddaughter Mary Parson had married.  THUS, I'm inclined to think that the Mary Parson who married Mr Hawton was NOT the daughter of John Parson and Mary nee Grills.
    Your real problem is that the Stoke Climsland register is not too well covered by IGI either.  BUT a huge project was done on Stoke Climsland history, and there is now a parish archive in the village.  Whether it's online or not I do not know.  However, I think it would be worth your while asking Google or some other search engine what it has on "Stoke Climsland". I think you may well find there is another Mary Parson, possible one born about 1760-70, and thus more suitable to be getting married in 1791.  .......
    Yes, I have a copy of Sampson Grills's 1790 will, which I could copy and send you, but, since I'm querying (sadly) whether your Mary Parsons is a descendant of his, perhaps it would be wise to postpone sending it for the present.

Email from Matthew Connolly (May 2007)

    I descend from the 'other' Mary Parson/s, who is mentioned in the will as Mary Knighton; she married John Moore Knighton of Whitchurch at Linkinhorne in 1785, and was described as being of Stoke Climsland. I'd got her as probably the Mary baptised at Stoke C in 1761 to John and Elizabeth, but it looks like the mother was actually Mary Grills as you have, in order to fit in with the will information. [If so, that would be the third time I have seen a mother incorrectly called Elizabeth in a baptism entry- perhaps it was standard practice to use that name if the vicar couldn't remember the right one!] I can confirm that Mary lived a long life and never married anyone else, and I've also traced descendants at least to 1901 for her sister Elizabeth Robins.
    Your information prompted me to take another look at the records myself- I think there are two big problems with the Family Search data, firstly that we are not seeing the whole picture (Stoke C only has some baptisms and no marriages, some neighbouring parishes not in at all, no burial records, periods that are supposedly covered are incomplete), and secondly that the genuine extracted records are mixed in with submitted ones, where somebody has sent in a record that might not even exist but they believe should. I think that has really muddied the waters here, with several locally common names (John Parsons, Sampson Grills, Mary, Elizabeth) being mistakenly equated.
    It gets even more confused as I have now found another John Parson marriage, not in the IGI, at Stoke Climsland in 1766 to Mary Bond. So there are now four marriages in the area in 12 years for John Parson/s- Elizabeth (Elizabeth Caunter, 1754, also not in IGI), Mary Grills 1759, Mary Austin 1761, and Mary Bond 1766.
    I've now seen the abstract of the will of the John Parsons who is your ancestor (let me know if you would like a copy) and it mentions his sons James and John, and daughters Elizabeth Mason, Thomazine Hawton and Mary Hawton. No mention of the other Elizabeth and Mary, and no mention of Richard John Parson who the IGI submission gives as son of John and Mary Grills. Richard John died 25 April 1848 aged 75, at Stoke Climsland, I have his will too but it only mentions his wife. The IGI submission says he was baptised at Stoke C in 1773 but I haven't found a record to support that.
    From the Lynher Parishes web pages- which are outstandingly useful- I think the Grills bit goes: Sampson Grills m Mary Saltren 1734 Linkinhorne- their daughter Mary bap 1735 or 6 at South Hill- Mary married John Parson 1759 South Hill. To corroborate both this and the Sampson Grills will, I have the will of Mary Saltren's sister in which she mentions her great nieces Elizabeth Robins and Mary Knighton; her main beneficiary was Richard Parson (son of George by Grace Grills), who in turn died childless and left the property to the son of Elizabeth Robins. The Mary Grills who was baptised in 1743 I believe would have been daughter of a different (probably younger) Sampson Grills who married Mary Oake the previous year. She would then be the Mary Grills who married John Body in 1761 while still a minor, with her mother's permission. There is another confused IGI submission which has the Grace who married George Parsons as daughter of Sampson Grills and Mary Oake! 
    It's interesting that the only 18th century Parsons records in the South Hill registers are John marrying Mary Grills in 1759, George marrying Grace Grills in 1767, and two burials: Mary of Stoke Climsland in 1761 or 2, and Grace in 1777 or 8. There is an MI there for Grace, wife of George Parson, died 1st Feb 1778 age 35, so the latter date is correct; presumably then Mary had died in 1762. I would have to then conclude that this was Mary Grills, wife of John Parson, and that would be why she had only Elizabeth in 1760 and Mary (probably) in 1761. 
    The upshot of all this is that we both descend from Mary daughter of John and Mary, but I believe it's a different Mary and a different John and Mary! There was a will for a John Parsons of Stoke Climsland proved at Exeter in 1778, but it would have been destroyed in the bombing of 1942 so can't help us now, beyond proving there was more than one man of the name there at the time. Conjecturally, my one married Mary Bond after the death of Mary Grills, and they were parents of Richard John Parson, but there's always the possibility of further Johns we don't yet know about! As such, it's impossible to safely speculate on how they may have been related, and any parentage, until we can find their baptisms (I'm working on it, but nothing so far). In the current absence of other candidates, I'd have to agree with the correspondent who felt Mary Austin was most likely your ancestor; I hope this isn't a disappointment, although I'm sure you'd rather have information as correct as possible.

Thanks to Matthew, I also have a transcript of John Parson's Will\
Date of Probate 16 May 1811, less than £450
Testator John Parsons of Stoke Climsland, Yeoman
James Parsons Residuary Legatee, son, all the rest residue and remainder of any goods and chattels
John Parsons, son, seventy eight pounds, cancel(?) a note for twenty two pounds
Elizabeth Mason, daughter ten pounds, cancel(?) a book debt for ninety pounds
Thomazine Hawton, daughter ninety pounds, cancel(?) a book debt for ten pounds
Mary Hawton, daughter, one hundred pounds
This gives us Elizabeth's married name, and the probability that the legatees were alive in 1810.

  So that is where it stands for the moment. The ball is back in my court to do some more work


    Thanks to Richard Grylls, Nicola Chapman and Matthew Connolly for their help

Research Notes

Nicola Chapman supplied the following information
Mary Grills ,,,,. I have gtten my info from
        M412, 1759, May, 7, PARSON John (Bn - Parsons) (S), Yeoman, Stoke Climsland, GRILLS Mary. (S), Sp, South Hill, Bn. Sampson Grills, John Nicholson.
    According to parish records Mary & John's first daughter Elizabeth was born in 1760 so this marriage fits. Also occupation fits because his son James was a farmer in Venn, Southill - a husbandman and in 1812 on the Land Tax Assesment he was registered as occupier on land owner by proprieter William Horndon Esq, the tenement was Trevan. So it does fit that his father John was a farmer too. I found the definition of a ¡yeoman¢ was also a farmer of middling social status.
    This is only a fairly new line to me so I have not yet got any further.
    I have met someone online though who said the following:
"I'm interested that you have Mary GRILL(S) as Thomasin''s mother. I''ve had trouble pursuing her line, which I originally found to include SALTREN, PAULING and FRENCH, because the Will of Thomasin''s grandfather, Sampson GRILLS, does not mention her.
Have you more info on this part of the family, please?
I was forced to conclude that John PARSONS, Thomasin''s father, may well be the one who married Mary AUSTEN."
Follow up is on my long list of things to do

Also email from  Colin Sheppard to follow up 

Will Mary Grills Spinster of Southill Extract of will at CRO 9th January 1730 Land at Landsugle John & Elizabeth Beale and their son Sampson Thomas Williams, Mary William, Joan Williams Witnesses Jenny Grills, Sampson Lucas, Thos Kerswill
Note for Sampson Lucas Grills (b 1710) in Susan Parson's tree on Genes Reunited
Sampson died in 1790 and left a will. His daughter Grace had already died, but he mentioned her son Richard Parson, son of George Parson of Lamerton (Devon), gent. Sampson Grills also mentioned his married granddaughters, Elizabeth the wife of Thomas Robyns of Plymouth, surgeon, and Mary Knighton whose husband was of ?????? Knighton Esq. of Whitchurch, Devon. Elizabeth and Mary were the daughters of John Parson, butcher of Stoke Climsland.

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