Jean Le Gros Bisson Elizabeth Noel
1673 - 1725 1677 - 1732
760 Jean Le Gros Bisson
Saint Mary, Jersey Island, Channel Islands, England
d. 1772
Saint Mary, Jersey Island, Channel Islands, England
Jeanne Le Cras
b. 1703
St. Ouen, Jersey Island, Channel Islands, England
d. 1747
St. Mary, Jersey Island, Channel Islands, England
Relationship Events:
About 1720 Marriage Marriage of Jean Le Gros Bisson to Jeanne Le Cras on Jersey Island, the Channel Islands
  Jean Le Gros Bisson b. 1722 in Jersey, Channel Islands
Jeanne Le Seelleur b. 1725 of St. Peter Eight Children: Jean, Nicolas, Jeanne, Elizabeth, Anne, Phillippe, Esther, and Richard Le Gros Bisson.
  Jeanne Le Gros Bisson b. 1725


  Philippe Le Gross Bisson (Philip Besom) b. 1729
1. Sarah Boubier b. 1735 d. 1802 of Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts, USA

Four Children: Ruth, Margaret, Captain Philip, and Jane Bessom

Ancestor Leaf 680 Richard Le Gros Bisson (Richard Besom) b. 1731 in Jersey, Channel Islands, d. 1812 in Marblehead
Sarah Gale b. 1732 d. 1812 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Twelve Children: Sarah, Jane, Mary (1), Richard (1), John (1) , Mary (2), John (2), Susanna (1) , John (3), Susanna (2), Richard (2) and Jonas Besom
  Josué Le Gros Bisson b. 1734 in Jersey, Channel Islands
  Susanne Le Gros Bisson b. 1737 in Jersey Channel Islands
  Elizabeth Le Gros Bisson b. 1740 in Jersey, Channel Islands      
What We Know


From The Guernsey Society

The surname Bisson is one of the oldest names in the Channel Islands. Originally du Buisson.

The derivation of the original du Buisson name is thought to be from the French for bush or thicket, suggesting that a du Buisson ancestor was living in a bushy area, possibly outside a village or settlement.

The Le Gros Bissons, farming people of St Ouen and St Mary in the north-west of Jersey were the first Channel Island family to have a double-barrelled name. It was not created, in the same way that so many more recent double-barrelled names were, by the marriage of a Bisson to a Le Gros, but is thought to have been used to distinguish between two Bissons living in the same area, one larger (or fatter) than the other.

This family tree does not give a family group for any of the ancestors preceding Jean Le Gros Bisson and Jeanne Le Cras because there is little information about them. However, the Guernsey Society in combination with the sites give the following genealogy:

Robin Le Gros Bisson 1450 - 1479 m. ? and they had:

Damian Le Gross Bisson 1745-1550 who married Thomasse born in 1471, and they had:

Thomas le Gross Bisson 1500 - 1563 who married Jeannette, and they had:

Jean Le Gros Bisson 1530 - 1575 who married Jeanne 1532- 1575, and they had:

Mathieu Le Gros Bisson 1575 - 1645 who married Catherine Le Brocq, born in 1585, and they had:

Matthieu Le Gross Bisson 1608 - 1662 who married Sara Langlois, 1608 -1627, and they had:

Jean Le Gros Bisson b. 1630 who married Catherine Arthur, born in 1632, and they had:

Jean Le Gros Bisson 1673 - 1725 who married Elizabeth Noel, 1677 - 1732, who had:

Jean Le Gros Bisson 1695 - 1772, who married Jean LeCras 1703 - 1747, and they had:

Jean, Philippe, Richard and Josué Le Gros Bisson.

From The Guernsey Society, The Besoms of Marblehead

Marblehead was founded in 1629 as a commercial fishing operation. In 1660, in an official report to the English king, Marblehead was acclaimed as "the greatest Towne for fishing in New England". Its earliest settlers were primarily from England’s West Country. They were a unique mixture of non-conformists whose hardiness and seafaring adventures brought prosperity to the town by the mid-1700s when it became a popular destination for adventurous young men from Jersey, including four members of the Le Gros Bisson family.

There were three, or possibly four, Le Gros Bisson brothers who went to the US, one of them taking nephew Nicolas. The brothers were the sons of farmer Jean Le Gros Bisson and Jeanne Le Cras. Philippe, Richard and Josué emigrated together in 1749. They were aged 20, 18 and 15 then, and were the second, third and fourth sons. Eldest son Jean probably had to stay at home to work the farm with his father. In any case he married in 1751 and had eight children, including Nicolas, with wife Jeanne Le Seelleur between 1752 and 1772.

At Marblehead Philippe married Sarah Boubier, also from Jersey, on 18 Nov 1751. They had sixteen children. Richard married Sarah Gale, of Marblehead, on 31 Jul 1753, and their ten children, Sarah, Jane, Mary, Richard, John, Mary, John, Susanna, John, Susanna, Richard and John (four attempts to get a John to survive childhood!) were born between 1754 and 1776.

Josue did not settle down in Marblehead and went back to Jersey, but he returned in 1766 with his brother Jean’s 11-year-old son Nicolas, and there are suggestions that Jean accompanied them. Josue later returned to Jersey again, as must have Jean, if he did indeed reach America with his son, because his last two children were born in 1768 and 1772.






Nicolas remained in Marblehead and married Elizabeth Laskey in 1784. They had nine children and she died at the age of 65 in 1827. Nicolas then married his sister-in-law Hannah Bessom, nee Lasky, the widow of his cousin John. Nicolas died on 17 Jun 1838 at the age of 82.

The settlers, in common with many other emigrants to America with French surnames, changed their name to Besom. There is some suggestion that the name metamorphosed via Bissom and Bessom, but this may be because of the trouble American officials had in writing down the names of immigrants, many of whom probably could not even write their own name. Some members of the family adopted the spellings Bessom and Beasom in later years.

Richard's brother, Philippe Bisson, who became Philip Besom, acquired land next to Marblehead Harbour and also a substantial lot in the town of Lyndsborough, New Hampshire. He appears to have followed his father in farming both at Marblehead and Lyndsborough, but he was also a renowned mariner, and left the schooner Peacock when he died. His son, also Philip, was a seaman, too, and both were known as Captain Philip Besom. The younger of the two first went to sea at the age of eleven, and joined the crew of a privateer when 17.

Philip Bessom's will was written on 1 September 1797 and he died on 1 January the following year.

"I bequeath to my loving wife Sarah the use and improvement of my whole estate both real and personal, for and during the time she shall remain my widow, with power to sell if in need. After my decease or her widowhood, to my son WIlliam and his heirs, the dwelling house in which I now live with the land under and adjoining, and the barns and building thereon, the said land consisting of about 23 acres bounded NW on th highway, SW on land formerly of SParhawk, SE on Marblehead Harbor, NE on land of WIlliam Waitt; to son John the E half of my lot lying in the town of Lyndsborough, County Willsborough, NH, called No 51 in the 2nd division of lots in said town, the whole lot containing 130 acres. After the decease of my wife or her term of widowhood shall expire, I give the reswidue of my estate to be equally divided among my children and grandchildren as follows: to my daughter Ruth Blaney and her heirs, 1/6 part; to my daughter Sarah Barker, 1/12th part; to my daughter Margaret Grant, 1/12th part; to my son John Bessom, 1/12th part; to my son Philip, 1/12th part; to the children of my daughter Grace Nance, 1/12th part, to be equally divided between them; to the children of my son, Joseph Bessom, 1/12th part to be equally divided between them; to my daughter Jane Freeto and her heirs, 1/12th part; to my daughter Mary CHinn and her heirs, 1/12th part; to my daughter Susanna Strong and her heirs, 1/12th part; to my daughter Hanna Anderton and her heirs, 1/12th part.

Signed Philip Bessom, 1 September 1797

Capt Philip Besom, Marblehead, Yeoman, Probate #2432, Essex County, Salem MA

Household and farming goods valued at $1248 Real estate valued at $5390 The schooner Peacock valued at $1100 Real estate:

The homestead (no address given) $2500
8 acres Neck Lane $560.00
Upper Division $150.00
½ Farm at Lyndesborough (Hillsborough County, New Hampshire) 125 acres $1050
Northerly end of dwelling at Nick's Cove $500



A narrative of a privateer's life by Captain Philip Besom 1760-1836 (nephew of Our Richard)

Philip Besom of MarbleheadA BOY GOES TO SEA

In the year 1771, I commenced going to sea, from Marblehead, in the merchant service; and returned from the last voyage, previous to taking any part in the Revolutionary War, immediately after the battle at Concord; at which time, in consequence of an English sloop-of-war being in Marblehead harbor, we proceeded directly to Salem; from which place my father sent the cargo to Andover, where he had removed his family, and left me and one other young man to take care of the vessel. On the 17th of June, 1775, 1 returned to Marblehead, and, with seventeen more young men, proceeded to Bunker Hill; but, finding it impossible to cross the ferry, returned back to Marblehead.

(At left, Captain Philip Besome, son of Phillipe Le Gros Bisson)

I then went to Andover and enlisted as a soldier in Captain Abbot's company, which was attached to Colonel Hitchcock's regiment in Roxbury; from which place we were sent to Dorchester Heights, and remained there until the English left Boston.

I then went with my father to Lyndesborough, and remained there until 1777, when I left his house, unknown to any of the family, and went back to Marblehead again, and shipped on board the privateer Satisfaction of fourteen guns, Captain John Stevens. We went to sea immediately, and, during that cruise, captured four English ships, one of which carried sixteen guns. On my return from that cruise, I went on board the brig Fanny, of fourteen guns, Captain Lee, and captured on the Banks of Newfoundland, after a severe engagement, an English ship of fourteen guns, the captain of which we killed. We destroyed fifteen Newfoundland fishermen, and proceeded to cruise in the channel of England, where we captured a French brig laden with English goods. I was put on board of her as prize-master and succeeded in getting her into Marblehead. The privateer afterwards went on shore in Mount's Bay, and the crew were taken prisoners and sent to Mill Prison.


I then entered on board the ship Brandy wine, intending to cruise about the shores of Nova Scotia: but, being chased into a harbor by an English sloop-of-war, we were compelled to run our vessel ashore, when one other young man and myself set fire to her and took to the woods in order to make our escape. We travelled about ten miles, then returned to the shore and, finding three whale-boats, took them and succeeded in getting home. I then sailed with Captain St Barbs from Newburyport for North Carolina. After arriving there, we were blockaded by an English squadron and were obliged to travel home.

I then sailed in the ship Freemason, Captain Conway. We captured four vessels. I returned and entered on board the ship Monmouth of twenty guns, commanded by Thomas Colyer. We captured four prizes, one of which, loaded with brandy, I was put on board of as prize-master; was taken by an English privateer, and carried to Bristol; from which place I ran away, and succeeded in getting to a town called Kingswood, where I, together with another young man by the name of Thomas Johnson, of Salem, shipped on board an English brig bound to New York, We soon became acquainted with the English sailors, and, after some consultation, agreed to rise upon the officers, take the brig and carry her to Marblehead.

When we had sailed as far west as Nantucket Shoals, we did take the brig, and had her in possession two days, when we unfortunately fell in with the English sloop-of-war Hunter, bound to New York, with the news of their having destroyed the American squadron at Penobscot. We were retaken, carried to New York in her and put on board a sloop-of-war at Sandy Hook.


News of what we had done was immediately communicated to the commander of the Russel,74, which, together with the Cork fleet, was bound directly to England, who gave orders to have the leaders in the affair brought on board his ship, to be tried for their lives. We were then taken out of irons and went to the boat; myself and an Englishman. We were placed in the stern sheets. The boat's crew consisted of six men, commanded by a lieutenant, assisted by a cockswain. The ship lay at a considerable distance, and the sloop in which we were being to the leeward of them and the wind favorable to our design, as we were going to the seventy-four the Englishman knocked the cockswain overboard; I knocked the lieutenant down, took his pistols and dagger from him and, putting the boat before the wind, made for the shore.

As soon as we landed, we obliged the boat's crew to go before us until we reached a house. We told the man residing there that we were refugees and asked for help. He informed us that Colonel Washington was stationed at Middleton, only four miles' distance, with a regiment. We started off for his quarters, and, on arriving, were taken for spies and placed under guard for three days; after which time, I, together with the young man, was set at liberty and proceeded to Amboy, where Lord Stirling was stationed with a brigade; who generously gave us a good dinner, and forty dollars in money to assist us in getting home.


I then sailed in the ship Aurora, of twenty guns, Thomas Colyer, master. We took four prizes; had an engagement with two ships and a brig, in which we lost five or six men, and were obliged to retreat and return home. I then sailed for Guadaloupe, mate of a schooner, and, on returning, was taken and carried to Bermuda, but, in consequence of there being no provisions for us, we had the liberty of going at large. Here we found a ship which we rigged for St George's, but proceeded to a place about opposite on the same island, called Salt Kettle, where I shipped on board a schooner bound to Turk's Island for a cargo of salt for Halifax. We agreed to take the schooner as soon as we arrived on the coast; but, on our passage to Turk's Island, we were obliged to cut away our masts in a gale of wind in order to save the schooner, and we put for Jamaica. When we arrived off Cape Frangois, we took her and carried her in there; but the governor seized the schooner and caused us to be put in prison, where we remained four days, being obliged to beg of strangers part of a subsistence; when it happened that Colonel Thorndike, having arrived there in a letter of marque, was accidentally passing by. I asked of him some trifle. He inquired the cause of my imprisonment. I informed him; and he, together with some American captains, prevailed on the governor, and we were taken from prison, and sent home in a letter of marque.

I then sailed in the privateer Montgomery, of fourteen guns John Carnes, master, from Salem, to cruise on the West Indies coast. We took three prizes, fought a ship of sixteen guns, and had seventeen men killed and wounded; after which we captured a schooner for New York. I came home as prize-master of it.

My next cruise was with the same person, John Carnes, in the ship Porus. We captured four prizes. I returned home in one, and proceeded immediately to sea in the letter-of-marque ship Goto, Captain John Little, for Virginia. She mounted fourteen guns and had a crew of fifty-seven men and boys. We loaded with tobacco and proceeded to sea; but we had scarcely cleared the capes before we fell in with three English privateers, one of which carried sixteen guns; one, fourteen guns; and a sloop, eight guns. We fought them from 2 to 4 pm, when they attempted to board us; but, the largest of them having lost a considerable part of their crew, we succeeded after having our foremast a little below the top, and our mizenmast above the top, cut away in beating them off; and we continued on our voyage to Nantes, in France, where we arrived without any other trouble.

On our return home, we made one prize; but, happening to spring a leak, were compelled to stop at St Andero, in Spain, and repair our vessel. We arrived home in March 1783.

Besom, Narrative, Mass Hist Soc Proc, V, 357-360

Family tree for the Besoms of Marblehead

(Guernsey Society)

  • 1 Jean Le Gros Bisson (1695-1772) of St Mary, Jersey m Jeanne Le Cras (1703-1747) of St Ouen, Jersey
    • 2 Jean Le Gros Bisson (1722- ) m Jeanne Le Seelleur (1725- ) of St Peter
      • 3 Jean Le Gros Bisson (1752- )
      • 3 Nicolas Le Gros Bisson (1754-1838) m 2, Hannah Bessom, nee Laskey; 1, Elizabeth Laskey (1762-1827) d of James and Margaret
        • 4 Elizabeth Bessom (1785- ) m William Thorner
        • 4 Nicholas Bessom (1788- )
        • 4 Nicholas Bessom (1791- )
        • 4 Nicholas Bessom (1792- )
        • 4 John Bessom (1794-1827)
        • 4 Richard Hawley Bessom (1796- )
        • 4 Polly Bessom (1797-1815)
        • 4 James Laskey Bessom (1800- ) m Margaret Grant
        • 4 Richard Hawley Bessom (1805- )
      • 3 Jeanne Le Gros Bisson (1757- )
      • 3 Elizabeth Le Gros Bisson (1760- ) m Mathieu Le Gros Bisson (1764- )
      • 3 Anne Le Gros Bisson (1763- )
      • 3 Philippe Le Gros Bisson (1765- )
      • 3 Esther Le Gros Bisson (1768- )
      • 3 Richard Le Gros Bisson (1772- )
    • 2 Jeanne Le Gros Bisson (1725- )
    • 2 Philippe Le Gros Bisson (Philip Besom) (1729- ) m Sarah Boubier (Bubier) (1735-1802), of Lynn, Massachussetts
      • 3 Ruth Bessom (1752- ) m William Blaney
      • 3 Margaret Bessom (1753- ) died young
      • 3 Sarah Bessom (1754- ) m ? Barker
      • 3 Margaret Bessom (1756- ) m John Grant
      • 3 John Beasom (1758- ) m Persis Fletcher
      • 3 Philip Bessom (1760- ) m 1, Ruth Collier
        • 4 Ruthy Bessom (1781- ) m Samuel Stinnes
        • 4 Sarah Bessom (1784-1832) m Eleazer Graves
        • 4 Elizabeth Bessom (1786-1817) m John Tucker
        • 4 Hannah Bessom (1789-1795)
        • 4 Martha Bessom (1791-1818) m John Tucker
      • 2nd wife of Philip Bessom, Elizabeth Lewis
        • 4 Philip Bessom (1795-1822) m Rebecca Cleaves Smith (1799-1841)
          • 5 Sarah Bessom (1818-1907) m George Shilletts
          • 5 Charlotte Bessom (1820-1897) m Benjamin Dennis
          • 5 Hannah Bessom (1822-1902) m Eben Secomb
        • 4 Hannah Bessom (1797-1820) m Thomas Lyon
        • 4 Tabitha Bessom (1799- ) m John CLoon
        • 4 Miriam Bessom (1801-1802)
        • 4 Miriam Bessom (1802- ) m Eleazer Graves
        • 4 Abigail Lewis Bessom (1804- )
        • 4 Edmund Lewis Bessom (1805- )
        • 4 John Russell Bessom (1807-1810)
        • 4 William Gray Bessom (1809-1833)
        • 4 George Washington Bessom (1811- )
      • 3 Grace Bessom (1762- ) m Joseph Nance
      • 3 Joseph Bessom (1764- ) m Rebecca Chinn (1760-1837)
        • 4 Philip Bessom (1786-1824) m Betsy Martin
        • 4 Joseph Bessom (1788-1790)
        • 4 Rebecfca Bessom (1791-1849) m Gamaliel Smethurst
        • 4 Joseph Bessom (1794- ) m Annis Kelley
      • 3 Jane Bessom (1765- ) m 1, Francis Freeto; 2, Robert Pearce
      • 3 Mary Bessom (1767-1832) m Samuel Chinn
      • 3 Susanna Bessom (1769-1829) m William Strong
      • 3 Elizabeth Bessom (1771- ) died young
      • 3 Richard Bessom (1773- )
      • 3 Elizabeth Bessom (1774- ) m Henry P Call
      • 3 Hannah Bessom (1776-1821) m Thomas Anderton
      • 3 William Bessom (1779- ) m Anna Harris, d of Robert and Sarah Martin
        • 4 Sarah Bessom (1804- )
        • 4 William Bubier Bessom (1806-1842)
        • 4 Robert Harris Bessom
        • 4 Joseph Bessom
        • 4 Anna Bessom
        • 4 John Bessom
        • 4 Anna Bessom
    • 2 Richard Le Gros Bisson (1731-1812) m Sarah Gale of Marblehead (1732-1812), d of John and Susannah Dennis of England
      • 3 Sarah Besom (1754- )
      • 3 Jane Besom (1756- )
      • 3 Mary Besom (1758- )
      • 3 Richard Besome (1759- )
      • 3 John Besom (1761- )
      • 3 Mary Besom (1763- )
      • 3 John Besom (1765- )
      • 3 Susanna Besom (1768- )
      • 3 John Besom (1770- )
      • 3 Susanna Besom (1772- )
      • 3 Richard Besom (1775-1822) m 1, Hannah Bowden (1776-1810) d of Elias Henry and Mary Chinn
        • 4 Richard Besome (1797- )
        • 4 Michael Besome (1799- )
        • 4 Sarah Besome (1801- )
        • 4 Child Besome (1805- )
        • 4 Child Besome (1810- )
      • 2nd wife of Richard Besome, Hannah Le Craw (1780- ) of Marblehead
        • 4 John C Besome (1818- )
        • 4 William Besome (1820- )
        • 4 Frank Besome (1822- )
      • 3 John Besom (1776- )
    • 2 Josué Le Gros Bisson (1776- )
    • 2 Susanne Le Gros Bisson (1737- )
    • 2 Elizabeth Le Gros Bisson (1740- )


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