What follows is based on e-mail sent to me, David Arne Sisson, by Barbara Marsh <firstname.lastname@example.org> on June 8, 1999.
Ms Marsh gives information from the indicated pages of "Genealogy of the Sisson Kindred in America, Photostats of Bible Records and Wills" presented to Illinois State Historical Library by Illinois State Conference of the D.A.R., General Henry Dearborn Chapter, Chicago, Illinois, 1943-1945; compiled by Gertrude S. Wheeler (Mrs. Burt T.), Evanston, Ill., State Chairman Genealogical Records Committee. [I have included some of Ms Marsh's comments in square brackets, and added a few clarifications of my own.]
The SISSONs first made their American appearance in Virginia, emigrating probably via Wales, from southern England -- from London and the vicinity of Bristol. [Note that they emigration *via* these places, but not necessarily *from* them. No origin in England has yet been found for any SISSON who came to America.]
Four Virginia progenitors preceded the advent of the contemporaneous New England lineage at Dartmouth, Mass., in 1653. (Richard SISSON; see New England Historic Genealogical Register, v 85, p 230; Richard SISSON was in Portsmouth, RI, in 1653, and in Dartmouth, Massachusetts in 1655.)
The first bearer of the SISSON surname to sail from England for Virginia was "SISSON, Thos, of London Towne, haberdasher." He is of documentary record as resident in the Tidewater region of Virginia in 1623, among the very earliest settlers there. Nothing more than that is known of him, . . . . (Ref: "Some Emigrants to Virginia, compiled from records by W.G. Standard" [Richmond, Va: Bell Book & Stationery Co., 1911]; also Virginia Magazine of History & Biography, Vol 19, p 132.)
From the earliest period of Virginia settlement it had been the law that all newcomers should register their names, birthplaces, occupations, and take the Oath of Allegiance. The law required that the commander of the fort at Point Comfort should go aboard all ships as soon as they arrived "and there require for commander, captayne or mayster, of the ship or shippes to deliver up to him a True list of all such persons which were embarqued in theire ship, at their coming out of England, together with theire ages, countryes and townes where they were borne, and to keep record of the same; and be the sayd commander of the fort to administer unto them the Oathes of Supremacy and Allegience." (Ref: Hening's Statutes of Virginia, Vol 1, p 166)
Another reference to Thomas SISSON (1) appears in the Minutes of the Council and General Court, 1622-1624, the original of which is now preserved in the Library of Congress at Washington, DC. It reads: "Court held . . . [torn] . . . 1624/L. Pott -- The oathes of Supremacy & Alleg./ To these whose names are underwritten . . ." whereafter the list includes: "Thos. SISSON of london, haberdasher." All immigrants on this list (one of the two earliest extant for Virginia) arrived before Feb 1622, because many of their names likewise appear in the Colonial census taken then. (Ref: Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, pub by the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA, 1911, Vol XXIX [a mistake for vol 19].)
As aforesaid, Thomas SISSON (1) emigrated from London, where he had been a haberdasher, to Virginia, shortly before 1622. Nothing else concerning his personal career is known, but it is assumed that he was the father of Capt John (2), Robert (2), Daniel (2), Mary (2), and Nicholas (2).
No record exists showing that any of these five SISSONs were born outside of the colony. Certainly, had they been, the names of at least one or more of the five would appear on one of the still extant ships' passenger lists from Bristol or London, or upon one of the carefully kept Virginia immigration lists, which were maintained partly in connection with administration of the oaths of allegiance, and partly to record the identity of the settler importing indentured servants, ultimate liberation from whose tenure of "bondage" in Virginia was determined by documentary proof of their immigration dates. . . .
[Other SISSONs] to be trans. to Virginia having taken oath of allegiance, on the Bonaventure, Geo. SISSON, 40 yrs, 2 Jan 1634; 3 Apr 1635 at Gravesend in Peter Bonaventure bound for Barbadoes, having taken oath, Jo. Sessions, 22 yrs (John). What became of these two is unknown; they may have died or have entered Virginia. [The Peter Bonaventure appears to be the name of a ship.]
A Judith SISSON is of documentary record as settled in Warwick County, Virginia, in 1645. From "Cavaliers and Pioneers" by Nugent, Vol 1, p 158, "Judeth Session is one of 17 trans. by patent in Warwick Co. dated 25 Oct 1637 by Zachary Cripps." The 1645 date may imply that she was widow or daughter of the Geo. SISSON who sailed for Virginia earlier.
[Miscellaneous SISSONs of Virginia and Maryland in the 17th century include:]
[Note: Apr 2003. Some of the following information has been updated or is in the process of being updated since this was posted.]
1. Maryland: James SISSON, son of Jane Delahay who was the wife of John Delahay. John Delahay immigrated to Maryland in 1661; his wife Jane Delahay and her son James SISSON were transported to Maryland in 1661. [Speculation: Jane perhaps married first a SISSON and had James, and married second John Delahay. No further record of a James SISSON in Maryland (last checked in Aug 1980). Perhaps James changed his name to Delahay? Went back to Virginia when of age?]
2. Maryland: Elizabeth Sissions. Transported to Maryland in 1675.
3. Maryland: Benjamin Sison. Mentioned in the will of his brother, John Sison; this will probated 24 Feb 1659 Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
4. Maryland: Alice Sisons. Widow of Edward Sisons. Her will probated 3 Jan 1706 St Marys County. Formerly married to [___?___] Tunill, by whom she had at least two sons; no Sison male issue in 1706 is mentioned in her will.
p 14: Robert SISSON (2) appears as already a man of substance by the middle of the 17th century. (Lancaster County Record Book 2, p 110, Fleet's Vol 1) [Robert was born at least by 1635 when "Colonel Jo Carter had attachment dated 16 May 1656 for Lamberthson who had left the county . . . indebtedness against Lambert . . . attachment to cover debt . . . hands of Wm Wright and Robt SISSON 300 lbs tobacco." [If Robert was 21 yrs old in 1656, he was born in or before 1635.]
p 14: Captain John SISSON (2) appears as an officer in the royal colonial army and the comrade of wealthy tobacco planters and large landholders of the Tidewater region. Capt. Cornelius Howard, a brother army officer and himself a wealthy planter on the Severn River, . . . in his will affectionately names "Capt John SISSON" as "my brother" (i.e., in friendship) and appointed him executor of his will . . . dated in 1663 (Ref: "Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland" J.D. Warfield, ed., [Baltimore: Kohr & Pollock, 1905]).
[John Sison married, probably in Virginia, Frances Gorsuch, daughter of Rev John Gorsuch. In 1659, John and his wife Frances immigrated to Maryland. In 1660 his daughter Joane was transported to Maryland. John Sison's will, probated 16 Mary 1663 in Anne Arundel County, names wife Frances, eldest daughter Jean Sison, daughter Eliza Sison, brother Benjamin Sison, brother Cornelius Howard (i.e., brother-in-law) . . . John's wife's Frances Gorsuch's sister Elizabeth Gorsuch Howard, the wife of Cornelius Howard. The land of Jane and Elizabeth SISSON is included in the Maryland Rent Rolls of Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties in 1666 and 1667.]
p 15: Nicholas SISSON (2), brother of Mary and Daniel, and presumably son of Thomas (1), resided in Westmoreland County. He married and among other children had a son who married into the famous French-Huguenot Muse family of Virginia, as did several generations of SISSONs thereafter. (Ref: Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, v 31, published by the Virginia Historical Society of Richmond, 1923)
p 15: Daniel SISSON (2) resided in Westmoreland County. He received a bequest in the will of James Baldridge, dated Nov 28, 1658, probated Jan 10, 1659. Later he removed to Appomattox County. He married and among other offspring had Frances Butler SISSON. He was famous as an official interpreter to the Indians, but being unschooled, had to sign his name with an "x."
[Note: Dorman spells Daniel's surname as Lisson in his works, so Daniel may not really have been a SISSON. Dorman appears to have been a learned man.]
p 15: Mary SISSON (2), sister of Daniel and presumably daughter of Thomas (1), lived in Westmoreland County. Before 1660 she married Nathaniel Pope, Jr, second son of the famous Col. Nathaniel and Lucy Pope, of Westmoreland County, to whom she bore an only son, Nathaniel III.
[Mary subsequently became the wife of William Bridges, Lewis Nicholas, David Whitliffe/Wickliffe, and John Rosier, and had children by Nicholas and Whitliffe.]