Missing: Asa Cobb, Franklin Co., AL 1850

Asa Cobb holds the key to one of my husband’s collateral Williams branches. Asa Cobb lived in Coahoma County, Mississippi in 1860.

AsaCobb1860MSCensusAsa Cobb, fifth household

He was married to Adeline, likely a second wife since there is a large age gap between them, and had children Thomas, Georgianne, Abner, Mary and Robert in the household.  A public member tree on Ancestry gives a birth date of 7 Aug 1805 in Roane County, Tennessee and a death date of 20 Nov 1875, no place cited. His wife, Adeline, is identified in the family tree as Adeline Ligon, born 1826 and died in 1882. Neither is found on findagrave.com.

Here is the problem: Mahuldah Cobb married Reuben Williams in Roane County, Tennessee on 7 Dec 1819. Mica Sellers, MG performed the marriage ceremony.

Reuben died about 1835 in Morgan County, TN, leaving children Joseph Miller Williams, Asa Cobb Williams, Robert T. Williams, Deborah R. Williams, Reuben Williams and Francis Williams.

By March 1844, a court record omits children Reuben and Francis, so they likely died 1835-1844. The children were living in Franklin County, AL at that time. A land deed in 1847 identified Joseph M., Asa C., Robert T. and Deborah R. Williams; I believe Deborah may have come of age and her father’s estate was being settled.

Asa Cobb appears to be a brother of Mahulda Cobb Williams. Azariah Cobb, living in Franklin County, Alabama in 1850 and 1860, is probably also a brother to Asa and Mahulda. Undocumented sources identify Asa Cobb of Fentress County, Tennessee as the father of these Cobbs.

It appears that the family of Reuben Williams migrated to Franklin County with the Cobbs. I have never been able to pick up a trace of Reuben’s descendants other than in these two court records.  I had hoped that the 1850 census of Franklin County might shed some light on what became of them.

I looked high and low for Asa Cobb in Franklin County, Alabama in 1850. He is nowhere to be found in the federal census schedule.

Asa does appear in the Alabama 1850 and 1855  state censuses.

However, the state census only lists head of household and age ranges for males and females in the home. It also had a column to enumerate the number of slaves owned. Asa was the owner of 37 slaves and had one free person of color living in the household.

Next, I search the 1850 slave schedules for Franklin County, AL; Asa was, indeed, listed in that schedule:

Cobb1850SlavesAsa enumerated as the slave owner, 1850

So where is Asa Cobb in the regular 1850 federal census record? I thought perhaps he was misindexed so I looked at the neighbors listed in the slave schedule – James Alexander and William Winston.

This is what I found in the regular schedule:

Winston1850Jas Alexander and William Winston, 1850

Notice households #5 and #6. Both James Alexander and William Winston are given the occupation of planter. There is no Asa Cobb to be found. Perhaps it was late in the day. Perhaps the census taker was tired. Whatever the reason, I think the census taker carefully enumerated all the slaves belonging to Asa Cobb, but forgot to enumerate his family.

It appears that the 1850 federal census record for Asa Cobb’s family isn’t going to provide any clues to the whereabouts of Reuben Williams’ family.

3 thoughts on “Missing: Asa Cobb, Franklin Co., AL 1850”

  1. Robert Ligon Cobb, son of Asa was from Cahoma County MS and I believe was married to my great grandmother….Ida Applewhite. I’ve only heard of Asa as being from Tennessee and ending up in Mississippi

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