Tag Archives: William Cobb

Do You Have a Mystery Man in the Family? Looking for Henry, Francis and William Cobb

This is going to be a short post because this has been a brick wall for 25 years. My husband has a Williams branch in his family and I spent a couple of decades tracing as many of the collateral lines as I could find up to the end of the Civil War.

There are a few people who have completely eluded me, but I think this is the only case of three brothers disappearing off the face of the earth at one time.

Charles Williams of Cumberland County, Virginia moved to eastern Tennessee with his brothers and some cousins. They were in the Roane County area by 1805. The name of Charles’ first wife is unknown, but he left a will naming his children when he died in 1825 next door in Morgan County, which is a burned county.

Those children were Reuben Williams, who married Mahuldah Cobb in Roane County in 1819, Susannah Williams who married Shadrach Stephens in Roane County in 1817, Amanda Williams who married Joseph A. Davis about 1825, probably in Morgan County, Tennessee, Malinda Williams who married David Rector between 1825 and 1828, William G. Williams, who may have married Dianah White and removed to Illinois, Charles C., who died before March 1844 in either Kentucky or Illinois and, finally the mother of our mystery family, Mary Williams, who married William Cobb before 1825 and removed to Mississippi.

Charles Williams’ second wife, Elizabeth, was apparently the widow Cobb. She died in 1843 and there is a court record settling the estate in March 1844. She had two daughters, Susannah Cobb (Williams) who married Ethelbert Ezell in 1846 in White County, Illinois and Frances Cobb, who married Thomas Rattorree and moved to Tallahatchie County, Mississippi before 1850.

By the time of the March 1844 term of court, Mary and William Cobb were both deceased, but the record stated that they had three children, Henry, Francis and William, “living in Mississippi when last heard from.”

Mary was probably born about 1800 and living in Morgan County when she married William Cobb. Morgan County was formed in 1817, but lost its records in an 1862 courthouse fire. She likely married before 1820, but the birth years for her sons are a guess-timate. They might have been born a bit earlier or a little later and there might have been other children who died young, creating gaps in their birth years. Regardless, they were named as William and Mary Cobb’s surviving children in March 1844.

It is possible that one or more died before 1850, but it would also be very coincidental if all three were not of age by 1840 AND had all died in that ten year span.

Children: (Cobb)

i. Henry, born c1820
ii. Francis, born c1822
iii. William, born c1824

I have never picked up the trail of William and Mary Cobb and the county in which they might have settled in Mississippi, nor have I found any Cobbs with the names of Henry, Francis or William, who could possibly be part of this family.

There is only one Cobb in Mississippi in 1820 – Jesse Cobb, who lived in Lawrence County. He was 16-18 years old and there was one female 10-15 years old. Jesse was probably an 18 year old newlywed making his fortune with a 15 year old bride in the new state of Mississippi. Jesse is a common name in the Cobb family. He could have been part of the Tennessee group.

The 1830 census has six Cobbs in the state – James in Yazoo County, Absolem in Copiah County, James Cobb and Martha Cobb (two separate households) in Jefferson County, Samuel Cobb in Simpson County and Jesse Cobb in Franklin County.

By 1840, there are 17 Cobb households in multiple Mississippi counties, including an H. Cobb in DeSoto County, who is too old to be Henry (30-39 years old in 1840) and Wm. Cobb in Leake County, who is the right age at 20-29, but I have found no evidence of his parentage.

This just doesn’t seem like it should be a brick wall unless all three did die young and/or unmarried. If you have a Henry, Francis (even a Frances, female) or William Cobb in your family tree that is a dead end brick wall, but might be one of these three children of William and Mary (Williams) Cobb, please contact me.