Sunday, March 25, 2012

Colonists Richard and Temperance Cocke Are Keeping Me Way Too Busy This Weekend

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Richard Cocke

Researching your genealogy is like working your way through a huge house with endless hallways and rooms. As you stumble along and open the door to some rooms they are completely empty.

Others have a few little items scattered around and, if you are lucky, there are more doors to walk through to get to other rooms that are waiting to be explored. Only occasionally do you stumble into a room that previous generations of researchers have already filled with enough things to keep you entertained for many, many hours. This weekend, as I researched my Booth family line, I stumbled into such a room and it's keeping me from doing all the other things I needed to do.

Richard Cocke, my 10th great grandfather, was an original settler to the American colonies while his wife Temperance was among the earliest children actually born in America. (Their oldest son was Thomas Cocke, the father of Stephen Cocke, the father of Agnes Cocke Smith, the mother of Mary Smith Booth, the mother of John Booth (not the one that killed the president), the father of Stephen S. Booth, the father of James Booth, the father of William G. "Billy" Booth, the father of Lena Booth Marbury, the mother of Allie Marbury Brantley, the mother of Virginia Brantley Lovelace, the mother of Shirley Lovelace Williams, who is my mother).

Richard Cocke was born in Pickthorn, Shropshire, England around December 13, 1597 which is when he was baptized. Richard's father and his son's namesake, was Thomas Cocke, also of Pickthorn, and his grandparents were William and Elizabeth Cocke, for which he named other children.

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Historical marker for Richard Cocke's patented land along
the James River Henrico Co., VA.

Richard arrived in Virginia (Virginia was a British colony from 1607 - 1775 and was later divided into eight other states) in 1627 as the purser on a ship called The Thomas and John. Eventually, he obtained large grants of land for the transportation of more than 220 colonists to Virginia. He settled at "Bremo," on the James river, in Henrico county, about 15 miles east of current day Richmond, VA.

Before 1632 he married Temperance Baley (Bailey) Browne, the widow of John Browne whom she had married at age 13. Temperance had actually been born in the colonies about 1617.

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Historical marker for Jordan's Journey

A review of historical documents suggests Temperance's father, an "ancient planter," died very young leaving her with 200 acres of land. In Jan 1625 she is identified as a 7-year-old girl who had been born in the colony who was living at Jordan's Journey. Temperance's mother was most-likely Cicely Jordan Farrar (my 11th great grandmother) who married the owner, Samuel Jordan. After his death in 1623, she married William Farrar. Cicely arrived in Jamestown in August 1610, when she was around 10-years-old, on a ship called The Swan. When her ship arrived, 90 percent of the colonists who had come before were dead from starvation, disease and Indian attacks. A previous ship that had arrived in the colony just a few months before Cicely's had found just 60 survivors.

Richard Cocke did well in the colony both financially and politically. He was appointed lieutenant-colonel of his county and was a member of The House of Burgesses, the first group of elected representatives of English colonists in North America, in 1632 from Weyanke, and in 1644 and 1654 from Henrico County.

He owned three plantations named Curles, Bremo, and Malvern Hills. These totaled over 7,000 acres of land. The plantations that Richard Cocke owned remained in the Cocke family for generations.

After the death of Richard Cocke's wife, Temperance, he married Mary Aston around 1652.

You can still step on the land settled by Richard Cocke but, according to an old article in the Oct 1933 issue of William and Mary Quarterly, the house is no longer standing.

"There is not a vestige of the old house at "Bremo" not nor anything except the old graveyard and he name by which the place is known to indicate the locality in which the house stood. A frame house was built there a few years ago by Mr. W. H. Ferguson, superintendent of the present "Curles Neck Farm" who says that this house is on the site of an old house that was burned by Federal gunboats during the War between the States. This is probably the location of the old house of Richard Cocke for it is near the graveyard and close to the river bank..."

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Richard died 4 Oct 1665 and, as he requested, was buried in his orchard near Temperance.

Richard's children with Temperance were Thomas (my ancestor) and Richard (the elder). He and his second wife Mary had five children: William, John, Richard (the younger), Elizabeth, and Edward who was born shortly after his father's death.

Will of Richard Cocke

In the name of God, Amen. I, Richard Cocke, Senr. Being Possessed

In perfect healthe and memorie for which i would ____ ... God my creator... I bequeath my sould to God that gave it ... To be interred in my Orchard near my first wife. ... with Church Of England Ceremony,

wife Mary Cocke 1/3 of my estate whether in lands or chattles, The said third of the land to held by her during her natural life & no longer. My will is that she lay no claim to any part of that land formerly given by me to my sons Thomas & Richard Cocke.

Deeds of gift thereof recorded in the Henrico Court, Sons. William and John Cocke residue of the divident of land not disposed of by afsd. fivt and the mill. Always excepting in the gift of that 640 A called Bremo, to be equally divided between them when they come of age, The afsd. 640 A

to my eldest son Richard Cocke and the male heirs of his body lawfully begotten:

for want of such issue to my son Thomas Cocke & his male heirs &

for want of such then to my son Wm. Cocke and his male heirs &

for want of such to male heirs of John Cocke &

for want of such to male heirs of Richard Cocke " My youngest Son" provided, always, that my first named son Richard Cocke, if he lives to inherit same, or any other son or their heirs that shall after my decease first possess Sd. land,

shall pay to by daughter, Elizabeth when she is 17 years old or at day of her marriage, whichever shell be first, then the land to be extended to her use until, Sd., sum be paid by anunall value of the land: & in case of the Sd. Elizabeth should die before reaching 17 yrs or day of marriage then Sd. sum to be paid to the other children by my now wife, equally portion as they shall attaine to the lawful age,

Youngest son Richard Cocke 750 A of land out of patent taken up jointly by Mr. John Beauchamp & myself, of which 1750 A belonged to Me: The residue of which 1750 A I have given to my sons and hereby confirm to them Thomas Cocke and Richard Cocke the elder, and their heirs.

As for my personal estate I hereby acknowledge that all cattle of my elder son Richard's the hogs being of a distinct mark & all know by my couzen Daniel. (perhaps nephew)

The two negroes do properly belong to him by a gift from his mother... as for the rest of my estate my wives thirds being deducted, I give to equally divided between my children by my present wife Mary Cocke... as any of my Sd. Children come of age that they receive their equal porcon (portion) of female stock then in being & all the male increase to the guardian of my children, cozen Daniel Jordan... and much manured land as he & tow hands shall be able & will manure with a team during his life or abode in the county provided he accept the same upon the terms, vizt: to employ himself and one hand more.

My son finding teame & seeds & all houseing & tackling belonging to it & one hand, one & to have my Sd. Cozen the third part of the produce of all their labours,

In Case my son Thomas Cocke will look to the mill for the use of my other children until they come of age he to have the grinding of his corn, toll free, and 3000 pds. tobacco and cask per annum out of his profits. My other childrens estates keeping his in repair, exextrs. wife Mary and my two sons Thomas & Richard Cocke Senr.

My wife guardian of all my younger children born of her, until they come of age. In case of her decease the my Sd. sons Thomas & Richard: Justices of the County of Henrico

Dated under my hand and seals this fourth day of October 1665.

Richard Cocke, Sr.

in presence of henry Randolph, Henry Isham

Death dated 4 Oct 1665 Henrico Co. Va.
Source: Colonial Wills of Henrico Co., Va. p. 26
One helpful source for some of this information was found in  Magazine of Virginia Genealogy Vol. 45, No. 3August 2007, Origins of Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia, by Steven R. Day More Info

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or the Haywood County Line Genealogy Page.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What do Cornwallis, Lord Dunmore, President John Tyler and the First National Disaster Have in Common?

James Shields' branch sits way up and far to the side on my family tree but it includes some Revolutionary War soldiers, a president and a victim in the first national tragedy so that makes it a branch worth blogging about.

It's been a crazy few months but anytime I get an extra minute or two, I've been researching the lineage of my second great grandmother, Sarah Evelena "Lena" Booth Marbury. I'll have that family on soon but for now, here is how you get from me to my ninth great grandfather, James Shield:

My mother is Shirley Ann Lovelace Williams, the daughter of:
Virginia Brantley Lovelace, the daughter of:
Allie Ern Marbury Brantley, the daughter of:
Sarah Evelena "Lena" Booth Marbury, the daughter of:
William G. "Billy" Booth, the son of:
Stephen Shaybe Booth, the son of:
John Booth, the son of:
Elizabeth Cobb Booth, the daughter of:
Mary Shields Cobb, the daughter of James Shield and Hannah Marot.

James was born in 1670 in Williamsburg and died there on 2 June 1727. He lived his entire life in Williamsburg where he ran what was called at the time, "an ordinary" or a restaurant/bar.

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James Shield is documented in “Colonial Families of The Southern States of America” which was written in 1911 by Stella Pickett Hardy. It's a great research tool and I really like what she wrote in the forward:

"I have dealt strictly with the genealogical history of Southern families whose Colonial forefathers were established in the Colonies before the formation of the thirteen original States. I have flattered no one, and it can-not be said that this work is written in the interest, of one more than another, I admit that some records are more fully given than others; it could not be otherwise, for it was the relatives or friends of these families that responded to my repeated calls for authentic information."

Of my ninth great grandfather, James Shield, Ms. Hardy wrote:

“The Shields family of Virginia, is a very ancient and honorable one, the first of this family in Virginia, of which we have authentic record is, James Shields, of Williamsburg, VA.: he was one of the early ordinary keepers of the Colony; was a staunch supporter of the Established Church; m. Hannah, of what family is unknown…”

There were other interesting facts about James Shield's offspring included in Hardy’s book that inspired me to do a little more research.

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Gunpowder Magazine at Colonial Williamsburg

James’ son, Honorable James Shields II was surveyor for York County and married Anne Marot-Inglis. Anne was the daughter of John Marot, a French Huguenot who came to Virginia in the Huguenot emigration in 1700. Anne's first husband had been James Ingles, the son of the first Grammer Master at William and Mary College.

James II and Anne’s daughter, Anne Shields married Robert Booth Armistead and their daughter, Mary Armistead, married John Tyler Sr. who served as governor of Virginia, 1808 – 11. A college roommate of Thomas Jefferson and ardent supporter of the Revolution, Tyler served as a member of the Committee of Safety for Charles City County in 1774 and raised a company of troops in 1775 in rebellion against Lord Dunmore, the Royal Governor of Virginia. He had ordered the removal of gunpowder from the magazine at Williamsburg and that action, among many others, inspired the colonists to rebel and Lord Dunmore retreated to a ship.

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President John Tyler

John Tyler Sr. and Mary Armistead Tyler were the parents of John Tyler Jr., the 10th President of the United States. So I think that means President John Tyler's second great grandfather and my ninth great grandfather was the same dude. That pretty much makes us...not even related really.

When Tyler was just seven years old, his mother, Mary, died from a stroke. At the age of 12 he joined the College of William and Mary like his father before him, and later enrolled in the collegiate program of the college. He graduated in 1807 when he was 17 years old.

After that, Tyler studied law, first under the tutelage of his father, then under his cousin, and finally under Edmund Randolph, the first US Attorney General. Tyler was admitted into the Bar in 1809 and, in 1840, became the Vice President under William Henry Harrison. Harrison died after just a month in office which made John Tyler the president.

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The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis

James II and Anne Shield’s son, Colonel James Shields III served in the Revolutionary War and was present at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. His great grandson, James Shield, IV owned a large plantation near Yorktown.

At the age of 23, James IV’s daughter, Elizabeth Page Shields died from injuries she received in what is now referred to as the first great disaster in American history, the burning of the Richmond Theater on December 26, 1811. Source

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The Burning of the Theater in Richmond

Many of Virginia's most prominent families were gathered in the theater that day after Christmas to watch a play, "The Father or Family Feuds" and, as the curtain lowered after the first act, a chandelier was lifted toward the ceiling with the flame accidentally still lit.   

As the backdrops and stage area began to burn, the curtain kept much of the audience unaware of the impending disaster. Once it became evident the theater was on fire, panic ensued and many were unable to get to one of the exits before the entire theater was up in flames.

72 people were listed among the dead including the Governor of Virginia.

Many, like Elizabeth Page Shields, survived the actual fire, only to die later from the injuries they sustained.

After the fire, a church was built on the spot with the mass grave of all the victims becoming a crypt located in the basement. The church, now called Monumental Church, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1969 and is now owned by the Historic Richmond Foundation.

Meredith Henne Baker has written an interesting book about the topic called "The Richmond Theater Fire."

Now I can return to trying to find out more about the Booth family.

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or the Haywood County Line Genealogy Page.