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.


  1. Thank you for this post. I'm so grateful to have stumbled into a room so full of information about my ancestor. Heather at

  2. I also thank you for this post. I am researching the ancestry of my son-in-law, who is a descendent of Richard Cocke the Elder. Your post is very helpful to me.

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  4. Great post and blog. It appears as though we have several mutual ancestors. I also descend from the Nowell, Forrest, Cobb, & Fowler families, as well as a few others I'm sure. I ran across this page while gathering information for my own blog entry. My blog is about my ancestors that served in the Civil War. Here's a link to the story pertaining to Richard Cocke and his decendants, Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee and her sons.

    I've also written entries about several members of the Nowell family as well as Howell Cobb and Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb.

  5. Thanks much for sharing the link to the blog. I really enjoyed it and bookmarked it for later reading more! SW

  6. My name is Richard Morton and I am a descendant from the Mortons of Charlotte County, Henrico, and Prince Edward, Virginia. I now have com to the point where I am a descendant of the children (Temporance) of Cicely Reynolds and Thomas Bailey. Temporance is the one that if anyone has any conclusive proof of her children please let me know. my email is Thank you

  7. Much appreciated. I'm uncertain why I keep finding my Cheek family listed as Randolph/Randalls and Cocke/Cook descendants, and this will has been useful for the Richard to son Thomas Cocke portion. Thank you.

  8. The Bremo Plantation, and the Malvern Hills Plantation are two separate dwellings. I just visited the ruins at Malvern Hills, this August 9, 2017. It is right up the Hill on Malvern Hills, on Market Street, above the Malvern Hills Battlefield. This is the original home of Richard Cocke, and Temperance Bailey. Bremo is in Fluvanna, Virginia. This is the home of John Hartwell Cocke, and the old cemetery is on this property, about 80 miles from Malvern Hills at Henrico, Virginia. A chimney remains, and a circular pit of brick. The surrounding hills have barely changed. I was show around by the Farm owner, to the ruins by Meade Ferguson Welch.

    These were my grandparents, x10

    Kandice Wallace

    These were my grandparents, x10.

    Kandice S. Wallace

  9. So interesting. I am doing my granddaughter genealogy. She is direct desc. of Richard Cocke and Temperance on her mothers side. and she is has the Farrars thru her fathers side. (Her parents are not married)

  10. Thank you for this great article on Richard Cocke! I'm a direct descendant, 9th Great Grandaughter", of him and second wife Mary Aston, through their son John Cocke. I just discovered that President George Bush is also a direct descendant, Bush Senior being 8th Greatgrandson, and George W. being 9th Greatgrandson to Richard and Mary Cocke. The Bushes come from "the younger" Richard Cocke.

  11. Are you still researching the Cocke family? Last year I went to Henrico in search of my Farley ancestor and found their land now part of the sewer plant and right next to Henricus Park. I found maps at Chesterfield Historical Society that showed confluence of two creeks Misery and Proctor enabling me to locate the site. This I believe is across the James river from Bremo. My mystery is the Sarah that John Farley born 1731 married before or at time he moved to Amelia County about 1750. A record of a marriage to Sara Cocke and John Farley has been located. LIke Richard there are two possible ancestry patterns for Sarah Cock, one through Thomas the other through Richard Jr. One possibly is Thomas son of Richard and Temperance Bailey, Stephen 1664 died in Prince George County, son Abraham born 1690 moved to Amelia County, daughter Sarah born about 1730. The other option is Richard and Temperance, Richard, Richard and Ann Bowler, Bowler Cocke 1696, and Sarah 1727. This is hard but with first alternative name Stephen is present and carried into Farleys and incomes/land ownership seems more balanced. Bowler had a lot of land and John Farley and Sarah do not seem to be so wealthy. What do you think? You are good at this. Two of John and Sarah's sons John and Stephen move to White County Tennessee just like infamous William Cocke son of Abraham. Would appreciate any assistance.