Sunday, May 19, 2013

Connecting the Bibles of Leonard D. Cobb and Will Williams

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William Lafayette Williams, born Feb 13, 1858
Eva Iris Williams, born July 29, 1896

Old Bibles that include genealogy information seem a little to me like a time machine that allows me to have a written connection to my ancestors. This blog entry, back in September, included the pages of an Outlaw family Bible. I've since been sent photos from a couple of other family Bibles and want to include them here as well.

I think about the men and women who took the time to write in these Bibles and their motivation for recording the milestones of their family. Of course, they were assuming someday someone would want to know the births, marriages and deaths that took place. By writing these things down, they were communicating with those curious family members who would come along many years later.

And here I am...taking what they wrote and hopefully preserving it here for present and future generations.

The Bible of Leonard Decatur Cobb
The first Bible I am sharing here originally belonged to Leonard Decatur Cobb. Two of his siblings are in my direct line: William Thomas Cobb who married Elizabeth Temperance "Bet" Outlaw (maternal third great-grandparents) and Morning Adeline Cobb who married Daniel Washington Watridge (paternal second great-grandparents).

Leonard Cobb, William Thomas Cobb and Morning A. Cobb were three of the 11 children of Hardy and Harriet Castellaw Cobb. Hardy and Harriet were both born in Bertie County, N.C. and departed for Haywood County, Tenn. on April 22, 1834.

According to Joe H. Cobb’s book, "Nicholas Cobb Descendants," another of Leonard's sons, John Monroe Cobb, was “quite a scholar but could never adjust himself to the practical things in life.” John died at Western State Mental Hospital on 24 Jan 1920 and was buried in Zion Baptist Church Cemetery. According to his death certificate, he died of Psychosis brought on by Pellegra, a niacin malnourishment, also called "poor man's diet."

It's sad to think he went to his grave with people thinking he was "impracticable" when his real problem could have possibly been solved with a balanced diet. Although, perhaps the malnourishment came after he was put into Western State.

It does sound like there was a little eccentricity running in the family.

One of John Monroe Cobb’s daughters, who was also recorded in the Bible, seems to have marched to the beat of a different drummer, herself. Lura Cobb, who was called "Miss Lura" by her Haywood County neighbors, never married and is said to have worn long dresses and, even in the summer, a long overcoat, galoshes, a scarf around her face and a bonnet. She was a member of Holly Grove Baptist Church and lived very close to my father, Bob Williams. He remembers being afraid of her as a boy and if he ever saw her coming down the road he would hide until she passed. My mother, Shirley Lovelace Williams, has fonder memories and remembers Miss Lura frequently expressing interest in what and how her family members were doing.

Back to the'll notice Leonard and Mary's daughter, Mary Catherine Cobb married John Nowell Williams who was a son of George Solomon "Sol" Williams and Catherion A. Nowell, my third great grandparents. 

Their daughter, Zelma Aurene Williams married Roy Earl Simpson who was one of the sons of William B. Simpson and his wife, Mary Ann Belle Watridge (Mary Ann Belle Watridge is a daughter of my third great-grandparents Daniel Washington Watridge and Mourning Adeline Cobb Watridge). It's so confusing, I can't keep it all straight.

Leonard D. and  Mary Amanda Rooks are buried in Zion Baptist Church Cemetery in Haywood County.

Note: As closely as possible, I typed the information as it was written in the Bibles.

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Leonard D. Cobb was borned A.D. November 2nd 1825

Mary A. Cobb was borned November 24 A.D. 1830

Elizabeth A. Cobb daughter of L.D. and Mary A. Cobb was borned December the 5th 1850

John M. Cobb son of L.D. Cobb and Mary his wife was borned December 31 of 1852

Mary C Cobb daughter of L.D. Cobb and Mary his wife was borned April 8th 1857

Bonnie Lura Cobb daughter of J.M. and N.R. Cobb was born Feb 10th 1887

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Zelma Aurene Williams Daughter of John A. Williams and Mary C. Williams his wife was born January the 20th 1895

Mattie Evelyn Cobb daughter of John M. Cobb and Mary R. Cobb his wife was born September the 30th 1895 {Died Jan 13, 1929 Hay-Wood County Tennessee

Johnnie Bee Simpson son of Roy Earl Simpson and Zelma (A.) Simpson his wife was born Februray 14th, 1917 In Hay-Wood County Tennessee

Emma Lee Simpson daughter of Roy Earl Simpson and Zelma Arlene Simpson his wife was born April 4th 1919

Lelane Earl Simpson born March 9 son of Roy and Zelma Simpson in Hay-Wood County Tennessee

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L.D. Cobb son of J.H. Cobb and Harriet A. Cobb his wife was borned November 2nd 1825 Departed this life April the 9th 1906

John Monroe Cobb departed this life January 24th 1920

Elizabeth A Cobb departed this life on the XXth day of November 1854

Mary A. Cobb Daughter of John Rooks & C.C. Rooks his wife was borned Nov 24th 1830 Departed this life Oct. the 10th 1907

Herman Cobb was born Aug the 14th and died Aug the 15 1885 A.D.

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Mary Katherine Cobb was married to John N. Williams the 14th day of December A.D. 1881 Rev J.J. Turner officiating

John M. Cobb and Mary R. Sweeney was married Nov the 30th 1884 in madison co Tenn by Rev James Blackmun

Zelma A. Williams was married to Roy Earl Simpson the 14th day of Feb 1916. Esq. E.B. Bowen officiating near Jones Tennessee in Hay-Wood County

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John Nowell Williams and Mary Katherine "Molly" Cobb Williams' obits were also included in this Bible. Interesting to note, the obit listed John's middle initial as "A" rather than "N." John died in 1928 and Molly died in 1938.

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Also in this Bible were some pressed flowers and a piece of paper that noted, "'Cousin Hardy Cobb died Oct 18 1942 and was buried 20." John Hardy Cobb was the son of John Charles Warren Cobb and Penelope Trottman White. 

Hardy Cobb was a farmer, sawmill operator, store owner and school teacher. He lost one arm in a corn shredder and several of his fingers on the other hand at his sawmill. He donated the land for and taught at the Centerville Elementary School.

In his book, "Nicholas Cobb Descendants," Joe Cobb makes note of an incident that is a testament to Hardy Cobb's character. 

He and the son of one of his brothers, Carlos Cobb, purchased some land in Louisiana. During the depression, Hardy Cobb was heavily in debt because of the money he owed on the land and spent the rest of his life paying it off. He repaid the debt in full a year before he died in 1942.

The Bible of Will Lafayette Williams

This Bible belonged to my great-grandfather, Will Williams. I suspected from U.S. census records that he was called Willie as a young man but the earliest entries in this Bible confirm that.

There are several connections between the Bibles of Leonard Cobb above and this one, but one of the most interesting to me relates to Will's childhood. Will's mother, Martha Jane Watridge died in 1888 at the age of 36 leaving her husband a widower with five children.

Will, the youngest, was less than a year old at the time. Whether he began living with them right after his mother's death, or at some point during his childhood, according to the 1900 U.S. census, Will was 12 years old and living with his maternal aunt and uncle, George W. Castellaw and Mary E. Watridge Castellaw (his mother Martha Jane Watridge Williams and Mary E. Watridge Castellaw were sisters). 

However, his father wasn't far away.

Right next door was Will's father, George W. Williams, along with his third wife, Virginia Estelle "Essie" Cobb Williams and their 15-year-old daughter Elberta. Essie was a daughter of John Charles Warren Cobb and Penelope Trottman White.

Living next door to the George and Estelle Williams household were George's brother and his wife, John Nowell Williams and Mollie Cobb Williams, whose obits were in the Bible above.

All the families included in these Bibles, including Williams, Watridge, Castellaw, White and Cobb, migrated to Haywood County together from Bertie County, N.C. around 1834.

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This is to certify that Willie Lafayette Williams and Janie Elizabeth Williamson were united by me in the bonds of Holy Matrimony at my residence on the 6 day of Feb in the year of our Lord 1910 in the presence of  ? (W.L.) Russell and ? B. Castellaw
Sadly, Will Williams' marriage to Janie Williamson would not be a long one. She died just four years later on 19 Aug 1914. Their second-born child, a daughter they named Ruth, also died that year. I can find no indication of whether Ruth died when she was born or a lived for a short time. Janie died 17 days after her daughter.

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Jessie Lloyd Williams Born Nov 27 1910
Ruth Williams Born Aug 2 1914
Martha Ladonia Williams Born June 1 1916
Mary Elizabeth Williams Born Sep 4 1918
W.L. Williams Jr. Born Oct 28 1821
Douglass Maxwell Williams Born May 6 1920
Hardy Dempsey Williams Born Sep 15, 1929
Betty Iris Williams Born May 26, 1932
Billie Dean Williams Born June 13, 1935
Bobby Jean Williams Born June 13, 1935

Eva Iris Williams, born July 29 1896
William L. Williams born 2-13-88

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Willie Lafayette Williams and Eva Iris Overton were united by the bonds of matrimon at my residence on the 28 day of Feb in the year of our Lord 1915 in the pressence of Aulsey Byrum and Pearl Overton.
Signed Esq. T. J. Castellaw

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Will's first wife Janie Elizabeth Williams Died Aug 19, 1914
Ruth Williams Died ____________, 1914
W.L. Williams Sr. Died Apr 1, 1962
W.L. Williams Jr. Died June 5, 1966
Will's second wife Eva Iris Williams Died Sept 5, 1970
Martha Ledonia Williams Chandler Died Nov 1979
Mary Elizabeth Williams Hudgens 9-4-18 -- 6-25-99
Billy Dean Williams 6-13-35 -- 11-18-95
Jessie Lloyd Williams 11-25-10 -- 5-27-2008

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Inserted in this Bible was the Tennessee Public Schools elementary diploma of my grandmother, Elizabeth Williams. It was given to her at Holly Grove in Haywood County on 12 Apr 1929.
For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or to check out the genealogy research about my specific family lines, go to Haywood County Line Genealogy Page.


  1. Great post! I absolutely love the illustrations/graphics in the bible of Will Lafayette Williams. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Same here. Love the original research. You are blessed to have access to the Bible records. My family (the Baggetts) didn't make it to Haywood County until the 1870's. They were also from Eastern NC (Bertie / Martin / Edgecombe Counties). Theirs was a much more circuitous route. My GGG-GF, Burrell Baggett (1785-ca 1839) left Edgecombe County around 1810, settled near Winchester, TN, then relocated to northern Alabama after serving there during the War of 1812. His descendants left after the Civil War, edged northward into Giles County, TN, by 1870, then to Haywood County by 1878. Like I said ... pretty convoluted.

    It seems that most of my ancestors were the illiterate, dirt-farming types ... so Bible records are something of an impossible dream for me.

    Keep up the good work and keep the history coming. I've added you to my subs.


    1. Thanks Geoff -- Yes. Bibles are photos are hard to come by and I am grateful to have the ones I have found so far! They keep turning up from time to time so I plan to keep looking.