Ambrose Cobb Family

Cobb Family Crest

The Ambrose Cobb Descendants Research Project

Acting File Manager Betty Atkinson Harris Flesher

The Cobb DNA project started 21 years ago in March 2003 and as a result we've been able to solve a lot of genealogy connection issues but still are left with some interesting puzzles. The major puzzle is what to do when you have a number of people that test as a specific line of Cobb or Cobbs but for which we've not been able to identify the connection?

We don't know the answers to all of this yet but here are a few Ambrose Cobbs puzzles that we could use some help on.


With each family group we start with the furthest back documentable ancestor and come down to living people. Everyone who has been tested had to start with himself and back up in time. There are quite a few that get stuck because they can document just so far back and then can't find records that help with the final link. You should not find any dates on those males who were tested because the software that we use to upload removes vital info on people who were born after 1920. As we progress through time the software will move that target to 1930, etc.

We hope that there will be researchers out there who can help solve this problem. In each case we will attempt to provide a short “leader” that provides a bit of info, hopefully while providing privacy for those male participants who have tested as an Ambrose Cobbs descendant.

This is our first attempt, so here goes.

English connections: There are 5 Cobb males whose family lived and lives in England but who seem to have no family connection to Ambrose that we've been able to determine so they may be descended from the ancient ancestor and Ambrose would have the same ancestor. For the moment we will not confuse the issue by putting their lineage here on this site.

As a reminder for researchers, please note go back to the Ambrose introductory page and refresh your memory of where the immigrant started in the colonies. You will find descendants of Ambrose Cobbs spread out probably over all 50 states at this point.

There is NO particular reason for the order of the listings below. Don't let it confuse you.

1. William Ambrose Cobb, born about 1765 in North Carolina, exact location unknown: He married Martha Goforth and died about 1833. Their marriage date has been estimated as about 1796 in Lincoln Co, North Carolina. Someone else has given the ancestry as a connection to a Robert Cobb, born about 1770. Two male participants match each other and track their lineage back to William Wilson Cobb, supposedly son of this couple. We do not vouch for that being correct. If William Wilson Cobb was son of a Robert Cobb, born about 1770, then who is that Robert? If he is son of William and Martha, then who are William's parents?

2. Samuel Cobb: Info provided by David Bruce or his wife Michelle. Our last communication with them was in 1999. We're only quoting the first paragraph.

”FIRST GENERATION: IT IS ASSUMED THAT Samuel was a native born American and had two brothers John and Edmund. Samuel died 1768 leaving a wife and 3 children i.e. Jane, Robert and Judith.”

Michelle has her husband's lineage connected to this Samuel but who the brothers John and Edmund were we do not know. It is listed here only to start the process of researching further.

3. Thomas W. Cobbs Jr. of Buckingham County, Virginia - 4 males test as Ambrose descendants who track their lineage back to this male. He was supposedly, son of Thomas b about 1730, place unknown. Susan Troutner has been researching this line for many years. She says … “that this Thomas, married to Nancy Watson, is not the same Thomas as the person who went to Georgia. In the early 1800ʾs there were at least two Thomas Cobbs in Buckingham County. I have tried to separate them by following land records. One Thomas, whom I believe was older than my ancestor, lived on the James River. My ancestor lived on the Slate River, about eight miles northeast of the center of Buckingham Court House. He appears on the 1810 and 1820 census in Buckingham County. Then, he apparently died in about 1823. His wife, Nancy, is listed as widow Cobbs on the 1830 census. She appears on the 1840 and 1850 census. In 1850, she has three grandchildren (Burtonʾs) living with her. She is 80 yrs old.”

We discussed William Cobbs who m. Sarah Puryear and she replied: “I do believe that the William you have listed below is the son of this Thomas, and that he did indeed die of cancer in 1850 in Buckingham. I also believe that the children you have listed for William are correct. My dad was born in 1900, and his mother in 1863, so my direct line with just three generations goes back to the Civil War. Dad told me stories about Norvell Cobbsʾ Civil War record, and these were family stories he heard from his mother when he was a child. Augustus was also the son of Thomas and Nancy. Other children I believe belong with this family are as follows:
Thomas Cobbs, Jr. b. 1789, died about 1840, Buckingham
Richard b between 1792 and 1798
John S. b. 1793, died after 1850
Augustus, b 1796, died after 1860 in Buckingham County.
Jack born between 1800-1809
Nancy, born between 1800-1810, married unknown Guerrant
Sallie, born between 1800-1810, married Jesse Burton
James, born between 1800-1810, married unknown Reeves, married second Eliza Jane Haskins
Polly, born about 1800-1810, died about 1848
David D., born between 1800-1809
Two additional sons born between 1800-1809

The Winney that you have listed was likely the daughter of the other Thomas Cobbs as she inherited land on the James River and did not live with any of the above listed people.

“We will likely never know the ancestor of this Thomas, but I do believe he goes back through the Ambrose line. (DNA evidence shows that Susan was correct in her assumption.) Roger G. Ward in Vol. 1, Buckingham County VA Records, Land Tax Summaries and Implied Deeds, says that Thomas bought 600 acres adjacent Slate River 5NE (meaning 5 miles northeast of the courthouse) from John Benning in 1799. He purchased 430 additional acres on Muddy Creek (8NE). Muddy Creek is a tributary of the Slate River. He purchased additional land in this vicinity until he had a total of 2,200 acres when he died in 1823.

“On the 1810 census, I believe they are the family with three males under 10; two males ages 10-16; three males 16-26; three females under 10; one between 16 and 26. Thomas was 50 years of age at this time, and Nancy would have been 43. The slave schedule lists 33 slaves. I also think that their son William was already married at this time and not living in the household.

“There are some clues I am following to try to find Thomasʾ father. One is that Samuel and Augustus seem to be names that appear often in the family lines. Mariah is a female name that often is found. The name Pleasant could possibly come from Nancy Watsonʾs family.

“My direct ancestor is Augustus. He married Frances A. Abraham, daughter of Jacob Levi Abraham and Theodotia Armistead in 1816. I have a copy of their marriage bond as they were married in Cumberland County. They were the parents of Jacob Levi born in 1817, died after 1880 in GA; James N B born about 1818, and died about 1896 in Whitfield County, GA. (Jacob and James were the only children in this generation to drop the s from the name.) A daughter was born in 1819. Pleasant Augustus was born in 1820 and he died in Lynchburg after 1880. Richard T. was born in 1823, and he never left Buckingham County. He died after 1880. My ancestor was John Anderson Cobbs, born in 1825, removed to Highland County in 1849, married Elizabeth A. Pullin, and died before 1870. John Anderson Cobbs was my great grandfather. His daughter, Susan Emmeline Cobbs, born 1863, was my grandmother.”

4. John Cobb of Northampton Co, Virginia This family appears somewhere around 1700 in this county. There are court documents that show that some neighbors considered them 'mulato's or mixed breed. There were court records starting in 1726 and a final case in 1748 related to this issue. At first we'd assumed this connected to another John Cobb who m. Eleanor Whitfield...but further research and looking a census records leads us to believe they were a totally different family and the DNA project shows that they are separate.

So this lineage, IF it is at all correct leads in a different direction and males tested as Ambrose claim this as their heritage.

5. Unknown Cobb, a descendant of which we have identified as one John Archibald Cobb who shows up in Benton County Alabama and which was at one time confused as possibly related to one Nathaniel Cobb whose family came out of MD and whose descendants do not test as Ambrose.

6. Thomas Cobb, birthplace and date unknown, whose supposed children went through Tennessee and into Kentucky. Five Cobb males who track to these folks have been tested.

7. Robert, born 1770, died ? He had a son named James H. Cobb, Sr., who born about 1815 and married twice, once in Lincoln Co, North Carolina and once in Cleveland Co, North Carolina.

8. William Cobb m. Catherine and had one son John D. b. Ohio in 1809.

9. James H. Cobbs Sr., wife unknown, had at least 5 children, 3 boys, 2 girls. His son James H. Cobb Jr. married Anne Boone and that family went off to Missouri.

10. David Cobb III: his name suggests there were two previous males including Jr. and Sr. His wife is unknown, but his son William C. Cobb married Lucinda Thacker and that family ended up in Walker Co, Alabama.

Why this man is listed as the third is interesting; especially, since we have no data that says anything about his father or grandfather. According to family researchers he did have a son named William C. Cobb, who died in Walker Co, Alabama. Since this William was supposedly born 1815 in Tennessee and we have no way of knowing where, then we are still stuck. However, there were ten children born to William and Lucinda and a male descendant does test as Ambrose genetics.

11. William Cobb was born in 1795 in Virginia, married Hester Bear probably about 1813, died in Arkansas, and his children went to Illinois and Indiana. Their first child was born 19 May 1814 in Henry Co, Kentucky. We have no info about date or place of marriage of this first child and can only assume they lived in Henry Co, Kentucky, based on the first child's date of birth. Their next child was born sometime in about 1815 in Madison, Jefferson Co, Indiana, which means that they must have moved pretty soon. Looking at Kentucky county formation maps again it seems that Henry Co, Kentucky, is one county southeast of the Indiana State line where Jefferson County, Indiana, is located, so it would have been a very short haul to move from Henry to Jefferson. Henry County, Kentucky, was formed in 1798 from Shelby County. Jefferson County, Indiana, was formed in 1811. See Indiana county formation maps. So the formation date of the counties was not relevant to why they moved nor related to changing county lines.

Supposedly William went to Arkansas about 1834 or 1835 and never is seen by the family again. Arkansas is not that close to either Indiana or Kentucky, but easily accessible by river boat. At this point those researchers still working on this line are stuck, but a male descendant does match the Ambrose Cobbs line. Any help on this line is appreciated.

12. William Henry Cobb married Jennie Baylor and went to Oklahoma. Descendants say that this man was a son of Henry Howell Cobb, but they have no idea which one that is and the record shows he was born in Georgia about 1829 and then married Jennie Baylor about 1867 in Louisianna and the first child was born there before the family went to Texas. Checking for families in Georgia in 1830 census we still cannot determine who the parents are. There was a Henry B. Cobb in Hall county and this was Henry Ballard Cobb, a definite Ambrose descendant. However, there is no way to figure out if he was the father of this fellow. He would not fit in the family based on dates of birth of the other children of Henry Ballard Cobb.

13. UNKNOWN Cobb had two sons, William Cobb and Dr. James J. Cobb b. 1814. This family appears in Rhea Co, Tennessee abt 1834.

We do not know who the ancestor was yet. If we look at Tennessee county formation maps, we see that Tennessee was admitted to the union as a state in 1796. Roane County was formed from Knox County in 1801 and in 1807 a large segment of Roane County was divided into Rhea and Bledsoe Counties. We know that two brothers, sons of the ancestor, were married in Rhea County in 1834, but do not know when the family came into the area.

What we do know is that Dr. James J. Cobb lived near a William Cobb in 1840 and then they go different ways. Whoever the ancestor was there appeared to be two sons: William W. Cobb, who married a Lucinda in Nov 1834 in Rhea County, Tennessee, and James J. Cobb, who married Mary Clough in Feb 1834 in Rhea County. Both of these men spent some time in Tennessee and in Arkansas.

Copyright © 2018 Betty Atkinson Harris Flesher

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