Related Cobb Families from Georgia

And the Southeastern United States

File Manager Betty Atkinson

Email Betty Atkinson

The Orphaned Cobbs of Georgia group of files that are posted here on this site have been a significant puzzle for all of us who are descended. Using the DNA project we’ve matched 25 males from various family lines in GA who are an extremely close match. The participants mostly are from the line of Joseph, who married Rachel. Others are from a Nathaniel Cobb who died in SC in 1785. He is identified in our efforts by the moniker "the torn will". Others are from one Joshua, who showed up in GA records as early as 1800. Then there are a couple more that we cannot yet track back to any of these three groups. I expect that with time and effort we may be able to fill in the blanks.

Some people have attempted to connect this family to that of Joseph of Isle of Wight Co, VA but the DNA project has shown that this can’t be the case at all. Also the project has proven that we’re not related to the lines of Henry the Elder from MA or from Ambrose of VA and NC. So who IS the common ancestor?

I’m going to step out on a limb and make a sound guess based on what I consider to be a preponderance of evidence. At the moment I can’t prove the ancestor but I’m afraid that I could die without passing this information along. I’m going to ask that all of those people who connect to any of these families work with me to see if it’s even possible to prove the immigrant ancestor or disprove my theory. While I’ll not provide all the specific details of my research I’m going to provide enough to see if it makes sense to the researchers and descendants of these orphans in GA. If anyone makes the mistake of taking this information and printing a book claiming that it is true that person will probably go down in history as a fool, having written a book that’s “riddled with errors”. Potential authors — BEWARE! As soon as a book is published it will be proven to be wrong. It’s best if we all work together to see if it’s possible to find any proof of a common ancestor. So here goes.

In 1758 a James Cobb gets a land grant on Bull Run of the Rocky Creek in Craven Co, SC. In 1762 a Joseph Cobb gets land in the same area as does one Isaac Elledge. Cynthia Snyder, author of a book titled “Elledges Out Front”, claims that Isaac was an uncle of James Cobb and that he got the land and transferred it to James. However, I’ve not been able to find any records (so far) that show any transfer from Isaac Elledge to James Cobb.

Why is this important? Because of the following information.

A John VanHeck (VanHaack, etc) got land rights in MD in 1668 for transporting one James Cobb to MD. These rights were transferred to one Capt. Thomas Howell, whose daughter John Van Heck married. VanHeck transported himself and his mother to MD from VA a few years earlier. James Cobb was not married when he arrived otherwise VanHeck would never have passed up the land rights for the wife. This James Cobb married and had at least one son named James who m. Rebecca unknown. The first James died at about 70 yrs of age after he petitioned to be levy free in 1721 where he gave his age. His son James was born ca 1675 in MD and died in 1718 after having 5 girls and a son named James who was born in 1716.

The James born in 1716 married Ruth Elledge and by her had sons James and Joseph. Their births are recorded in the parish records in MD. He married second to Mary Pogue and according to Robert Barnes of Baltimore, MD, who has written extensively about early immiigrants to MD, by her had three children, one of whom was Margaret who was born in 1742 in MD. When I inquired as to where the documentation was about the other two children, I got no information. This is the last record we find of this family in MD.

I believe the James who shows up in SC in 1758 and Joseph in 1762 are brothers and sons of James Cobb and Ruth Elledge. Both these men get land grants in GA in 1774. In 1776 a Nathaniel Cobb buys land on the Sandy Run of Rocky Creek in what is now Union Co, SC. This land was less than 30 miles from the other two. Descendants of Joseph and of Nathaniel have the same DNA pattern. James is a problem but I’m convinced that some of the other males we’ve had tested who match this DNA pattern are from James.

About 1770 the first two, James and Joseph, start selling land in SC and in 1774 get royal land grants in GA on the same day. Nathaniel dies in 1785 in Union Co, SC. His children spread out, with some remaining in SC, some moving to GA and others to AL. According to his son James who wrote a letter to a sibling in 1838 there was a brother named Henry. His letter made the assumption that Henry was still living. This Henry may have produced some of the unconnected Cobbs in GA.

Living descendants of at least Joseph and Nathaniel have participated in the Cobb DNA project and the results show that they have a common ancestor. We do not know who the children of James were but there are enough unconnected Cobb males in the same general area of GA in the same time frames that some of them are most likely to be his descendants. Joshua who shows up there before 1800 names his first son James and also names one Nathaniel. The name Nathaniel seems to run through these family lines down to 1920 or later.

A visit in about the year 2000 to the MD Archives did not net any significant new information. It did convince me that there is no record in MD of an Isaac Elledge transferring land to a James Cobb. Since there is no record of James and wife Mary after 1742 in MD I have to assume that one of the early James’ in SC must have been the elder man.

I am proposing that James and his wife Mary had a son named Nathaniel, who was not born in MD because no birth or deaths are found in MD for this family after Margaret was born. If James and Mary had died in MD it would follow that the records would show it. It would be logical to assume that James and Ruth were parents of the James and Joseph who got land grants in SC and that the second wife Mary was mother of Nathaniel and one other child although we have no name or sex for this person.

An alternate theory would be that the immigrant servant James had more children than were recorded in the MD records and that Nathaniel is from one of those children. Since there are no other records of any other Cobb families in MD early on then I have to assume that there were none.

In the Cobb database I have a lot of Cobb males in the same general area of GA who probably are descendants of one or more of these three men, James, Joseph and Nathaniel. I have found more than one James in the area. One or more of them is a descendant of Ambrose. I have found more Nathaniel Cobbs in the same area and we lose track of their descendants. If any survived and have living descendants we may yet find a family connection there. There appear to also be extra, unconnected males named Jacob, Daniel, Abraham, Joseph and Absalom. If we are able to track them down to living Cobb males and can convince one or more of them to participate in the DNA project we may be able to put the entire family together. That will require a lot of effort on the part of all of us and in some cases money to help pay for the DNA tests.

I’m asking that serious researchers help figure this out and work with me to reassemble the family of James Cobb the immigrant to MD in 1668.

Betty J. Atkinson, File Manager
April 2016

Specific Notes About the Following Lines:

First a bit of explanation about the issues with proving connection to those Cobb families we CAN document in SC and GA whose descendants have DNA patterns that match. We know from court documents that two Cobb males got land in SC about 1759 and another Cobb male got land there in 1776. Then we also know that two males, perhaps brothers although there is no specific record that proves this, got land royal grants in GA about 1773 on the same day. We also know that descendants of one of these two known brothers, James and Joseph Cobb, and of one Nathaniel Cobb who appear to have come from MD into SC are a genetic match in the DNA project. We know lots of descendants of Joseph and Nathaniel but have not been able to document the descendants of James. We also know that these two lines of Joseph and Nathaniel consistently gave their sons biblical given names.

Second, the Mississippi Territory was created 1798 and there were no censuses taken in this area in 1790. Prior to 1798 all of what is now MS, AL and GA were considered GA and was Indian Territory. Therefore there can be some real confusion created in attempting to document exactly where some of the people lived when they may be found in court records. Also there are no existing census records for GA prior to 1820 so it is very difficult to document all these lines.

Third, all the info below is designed to make an attempt at helping researchers of these specific line find out how they are genetically related to three or four potential Cobb males whose ancestor may have come out of MD.

There are 8 distinct lines from the following progenitors for which we have some details to be presented:
    All except those indicated otherwise were updated in Dec 2017.

  1. Absalem Cobb m. Elizabeth Barfield and his assumed brother Matthew Cobb m. Cordelia Stephens --- Surnames --- Individuals
  2. Jacob Cobb m. Henrietta McDade --- Surnames --- Individuals
  3. James Harrison Cobb m. Minnie Ann Murphy --- Surnames --- Individuals
  4. Joseph Cobb m. Rachel --- Surnames --- Individuals
  5. Joseph Ethridge Cobb m. Elizabeth Davis --- Surnames --- Individuals
  6. Joshua Cobb m. Ms. Garrison --- Surnames --- Individuals
  7. Nathaniel Cobb (torn will) m. Betty --- Surnames --- Individuals --- Updated Nov 2022
  8. Nathaniel Hugh Cobb m. Winney Ann Taylor --- Surnames --- Individuals
Related Cobb Families from Georgia DNA Project

Georgia county formation maps