Sunday, July 31, 2022

Notes On William Clifford Cook(4 Apr 1811-1 Jan 1882)

W. C. Cook is my 2nd great grandfather and I’ve been searching for information on who his parents were since I began my research in 1990.  I’ve collected documents from a varying number of sources and even have DNA tests both autosomal and YDNA. The intent of this blog post is to pull together the documents, squeeze out the information and clues contained in them and to use those clues to ask questions and identify where I have opportunity for further research in my quest to answer the question:  Who are the parents of William Clifford Cook(1811-1882)  I have this information in my tree at Ancestry but wanted to make sure that any other researchers who don't have access to the tree could see the information. I'd love to hear from any other Cook or related family researchers with any additional information / corrections or insight. 

W.C. Cook consistently lists his place of birth as North Carolina on the 1860[1], 1870[2] and the 1880[3] Census. His first identifiable appearance in the area(Rutherford Co TN, Williamson Co. District 25 and Bedford Co TN 9 & 10) is among a group of men who on the 5th September 1831 met at the smith shop of William Gilliam to give depositions for the court case of Robert Williams vs Wm Putman, et al[4]. This case would eventually be a TN State Supreme Court case.  In W C’s deposition he is asked if he is related to Wm Putman and he acknowledges that Wm. is his brother in law.   Is he thinking ahead?  He’s not yet married to Wm’s sister(That happens about 3 weeks later).  Or just maybe William Putman is married to W.C.’s sister?  I do not know.  It would seem to me that he could have given the answer as NO at that point and time.  Given that and scattered stories identifying Wm Putman’s wife as a Cook I believe that it seems possible that W C's sister could be Wm Putman's wife. Need to work on finding the marriage of Wm Putman to Anna which would give her name and the time period of their marriage and help to answer this question.  The copy of the TN State Supreme Court Case that I obtained from TSLA is 41 pages.  It contains documents from Bedford, Rutherford and Williamson Counties..  All of the counties’ records need to be examined for the period even though the case itself is in Rutherford Co. TN Time Frame  Oct 1829-1835ish.

I also have yet to locate W.C. in the 1830 Federal Census although from his deposition it would appear that he was in the Middle TN area at that point.  I have checked Joseph S Cook and variations though I do not know the relationship between Joseph and W C.  I’ve not located a Joseph(or variation) with a male W.C.'s age living in the household in the area where I'd expect him.  There are a few Cook households in Bedford Co TN who have a male the right age--John, Thomas, and Elizabeth Cook.  The Elizabeth Cook household would seem the most likely given that it is near the Anglins and other families that were involved in the court case.

What is the relationship between W C Cook and Samuel Anglin?  Between W C and Robert Williams?  Asking about Williams because W.C. was asked if he rode the horse(the one at the center of the Williams vs  Wm Putman case)after Williams bought it and his answer was yes.  Generally speaking, I wouldn't think a person would let someone ride their horse unless there was a trusted relationship between the two parties.  Just like these days we don't let just anyone drive our car.

Other Blog posts about the Williams vs Wm Putman case: 

As I mentioned earlier, W C Cook and Elizabeth Putman were married on 27 of Sept 1831 by Lemuel Manire. The marriage bond and license are dated 26th of Sept 1831 and Zachariah Little signs with W C.  Zach Little was making bond & obtaining a license to marry Mary Hill at the same time.  The person copying marriages from the loose documents into the book writes 29 instead of 27 when copying WC Cook and Elizabeth’s marriage date. Their marriage was announced along with others from Williamson Co TN in the 7th Dec 1831 edition of the Nashville Banner & Nashville Whig.

In 1836 & 1837 W C Cook was on the Tax List of Bedford Co TN in District 10. August 4, 1837 W C Cook & wife sold land in Williamson Co TN District 25 to David Young.  This would presumably be land that Elizabeth inherited when her father Jabel Putman passed.  At that time they were not living on the land.  In 1838 W C was appointed Overseer for Road Work. This is recorded in the Williamson Co TN records

“Ordered that William C Cook oversee that part of the fishing ford road of which Jacob Crick was late overseer and that all the hands on the south side of the road  leading leading(sic) from Murfreesborough to Columbia and all the hands that worked under said Crick work therein under his direction and that they work said road from the Bedford County line to the Rutherford County line.”

There is no date given in the entry however looking at the surrounding entries it appears to be Fall of 1838.  Where is Volume 1 of the Williamson Co Road Books?  Does it no longer exist?  I looked for it on the digitized microfilmed images but it looks like this roll of microfilm only contains Volumes 2, 3, and 4 of the Williamson Co TN Road Books.  Check 1838(Fall) thru 1840 for entry to see if there is a replacement named for W C Cook.  W C Cook was appointed admin of the estate of Joseph S Cook 1st Oct 1838.  He reports the estate sale 7 Jan 1839.  The inventory listing provides a good bit of names.  No other Cooks made purchases other than WC.  I was unable to find distribution papers for Jos S Cook’s estate.  His Probate file in Williamson Co TN Archives is problematic. Jos S Cook died intestate and they have mixed his file with a Joseph Cook who died in 1840 and who left a will.  It’s obvious by looking at the handwriting and knowledge of probate records.  Was that paper lost or did it ever exist?  I contacted the Williamson Co TN archives about it and explained the issue.  I was told that some time in the 1980s the probate files were put into folders.  This is probably when the two Joseph Cooks files were combined and might have been when the distribution paper was lost if it did in fact exist.  
W C  and family were in Dyer Co TN[5] by 1840’s census date of June 1st and the enumerator tallying which was signed on Oct 30 1840. Why Dyer Co?  Also who is the “extra'' female 15-20 in his household.  I’d not discovered that the family was in Dyer Co TN until I went looking to see with which of her children W C’s mother-in-law was living.  It appears she is living with daughter Elizabeth(W C’s wife) unless that is another older lady.  Maybe W C’s Mom but I haven’t identified his parents so I don’t have anything for age comparison. It is more than likely Nancy, widow of Jabel Putman as I was unable to find her in the households of any of her other children.

By July of 1841 the family was back in Williamson Co TN District 25 where Wm C Cook is listed on the school census with one female over 6 but under 16 attending school[6].  That would be his daughter, Minerva. During the time that W C Cook and family were in Dyer Co TN the Putman siblings were scattered–some in Bedford, Lauderdale, Weakley, Williamson Counties of TN and by early 1850s the majority of the Putman brothers would be in Christian and Hopkins Co KY area.  

W C Cook was the witness for a deed by Thos. B Carlton for Liberty Meeting house on Dec 23 1843 in Bedford Co TN[7].  

In July of 1848 daughter Elizabeth was born living only for a week.

Any Census Entry for W. C. Cook in 1850 was likely in Bedford County Tennessee’s District 10.  The District 10 enumeration is nowhere to be found.  I do not know if they were skipped, the pages lost, never turned in or skipped in the digitization.  In May of 1853(23rd)[8] W C was at the Union Hall Hotel(D Y Winston Proprietor) and noted as being from Bedford Co along with fellow Bedford Co resident W G Hight(s).  Several others in the same hotel are J O Stubbs(Rutherford Co), J N Clark, and J W Nelson (both of Murfreesboro.) What was the reason for the stay?  Business in Nashville?  On the way to or from Kentucky?  Need to look at court records from Davidson Co. TN around this date.

Records from the “burned”[9] index that was reconstructed have Wm C Cook selling? land to J H W Jones (140 Acres) on Oct 4th 1854  Also a deed to Wm G Hight Nov 9th that same year.

Feb of 1855 finds WC listed among others of the District 9 & 10 area petitioning for a boundary change.[10]  The change was granted and I’ve included the information from it below.  That area seems to change boundaries frequently.  

(Feb 1855 Term pg. 413)

On Petition of John Jackson, William G. Hight, William C Cook, Thomas Davis, Jno. W. Manier, William King, and Jno. Boyce, it was ordered by the Court that the line of Civil District #11 be changed as follows, to wit, commencing at Weakley's Creek and running with the public road by Hight's to as to include the lands of the petitioners from District #9 to #10.  21 Justices voting in the affirmative.

The year 1857 would be a rough year for WC and family as children David V(abt 8) and Rebecca(abt 14) would die.

The Census day for 1860 was June 1st.  W C and family would be enumerated[11] in District 10 of Bedford County, Tennessee.  
[12]On 27th Nov 1860 W C would witness a deed of 155 acres(District 10 land) from Richard Nance to J F Elliot.  

Feb of 1862 General Grant issued an order suspending civil government in TN and declaring martial law[13] and by early March Lincoln had appointed Andrew Johnson as military governor of TN and the entire state was under military law(Middle & West by US and East by Confederate States)

Dec 31 1862- 2 Jan 1863–The battle of Stones River which according to family stories you could hear where W C and family lived(northern Bedford Co)  

4 Mar 1963 Cavalry Detachment, Army of the Cumberland. Col. Robert H. G. Minty 4th Mich. Cavalry & 7th PA were in Rover area

7 Mar 1863 “On Saturday last a Federal cavalry force made an attack upon the Confederate camp at Unionville, Tennessee and captured all their wagons and camp equipment. The Confederate 80 killed 180 injured. Federal 2 slightly wounded.”

Daughter Angeline would have 2 children–Sally born in 1864, and another who died as a young child from burns.  This would have an effect on the family, not to mention all they were going through with the state of unrest.

12 April 1865 Son James Polk Cook filed for a divorce from 1st wife Messina Bailey on grounds of abandonment. [14]  It’s granted and by 12 Oct 1865 James was married to Harriet G Hamer in Williamson Co TN[15] with Richard Polk as his bondsman.  James’ brother Jefferson Gideon Cook married Mary S Hamer(Sister of Harriet) in Williamson Co TN on 9 Sep 1866 and James signed as a bondsman.[16]  I do not know what became of Harriet or Mary.  More research is needed.  James was with Susan Carson Ferguson and Gideon with Martha Hale by the time of the 1870 Census.[17] The 1870 Census entry has both couples listed in Bedford Co TN District 10 “next door.”  I did note that James and Susan’s 1st child together was born in 1869 and named Harriet presumably in honor of his wife Harriet so I’d think that there wasn’t a divorce involved.  Harriet’s mother is listed as Susan on her death certificate but I’d wondered if there was a chance that she was a child of James and Harriet G Hamer.  Maybe not.  I've never located the marriage record of James and Susan.  That needs more attention.

July 1866 Mail route restored Unionville and Poplins Crossroads suffering from a large outbreak of Flux.
Census Day 1870(June 1) finds W C Cook and family enumerated in District 10 of Bedford Co TN in the household of Elizabeth’s widowed sister, Parry Putman Lamb[18]

W.C. paid taxes in District 9 of Bedford Co TN for the years,  1875[19] 1876[20] 1877[21] 1878[22] 1879[23] 1880[24] 1881[25]  He wrote his will[26] in November of 1881 and died in Jan of 1882 at the age of 70.  Elizabeth had passed in 1880 as the result of a fall.  They are buried together in Simpson Cemetery in Rover, TN surrounded by many family members.[27] [28]

There seems to be some connection to the Hight, Little, Smith, Pope, and Harrison families when looking at DNA results and the interactions of the families.  The Putmans intermarried numerous times with the Crick, Carlton and Vickery families which also interact with the other families which may tie in thru the Cook lines. It must be remembered that not only are we looking for the father of William Clifford Cook, we are also trying to identify the mother whose family name is unknown to us.

Our YDNA line matches most closely with others who are descendants of Shem Cooke(1722-1796) of Granville Co NC and a group of Patterson men who are likely Cook descendants as the one of them who has tested matches with my our BigY700.  The connecting generations have not yet been found or sorted out.  Cooks from this group are all over NC, Middle TN, Alabama(Cullman Co area) and Georgia(Carroll Co)  We really need more Cooks in these areas to test.

Please see my Cooke/Luna Main File at Ancestry and the profile of William Clifford Cook in that tree

[1] "United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 18 February 2021), W C Cook, 1860.

[2] "United States Census, 1870", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 22 June 2022), Wm C Cook in entry for Parry Lamb, 1870.

[3] "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 22 June 2022), W.C. Cook, District 9, Bedford, Tennessee, United States; citing enumeration District 9, sheet 269D,

[4] Williams vs. Putman--TN State Supreme Court Case Middle District Ordered from TN State Library & Archives via Delivery(Jan 2, 2019) via email of scanned digital images(PDF) 41 pages. (Location at TSLA Range: 33 Section: A Shelf: 2 Box Number: 375)

[5] "United States Census, 1840," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 30 September 2021), Household of Wm C Kook, Dyer, Tennessee, United States; citing p. 104, NARA microfilm publication M704 , (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.), roll 521-522; FHL microfilm 24,544.

[6] Williamson, Tennessee, School Census 1838-1939, District 25, William C Cook 1 child(Over 6<16); digital images, FamilySearch, Image  1067 of 5811; citing Genealogical Society of Utah, 1998  Film 2115582 Item 2, DGS 8411324.

[7] Bedford Co. Tennessee Deed Book OO p 26; digital images, FamilySearch(; citing Tennessee Department of Education, Nashville(TN)1965; Film 476362 DGS 8567893

[8] "Arrivals at the Principal Hotels," The Tennessean, 25 May 1853, p. 3,  col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 31 Aug 2022).Clipping is  at

[9] Bedford County, Tennessee deed books and index, 1808-1966, Typed Index to burned volumes (extinct) made from the register's notebook, ca. 1852-1861; digital images, FamilySearch( Image 26 of 481.

[10] Marsh, Helen C, and Timothy R. Marsh. Earliest County Court Records of Bedford County, Tennessee. Shelbyville, Tenn: Southern Historical Press, 1985. Page 119.

[11] "United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 18 February 2021), W C Cook, 1860.

[12] Bedford County, Tennessee Deed Book DDD pg 6; digital images, FamilySearch( Image 189 of 481.


[14] Bedford County, Tennessee Circuit Court Minutes 1864 - 1865

Apr. 1864 - Aug. 1867. FHL  Film  475985   DGS 8659576

Cook, James P. vs. Messina Ann Cook  page 283 - 284; digital images, FamilySearch(

[15] "Tennessee State Marriage Index, 1780-2002," database, FamilySearch ( : 4 December 2014), James F Cook and Harriet G Hamer, 12 Oct 1865; from "Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002," database and images, Ancestry ( : 2008); citing p.539 , Williamson, Tennessee, United States, Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee.

[16] "Tennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 22 December 2016), Williamson > Marriage records, 1865-1878, vol 6-8 > image 46 of 975; citing Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville and county clerk offices from various counties.

[17] "United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 June 2019), Tennessee > Bedford > District 10 > image 31 of 36; citing NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington, D.C: National Archives and Records Administration).

[18] "United States Census, 1870", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 22 June 2022), Wm C Cook in entry for Parry Lamb, 1870

[19] Bedford Co TN Tax Books 1878-1881 Film # 477092 Dist. 9 1875 Tax Year image 91 of 573

[20] Bedford Co TN Tax Books 1878-1881 Film # 477092 Dist. 9 1876 Tax Year Image 269 of 573

[21] Bedford Co TN Tax Books 1878-1881 Film # 477092 Dist. 9 1877 Tax Year Image 465 of 573

[22] Bedford Co TN Tax Books 1878-1881 Film # 477093 Dist. 9 1878 Tax Year Image 112 of 774

[23] Bedford Co TN Tax Books 1878-1881 Film # 477093 Dist. 9 1879 Tax Year Image 305 of 774

[24] Bedford Co TN Tax Books 1878-1881 Film # 477093 Dist. 9 1880 Tax Year Image 494 of 774

[25] Bedford Co TN Tax Books 1878-1881 Film # 477093 Dist. 9 1881 Tax Year Image 681 of 774

[26] "Tennessee Probate Court Books, 1795-1927," images, FamilySearch ( : 22 May 2014), Bedford > Wills, 1861-1897, Vol. 1 > image 245 of 424; county courthouses, Tennessee.

[27] Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed 31 July 2022), memorial page for William Clifford Cook (4 Apr 1811–1 Jan 1882), Find a Grave Memorial ID 66487991, citing Simpson Cemetery, Bedford County, Tennessee, USA; Maintained by Gerald Staggs (contributor 20947500).

[28] Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed 31 July 2022), memorial page for Elizabeth Putman Cook (1814–5 Sep 1880), Find a Grave Memorial ID 66488146, citing Simpson Cemetery, Bedford County, Tennessee, USA; Maintained by Gerald Staggs (contributor 20947500).

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:37 PM

    Marie, This is a great article. Thanks for putting it together.