Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Progress with Cook research

To locate where Wm C Cook would have been around 1830 I used the information that was gained from the Williams vs. Putman State Supreme Court Case.  Given the testimony from that case it appears that Wm C Cook lived in close proximity to Zephaniah Anglin. A look at the census page from 1830 Bedford Co. TN in which Zephaniah appears show a Cook household with a male that could be Wm C Cook.  Also I believe that this Elizabeth Cook's maiden name was Harrison.  The Wm Harrison listed immediately following her is the household of Wm & Elvira Cooper Harrison.  The two households above Elizabeth are sons of Wm & Elvira.  Wm & Elvira did have a daughter named Elizabeth(b. abt 1788) who would be about 42.  The older female(presumable Elizabeth) is in the 40-50 age bracket.

A number of trees claim that Wm P Harrison of 1830 Williamson Co TN is Wm & Elvira's household however the ages for William and Elvira do not match up as they do here on the 1830 Bedford Co TN enumeration.  

Something else to consider:
On the 1840 US Federal Census of Dyer Co TN,, Wm C Cook was enumerate immediately before his brother-in-law Noah and a J B Harrison who at the time I recognized as the Brother-In-Law of Hiram Putman(another of Wm C Cook's Bro-In-Laws).  If Elizabeth Cook from 1830 Bedford Co TN census is Wm C Cook's mother, and the daughter of Wm & Elvira Harrison, then that J B Harrison that is enumerated in Dyer Co TN with Wm C Cook is not only the brother-in-law of his brother-in-law, but Wm C Cook's maternal uncle. 

This makes a pretty good argument for that and also offers an explanation for why we match a cluster of the Harrison/Cooper descendants that are not also Putmans.  I have several ideas I want to test to determine Elizabeth's spouse.  There is a William Pope Cook who married a Betsey Harrison Aug. 18th of 1806 in Franklin Co. NC.  The Pope name is common in the YDNA of the Cook line that we most closely match. 

It is my belief based on the above evidence/clues that Elizabeth Cook is the daughter of William & Elvira Cooper Harrison and the mother of Wm C Cook. 


"United States Census, 1840," database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:2:1TGQ-9RH : accessed 30 January 2023), 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.

"United States Census, 1830," database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYY2-SVHP?i=166 : accessed 30 January 2023), Tennessee > Bedford > Not Stated > image 167 of 282; citing NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

"North Carolina, County Marriages, 1762-1979," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSHB-W9GK-4?cc=1726957 : 28 November 2018), > image 1 of 1; North Carolina State Archives Division of Archives and History.

Williams vs. Putman, Tennessee State Supreme Court Case Middle District Ordered from TN State Library & Archives via https://supreme-court-cases.tennsos.org/ 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)

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Chasing Cook Clues

Friday afternoon I was fortunate enough to attend the first webinar in Legacy Family Tree Webinar's "The Best of ESM" series.  Armed with the inspiration from that session, I planned to devote this weekend to reviewing documents of my brick wall 2nd Great Grandfather, William C Cook.

The first thing on my agenda was to revisit the microfilmed images which are at Ancestry & FamilySearch of the folder marked "Joseph S Cook  1840" which is part of the Probate files in the Williamson Co TN Archives.  I reviewed them by writing the image number(and the annotated number on some) on index cards with descriptions of content.  I've written several blog posts explaining the contents of this folder.  Essentially the folder is a combination of the probate files of two men named Joseph Cook who died between the time period of 1838 and 1840.  When the files were placed in the archives( in the 1980s according to the archivist) they were organized into folders and inadvertently they combined these two men named Joseph Cook.  No one noticed this, or if they did they never pointed this out. Fast-forward to November 19th 1997 when The Genealogical Society of Utah microfilmed those folders and their contents exactly as they were.  If you have ever used this collection, you know that there are index cards of the folders contents.  I've asked my contact at the Williamson Co TN archives if they knew when those index cards were made she said no one seems to know for sure.  Since the card for the Joseph Cook folder lists the combined records I believe it was some time in the 1980s in an effort to catalog the files.  We know it was prior to them being microfilmed as those index cards are part of the microfilm.

The above image file is one I made using the microfilmed image of the cards & the information added by me which distinguishes between the two men.  I have corresponded with the archives and they have made a note about the files and their contents at my request.

The Joseph S Cook who died intestate is the one over which my 2nd Great Grandfather Wm C Cook was appointed administrator.   The letter of admin is recorded Williamson Co TN Letters of Administrators Vol 1 page 16 and was microfilmed within the Williamson Co TN records(as Letters of administrators,v.1-2 1838-1878) by the Tennessee State Library and Archives in 1966 and digitized by FamilySearch at https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C9Y5-XZLX?cat=235347  
The original estate sale list of Joseph S Cook is in the file folder mentioned above that was microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and is online at FamilySearch at https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-2JS9-TP?i=875
If you flip to view the previous image from the above link, you can see the microfilmed back portion of that document.  
The book version of the estate sale was copied into Williamson Co Tennessee Will Book Vol 6 page 31 and microfilmed in that TSLA project of 1966 on the roll that contains Will books, v. 6-7 1835-1842.  The digitized version is online on FamilySearch at https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-2BQ1-9?i=18

I did a comparison of the listing of purchasers and items and found no differences accept for a few spelling issues.

Some observations:  
There are no beds only horse tack, mare, cotton, a Bible, book, two hats and an overcoat.  That to me sounds like someone who is elderly and living within the home of someone else(children, in laws, boarding.)  His wife may have died years earlier or they may have separated(not uncommon in my family even in early times) At the least I feel it's someone who is not married regardless of their age.

I don't know why, but for some reason when I read Jonathan Vickery(sp) I have always just thought Absalom Vickery(which is Wm C Cook's brother in law)  I knew this was a different person but I just wrote him off as being an in-law. Part of my decision with this review process was to not bring in my previous notes in order to have a fresh perspective.  I think this worked well as while I remembered that Jonathan had married a Smith lady, I didn't remember ever having looked for him in the 1840 US Federal Census.  That census would be a representation of life about a year and a bit after this estate sale.   I found Jonathan Vickery in 1840 Bedford Co. TN. Not surprisingly, he is in an area in which I am familiar surrounded by others who made purchases at the estate sale.  Another reason this page and people look familiar to me is because I studied it while I was studying Zephaniah Anglin.  I believe this area is District 10  of Bedford Co TN because there are Bylars (Nancy & James) which are known to have lived in the Rover area as well as Simpsons  

Anglin was a defendant along with Wm Putman in  Williams vs. Putman, a  Tennessee State Supreme Court Case for which my William C Cook had given testimony.  The testimony covered events in the time period of about 1829 to 1831. So William C Cook should have been in a household somewhere in that area in 1830.  He is married in Williamson Co TN in Sept of 1831(his Putman bride lived in Williamson Co) 

Examining the 1830 US Federal Census for Bedford Co TN in the area where Zephaniah Anglin was enumerated shows households of Harrisons and one Cook household headed by Elizabeth Cook near him(page 83)  It is possible that Wm C Cook is one of the Age 15-20 males within her household.  There is a Joseph Cook(no middle initial) on page 85 but that Joseph doesn't have any males that would be Wm C Cook's age within his household.  If this is THE Joseph S Cook then that Joseph would have been in anywhere from 28 to 38 years old  at the time of his death putting him more in the range to be Wm C Cook's brother rather than his father.  So what becomes of the younger son & daughter and the two teen females if he is the one who dies in 1838?  It's more likely that the Elizabeth Cook is the widowed mother of Wm C Cook.  If so, to which Cook was Elizabeth married?  No proof but a potential theory.  One of many but it is good to have more than one theory because there are many possibilities and nothing is for certain at this point. 

Still lots to do studying Williamson County TN District 25 community where we know both Wm C Cook and Joseph Cook were in 1838.  The 2 previous years Wm was in District 10 of Bedford Co TN. Joseph was in District 25 during the 2 years prior to 1838. There are likely clues buried within the documents of neighboring families.  Now to find them.  

"United States Census, 1840," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYTB-9GR6?cc=1786457&wc=31SJ-161%3A1588669927%2C1588669780%2C1588665902 : 24 August 2015), Tennessee > Bedford > Not Stated > image 96 of 228; citing NARA microfilm publication M704, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

"United States Census, 1830," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYY2-SVHP?cc=1803958&wc=35YH-ZJ6%3A1588478503%2C1588478502%2C1588469601 : 14 August 2015), Tennessee > Bedford > Not Stated > image 167 of 282; citing NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Williams vs. Putman--TN State Supreme Court Case Middle District Ordered from TN State Library & Archives via https://supreme-court-cases.tennsos.org/ 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)

Friday, January 20, 2023

Lightfoot Family

In a blog post from 2017 I referenced several newspaper articles about accused counterfeiter Benjamin Woodward and several other of his associates.  Among those associates were several Cook(e) men.  These were men are likely connected to our YDNA line though our exact connection has not been identified. At the time I had not located my 2nd Great Grandfather in the 1840 US Federal census in Dyer Co TN nor had I discovered the cluster of DNA matches with connections to the Lightfoot family in Dyer County.

One of the newspapers from that Dec 2017 blog post was The Virginia Gazette(Williamsburg, VA)'s February 25th 1773 edition.  The article  on page 3 mentions that a Capt John Lightfoot is sent to apprehend the suspects.  While working the ancestry of the group of Dyer Co TN DNA matches of myself, my siblings and our Cook/Putman cousins I discovered that the Dyer Co TN cluster traces back to a Wilson C Lightfoot & his wife, Mary Deberry.  As it turns out, Wilson C Lightfoot's father is a  John Lightfoot who died in Stewart Co TN in 1823 and left a will.  An image of the will had been posted by another researcher but they did not include a link or anything other than that it could be found on FamilySearch. It took a bit of investigating but I found it.

It was grouped in Stewart Co TN--Bonds, Miscellaneous, Settlements, 1814-1824, Vol. 03

John Lightfoot's Will

Inventory--John Lightfoot

George Cathey's Bond as Executor of Nelly Lightfoot's Will

Given the shared matches from my side the connection is back thru the ancestry of my Cook or Putman lines somehow.  Something to investigate and hopefully will "kick up" other clues.  Also need to look into the Deberry ancestry since I don't know for sure that any connection is exclusively thru the Lightfoot family. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Revisiting Census and Tax Records

Last year I was able to finally locate my 2nd Great Grandfather Wm C Cook in the 1840 US Federal Census for Dyer Co TN.  I've been reviewing that census this morning as well as looking at Tax lists for the area and researching his neighbors a bit more.  This is something I revisit periodically since finding the census entry.  I'm trying to determine what he and his family were doing so far out of place from where I'd expect them to be. 

1839 Dyer Co Tax List Civil District 6 contains the majority of the families who are around Wm C Cook in the 1840 US Federal Census of Dyer Co TN.  Something I hadn't noticed before for this tax list was that at the very end of that District is a list of abt 15 people(it continues to the next page) with a header that on says " The Following is listed by the commissioner for Double Tax".  There is a Cook name listed--specifically, Heirs of John W Cook.   These people are a continuation of District 6 because  immediately after their listing there is a Total for District 6 row.

While this could be another rabbit hole and be a Cook with no relation it must be checked out given before I can make a determination one way or the other.  This isn't something that just applies to census or tax list but is something we should be doing especially with the documents we have for our "brickwall" ancestors.  

An additional tidbit that I also found interesting while studying neighbor Hezekiah Gibson was that there is a Hezekiah Gibson listed on the 1836 Tax List of Henderson Co TN in the same district as Shim and Johnson Cook(Sons of James Roland Cook whose descendants are close in our YDNA line)

"United States Census, 1840," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GYBJ-96TR?cc=1786457 : 18 July 2023), Tennessee > Dyer > Not Stated > image 37 of 42; citing NARA microfilm publication M704, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

"Tennessee, U.S., Early Tax List Records, 1783-1895" database with images, Ancestry(https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/12796:2883 : accessed 18 January 2023); citing Early Tax Lists of Tennessee. Microfilm, 12 rolls. The Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Understanding Our Ancestors: Tuberculosis & Influenza

I'm writing an article about my great grandparents, William Green Cook & Jane Bell King Cook and their descendants.  In order to get a better understanding of the social aspect of what happened with my family in the early 1900s,  I've added several books to my personal library.  My Cook family was hit pretty hard by tuberculosis.  It all but wiped out my Great Aunt Rebecca's branch of  the family.  I knew very little about what had happened prior to my researching the family and even then very little about the TB hospitals.

The list of books I'm studying are as follows:

  • The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History--John M. Barry(2005)
  • Fevered Lives: Tuberculosis in American Culture since 1870--Katherine Ott(1999)
  • Bargaining for Life: A Social History of Tuberculosis, 1876-1938 (Studies in Health, Illness, and Caregiving)--Barbara Bates(1992)
  • Living In The Shadow Of Death: Tuberculosis And The Social Experience Of Illness In America--Sheila M. Rothman(1994)
  • The White Plague: Tuberculosis, Man and Society--Jean Dubos(1987)
  • Discovering Tuberculosis: A Global History, 1900 to the Present--Christian W. McMillen(2015)

I also purchased one book about Yellow Fever because I wanted to compare that with the other illnesses.  I don't know of anyone in my family that died from Yellow Fever.  If you have any family from areas where there was swamp land you may find some of your family dealt with it. 

The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, The Epidemic That Shaped Our History--Molly Caldwell Crosby(2007)

There are many other issues that our ancestors dealt with regarding their health and economic situations.  It is hard for us to understand why they made certain decisions but reading about what was happening in the world during their lifetime helps to put that into perspective. In 1927, my dad's brother died of scarlet fever.  Dad had rheumatic fever when he was of elementary school age but was fortunate enough to survive even though it threw him behind in school because of having to be absent.

Look at your family.  What obstacles did they face? Health? Disabilities? Financial? Environmental? Look for books on that time period and subject to get a better understanding. It really does help.

Elizabeth Dent Browning Cook--widow of Willis Cook

Read thru some Cook documents looking for those with a connections to Franklin Co. NC. Found one who also had a connection to Weakley Co. TN which is also an area of interest It was the Widow's Pension Application of Elizabeth Dent Browning Cook who applied on the service of her husband, Willis Cook. I've included the link to the full source file in the Source section but will put direct links as I address some of the information contained within the file. There are 38 Images within the file folder at Fold3

War of 1812 Claim of Widow for Service Pension (pg 33)
Soldier: Willis Cook Widow: Elizabeth Dent Browning Cook

The application gives a description of Willis Cook and a summary of his service time. His occupation is given as carpenter.

Marriage date given as 10th of Dec 1820 married by Harry Goodlow J.P. according to notarized statements given by Elizabeth's brothers Jourdan N T Dent and Joseph E Dent. Elizabeth was a widow of Thomas Browning(died while serving during War of 1812) William Smith was the bondsman.
[The Franklin Co NC Abstract shows the bond date as Dec 19, 1820. The bond appears to say Dec 19, 1820 as well. The year is clear and seems to be a year later than that remembered by the Dent brothers. There is a possibility that the date on the bond is actually the 9th as a pen stroke may have been misinterpreted as a 1 before the 9 making it the 19th. It does seem more likely to me that the marriage bond was signed on the 9th of Dec with the marriage taking place on the 10th at their father's home in the year given on the bond--1821 See bond at: https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/2658316:60548]

Date & Location of Soldier's Death 24th April 1870 near Dresden Tennessee.

Information which I find helpful to know is also included on her application. She is asked to list where they have resided and she lists Franklin Co NC, Murray Co. TN(that's actually Maury Co TN) and Weakley Co TN where she now lives.

From the Widow's Pension Application at https://www.fold3.com/image/305855939

Widow also mentions that her husband did file a Bounty Land Warrant but she couldn't remember the date of his filing.

WO16754 WC24867 Bounty Land Warrant Number: 21298 --160--12


“War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files,” database and images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com/image/305855907 : accessed 15 Jan 2023); image of widow Elizabeth Cook's pension claim WC24867, service of Willis Cook(Pvt. Capt. E J Leigh's Co And Corp Capt. Villard's Co 10 US Inf. Corp Capt. Hight's Co And Sgt. Capt. Hall's Co US Art Corps); citing "War of 1812 Pension and Bounty land Warrant Application Files, compiled ca. 1871–1900, documenting the period 1812–ca.1900," National Archives Catalog ID: 564415, Record Group 15, Roll RG15-1812PB-Bx0812, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

"North Carolina, County Marriages, 1762-1979 ," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QP9T-5H9L : 10 March 2021), Willis Cook and Betsey Browning, 19 Dec 1821; citing Franklin, North Carolina, United States, p. , North Carolina State Archives Division of Archives and History; FHL microfilm .[abstract from Bonds]

Monday, January 02, 2023

Old Blue Hen's Chickens

I am working on my outline of the documents included in George Solifelt's Union Civil War Pension File and found a saying with which I was not familiar.  The saying is "one of Old Blue Hen's chickens."  I searched and found several different references and meanings but I think the one that was meant in this case was that he was a fighter and loyal.  This is from a statement by George A Fogle(21 Nov 1900 in Ft Smith Ark) which was dictated to H F Hill and included in the Union pension application file of George Solifelt.


George Solifelt(Pvt., Co. E, 20th PA Cav., Civil War), pension application no. 580,089,
certificate no. 950,395, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications, 1861-1934; Civil
War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National
Archives, Washington, D.C. [He used the aliases George Sullivan & Theodore Sullivan both of which are noted the Pension Index Cards. He also served in C 2nd & H 126th PA Inf as well as C 1st PA Prov. Cav.]