Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Have How Many Grandparents!!!

I’m back….

not that anyone noticed that I was gone. I haven’t written anything since March but today is the day. I decided that I needed a list of grandparents to help with DNA matches and rather than write it down on paper, that I will no doubt lose, I’d put it here for safe keeping. I think that this will also help me find the empty branches in my tree. I am sure that I have not discovered all 2048 of my 9th great grandparents….wow. 


Common Ancestor


Great Grandparent
2nd Great Grandparent
3rd Great Grandparent
4th Great Grandparent
5th Great Grandparent
6th Great Grandparent
7th Great Grandparent
8th Great Grandparent
9th Great Grandparent

Ancestry provides me with a list of ‘cousin matches’ along with an estimate of how closely we are related. This can be tricky when one is from a place like West Virginia where the branches of the family tree often twist together. No…I don’t mean cousins marrying cousins (although that happens everywhere) but I mean that I’m related to many people in more than one way. For example my Granddaddy Taylor’s sister Cora married Holly Cobb. Holly Cobb was Grandmother Taylor’s uncle. Cora and Holly’s children are ‘double cousins’. They are first cousins once removed on Granddaddy’s side and first cousins twice removed on Grandmother’s side. So… cousin matches may appear closer than they are because of the amount of DNA we share comes from more than one ancestor. Another example is my Whitt line. Hezekiah Whitt is my paternal 5th great grandfather. Hezekiah’s brother Archibald Whitt is my maternal 5th great grandfather. Confusing….you bet!




Omer Martin Taylor
Reva Opal Cobb
Lewis Arthur Willard
Grace Mae Carnes
Great Grandparent
William James Taylor
Lucinda Westfall
Harley Bennet Cobb
Clora Casto
King Shadric Willlard
Nancy Jane Wilson
Levi Alvas Carnes
Mary Margaret Godby
2nd Great Grandparent
Charles W Taylor
Eliza Harper
Abraham Westfall
Mary Margaret Harper
Charles Harvey Cobb
Mary Susan Ray
David L. Casto
Melissa Jane Boothe
Henry Willard
Harriet Elizabeth Richards
Oliver Wilson
Permelia Rider
Arthur B Carnes
Harriet Sarah Pendell
Andrew M. Godby
Martha J Thurston
3rd Great Grandparent
Paternal 16/16
Maternal 10/16
Thomas Ewing Taylor
Mary Elizabeth ----
John A Harper
Rachel Taylor
Andrew A Westfall
Mary Elizabeth Hyre
Harrison Harper
Sarah Sally Charles
James Hiram Cobb
Miram Board
Zedekiah Ray
Lou Ellen Clatterbuck
John J. Casto
Gracey McDade
Charles Mathias Boothe
Rachel Webb
David Richards
Mary Hodges
--- Wilson
Henry Carnes
Jane Jarrett
Pliney L Pendell
Mary Pollard
William V. Godby
Rhonda Miller
Robert B. Thurstan
Nancy C Brown
4th Great Grandparent
Paternal  24/32
Maternal 11/32
James Harper
Agnes Birchfield
Elijah Taylor
Lydia Bishop
Zachariah Westfall
Hannah Woolf
George Charles
Christean Michael
Hewitt Cobb
Nancy Minerva Ashley
John William Board
Nancy Ann Parsons
Daniel Ray
Sarah Thomas
Wesley Clatterbuck
Sarah Watson
John Casto
Sarah Zervia (?)
James McDade
Rachel Tanner
Joseph Boothe
Jane Cromwell
Joseph Webb
Susanna Whitt

Shadrack Richards
Susannah Hamilton
Abednego Hodges
Sarah Keene
Isaac Jarrett
Mary Margaret Massie
John Pendell
Melinda Mack
Francis Marion Godby
Rhoda Whitt
Daniel Miller

5th Great Grandparent

Paternal  28/64
Maternal  11/64
Jonathan Birchfield
Lainey Peake
George Bishop
Nancy Anne Boothe
Samuel Taylor
Rebecca Patterson
Cornelius Westfall
Hans Michael Charles
Catherine ---
Fredrick Michael
Christina Maria Mathaci
William Cobb
Elizabeth Morrison
John Wiley Ashely
Mary Alford
Patrick Board
Mary Keyser
Charles Parsons
Nancy Ann Flesher
Thomas Ray
Annis Ballard
David Casto
Phoebe Gandy
Edward Tanner
Rachel ---
Hezekiah Whitt
Rachel Skaggs
Charles Cromwell
Stephen Boothe
Nancy Ann Crosby

James Jarrett
Elizabeth Griffey
Jeptha Massie
Mary Sowards
Elisha Pendell
Irena Boyton
William Godby
Suzannah ---
Archibald Whitt
Hannah Lowe
Edward Richards
Elizabeth Stuart
6th Great Grandparent
Paternal  16/128
Maternal  6/128
John Board
Ann Bryant
Jacob Keyser
William Parsons
Martha Hughs
Henry Flesher
Elizabeth Bush
Richard Whitt
Susannah Skaggs
Stephen Boothe
Ester Osborn
William Casto
Elizabeth Abbott
Thomas Gandy
Edward Tanner
Judith ---
William Godby
Richard Whitt
Susannah Skaggs
Benjamin Richards
James Robert Stuart
Mary Anne Lafferty

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kiss Me….I’m 2% Irish!

Happy St Patrick’s Day! 

For some reason I always thought that I had Irish ancestors. Then….I received my DNA profile and that all changed.  I seem to have very little Irish DNA. I have 2,789 people in my tree of which six have Ireland as their birth or marriage place.  Of those six I’m not even related to four! So...two out of 2,789 people… not much Irish blood in these veins!  I’m not sure why I thought I had Irish ancestors (I do enjoy green beer) but what is most likely true is that a good bit of my heritage is Scots-Irish also known as the Ulster Scots. This assumption fits what I know about my family and my DNA profile. From what I have read a large number of Ulster Scots began to arrive in America around 1717-1718. Most were Presbyterian and many fought in the Revolutionary War. The majority of these immigrants eventually settled in the Appalachian Mountains. This is not the topic I wanted to write about today. I guess I just wanted a reason to say ‘Kiss me I’m 2% Irish’


What I wanted to write about is my Revolutionary War Patriots. My brother now lives near Saratoga Springs NY and my plan for today was to begin to look for ancestors that fought in the Battle of Saratoga.  I have researched a few of my patriots but I don’t think that I have seen the Battle of Saratoga mentioned.  The first thing I did this morning was use the filter feature in my Family Tree Maker software to get a list of possible patriots. Direct male ancestors born between the years 1726-1762 gave me a list of 35 possible patriots. Some I have already identified:

Bland Ballard
Patrick Board
Henry Flesher
Abednego Hodges
James McDade
Charles Parsons
Elisha Pendell
Edward Richards


PATRICK BOARD is my patriot ancestor for my DAR membership.
  • Living in Berkley County VA (now WV) when he enlisted early in the Revolution
  • Private in Captain Dark’s Virginia Company
  • Taken prisoner on Long Island but escaped that same night and joined a company of NJ regulars commanded by Captain John Henry
  • Reenlisted in 1781 and served 9 months in Captain Morgan’s Virginia Company
  • Battle of Paoli
  • Battle of Chestnut Hill
  • Was at the capture of Lord Cornwallis

  • Living in Hampshire County VA (now WV) when he enlisted spring 1777 he served 3 years and discharged at Philadelphia
  • Served under Captain William Vause and Colonel Wood
  • Was at Valley Forge while serving with Vause *
  • Enlisted again for 18 months as a substitute for Uriah Gandy and was discharged at Salisbury NC
  • Served under Captain David Williams and Colonel Campbell
  • Battle of Brandywine
  • Battle at Germantown
  • Battle at Monmouth
  • Battle at Camden (sustained a gunshot wound of the ankle)
  • Battle at Eutaw Springs (sustained a bayonet wound through his body and a sword wound of the wrist)
  • Engaged in several skirmishes

*Side note about Valley Forge: James McDade was serving with the 12th VA Regiment. Valley Forge Muster Roll website says that the 12th VA had 495 assigned when they entered Valley Forge but on 164 fit for duty. James McDade was in the hospital on the muster rolls for Jan 1778, Mar 1778, Apr 1778. This is a great website and worth visiting!   Valley Forge Legacy

To be continued......

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Man, The Doctor, The Mystery....Dr. William Cobb

A few weeks ago I emailed a 4th cousin on my Cobb side that I found through the magic of DNA.  Our common direct ancestor is Hewitt Cobb.  John Ashley Cobb was her 2nd great grandfather. I have been in contact with a descendant of Zachariah Taylor Cobb for a number of years. James Hiram was my 3rd great grandfather and a brother to John Ashley and Zachariah Taylor! It has been fun exchanging information and of course this has rekindled an interest in my Cobb family. Dr. William Cobb is the earliest Cobb I have been able to find and like most that research this Cobb family I have the one burning question…

Where the heck did Dr. William Cobb come from?

It is like he just appeared in Greenbrier County where at the age of 42 he married Elizabeth Morrison (8 August 1787) in Greenbrier County. Forty-two seems a bit older than the average age of first marriages so inquisitive minds want to know…

Could Dr. William Cobb have been married before marrying Elizabeth?

There are several land grants in Kanawha County 1788, 1792, 1799, 1799 and 1825. I believe most are in or near what is now Clendenin. I’m going from memory so this may not be exactly right…but the grants are near/on the Elk River. So…we know he married in Greenbrier in 1787, obtained a land grant in Kanawha in 1788 and also had a son in 1788. Where was he before 1787? This is just a few years after the Revolutionary War. He was of the right age to fight. Could he have been part of the British Army and decided he loved the Virginia Mountains, who doesn't, and decided that he didn't want to return to England? Okay, maybe I have more than the ‘one burning question’! Here is another, we know that he was a doctor. not just any doctor, but the FIRST doctor along the Elk River! Cool….! But one can’t help but wonder…..

How did he become a doctor? 

Surely he had to have had some training. Right? Well, I have devoted a lot of thought to this question over the years. The University of Pennsylvania was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1765. U of Penn was the first and only medical school in the 13 colonies. Did William attend U of Penn…I seriously doubt it…. That would be too easy. Plus, I looked at their amazing online collection and found no hide nor hair of dear William. I know many doctors received training as an apprentice. Here is an interesting fact from the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology

“On the eve of the Revolutionary War it has been estimated that the colonies contained 3,500 physicians, only 400 of whom had undergone some sort of training, and about 200 of these actually held medical degrees.

I once found a reference to a William Cobb who was an apothecary during the Revolutionary War. This makes sense to me but I have not been able to locate any additional information. The History of Charleston mentions Dr. Cobb and early medical care in the area.

Pg. 216: “William Cobb MD – the first physician on Elk River – residing one mile up Big Sandy, not far from the present site of Osborn’s Mills. These were the only settlers in this part of the Elk valley in 1795.”

Pg. 269: “There was also a Dr. William Cobbs settled up Elk, about the mouth of Big Sandy, who practiced medicine for a long time and was said to be “lucky,” If not learned. He had a large territory to serve and he killed himself riding about visiting the sick, and last of all the Doctor died also.”

Read more about early Kanawha Physicians...... 

Monday, January 6, 2014


Now that the holidays are over I hope to get back to my research and this blog. I didn't completely stop research over the past few weeks…I have just been lazy about writing anything. Lately I've been taking another look at my Cobb family. Today I came across some new information on Fold3 that I found not only interesting but also extremely sad. I am amazed by the things that people have lived through and have been able to survive. Women were not often recognized or even acknowledged in the past. I have discovered some amazing women in my family and the wife of Thomas Cobb is one. I am not related to her by blood but I am still proud to include this lady in my family. 

 My 5th great grandfather, William Cobb, had nine children. What I found today relates to his son, my 4th grand uncle, Thomas B. Cobb and his family. During the Civil War all four of his sons enlisted and only one survived with minor injuries. Two sons, Frances M. and James C. were both killed in action. Thomas’s wife, Virginia Mayhorn Cobb, filed for a pension after the death of her son Frances. She must have been a strong lady! I find her story quite sad and worth sharing. The year of 1864 must have been unbearable. After losing her husband April 19th she lost her son James near Harper's Ferry September 22 then Frances October 19th at Cedar Creek. 

I transcribed a few of the things I found and I'll attach a copies of the documents at the end of my post. 

            My husband Thomas Cobb (father of Frances M Cobb late of Co “A” of 13th Regt Va vols who was killed at Cedar Creek Va on the 19th Octr 1864) departed this life on the 19th day of April 1864. leaving me in a destitute conditions I had four sons in the army 2 of them were killed on crippled for life. One only returned safe and he has a family of his own

Signed in presence of                                                     her
WC Blaine                                                      Virginia (X) Cobb
Mary E Wells                                                              mark

 In other parts of the file I learned that before he died Thomas was very ill with a form of cancer and could not leave his home. So, Virginia was taking care of a very sick husband while her sons were off in the war. I cannot imagine how difficult her life was at that time. She also had three young daughters. Before his death Frances was the family main source of support. Statements in support of Virginia Cobb were made by several people including John Ashley, Sanford Williams, Wilson Jones, John C. Bird and Benjamin Hinsley, MD.

State of West Virginia
County of Kanawha SS v Roane
 On the 14 day of June 1866 before me a Justice of the peace in and fore said county personally appeared Dr. Benjamin M Hensly and John C. Bird residents of said county,s persons whom I certify to be respectable and entitled to credit who being duly sworn according to law declare each for himself as follows, They both declare that they have been well acquainted with Mrs. Virginia Cobb mother of Frances M Cobb dead and widow of Thomas Cobb dec’d father of the said Frances M the former for .10. years the latter for 23 years. And know that the said Thomas Cobb dec’d on or about the 19th April 1864. That for some years previous to his death he was unable to do any manual labor from the effects of a cancer in the breast of which he died and for the last 2 years of his life he was entirely confined to his house, that the said Frances M Cobb was the only male member of the family who remained at home and provided to a great extend for the family during his father’s sickness he being rendered almost to destitution by his long confinement that there were several other Brothers all of whom enlisted in the Federal army and all of whom were either killed or wounded severely but each of the others had a family of his own to provide for the know as stated above that the said Frances M was almost the exclusive dependence of the family – and that Mrs. Cobb is an old lady and still in great destitution they have no doubt but that the said Frances M. Cobb enlisted in the army for the double purpose of defending his country and for the purpose of providing for the support of his parents and they have been informed that he did so as far as he could under the circumstances but of this they know nothing of their own knowledge. The said Benjamin M Hensly declares that he has been a practicing physician in the immediate neighborhood of Mr. Cobbs residence for the last .10. years. That he attended Thomas Cobb during his illness and had an opportunity of knowing the facts stated above, that Mrs Cobb has always been decidedly loyal to the Govt of the United States all her sons have been in the army (as stated above) and 2 of them lost their lives in battle and 1 other maimed for life. They further declare that they reside as above stated and have no interest in this clam.
 B.M. Hinsley, M.D
John C Bird
 Sworn to and subscribed before me the day and year aforesaid and I certify that I have no interest in this claim and I further certify that I am well acquainted with Dr Benjamin M Hinsly and know him to be a physician of respectability and standing in his neighborhood The figure “2” was changed to “1” at the instance of affiants in ____.
Vincent Jarrett 

 The following statement is from Sanford Williams, Wilson Jones and John Ashley:

State of West Virginia
County of Kanawha SS
            On this 5th day of January 1865 before me John Slack clerk of the circuit court of Kanawha County personally appeared Sanford Williams Wilson Jones and John Ashly residents of Kanawha County the 2 first named at present being privates in Company “A” 13th Regt Va vols persons whom I certify to be respectable and entitled to credit who being duly sworn according to law declare that they are well acquainted with Mrs Virginia Cobb widow of Thomas Cobb decd and mother of the Francis M. Cobb decd private Co “A” 13th Regt Va vols.) and know that she is a lady of very indigent circumstances with little means of subsistence and that since the death of her late husband Thomas Cobb she has been almost entirely dependent upon her said son Frances M Cobb for maintenance. The said Williams and Jones being in the same Regiment and Company with the deceased know that he always gave his mother the said Virginia Cobb the largest portion of his monthly wages at each pay day. The said Wilson Jones remembers that one occasion when the full amount paid him by the paymaster at Hurricane Bridge and Valley was fifty two (52) dollars – he gave his mother fifty one (51) dollars of that sum. They all declare that Mrs Cobb had but four sons that the other three Wm H Cobb Plyant Cobb and James C Cobb are all married men all were in the US Army one of them was killed in the Battle near Harpers Ferry. The other 2 are both wounded one of them a cripple for life so that she has no near relatives in a condition to render her any assistance. They further declare that even before the death of her said husband (who died of a lingering disease of some years standing) she was principally dependent upon the said Francis M her son for maintenance and afterwards almost entirely so, that the said Francis M Cobb was an unmarried man with no children –that Mrs is still a widow in indigent circumstances (as above stated) with 3 young girls comprising her present family. That she is a lady of unquestioned loyalty. The further declare that they reside as above stated and are entirely disinterested in Mrs Cobbs claim for pension. Witnesses do not know the date of Mr Cobb’s death but think it was in 1863
 Sanford Williams
Wilson Jones
John Ashly

Sworn to and subscribed before me the day and year first above written and I certify that I believe the affiants to be credible persons and that I have no interest in ths in Mrs Cobbs claim for pension
Given under my hand and the seal of said court
Jn Slack elk

Virginia was allowed pension commencing October 19, 1864 at the rate of $8.00 per month and the $12.00 starting March 19, 1886. She died 12 September 1895 and was dropped from the rolls. 




Sunday, November 24, 2013

Appalachian Vernacular….it’s just a fancy way to say Mountain Talk

       I have always found language fascinating. Actually, it is the English language and its many variations that I find fascinating. Looking at local dialects, I believe, give us a glimpse of our ancestors and maybe even clues as to where our ancestors immigrated from long ago. A lot of the language I grew up with has roots in Scotland and Ireland. This makes perfect sense to me because many of the first settlers in Appalachia were from Great Britain and Ireland.  Some of my ancestors were among the first pioneers into what is now West Virginia so my family has lived in those beautiful Mountains since the mid 1700's. Needless to say that my WV roots run very, very deep! While I was growing up in West Virginia I was not always aware of the fact that the way people in my part of the world talk is a bit different. Our ‘vernacular’ is unique. I knew that I didn't have the ‘typical’ southern accent but I knew that I sure did have something. 

        I first became truly aware of the way I spoke when I went away to college for the first time.  Fairmont State is in WV and only about 3 hours north of home but boy-o-boy did I stand out! Many students were from northern WV or out of state and to them I may as well have been speaking a foreign language! I was forever being asked to ‘say this’ or ‘say that’.  Not only was my pronunciation of words different but sometimes the words I used were completely different and, at times, needed an explanation. In my very first college class, English 102, we were given a cultural crossword puzzle. Much to my surprise I was the only one in the class that knew a four letter word, other than sack, for bag. I was teased endlessly during freshman orientation about my ‘accent’ but it all seemed to make since after that English class and the professor’s lecture about dialects and the English language. So, I guess you could say that my fascination with dialects began during my freshman year of college.

Poke: a bag or sack

  • I can hear my Granddaddy now, “Go fetch me some potaters….put ‘em in this here poke.” 
  • My brother used to live near a convenience store called The Poke-N-Tote. It was in Summersville,WV…not sure if it is still exsists.
  • “Pig in a poke” or “Don’t buy a pig in a poke” can be traced back to the mid 1500’s in Great Britain and is still used in Scotland today. (

Location, location, location

           I grew up in Cross Lanes, WV just outside of Charleston. Well, not Cross Lanes proper more like Tyler Heights or Tyler Mountain. My grandparents and great grandparents lived next door and my dad’s brothers lived out back. My mom’s family was also close by so I knew most of my aunts, uncles and a fair number of my cousins. ‘Mountain Talk’ is much more than simply how words are pronounced. People where I grew up are very ‘colorful’ speakers.  When I read about ‘Mountain Talk’ I can almost hear my grandparents’ voices. This is how they talked. Looking back I am quite sure that when I went off to Fairmont State some 25+ years ago I too spoke with the same accent and dialect. Some aspects of how I talk cannot be changed and really why should it? 

What does dialect have to do with Genealogy?

       Well, not a lot when it comes to actual research but I have found occasions where it has been helpful to understand how words are pronounced.  For example I was a bit surprised that my Granddaddy’s sister, Evy, was actually Eva. I had never seen her name written and everyone called her Evy. I guess I grew up with the ‘a’ sound often being replaced with an ‘i’ or ‘y’ but never gave it a thought. I can remember being called ‘Leny’ (Leenie). Many records, census records in particular, are often written phonetically so understanding the Appalachian pronunciations may come in handy. One humorous example is how I found a name written in a census. The name was written ‘Varginny’ or something similar. I knew immediately that the lady’s name had to be Virginia. 

I am by no means an expert but I listed a few examples of what I consider 'Mountain Talk'

 Appalachian homophones:

      • Pin/Pen
      • Fail/Fell
      • Color/Collar/Caller
      • Feel/Fill
      • Picture/Pitcher
Word alterations: 

 Ending words with the letter ‘t’ sound

o   twice = twicet
o   across = acrosst
o   once = oncet

 Changing the ‘o’ sound to ‘er’

o   hollow = holler
o   potato/tomato – po-taters/to-maters
o   fellow = feller
o   yellow = yeller

Changing the ‘a’ sound to an ‘e’ or ‘y’ sounds

o   Monday, Tuesday…= Mondy, Tuesdy…
o   Lena = Leenie
o   Idea = idie (I-D)

 ‘Ire’ sometimes sounds like ‘ar’

o   tire – tar
o   fire – far

Random Words:

o   What most people call a ‘vacuum cleaner’ I call a ‘sweeper’
o   I say ‘buggy’ not ‘cart’
o   Awful/awfully – Her cake was awfully good. We had an awful good time last night.
o   Big-feelin’ – He is awful big-feelin’.
o   Highfalutin – Well, look at you hangin’ out with your highfalutin friends.
o   Lawsy – Well, lawsy me ain’t you something to see!
o   Might could, used to could (I didn’t know this was part of the dialect until very recently!) Can I do a cartwheel? Well, that’s doubtful but I used to could.
o   Directly – You go one ahead…I’ll be along directly (der-eck-ly)
o   Book-smart – He got that highfalutin education and might be book-smart … but he aint got enough sense to come in from the rain.
o   Yonder – He lives just over yonder.
o   Fetch – Fetch me some of them there potaters.
o   Carry – Carry that poke of beans to your mama.
o   Reckon - I could go on and on with this post but reckon I should save something for later!

One of the things I miss most is the descriptive language and sayings that are so common back home. Folks around here just aren’t as colorful in their use of language. So, I’ll end my long and rambling post with a few of my... 

Favorite Sayings:

  • You look like you’ve been rode hard and put up wet
  • He’s wound up tighter than a banjo string
  • I’m madder than an ole we hen 
  • He’s a ne’er do well…. Ain’t got a pot to piss in nor a window to throw it out of 
  • That man/road is crookeder than a dog’s hind leg 
  • Well…if that ain’t the pot calling the kettle black! 
  • Say that again and I’ll smack you plum into next week 
  • It is hotter than blue blazes (sometimes it is colder than blue blazes) 
  • Bless her heart…she ain’t big as a minute! 
  • Bless his heart…he’s so ugly he’s cute 
  • Bless its heart…it don’t know no better 
  • She is purdy as a picture