Saturday, July 28, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 30

The writing prompt this week is Colorful. I feel like I have already written about the most colorful people in my family. I don’t know of any who were artistic, and can’t think of any who had a color as their name or a place of residence. So I looked in my genealogy program for someone with a colorful last name. My inner 12 year old always snickers when I see the name Cocke in the tree.

First I have to add the disclaimer that this name is only in the tree if I can find the link between Thompson Hightower and his potential father, George Hightower, Jr. George’s  wife was Frances Ann Hall, whose great-grandmother was Anne Cocke. Anne was born in 1686 in Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Virginia to Richard Cocke and Elizabeth (Littlebury) Cocke. Yes, someone actually named their son Richard Cocke. His father was also named Richard Cocke, so perhaps he wanted someone else to feel his pain.

The senior Richard was born on 13 December 1597 in Stottesdon, Shropshire, England.  Stottesdon is located about 141 miles northwest of London. He arrived in Virginia around 1633, and patented 3,000 acres of land on 6 March 1636. It was located on the James River in Henrico County, Virginia, and he called it Bremo. The location is about 12 miles east of what is now Richmond. Richard served as a member of the House of Burgesses, and was a Lieutenant-Colonel of the County of Henrico. He was later Sheriff of Henrico County. By his death in1665, he had land grants totaling around 10,000 acres.

potential Cocke cousins
When I was in Richmond several years ago, I visited Bremo and adjacent Malvern Hill, which was owned by Richard’s son Thomas. At a National Parks Service Museum located nearby, I was speaking to an employee and explaining why I was there. As it turns out, he is a Cocke descendant as well. Are we cousins? That is yet to be determined, but he did say that I look very much like his sister.

So what is the origination of the surname Cocke? There are several theories. One is that it is literally a nickname from the bird - the cock - which was then given to a young lad who strutted about proudly like a cock. Another is that it was applied to a natural leader, an early riser, or a lusty or aggressive individual. Whatever its meaning, you have to admit that it is a colorful name that leads to sudden interest in genealogy when brought up at family reunions.

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