The Cobbs of Northwest Tennessee and Southeast Missouri

File Manager M. Cobb

Email mrcobb@ymail.com

 

 

 

Map of West Tennessee

 

 

 

NOVEMBER 2007

 

Let me begin by saying I am not quite satisfied with the results of this study.  Although I have been working on it as time permitted for almost two years, I was hoping to have more data compiled by this time.  The counties included in this study are those lying in the upper (northern) half of the map shown above.  By no means do I infer that all Cobbs who lived in the specified area are included; but I do think it will come close.

 

I am continuing to work on this as time permits and will update as often as needed.  Additions and corrections are earnestly solicited.  Anything you can offer will be appreciated.  Email M.Cobb ... mcbb1@@swbell.net

 

 

LET’S GET STARTED

 

There is an overwhelming temptation to credit the settlement of northwest Tennessee to four factors:

 

1.              The acquisition of the Louisiana Territory in 1803.

 

2.   The Bollinger Migration from North Carolina to Missouri.

 

3.   The Great Chickasaw Cession of 1818.

 

4.              The “Funnel Effect”.  I have failed utterly to discover the location of a ferry across the Mississippi

River anywhere in the area concerned; but it is obvious there had to be one there somewhere.  It seems most likely a ferry must have been located in what is now Obion County, crossing over to New Madrid County, Missouri.  Wherever the location, it was the only crossing for a considerable distance in either direction.  Anyone wishing to enter Missouri had to ferry over at that one point.

 

 

THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE

 

From Wikipedia:

 

The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of approximately 530 million acres (820,000 sq mi or 2,100,000 km) of French territory in 1803, at the cost of about 4˘ per acre (7˘ per ha); totaling $15 million or 80 million French francs. Including interest, America finally paid $23,213,568 for the Louisiana territory.  The land purchased contained all of present-day Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and parts of Minnesota south of the Mississippi River, much of North Dakota, nearly all of South Dakota, northeastern New Mexico, northern Texas, the portions of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide, and Louisiana on both sides of the Mississippi River, including the city of New Orleans. (The Oklahoma Panhandle, and southwestern portions of Kansas and Louisiana were still claimed by Spain at the time of the Purchase.) In addition, the Purchase contained small portions of land that would eventually become part of the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The land included in the purchase comprises around 23% of the territory of the modern United States.  The purchase was an important moment in the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. At the time, it faced domestic opposition as being possibly unconstitutional. Although he felt that the Constitution did not contain any provisions for acquiring territory, Jefferson decided to purchase Louisiana because he felt uneasy about France and Spain having the power to block American traders' access to the port of New Orleans.

 

With the stroke of a pen President Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the United States in the largest real estate transaction in recorded History.  It was arguably the largest acquisition of territory in History that was not accomplished by military conquest.

 

 

THE BOLLINGER MIGRATION

 

From Wikipedia:

 

George Frederick Bollinger (17701842) was born in Tryon County, North Carolina. Both Bollinger County, Missouri

 and Fredericktown, Missouri are named after him.

 

He was the eleventh of the twelve children of Heinrich Bollinger.  George Frederick persuaded twenty other families to leave North Carolina in the fall of 1799 and settle in a region immediately east of what is now Cape Girardeau, Missouri. To acquire the land, Bollinger first had to sign of a document asserting that he and his fellow settlers were all Catholics. In reality, most of the group were members of the German Reformed Church, and none were Catholic. However, Don Louis Lorimier, the Spanish Land Commandant of Cape Girardeau, had been impressed by Bollinger on an earlier visit and was willing to bend the rules for him and his fellow settlers.

 

From Wikipedia:

 

Bollinger County, Missouri

The county was named after George Frederick Bollinger, the eleventh of the twelve children of Heinrich Bollinger. George Frederick Bollinger persuaded twenty other families to leave North Carolina in the fall of 1799 and settle in a region immediately east of what is now Cape Girardeau, Missouri. To acquire the land, Bollinger first had to sign of a document asserting that he and his fellow settlers were all Catholics. In reality, most of the group were members of the German Reformed Church, and none were Catholic. However, Don Louis Lorimier, the Spanish Land Commandant of Cape Girardeau, had been impressed by Bollinger on an earlier visit and was willing to bend the rules for him and his fellow settlers.

 

Making the journey from North Carolina with George Frederick Bollinger were his brothers, John, Daniel and Mathias Bollinger and two nephews Mann Henry Bollinger and William Bollinger. Several friends also joined the expedition, brothers George and Peter Grount (Grounds) along with Peter's young son Daniel Grount, brothers Peter and Conrad Statler, Joseph Neyswanger, Peter Crytes, Jacob Cetner, John and Isaac Miller, Frederick Limbaugh, Leonard Welker and Frederick Slinkard. All had immigrated with their families from Germany in the early 1700's and later migrated down the Shanandoah Valley into North Carolina by the late 1700's.

 

The Bollinger-led group of German Reformed families moved into the area in January of 1800, crossing their wagons over the Mississippi River after an unusually cold stretch of weather had frozen the surface all the way across. Meanwhile, ownership of the region shifted in quick succession from Spain to France, and then, in 1803, to the United States via the Louisiana Purchase.

 

The region west of Cape Girardeau was organized as a county in 1851 and named Bollinger County in honor of George Frederick Bollinger. In the next county to the west, Madison County, the settlement of Fredericktown was also named after George Frederick Bollinger.

 

It is clearly established that large numbers of Carolinians began moving to Missouri in the early 1800’s; particularly from the border region between North and South Carolina.  The genealogical researcher who finds himself stumped by the sudden mysterious disappearance of someone from either of the Carolinas during this period would probably be surprised to discover they had moved to Missouri.

 

However, it is also clearly established that many people who started for Missouri did not get there.  Many dropped out along the way; or changed their minds and moved up into Kentucky and southern Illinois.  There are also instances where people reached Missouri, decided they didn’t like it, and turned around and went back where they came from.

 

 

 

THE GREAT CHICKASAW CESSION OF 1818

 

A treaty signed in 1818 by Chickasaw and United States representatives relinquished all lands between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers.  In this treaty, the Chickasaw ceded what was to become known as West Tennessee or, in other words, all of their land west of the western waters of the Tennessee River. Only a few small Chickasaw tracts or reservations avoided cession at that time.

 

“...the Chickasaw Nation of Indians cede . . . the land lying north of the south boundary of the State of Tennessee. . . Beginning on the Tennessee River, about thirty-five miles by water below Colonel George Colbert's ferry, where the thirty-fifth degree of north latitude strikes the same; thence west, with the said degree of north latitude, to where it cuts the Mississippi River at or near Chickasaw bluffs; thence up the said Mississippi River, to the mouth of the Tennessee River; thence up the Tennessee River to the beginning.”

 

All West Tennessee Counties were formed from land ceded in this Great Chickasaw Cession.

 

Historically and typically, by the time a treaty was signed between the United States government and any indian tribe, non-indians had been living on indian land for at least a generation.  I personally believe this is the main reason why so many researchers automatically (and mistakenly) assume they have a native-American ancestry.

 

Another personal opinion: My take on it is that the purpose for any treaty, and subsequent removal of a tribe, was to make it possible for whites to legally own the land they most likely already lived on.  Being primarily of English extraction, a white man was not keen on the idea of developing and working land he did not own.  And it was not until counties and townships were established, surveyed, and platted that legal ownership of a specific piece of land was made possible.

 

 

 

THE FUNNEL EFFECT  

 

Although there are now numerous means of crossing the Mississippi River, in that era there were only two ... ferry boat; or to wait until the river froze in winter, then risk driving across.  Forgive the pun; but the very thought of the latter literally sends cold chills up my spine!

 

In the beginning there was only one ferry, and thus “the Funnel (or Hour Glass) Effect.”  Migrants from a wide area on the Tennessee side of the river merged at the point of crossing.  Then after getting across to Missouri, they fanned out again to cover another wide area.

 

 

In 1820, the total population of west Tennessee was 2500 and by 1830 it had climbed to over 100,000.

 

 

County Formation: Alphabetical Order

 

     COUNTY        CREATED FROM

1835 Benton        Humphreys

1821 Carroll       Indian Lands

1871 Crockett      Dyer, Gibson, Haywood, and Madison

1823 Dyer          Indian Lands

1823 Gibson        Indian Lands

1821 Henry         Indian Lands & Stewart

1870 Lake          Obion

1835 Lauderdale    Haywood, Dyer, and Tipton

1823 Obion         Indian Lands

1823 Weakley       Indian Lands

 

County Formation: Chronological Order

1821 Carroll       Indian Lands

1821 Henry         Indian Lands & Stewart

1823 Dyer          Indian Lands 

1823 Gibson        Indian Lands

1823 Obion         Indian Lands

1823 Weakley       Indian Lands

1835 Benton        Humphreys

1835 Lauderdale    Haywood, Dyer, and Tipton

1870 Lake          Obion

1871 Crockett      Dyer, Gibson, Haywood, and Madison

 

Census Checklist: Cobb(s) are found on the following census reports in the counties listed.

 

1830 Carroll

 

1840 Carroll   Dyer      Obion        

 

1850 Benton    Carroll   Dyer   Gibson    Henry   Lauderdale  Obion     Weakley           

 

1860 Benton    Carroll   Dyer   Gibson    Henry   Lauderdale  Obion     Weakley                          

 

1870 Benton    Carroll   Dyer   Gibson    Henry   Lauderdale  Lake     Obion     Weakley                

 

1880 Benton    Carroll   Crockett  Dyer   Gibson    Henry   Lake   Lauderdale    Obion     Weakley  

 

1900 Benton    Carroll   Crockett  Dyer   Gibson    Henry   Lake   Lauderdale    Obion     Weakley      

 

1910 Benton    Carroll   Crockett  Dyer   Gibson    Henry   Lake   Lauderdale    Obion     Weakley           

 

1920 Dyer      Gibson    Lauderdale    Obion        

 

1930 Dyer      Lake      Lauderdale    Obion

 

 

 

FAMILIES

 

There are currently just over 1000 individuals in this database, divided among 13 separate families.  The lack of descendant and DNA participation in this study makes it extremely difficult to assign the majority of these people to any known common ancestor.  The earliest known ancestor of each family is identified with (EKA) following his name.

 

For purposes of this study, I searched by spelling the name only three ways: Cob, Cobb, and Cobbs.

 

 

The Cobbs of Northwest Tennessee --- Surnames --- Individuals