Our first concentration will be on the COOK families of Western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina, primarly with the descendants of Hence Marvin Cook.
Hence and his descendants have lived in the mountains of western North Carolina, primarily in what is now known as Jackson county, since the early 1800's. Family tradition says we are "Scot-Irish" but since we have not been able to document prior to Hence, we may not be able to prove it yet, however several clues support the idea.
The "Scot-Irish" were not Irish, but mostly Scotchmen and some English men who lived in Northern Ireland which was also known as Ulster during the 1700's and 1800's. In 1603 James VI, king of Scotland, inherited the thrones of England and Ireland from Elizabeth I. He began a bold plan of resettling Ulster with Scotchmen to help calm what he considered the unruly Irish who had been defeated by the English armies. He also introduced the Presbyterian church to Ireland to replace the Catholic church. King James established a plan known as The Plantation that would take over most of Northern Ireland and give grants of land to loyal Scotchmen. This land had belonged to the earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell who had fled to France after the English armies had imposed peace on the area. The earls left behind almost 4 million acres. Soon over 8000 Scotish families had come in to settle the region. By 1715 perhaps a quarter million Scots had settled in Ulster.
Starting in the mid 1700's several Scotish families had become disenchanted with their new life in Ireland and had decided to seek out new lands to move to. The American colonies were an obvious choose since it held the promise of plenty of land. From a petition he wrote after the Civil War, we know that Hence was born in Buncombe County, NC so his parents were over here before then. The county lines have moved several times over the last 200 years as new counties were formed and the old ones were divided up. So Hence could have been born in any of these present day counties: Buncombe, Haywood Jackson, Macon, Swain, or Transylvannia but was probabily born in present day Haywood county.
From land records we see that Hence and several of his sons were in Jackson County in the 1850's. Hence and his sons recieved at least 25 land grants from the goverment along with just as many deeds which they bought. It's believed they owned a good portion of the western side of the Balsam Mountains from Rocky Face near Addie, NC over to Caney Fork Creek and Balsam Grove at Rich Mountain and on to Wolf Mountain.
A lot of Hence's desendants still live in and around Jackson county. Several of the family groups moved in the early 1900's looking for better jobs. One group went to Pickens County, SC to work in textiles and another went to Darrington, WA to work in the lumber industry. It is estimated that there are around 3000 to 5000 people alive today that can trace their lineage back to Hence Marvin Cook.