Richard (IV) and Elizabeth Hartwell Cocke

Family Background

Around 1730, John and Elizabeth Hartwell’s daughter and heir,Elizabeth, marriedRichardCockeIVofSurryCounty, the son and namesake of Richard Cocke III(1672-1720).  He also was the brother ofBenjaminCocke, who married the daughter of Arthur Allen of Bacon’s Castle. RichardCockeIV’s immigrant ancestor,RichardCockeI, immigrated toVirginiaaround 1630. Genealogists believe that he was a native of  Pickthorne inShropshire,England, and was born around 1602.  Cocke acquired a substantial quantity of land on the James River, inHenricoCounty, developing his acreage into the plantations known as Malvern Hillsand Bremo.  In 1632 he was elected to the colony’s assembly and he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Henrico militia.  He also became a parish vestryman. RichardCockeI and his wife produced six children, five sons and a daughter. Richard made his will onOctober 4, 1663, and died in 1665.  He bequeathed to his wife,Mary, life-rights in a third of his real and personal estate and made bequests to his sons William,John, andThomas, and two sons named Richard, distinguished as the elder and younger. He also referred to his wife,Mary, as his “present wife,” thereby implying that he had been married before (Henrico County Miscellaneous Court Records 1650-1807:27; Cocke Family Papers MS 2433 Boxes 31 and 32).

Richard Cocke I’s son and grandson, RichardCockeIIand RichardCockeIII, were highly successful Virginiaplanters and accumulated wealth through the cultivation of tobacco and by intermarrying with other gentry families.  However, by the time RichardCockeIV(a second son) and his brother, Benjamin, came along, they were obliged to find land outside of the family holdings in Henrico.  Both moved to SurryCountywhere they married into prominent local families.  RichardCockeIVand his brother Benjamineventually became wealthy in their own right, for they acquired nearly seven thousand acres of land in what became FluvannaCounty.  It was through this means that RichardCockeIV’s son, HartwellCocke, inherited Bremo plantation in FluvannaCounty(Cocke and Cocke 1967:I:35; Mauss 2000:7-8).  It is probable that shortly after their marriage, Richard and Elizabeth Hartwell Cocke built a home upon the land that she had inherited from her father, in all likelihood the western part of the Swann’s Point tract: what by 1801 had  became known as Mount Pleasant.

Together, ElizabethHartwelland her husband, RichardCocke IV produced three living children.  The eldest was a son, HartwellCockeI.  His birth was followed by that of two daughters: ElizabethHartwellCocke, who married a Mr. Thornton, and RebeccaCocke, who married a cousin, RichardTaliaferroJr.of Powhatan Plantation in JamesCityCounty.   Richard Cocke IV outlived his wife, Elizabeth Hartwell, and inherited life-rights to her property.  Shortly after her demise he took as his second wife Elizabeth Ruffin Kinchin, with whom he produced five living children (Nancy, Richard, Lucy, Nathaniel, and John) (Cocke and Cocke 1967:I:35).

RichardCockeIV’s Role in the Community

Surry County records reveal that RichardCockeIVtook an active role in public life.  In June 1742 he was ordered by the county court to take a list of the tithables in the Middle Precinct of Southwark Parish’s Blackwater area.  In 1746 he was appointed the county’s official surveyor and he was designated as Surry’s keeper of the standard weights and measures.  Between 1744 and 1747 Richard Cocke IV represented SurryCountyin the House of Burgesses (Surry County Order Book 8 [1741-1745]:27; 9 [1746-1748]:90, 134; Stanard and Stanard 1965:117, 119, 120-121).  In June 1751 he and his wife, Elizabeth, conveyed some property to Dr. John Hay.  The acreage changing hands consisted of 500 acres on the Nottoway River.  The Cockes went to court in July 1751 to confirm the transaction (Surry County Deed Book 6 [1749-1753]:249; Order Book 10 [1749-1751]:262, 340).   In 1770 when John Henry (1770) made a map ofVirginia, he showed a plantation he attributed to “Cocke” in the immediate vicinity ofMount Pleasant (Figure 3). RichardCockeIV, like many wealthy planters, had his portrait painted by a professional artist.  Cocke’s portrait, done byJohnDurrand in 1771, is at the Museum ofEarly Southern Decorative Arts inWinston-Salem,North Carolina (Cocke Family Papers MS 2433 Box 31).

RichardCockeIV’s Estate

On September 13, 1771, when Richard Cocke IV prepared his will, he was age 64 and a widower.  He identified himself as a resident of Southwark Parish in Surry County and said that he was “of perfect mind and body.”  He bequeathed to his eldest son and primary heir, Hartwell Cocke I, the plantation called Bremo, in the fork of the James River, noting that it had been given to him by his own father who had patented it on December 15, 1725.  He also gave Hartwell two other pieces of property: the plantation called BearGarden, which he described as 380 acres on the south side of the James above the topographic feature known as “the point of fork,” and a tract on Beaverdam Creek in Goochland County.  RichardCockeIVbequeathed some slaves and money to each of his daughters and he gave one slave apiece to his sons John and Nathaniel.  He instructed his executors to sell his 883 acres in LunenburgCountyand his 475 acres in Southampton County on the BlackwaterRiver, where there was a grist mill.  The testator’s land in Halifax County on Difficult Run was to be divided equally between sons Johnand Nathaniel, as were the slaves and livestock then residing on the property.  If sons John or NathanielCockefailed to survive, RichardCockeVwas to be the reversionary heir. Richard Cocke IV stated that the rest of his estate “both real and personal,” which included his Surry County acreage, was to go to his eldest son, Hartwell, after his (the testator’s) just debts were paid and the other children had received their bequests.  Richard Cocke IV named as his executors sons Hartwell and Richard Cocke V, and sons-in-law Richard Taliaferro Jr., William Brown V, and William Ruffin VII.  Richard Cocke IV died on March 5, 1772.  When his will was presented to the justices of Surry County on April 21, 1772, it was proved by sons Hartwell and Richard Cocke V (Surry County Deeds, Wills, &c. 5 [1768-1779]:191-198; Cocke Family Papers MS 2433 Box 32).

Although an inventory was prepared of RichardCockeIV’s personal property in HalifaxCounty(agricultural equipment, livestock, and other items appropriate to a quarter), none was filed that documented his personal property in SurryCounty.  This was done in accord with his wishes and was permissible under the provisions of the law (Surry County Deeds, Wills&c. 5 [1768-1779]:268-288).  Significantly, RichardCockeIV’s son, Hartwell I, as a reversionary heir, came into possession of his late father’s property in Halifaxand LunenburgCounties.  As primary heir and ElizabethHartwell’s son, he also inherited virtually all of his maternal grandfather’s land in SurryCounty, which included the expanse of land  generally known as Swann’s Point.  Although the date of Hartwell Cocke I’s birth is uncertain, he was a mature married man at the time of his father’s death on March 5, 1772, and had a grown son, JohnHartwellCockeI, who was almost age 23.  Hartwell Cocke I’s will, presented for probate in August 1772, reveals that he and his father, RichardCockeIV, had separate residences inSurryCounty upon the Swann’s Point plantation that Hartwell I stood to inherit (see ahead).