Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Hope Cemetery Inquiry and Cobb Family History

A telephone call led me on a research dig, first about the New Hope Methodist Church Cemetery in Union County, Georgia and then to the Cobb family who buried at least twelve family members there in marked graves. Maybe there were other Cobb family members buried there, for some fifty plus graves have no identity indicators other than unmarked fieldstones.

Strangely enough, the inquiry was not about the Cobb family, but rather about the King family. A granddaughter of Mr. Henry King called me. Mr. King was buried in one of the unmarked graves at old New Hope Cemetery. His son had a stone made, but died before he could erect it, and now the granddaughter and grandson want to fulfill their father’s desire to mark his father’s grave. Finding my name attached to a “Through Mountain Mists” column, she called to ask me if I could give her directions to the cemetery.

Thanks to Mr. Dale Elliott and the late Mr. Charlie Wimpey who compiled and edited Cemetery Records of Union County, Georgia in 1990, I quickly found New Hope Cemetery listed. I read to her from the book, page 300: “From the old courthouse square in Blairsville, it is 8.4 miles north on U. S. 129, then ¼ mile on Cobb Mountain Road.” She said that she and her brother knew the location of the unmarked grave, and would soon be erecting the tombstone at Mr. Henry King’s grave.

From the cemetery book, I learned that the New Hope Methodist Church was founded about 1851 as evidenced by a recorded deed of land in Union County Courthouse. Mr. Moses Anderson transferred property on which the church was located to five men who were trustees of the church, namely W. A. Cobb, U. C. Wilson, B. F. Stiles, Joseph C. Neece and W. W. Odom. I found it interesting that not a single one of these men had named markers in the New Hope Cemetery. Maybe some of them were interred there for the cemetery book states there are more than 50 unmarked graves. I found Joseph C. Neece listed as buried in the Ivy Log Cemetery. New Hope Church either was incorporated with another Methodist church in the community or was disbanded. The building was torn down in the 1940’s and now only the cemetery with its 33 marked graves and 50+ unmarked graves remains to show that an early church met there.

Since a dozen of the marked graves at New Hope have the Cobb last name, my curiosity sent me searching for these early settlers. The earliest marked grave was that of Lydia Keys Cobb with the dates 1773-1848. In fact, this lady’s rather elaborate tombstone is pictured in the cemetery book on the New Hope pages as the first person interred there. Evidently the Cobbs were in Union before 1848 to have a family member buried at New Hope, perhaps as the very first person buried there.

And then I discovered a mystery. Reading the Cobb family histories submitted for The Heritage of Union County (pages 99-100), checking the Union County census records of 1834, 1840 and 1850, and again reading the tombstone of Lydia Keys Cobb from Cemetery Records of Union County showing the tombstone with death date of 1848, I immediately thought: “Something’s wrong in the records.”

I found that Lydia Cobb was listed in the 1850 Census, age 77, as living in the home of her son, William Cobb. According to her tombstone, she died in 1848. William’s wife Charlotte (she was also buried at New Hope Cemetery) and William and Charlotte’s nine children all born in North Carolina, were listed in the 1850 census. Either the census taker was wrong about Mrs. Lydia Cobb still being alive in 1850 or the date on her tombstone is wrong.

Tracing more about William and Charlotte Cobb, I found this information. There were no Cobb families in Union County census records until the 1850 census listing. Then William was 40, his wife Charlotte was 45, and their nine children were Reuben, 19, John 18, Rebecca, 16, Joseph, 14, Louisa, 13, James, 11, Rufus, 8, Elbert, 6, and Harrison, 3. And there, at the end of this family listing is Lydia Cobb, age 77. All had been born in North Carolina What gives? Her tombstone has her death date as 1848, and from her birth date, 1773, according to her tombstone she died at age 75. I think it is not likely there were two women in the same household named Lydia Cobb, and since the one buried at New Hope has the maiden name Keys, I found that she was definitely the mother of William Alfred Cobb.

William Alfred Cobb (8/10/1809-8/5/1886) was the only child of Lydia Keys Mullen Cobb, second wife of William’s father, John Paul Cobb, a Revolutionary War soldier who moved from Charlotte to Newburn, NC. There William Alfred Cobb married, first, Charlotte Henson whose father Daniel was a Revolutionary War soldier. They lived in Haywood County, NC where William was sheriff and an ordained Methodist minister. William Alfred Cobb was a unionist, and did not like states seceding prior to the Civil War. He decided to move his family to Union County, Georgia in 1848 so he could be among more who supported the union.

Since he was one of the Trustees of the New Hope Methodist Church in Ivy Log District when Moses Anderson granted land on which the church and cemetery were located, my supposition is that the Rev. William Alfred Cobb may have been the organizing minister of the church when it was formed. Regardless of the confusing date from the 1850 census which still shows Lydia (Keys) Cobb alive at age 77, and the gravestone death date that shows her death as 1848, William Alfred’s mother was definitely the first burial at the New Hope Cemetery. His wife, Charlotte Henson Cobb, was the second burial there. Her death date was May 22, 1861.

William Alfred Cobb married his second wife, Lavinia Roberts, on February 2, 1862 in Union County, Georgia with the Rev. Thomas M. Hughes, noted Methodist minister, performing the ceremony. After the Civil War, in 1872, William and Lavinia moved to Beaver Dam in Cherokee County, NC. There they lived out their lives and he was buried at his death in 1886 in the Unaka Cemetery in an unmarked grave.

c 2009 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Oct. 22, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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