6th GENERATION

COLONEL THEOPHIUS COTTON

(4th great grandfather)

(1716 -1782)

PLYMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS

Colonel Theophilus Cotton1,1,2,2, son of Josiah Cotton & Hannah Sturtevant. Born on 31 Mar 1716 in Plymouth Township, Massachusetts.3,1,3,1 Theophilus died in Plymouth Township, Massachusetts, on 18 Feb 1782; he was 65.4,4 Buried in Feb 1782 in Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts.4,5,6,4,6

PLYMOUTH ROCK & COL. THEOPHILUS COTTON7

According to Deacon Spooner, plans had been made in 1741 to build a wharf on the waterfront that would cover a large rock at  the base of Cole’s Hill. When Elder Faunce heard of this, he had himself carried in a chair three miles to the spot. There, before a large crowd of people, including the six-year-old Ephraim Spooner, he pointed out the threatened rock as the very one that his father had assured him had received the footsteps of the Pilgrims as they landed. The old man “bedewed it with his tears and bid to it an everlasting adieu.” Apparently this dramatic show of emotion had less effect on the builders than it did on Ephraim, for they built their wharf anyway, leaving only a small hump of the rock above ground. No one thought more about that encumbering fragment, except for a few cursing teamsters as their carts bounced over it, until the deacon made his revelation a generation later.

As Revolution against the mother country became inevitable members of the Old Colony Club found themselves so divided politically that they disbanded. But the observance of Forefathers’ Day continued, and the legend of Plymouth Rock spread.

Grave of Theophilus Cotton on Burial Hill in Plymouth.

Edward Winslow marked the rock’s site on a British survey map of Plymouth made in 1774. Later that year, with the sides now drawn in the coming struggle, the Sons of Liberty (called by Winslow the “Sons of Licentiousness”) were the first to appropriate the rock’s burgeoning symbolism. Militia Colonel Theophilus Cotton and a band of Liberty Boys appeared on the wharf on December 22 with a carriage and thirty yoke of oxen, prepared to take the rock away. They dug down and managed to elevate it from its bed with large screws, but as the attempted to move it onto the carriage it split in two. Some of the more patriotic present saw the split as symbolic of the division between England and the colonies – or so they said afterward. Colonel Cotton and his boys then let the bottom section drop back into its bed, where it remained a few inches above the earth. The top segment, weighing four or five tons, was carted to the Town Square and placed ceremoniously beside a large elm used to support the newly erected Liberty Pole which flew their “Liberty or Death” flag.

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Plymouth Rock: Symbol of the New World

Plymouth Rock is one of America’s most visited historic sites, but this famous chunk of bedrock wasn’t always the shrine it is today.  The first settler made no mention of it in historical accounts about the famous landing on December 21, 1620. In fact, before going ashore to mainland, they took refuge that first night at Clark’s Island, just across from the harbor.

Focus on the Rock as a historic site was first documented by James Thatcher in his History of Plymouth  (1832). Thatcher writes that when the town announced plans in 1741 to erect a wharf in Plymouth Harbor, Elder Thomas Faunce, 95, a Mayflower descendant and third ruling elder of the Plymouth Church, identified the rock as the very one the forefathers had set foot upon their arrival. The wharf was built without covering the rock.

Patriotic fervor in the Revolutionary War years drew more public attention to the rock in 1774. A band of patriots led by Col. Theophilus Cotton attempted to move the rock to a more public place, with about 30 yoke of oxen, however the rock split in the process. The bottom half was left embedded in the wharf and the top part was carried to Town Square and leaned up against an elm tree.

In 1834, the rock fragment was removed from Town Square to Pilgrim Hall. Preservation of Plymouth Rock was one of the main goals of the Pilgrim Society, founded in 1820 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the PilgrimsÙ landing. America’s new shrine was enclosed in an iron fence.

In 1880, the two parts of the rock were joined together and the entire rock was moved back to the harbor to be placed under the shelter of a monumental Victorian canopy. The date “1620” was carved into the rock at this time. Here the rock rested until 1920.

During Plymouth’s Tercentenary Celebration, the rock was again moved while waterfront renovations took place. During the summer of 1921 it lay in an empty lot on the waterfront awaiting its new resting place under a portico donated by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. The redesign of the waterfront was planned so that when the Rock was placed on the edge of the shore, the high tide would surround it and it would appear as historians of the day thought it did in 1620. Plymouth Rock was dedicated November 29, 1921. The Rock and its surrounding grounds were donated by the Pilgrim Society to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

– 1997 Memorial Press Group

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COL. THEOPHILUS COTTON’S SLAVE  From the Christian Science Monitor

There is nothing speculative, on the other hand, about blacks’ contribution to American independence. In preparing an exhibition scheduled for July 1998 at the Commonwealth Museum in Boston, Crosby has fleshed out the stories of four black families who formed Parting Ways, a settlement on the town line between Kingston and Plymouth, Mass.

Among them was Quamony Quash, who was just 15 in 1775 when he took up arms under the command of his owner, Col. Theophilus Cotton.  In 1781, Cotton promised Quash his freedom if he reenlisted for three years.

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Cotton Family connection to Ralph Waldo Emerson-

The brother of Col. Theophilus Cotton, John Cotton, had a daughter, Lucy Cotton, who married Charles Jackson and their daughter (John Cotton’s grand daughter) became the second wife of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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AMERICAN REVOLUTION SERVICE:

Cotton, Theophilus, Plymouth.  Colonel: return of provisions delivered said Cotton for his regt., dated Roxbury, June 5, 1775;  also, general order dated Headquarters, Cambridge, July 22, 1775; said Cotton’s regiment assigned to a brigade to be commanded by Brig. Gen. Thomas form part of right wing of army under Maj. Gen. Ward, and to be stationed at Rosbury; also, muster roll of field and staff officers; engaged April 23, 1775; service to Aug. 1, 1775, 3 mos. 16 days; also, return of field and staff officers dated Camp Rosbury Oct. 7, 1775; also, official record of a ballot by the House of Representatives dated Jan. 31, 1777; said Cotton chosen Colonel of 1st Plymouth County Regeiment; appointment concurred in by Council Jan. 31, 1777; reported commissioned Feb. 1, 1777; also, Colnel, Brig. Gen. Palmer’s bridgade; return of officers who marched on “a late expedition” to Rhode Island, dated Germantown, Dec. 11, 1777; also, Colonel, 1st Plymouth County Regiment; appointed March 3, 1781; served until March 31, 1781; [p.13] service, 29 days, at Newport, R.I., by order of His Excellency John Hancock; roll sworn to in Plymouth Co.8

Cotton, Theophilus (Mass.) Colonel Massachusetts Regiment, 27th May to December 1775; Colonel Massachusetts Militia, 1776-1781. 9

Revolutionary War Muster Rolls, 1775-1783:  Colonel Theophilus Cotton Esqr.  Roll Box 42  Roll Extract 0  Roll Record 24610

4th Massachusetts Regiment (1775)

The 4th Massachusetts Bay Provincial Regiment was commanded by Colonel Theophilus Cotton, of Plymouth,[29] who served as colonel until the end of the year.[30] In August 1775, Cotton’s Regiment was designated “The 16th Regiment of Foot.” It served in the Siege of Boston until its disbandment.

Revolutionary War Document (1776-1781)  Listing Names of Black & Native American Soldiers

Among the most important Revolutionary War documents in the collection of the Pilgrim Society, Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Goodwin’s recruiting and enlistment records for Plymouth County, covering the years 1776 to 1781, stand out for their detailed information about several hundred officers and soldiers and their military careers. Goodwin chronicled the expeditions and their participants, promotions (including his own, from Captain through the rank of Major to that of Lieutenant Colonel), and “remarkable events” (mostly events of the war, but beginning with “The Creation of the World” and “Noah’s Flood”).

For many soldiers he listed name, age, stature, complexion, color of eyes and hair, trade, town engaged for and place of abode, company provided from and the term and date of enlistment. Among the lists are found the names of 41 men identified by the terms “Negro,” “Black,” or “Mulatto,” as well as 19 identified as “Indians.”

Although Crispus Attucks, a man of African and Native American heritage, is now famous as the first to die in the Revolutionary War, the names of Revolutionary War soldiers from these groups have mostly been forgotten, like the names of others in the rank and file. By publishing the list of these soldiers from Lieutenant Colonel Goodwin’s manuscript record, Pilgrim Hall hopes to contribute to the recognition due to these patriots.

Black Soldiers of the Revolutionary War from Plymouth County :

a list of soldiers identified as “Negro,” “Black,” or “Mulatto,” compiled from recruiting documents in the collection of the Pilgrim Society, by Jeremy D. Bangs, Visiting Curator of Manuscripts, Pilgrim Hall Museum. ( c The Pilgrim Society, 1996)

  • Silas Accro, age 29, from Plymouth, Col. Theo. Cotton’s regiment
  • Pero Blakely, age 28, from Bridgewater, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • William Blye, age 43, from Rochester, N. Hammond’s company, Col. Sprout’s regiment
  • Peter Booth, age 17, from Marshfield, Lt. Col. Hall’s regiment
  • James Bowes, age 17, from Plymouth, Col. Theo. Cotton’s regiment
  • Calla Brown, age 44, from Scituate, Lt. Col. Hall’s regiment
  • Primuss Cabuss, age 16, from Bridgewater, Maj. Cary’s regiment (probably identical with Prince Cobus)
  • Prince Cobus, age 16, from Bridgewater, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • Henry Cook, age 38, from Bridgewater, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • Solomon Dick, age 18, from Middleborough, Lt. Col. White’s regiment
  • Joseph Fowler, age 26, from Pembroke, Lt. Col. Hall’s regiment
  • Asher Freeman, age 23, from Scituate, Lt. Col. Hall’s regiment
  • Benjamin Gould, age 16, from Wareham, Gibbs’ company, Lt. Col. White’s regiment
  • Camaramsawde Gould, age 17, from Wareham, Gibbs’ company, Lt. Col. White’s regiment
  • Jack Hammond, age 26, from Bridgewater, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • Peter Haskell, age 33, from Rochester, Briggs’ company, Lt. Col. White’s regiment
  • Bristol Howard, age 43, from Bridgewater, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • Cato Howe, age 25, from Plymouth, Col. Theo. Cotton’s regiment
  • Jermiah Jones, age 26, from Bridgewater, J. Allen’s company, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • Winsor Little, age 17, from Scituate, Lt. Col. Hall’s regiment
  • Quash Mathrok, age 24, from Bridgewater, Daniel Packard’s company, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • John McCarter, age 22, from Marshfield, Lt. Col. Hall’s regiment
  • Cuff Mitchell, age 33, from Bridgewater, Washburn’s company, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • Prince Newport, age 30, from Plimpton, N. Hammond’s company, Col. Sprout’s regiment
  • Robert Peagin, age 36, from Bridgewater, Kingman’s company, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • William Pittman, age 28, from Bridgewater, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • Andrew Pompy, age 33, from Bridgewater, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • Quamany Quash, age 17, from Plymouth, Col. Theo. Cotton’s regiment
  • Jubiter Richards, age 30, from Bridgewater, Kingman’s company, Col. Mitchell’s regiment
  • Toney Rose, age 18, from Middleborough, Churchill’s company, Lt. Col. White’s regiment
  • Nehamiah Samson, age 16, from Scituate, Lt. Col. Hall’s regiment
  • Ceasor Smith, age 24, from Plimpton, Col. Cotton’s regiment
  • Cesar Steward, age 29, from Pembroke, Lt. Col. Hall’s regiment
  • Zeba Sutton, age 17 from Scituate, Lt. Col. Hall’s regiment
  • Toby Tolbert, age 45, from Bridgewater, Nathaniel Packard’s company, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • Jack Tomson, age 40, from Kingston, Capt. Rider’s company, Col. Theo. Cotton’s regiment
  • John Troy, age 21, from Bridgewater, Allden’s company, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • Plato Turner, age 28, from Plymouth, Capt. Rider’s company, Col. Theo. Cotton’s regiment
  • Salmon Washburn, age 23, from Bridgewater, Allen’s company, Maj. Cary’s regiment
  • John Williams, age 26, from Kingston, Lt. Simmons’ company, Col. Theo. Cotton’s regiment
  • Uriah Williams, age 29, from Middleborough, Lt. Col. White’s regiment

On 29 Oct 1742 when Theophilus was 26, he married Martha Sanders2,2, daughter of Henry Sanders & Anne Bates,  Plymouth Township, Massachusetts.11,12 Born abt 1717 in Sandwich Township, Massachusetts.4,4 Martha died in Plymouth Township, Massachusetts, on 10 Apr 1796; she was 79.4,4

They had the following children:

  •           2            i.          Lieutenant John (1746-1831)
  •           3           ii.          Rowland (1748-1759)
  •           4          iii.          William Crowe (1751-1813)
  •           5          iv.          Captain Josiah (1753-1829)
  •           6           v.          Edward (1759-)
  •           7          vi.          Bethia (1749-1837)

Second Generation

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  1. Lieutenant John Cotton13,14,15,14,15,4,16,4. Born on 10 Jan 1746 in Plymouth Township, Massachusetts.4,15,4,15 John died in Austin Township, Trumbull County, Ohio, on 1 Feb 1831; he was 85.17,17 Buried in Feb 1831 in Cotton Private Cemetery, Austintown, Mahoning County, Ohio.17,17 On 28 Aug 1780 when John was 34, he married Lucy Little18,19,14,18,19,14,16, daughter of Captain Nathaniel Little & Keziah Atwood,  Plymouth Township, Massachusetts.20 Born on 22 Sep 1757 in Marshfield,  Massachusetts.18,21,18,21 Lucy died in Austin Township, Trumbull County, Ohio, on 9 Oct 1837; she was 80.17,17

They had the following children:

Theophilus (1782-~1835)

Lucy (~1784-)

                      iii.          Captain Joshua Thomas19,13,22,16,19 (1785-1861)

John (1792-~1855)

  1. Rowland Cotton. Born on 30 Apr 1748 in Plymouth Township, Massachusetts.15,15 Rowland died in Unknown on 15 Aug 1759; he was 11.15,15
  2. William Crowe Cotton. Born on 14 Dec 1751 in Plymouth Township, Massachusetts.15,15 William Crowe died in Unknown in 1813; he was 61.
  3. Captain Josiah Cotton. Born on 7 Nov 1753 in Plymouth Township, Massachusetts.15,23,15,23 Josiah died in Plymouth Township, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, on 7 Mar 1829; he was 75.23,23 Buried in Mar 1829 in Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts.24,24 Abt 1785 when Josiah was 31, he first married Temperence Otis, daughter of John Otis & Hannah Churchill, in Plymouth Township, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.25 Born in 1767 in Plymouth Township, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.24,24 Temperence died in Plymouth Township, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, on 24 Dec 1816; she was 49.

They had the following children:

Sarah (1807-1826)

Josiah (-<1843) Josiah second married Lydia Jackson. Born in 1753. Lydia died on 28 Jan 1843; she was 90.

  1. Edward Cotton. Born on 17 Apr 1759 in Plymouth Township, Massachusetts.15,15 Edward died in Unknown.
  2. Bethia Cotton. Born on 11 Feb 1749 in Plymouth Township, Massachusetts. Bethia died in Plymouth Township, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, on 8 Jun 1837; she was 88. Buried in Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts. Bethia married Captain Charles Dyer, son of Charles Dyer & Lucy Cotton. Born in 1740 in Plymouth Township, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.26,26 Charles died in died at sea, in Mar 1786; he was 46.26,26

They had the following children:

Charles (1776-1822)

Mary (1781-1805)

Sources

  1. Lee D. van Antwerp, Vital Records of Plymouth, Massachusetts to the year 1850, Ruth Wilder Sherman, Picton Press, page 39.
  2. La Verne C. Cooley, A Short Biography of the Rev. John Cotton and a COTTON GENEALOGY of His Descendants, Published Privately in Batavia, New York 1945, Vol. I, pages 37 & 38.
  3. La Verne C. Cooley, A Short Biography of the Rev. John Cotton and a COTTON GENEALOGY of His Descendants, Published Privately in Batavia, New York 1945, Vol. I, page 24 & 38.
  4. La Verne C. Cooley, A Short Biography of the Rev. John Cotton and a COTTON GENEALOGY of His Descendants, Published Privately in Batavia, New York 1945, Vol. I, page 38.
  5. Patricia Law Hatcher, Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots, Pioneer Heritage Press, Dallas, Texas 1987, Volume I of IV (4), Serial 11999.
  6. Robinson, Barbara, Howard & Cynthia, Burial Hill in the 1990s, Plymouth Massachusetts, Plymouth Public Library Corporation, page 414.
  7. “California Society of Mayflower Descendants WebPage,” http://www.americanrevolution.org/may5.html, Sept. 1. 2000.
  8. Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution, Boston: Wright and Potter Printing Co., 1896, Vol. IV of XVII (17), page 13.
  9. Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution, Washington D.C.: The Rare Book Shop Publishing Co., 1914, (Revised Edition), 172.
  10. “Revolutionary War Muster Rolls,” Orem, Utah by Ancestry Inc., 1999, “direct data capture of National Archives data.
  11. La Verne C. Cooley, A Short Biography of the Rev. John Cotton and a COTTON GENEALOGY of His Descendants, Published Privately in Batavia, New York 1945, Vol. I, page 37 & 38.
  12. Lee D. van Antwerp, Vital Records of Plymouth, Massachusetts to the year 1850, Ruth Wilder Sherman, Picton Press, page 102.
  13. Elizabeth Cotton vs Eliza Allen et. al Complaint for Partition, August 1865, Wells County Circuit Court, T. W. Wilson, Plaintiff’s Attorney.
  14. Daughters of the American Revolution, Official Roster III: Soldiers of the American Revolution Who Lived in the State of Ohio, DAR, Published by the DAR, 1959, page 84.
  15. Lee D. van Antwerp, Vital Records of Plymouth, Massachusetts to the year 1850, Ruth Wilder Sherman, Picton Press, page 131.
  16. “Last Will and Testament of Kezia (Atwood/Adams) Little,” Probate Records Vol. I (P.R. Vol. 1), Page/Item 255, Washington County, Ohio.
  17. “Austintown Township Cemetery and Death Records (Mahoning County, Ohio Series, No. 3),” Mahoning County, Ohio, 1996, compiled by Joan Baker Koch, Margaret Miller Simon, Jocelyn Fox Wilms from the Mahoning County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society, Youngstown, Ohio; Published by Anundsen Publishing Co., Decorah, Iowa, 1996, page 24.
  18. Robert S. Wakefield, F.A.S.G., Mayflower Families through Five Generations: Family of Richard Warren, General Society of Mayflower Descendants 1999, Vol. 18, Vol. II, page 148.
  19. La Verne C. Cooley, A Short Biography of the Rev. John Cotton and a COTTON GENEALOGY of His Descendants, Published Privately in Batavia, New York 1945, Vol. I, page 45.
  20. Lee D. van Antwerp, Vital Records of Plymouth, Massachusetts to the year 1850, Ruth Wilder Sherman, Picton Press, page 268 & 363.
  21. Robert M. and Ruth Wilder Sherman, Vital Records of Marshfield, Massachusetts to the Year 1850, Society of Mayflower Descendants of Rhode Island, 1970, page 57.
  22. “1860 Census of the United States of America,” Wells County, Indiana, USA, June 28, 1860, Roll 309, Allen County Library, July 1999.
  23. La Verne C. Cooley, A Short Biography of the Rev. John Cotton and a COTTON GENEALOGY of His Descendants, Published Privately in Batavia, New York 1945, Vol. I, page 46.
  24. Robinson, Barbara, Howard & Cynthia, Burial Hill in the 1990s, Plymouth Massachusetts, Plymouth Public Library Corporation, page 156.
  25. Robinson, Barbara, Howard & Cynthia, Burial Hill in the 1990s, Plymouth Massachusetts, Plymouth Public Library Corporation, page 46 (marriage based on age on tombstone).
  26. Robinson, Barbara, Howard & Cynthia, Burial Hill in the 1990s, Plymouth Massachusetts, Plymouth Public Library Corporation, page 415.