Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and hope this blog will help with that. I am not an expert and I consider most of my research as a work in progress. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My Mayflower Ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, John Howland.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Henry Cobb ca 1605-1679, England to Barnstable MA

Henry Cobb was of Plymouth in 1632, of Scituate in 1633, and of Barnstable in 1639, where he likely remained until his death in 1679. His last name is sometimes spelled Cob.

Henry was a follower of Rev. John Lothrop, who split from the Church of England to become part of an independent movement. Lothrop and 24 of his followers were jailed in London for refusing to take the oath of fidelity to the Church of England. They believed the word of God flows not through the king but through the Bible. Sturgis Library in Barnstable owns Lothrop’s 1605 Bible.
Rev. Lothrop's Bible     Source: Sturgis Library

Lothrop’s followers stayed together in Scituate and then split and only some followed Lothrop to Barnstable. Henry continued to follow Lothrop and was one of the first settlers of Barnstable, where he became an Elder in the church and an important person in the community.

He married Patience Hurst, probably by late summer 1631, as their first child was born June 1632. Patience was the daughter of James Hurst and Gertrude Bennister, and probably born Holland. Henry’s parents and birthplace have not been discovered, but it is often stated that he was from Kent, England.

The will of James Hurst, dated 10 Dec 1657, names (among others) grandchildren John Cobb, James Cobb, Gershom Cobb, Eliezer Cobb, Mary Dunham, Hannah Cobb and Patience Cobb. Susan Roser (author of  Early Descendants of Henry Cobb of Barnstable, Massachusetts) has a copy of a 1964 letter from the Municipal Archives in Leiden: "The only record in which James Hurst is mentioned is in the Poll-tax register. He lived in the alley next to the garden of John Robinson, with his wife Geertgen (=Margareth) and two children Jan (=John) and Passchyntgen (=Patience)." John Robinson was the Pilgrims' minister. James Hurst was a deacon of the Plymouth church and died December 1657.

Henry is not mentioned in the 1627 cattle division, so he came to the colony between 1627 and 1632, when the birth of his first child was recorded at Plymouth. The Hurst family arrived at the same time.

Henry is listed on the 1633 freeman list, although he appears to have removed to Scituate soon after. A plaque of this early settlement by the "men of Kent" can be seen in Scituate today. In the Men of Kent Cemetery there, he is mentioned as one of the original settlers on a plaque. On 11 Oct 1639, the Cobb family removed with Lothrop and the Church to Barnstable.
Men of Kent Memorial in Scituate

The Scituate Church was organized 8 Jan 1634/5, with 13 initial members, including Henry. He was a man given substantial respect as he is often called “Goodman Cobb” in records.
Plaque marking the location of the First Church in Scituate

From Samuel Deane: He was one of the “Men of Kent” and settled on Kent Street in Scituate, on North River. There was division among the early Scituate settlers in support of their first minister, Lothrop, who appealed to Gov Thomas Prence to move him and his supporters to a new settlement, first to be Seipican (Rochester), but later changed to Barnstable. Deane believed major reason for the split amongst the church was that some wanted full body immersion baptisms while Lothrop did not.
Men of Kent Cemetery Sign, Scituate

Amos Otis wrote that Henry’s house lot was not desirable land, but other lots he owned had much better soil. He noted that the three Barnstable deacons all had stone or fortified homes, so that they took care of the people's spiritual needs as well as their safety in the event of an Indian attack.

Patience died at Barnstable and was buried there 4 May 1648. Barnstable church records say she was "the first that was buryed in our new burying place by our meeting house." Lothrop's diary states she was age 38 when she died, which gives her a birth year of ca 1610.

Henry married second, at Barnstable, 12 December 1649, Sarah Hinckley, daughter of Samuel and sister of Governor Hinckley.

Children (all births from PCR 8:42):
With Patience:
1. John who m. Martha Nelson  (I descend from John)
2. James  who m. Sarah Lewis
3. Mary who m. as second wife Jonathan Dunham
4. Hannah m. Edward Lewis
5. Patience m. Robert Parker as his second wife; she m. 2nd William Crocker
6. Gershom died unmarried
7. Eliezer apparently died unmarried

With second wife Sarah:
8. Mehitable, died young
9. Samuel m.  Elizabeth ____, said to be Elizabeth Taylor dau of Richard Taylor
10. Sarah, died young
11. Jonathan m. Hope (Chipman) Huckins, dau of John Chipman and widow of John Huckins
12. Sarah m. Samuel Chipman
13. Henry m. Lois Hallet
14. Ephraim; no further record beyond his 1671 birth

Henry was a tavernkeeper, a deacon at the church and later a ruling elder of the church. He served as deputy for Barnstable many times, served on juries and was also the excise tax officer.

He received some education as evidenced by the positions he held, that he signed his name to a report and that his inventory included books.
Signatures of Henry Cobb and Thomas Huckins

Date of Henry’s death not found; codicil dated 28 Feb 1678/9, will proved 3 June 1679, so he died likely at Barnstable, between March-May 1679. He was buried on Lothrop’s Hill in Barnstable, where a memorial stone was erected by a descendant in 1871. 
Henry Cobb Memorial Stone source: Findagrave.com

In his will he bequeathed to "my son James Cobb" my great lot in Barnstable; to "my sons John, James, Gershom and Eliezer" half my lands at Suconeesett equally divided between them and 40s being in the hand of my son James for my son Eliezer's part"; to "Sarah my dear and loving wife during her natural life" my new dwelling house and all the rest of my lands; at Sarah's decease, to "my son Samuel" my dwelling house and two acres of upland, and an acres and a half of my marsh which I bought with his stock in partnership with my son James; to "my sons Samuel, Jonathan and Henry" residue of lands equally; to "my sons John, Gershom and Eliezer" one shillling each; to "my daughters Mary, Hannah and Patience" one shilling each; to "my daughter Sarah" my second best bed and furniture; residue to Sarah "my loving wife and sole executrix." Codicil dated 22 Feb 1678/9: "my son Samuel" shall have only two acres of my upland after my wife's decease and all the rest of my lands equally divided between my "three sons Samuel, Jonathan and Henry"; Henry to have my house after my wife's decease and his part of the land to lie most convenient to the house, only my lands at the Island equally divided between my three sons; "my son James to dry thratch on half an acre of the Island when the English corn is taken off..." (PCPR 4:1:22-23). His inventory is undated and the value not totaled but includes a house, land, meadow and a thatchboat.
Stone at the foot of the larger memorial stone   source: Capecodgravestones.com
 Henry Cobb strikes me as a very religious man who put his love of God and family before amassing wordly possessions. Many of the first settlers became very wealthy men who owned large amounts of land, but that didn't seem to be Henry's motivation. He served his community, but not in any high level offices. There's something unsettling about men like Isaac Allerton, who came to Plymouth for religious freedom but then went about becoming very rich men and weren't always honest in their business dealings. I admire the way Henry Cobb seems to have led his life.

Susan Roser, Early Descendants of Henry Cobb of Barnstable, Massachusetts, Friends of the Pilgrim Series, Volume 1, 2008

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, Boston, MA, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995.

Samuel Deane, History of Scituate, From Its First Settlement to 1831, orig. published 1831, reprinted by Clearfield Publishing, Baltimore, MD, 1993, 1995

Amos Otis, Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families, being a reprint of the Amos Otis Papers, originally published in the Barnstable Patriot, revised by CF Swift, Volume 1 and 2, Barnstable, MA, The Patriot Press, 1888


  1. These are my ancestor's too so thanks for the research! I will trade you a photo of the gravestone you got from find a grave for the men of Kent marker I don't have. Deal? Email me.

  2. Hi Midge. Deal! Email sent! Chris

  3. I would echo Midge...I descend from that same Henry Cobb...Nice job!

  4. Thanks, Carmen, and welcome!


  6. Hi Randall: I'm always envious of people who come through male lines and still carry the surnames! Have you read Susan Roser's book on Henry Cobb? She does amazing work. Merry Christmas, Chris

    1. hello Chris my name is Katherine Cobb and i would love to know if you have any more genealogy info about Henry. and also if you know what ship he came on

    2. Katherine, It isn't known what ship Henry came on, unfortunately. Chris

    3. Hi my name is phillip I worked in barstable I found a letter from 1 of cobb family date 1800s he made ship mass

  7. No but i will thank you.

  8. Chris, Thanks so much for the research. If my research is correct this is my line, I decsend from Charlotte Cobb (b 1825 in McMinn Co TN) m Joshua Wilson who was the daughter of Clisby 1750 s/o John and then to Ebenezer who was the son of Edward
    Debbie Riggs in Cleveland TN

  9. I want to introduce myself. I am Rob Carr (Cobb) son of Gerald, son of Bertie, Son of George, son of William, son of Nathaniel, son of Oliver, son of Seth, son of Ebenezer, son of Ebenezer son of John, son of Henry.

    One questions.
    You mentioned that James Hurst lived in the alley next to the garden of John Robinson. What does it mean to live in an alley, homeless, nice home. I am guessing servant to John Robinson.

    One comment
    Sarah Hinkley is the daughter of Samuel Hinkley, Samuel is the father to Governor Thoma Hinckley, and direct ancestor of Presidents George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Gordon B. Hinkley, and Barack Obama.

    1. Hi Rob: Thanks for your comment. That is a quote from an old letter. I believe it means that James Hurst lived in a house on the alley (narrow street) that adjoined John Robinson's home. Since John Robinson was the Pilgrim's religious leader, it's interesting that James Hurst was his neighbor but he wasn't his servant.

      Thank you for the information on Sarah's famous descendants. Chris

    2. Rob Carr;

      I am Stephen P. Cobb. Live in West Barnstable, MA I am 8th Great Grandson of Elder Henry. We are related thru John, Ebenezer Sr. - all the way down to Oliver who was my 3rd Great Grandfather. You are one of the closest relatives I have found outside of my immediate family.

      Please look me up. I live in West Barnstable. My number is published.

    3. I am directly related to Henry through my father. My grandfather moved from Marion, mass after WWII. You have to be my cousin

    4. And Rob... Are you also relates to the Kerr's in Scotland? They also were Carr

  10. please help me. i know i descend from an "elder Henry Cobb" and i'm pretty sure this is him, but do you know if he had any children move to virginia?

  11. Hello: I'm not an expert on Henry Cobb's children, but most of them died in Barnstable and Plymouth Counties in Massachusetts, with one dying in Connecticut. The only one whose death location seems to be unknown is Eleazer. Chris

  12. Henry Cobb is my 9th Great Grandfather through my paternal grandmother.

    Henry Cobb
    John Cobb
    Ebenezer Cobb I
    Ebenezer Cobb II
    Seth Cobb
    Charles Cobb
    Martin Cobb
    Herbert W Cobb

    Elizabeth Cobb

    Elizabeth Cobb married a Henry C Bailey in 1892, and their daughter, Etta, is my grandmother.

    Thank you for the information on Henry Cobb. Very interesting to learn about one's ancestors. I'll be adding your reference materials to my reading list.

    One question - Rob Carr mentioned that he is descended though Seth Cobb (as I am), but through Seth's son Oliver.

    I admit my research is nowhere near complete, but based on the information I have, Seth and his wife Margaret Cooke had 7 children, only one of whom, Charles (the 2nd son they named Charles) survived to adulthood.
    I found no reference that Seth remarried, although Margaret died in 1810 and Seth followed in 1821.
    Am I missing more children through Margaret? Or did Seth remarry?

    1. Hi Bill: Thank you for your comment and for posting your line of descent.

      It would be great if Rob checked back in here and could give you his source for Oliver being a son of Seth. I don't know anything about that line myself.

      Best of luck, Chris

  13. Hi,

    I am a descendant of Henry, and I'm wondering what you know of his English ancestry. I just read online that he is not of the lineage of Cobbe Court near Romney Marsh, Kent. This was a shock to me.

    Best, Wayne Cobb

    1. Hi Wayne: The more recent published genealogical work on Henry Cobb (The Great Migration Begins published in 1995 and Susan Roser's 2008 book on Henry Cobb's descendants), state that his English origins are not proven. Perhaps just more work needs to be done on the Kent connection. Something I haven't undertaken myself.

    2. Hi Cousin Wayne. Henry would be my 9th Great Grandfather. I am working on my family tree via Ancestry.
      I currently have complete into the 1300's Oldest Cobb I have is in this order
      Edmund 1379-1419
      John "The Advocate" 1400-1472
      (born at Cobbs court) There is also a spelling for John as Cobbes in some writings.

    3. Please read this article, It shows that Elder Henry Cobb’s line cannot be traced back beyond Barnstable. A bit of a disappointment.

  14. Hello. My name is Samuel Cobb and I have no idea whether or not there is a direct connection to Henry Cobb. I have recorded proof that I'm the 7th consecutive Samuel Cobb in my line. (family rumor says that I'm the 13th) I am stuck in my search at about 1830 or so in southern Indiana and hope to find my path further back ... someday. Wanted to say hi to all anyway.

  15. Hi Sam: That's neat to have a name with such family significance. I wish you luck in getting past that 1830 sticking point! Chris

  16. Henry Cobb is my 9th Great Grandfather:)
    On my dad's mother's, mother's side....his grandmother's maiden name was Cobb.....Nellie (Cobb) Ross

    1. That's neat your family had the Cobb name until your great-grandmother. Chris

  17. Hi, another 9th g-grandchild of Henry Cobb checking in. He is part of my mother's Livingston line through his granddaughter Eunice Cobb.

    Thanks for your posted info and pictures.


    1. Hi Robert: Thanks for your note! Chris

  18. I am trying to finish my family research project in order to get my Father's line into D.A.R. I know that his line goes back to Elder Henry CObb. My problem is that I am having trouble finding the birth, marriage & death documents for the earlier part of the line. I also am aware that the Massachuetts state library had a research project done on Elder Henry CObb. I have had no success on finding this either. Any suggestions our guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Cynthia: Have you read Susan Roser's book, Early Descendants of Henry Cobb of Barnstable, Massachusetts? That may have some helpful information. Chris

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  21. Another Cobb descended directly from Elder Henry through:
    His son Johnathan.
    His son Deacon Samuel.
    His son Captain Samuel.
    His son Col. William.
    His son George.
    His son Benjamin.
    His son Edward.
    His son Bertrand.
    His son Joseph - my father.

    Thanks for all your good (and hard) work. Stephen Pratt Cobb

  22. Terence Dale
    Just doing some research for my mother, who knew nothing about her family's past, and I am just floored! Such a fantastic read. My mother was very happy to find out.

    1. It's wonderful of you to share your discoveries with your Mom! Chris

  23. Hello from another descendent! Not sure if this site is still monitored, but I learned some interesting things.

    Laura Cobb- Oakland Park, FL

    1. Hi Laura, Nice to hear from another Cobb from such a long line of Cobbs! Chris

  24. Just recently one of my high school friends posted on Facebook that she finally got her Mayflower Society Certificate. And she also listed the husband and wives. One listed was Sarah Cobb and husband Samuel Chipman. My 2nd Great Grandfather John Church Cushing Hoskins did his genealogy well over 110 years ago ...which included a fan shaped chart with hundreds of names. I have 2 Cobb lines that are related. And one of them is the son of Henry Cobb and Patience Hurst. Another name on Cindy Riggs list was Joan Hurst married to a Tilley, I think John. Further research I found Joan Hurst is the aunt to Patience Hurst. First wife of Henry Cobb. Sarah Cobb was daughter of his second wife Sarah Hinkley. I've come across so many crossings like this. WOW!

    1. What a gift to have your gg grandfather's research! It is amazing to see how families connect over and over again. Chris

  25. Its so great to see all of our cousins!!

  26. Its so great to see all of our cousins!!

  27. My mother was a Cobb and her father was Edward Lloyd Cobb from Fulton and Paducah, KY and Rose Hill, KY. He was a boiler maker for the railroad and related to Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb of KY.

  28. Hello fellow Cobb's...I am a Cobb but not for sure how my line goes. Was told that there were two Cobb families that originally came to the US...one through GA and one through MA...I know mine came through MA (the two families were not related). I don't have the few papers that I have in front of me so can't give any further details except that sometime way back my forefathers moved to Ohio...without my papers I can't give any other info. I'll try to get them back out soon...

  29. Anonymus.
    I would like to trace back ancestry of Lydia Cobb (Warner)1769-1816.
    B: Hardwick MA, D: Hardwick VT

  30. Kelly Cobb-LemireApril 10, 2018 at 3:54 PM

    Hello I have been doing some research myself and believe that I am a descendant of Henry Cobb. My father's side of the family came from Plymouth and Marion Massachusetts. My great grandfather was Augustus Cobb. I recently read about a Captain Elijah Cobb from Brewster, Massachusetts. I am wondering if the families are related. Cheers!

    1. Hi Kelly, Unfortunately im not sure if they are related. Chris

  31. I am fascinated to find my American family history started in Barnstable since I moved to Barnstable after college and have been here since. My brother started researching to find scholarships for his son and I have been hooked ever since. I have traced my ancestry this way:
    Henry Cobb
    James Cobb
    Mercy Cobb Sparrow
    Richard Sparrow
    Hannah Sparrow Hamilton
    Arnold Hamilton
    Marcus Hamilton
    Francis E Hamilton
    Francis H Hamilton
    Frances E Hamilton, who was my mother