Shaddock, Hill, Cook, Caldwell

Ancestry of Theophilus Cook (1788 -1858) and Elizabeth Ann Caldwell (1792 – 1857)

George J. Farris – April, 2021


After identifying my great-great-grandmother, Sarah Cook, from a death certificate of my great-grandmother I started the search of her ancestry in the 1980s. That led to research in Jefferson County, Illinois that identified her parents, Theophilus Cook and Elizabeth Ann Caldwell. Working with another of their descendants we learned a lot about the Theophilus Cook family and numerous inter-related families who were among the first settlers in Jefferson County. The son of another early settler, Adam Clark Johnson, had written several articles about the settlement of Jefferson County that had been published in the local newspaper and these have been very helpful in understanding some of the origins and interrelationships of the families. However, we also encountered several documents by previous researchers of these families that have turned out to be erroneous and which misled us for many years. In those days it was difficult and time consuming to obtain original source documents and we often had to rely on the authenticity of documents that people who had conducted past research had published. As we have learned, that is not a good idea. We did correspond with others researching some of these families but did not discover very much additional information other than realizing that one document that had been published in the 1940s by two descendants of Theophilus and Elizabeth and which is still available on-line and sometimes cited by other family researchers was incorrect in its statements regarding the ancestry of Theophilus Cook while apparently being correct regarding his family. We did not make much real progress until recent years when source documents from many places became more readily available on-line.

In 2018 another researcher contacted me to see if I had found any new information over the intervening years. We reviewed everything that had been published by many people and tried to see what could be verified and what parts didn’t seem to fit. We also contacted several other researchers who also became involved in this project. While we were researching several families our research kept Lucy Cook Roberson as the central person of interest. We knew from the Adam Clark Johnson writings that she was the mother of Theophilus Cook and his brother Robert Cook and also the mother of Joshua, Edward, and Matilda Roberson. One particular area that we focused on was a document called “The Rober(t)sons Have Arrived” published many years ago by Howard W. Robertson and Glen Christman who were descendants of the Robersons. It has been used by numerous people researching the inter-related families of Jefferson County, Illinois and had focused on Jackson County, Georgia as their origin with an intermediate stop for several years in Sumner and Smith Counties, Tennessee. We already knew that there were numerous errors in that document but we soon found many more areas where their research and their speculation about the ancestry of some of these people didn’t seem to be correct. They had focused on Jackson County while we knew that some of the people had previously been in Warren County, Georgia. This resulted in our doing extensive research in Warren County records and in Wilkes County from which Warren had been formed in addition to Jackson County. From the writings of Adam Clark Johnson we knew that several of the families had Hill ancestry and concentrated on researching the Hill families and the several John Hills who had lived in and around the Wilkes/Warren County area in the late 1700s.

A breakthrough occurred when we found a Wilkes County Land Court record from early 1784 and the associated plat. It was for a 100 acre grant to Lucy Cook, the widow of Isaac Cook, based on headrights of their two daughters Phereba and Seletha who were stated to be 6 and 4 years old in February, 1784. We had found marriage records for both of the girls in Warren County in 1798 and 1799 and realized that Seletha, the wife of Daniel Crenshaw, one of the very earliest settlers in Jefferson County, Illinois, was also a daughter of Lucy. This also led us to focus on a statement by Adam Clark Johnson that Seletha was a cousin of Carter Wilkey, who also was an early settler and who had initially lived with the Crenshaws in Jefferson County. Since Carter’s mother, Hester Wilkey, was known to be a sister of Charity Hood and Prudence Atchison and that their maiden names had been Hill it appeared that Lucy must have also originally been a Hill. The relationship wasn’t completely clear since Lucy was considerably older than the other three women and it wasn’t obvious what Johnson had meant by the term “cousin.”

The plat for the 100 acre land grant for Lucy Cook was interesting in that it was located on Rocky Comfort Creek in what was then Wilkes County and adjoined the land of John Hill. The plat also showed the Ogeechee Road, previously known as the Lower Trading Path passing through the northern edge of John Hill’s property. That made it possible to pinpoint the location about 1-1/2 miles southwest of current day Warrenton. The Lower Trading Path was one of two such routes leading from Augusta into the Creek territories that had been used by Indian traders for decades prior to settlement of that area. The plat also listed Edward and Joshua Hill as chain carriers for the survey. All of this helped us to focus on this particular John Hill as the one that we needed to research and helped us to sort out the various records for different John Hills.

Plat of 1784 Grant for Lucy Cook

Some previous researchers had speculated that the Hill parents were the John Hill and Annie Naomi Camp who were well documented in Jackson/Walton County, Georgia, and we found that the related families from Warren County had moved to Jackson County in 1801. But when we looked more closely at the two John Hills there were some important discrepancies. A researcher who is a known descendant of John and Annie Naomi Hill, helped us sort out the records of these two families and led us to realize that they had to be separate and distinct entities – even though the wife of the Warren County John Hill was known to also be Naomi. By this time we had come to realize that the Warren County John Hill was considerably older than the Jackson/Walton County one. Further information from Robert S. Davis and his books caused us to realize that our John Hill had been in Georgia from about 1770 and had arrived there along with a group of settlers centered around a Quaker group that had migrated from Orange County, North Carolina, and adjacent counties.

Our most recent breakthrough was the discovery of records of John Hill and Naomi Shaddock and related families in the Cape Fear River area of North Carolina, originally Bladen County before the later formation of Orange, Cumberland and Chatham Counties in 1752, 1754, and 1770 respectively. DNA matches of many of us with descendants of other members of the Shaddock family convinced us that this John Hill and Naomi Shaddock were our ancestors and the same John and Naomi that later lived in Wilkes/Warren County, Georgia, and that our elusive Lucy Hill Cook Roberson ancestor was their daughter, born in Cumberland County, NC about 1760.


Henry Shaddock

Henry was my 6th great-grandfather. The origin of Henry Shaddock is currently unknown. There are mentions of a Henry Shaddock in 1735 in Caroline County, Virginia and in about 1746 in Johnston County, North Carolina, but record losses in those counties make it impossible to verify whether or not this was the same person who had a North Carolina land grant in 1746 in Bladen County, North Carolina. His initial grant was 300 acres on the Upper Little River in what is now Harnett County. The original petition for this grant is recorded in the minutes of the North Carolina Governor's Council on 7 May, 1742.

1746 Grant to Henry Shaddock

Sometime before 1752 Henry moved north to an area just north of the confluence of the Haw and Deep Rivers that form the Cape Fear River. On the east side of Haw River there is a small stream that was known in early records as Shaddock’s Creek but that is shown as Shaddox Creek on current day maps. The Shaddock family was living there at the time Orange County was formed in 1752. By 1756 Henry had moved to the south side of Deep River to a 200 acre tract. In 1759 Henry received another North Carolina land grant of 310 acres on the south side of Deep River adjacent to the 200 acres that he already owned.

1759 Grant to Henry Shaddock

In 1761 he sold the 510 acres and moved back to the east side of Cape Fear River on 300 acres along Buckhorn Creek where he lived for the rest of his life. He also owned a 20 acre tract directly across Cape Fear River which he sold to his daughter and son-in-law Charity and Richard Worthen. Henry Shaddock died in 1778 at which time the area where he lived was part of Chatham County. While we do not know for certain the name of Henry’s wife, from two deed references we believe her name was Elizabeth. One deed was for the sale of 320 acres owned by Ezekiel Shaddock who was a son of Henry and contained a confusing reference to a previous Bladen County deed from 1746 transferring the land from its original owner to Martha Davis and Elizabeth Shaddock “or her son Davis.” Since the original Bladen County deeds no longer exist it is impossible to discern what was meant or intended, but the land obviously ended up with Ezekiel and was adjacent to Henry Shaddock’s land. The other reference to Elizabeth Shaddock is in the register of Orange County which records a transfer of 100 acres to her from John Bohannon with John Record as the witness. John Record was the first husband of Comfort Shaddock, one of the daughters of Henry Shaddock so John Record is presumed to have been the son-in-law of Henry and of Elizabeth.

Joshua (or Josiah) Shaddock

Joshua Shaddock received a North Carolina land grant of 100 acres on the Upper Little River in 1749. However, the petition for that grant in the North Carolina Governor's Coucil of 13 Oct, 1749 lists his name as Josiah.

1749 Grant to Joshua Shaddock

Nothing is known about him other than that he died before 1755 and had a daughter Ann who married a Martin Trantham, Jr. who was the son of an adjoining land owner by that name who had filed a petition for a 400 acre land grant with the North Carolina Governor's Council on the same day as "Josiah" Shaddock. But Joshua was obviously closely related to Henry and may have been a brother of Henry - but it seems more likely that he was an older son of Henry since in 1755 two of the sons-in-law of Henry executed a deed selling Joshua’s land “in the rights of our wives and co-heirs.”

1755 Deed selling Joshua Shaddock's land

This seems to be based on a Bladen County will that no longer exists. It implies that the land was inherited by the children of Henry. Ann Shaddock was literate and witnessed a deed in 1758 in which Martin Trantham sold land to John Hill. Some of the descendants of Ann Shaddock Trantham are well documented and I and other descendants of Henry Shaddock have DNA matches with some of her descendants.

Children of Henry Shaddock

Henry’s children are listed in his 1778 Chatham County, NC, will.

1778 Will of Henry Shaddock, Chatham County, North Carolina

As of 1778 the children listed were: Charity Worthen, Prudence Laws, Ezekiel Shaddock, Rachel Crain, Pattey Brantley, Comfort Powell, Easter Brantley, Ome Hill and Hester Hall. Son-in-law Richard Worthen was named executor of the will and almost all of the estate was left to Charity and Richard Worthen.

Of these children we have no further information regarding Prudence, Rachel, or Patty. Following are summaries of what we know regarding the other children.

Charity Shaddock

Charity and Richard Worthen lived on a 20 acre tract directly across Cape Fear River from Henry’s land and apparently managed his property and took care of him in his later years. Except for 50 pounds left to Prudence Laws and one shilling each to the rest of his children Charity and Richard inherited all the rest of his estate and land at Henry’s death. In 1780 Richard had a North Carolina land grant of 300 acres also on Buckhorn Creek. They sold all of the land a few years later and seemed to have left Chatham County . They may have moved to Georgia where there are records for a Richard Worthen family in Hancock County or to Anson County NC where there are also Richard Worthen records.

Ezekiel Shaddock

Ezekiel died fairly young about 1780 in Chatham County and left one orphan son named Henry born in 1772. That Henry’s son Ezekiel moved to Arkansas and there are numerous descendants there. Several of the descendants of John Hill and Naomi Shaddock have DNA matches with descendants of Ezekiel. This branch of the family used the name Shaddox and there is a Shaddox Cemetery in Newton County, AR.

Comfort Shaddock

Comfort was married three times, first to John Record who bought the 510 acres on the south side of Deep River from Henry Shaddock in 1761. After he died in 1768 she married Nathaniel Powell and after his death she married James Bostick, Sr. One of her sons ended up in Jefferson County, Georgia. Several of the descendants of John Hill and Naomi Shaddock have DNA matches with descendants of Comfort.

Easter Shaddock

Easter must have been one of the older children of Henry. Her first husband was John Phillips who died in 1761. At the time of his death they had several children and one son, John Phillips, Jr., was old enough to inherit the property. So they must have been married before Henry Shaddock was first recorded in Bladen County in 1742 and apparently migrated there along with the Shaddock family. John Phillips was one of the sons-in-law of Henry who was involved in the sale of the land of Joshua Shaddock in 1755. After John died, Easter married James Brantley and they later moved to Wilkes County, Georgia.

Hester Shaddock

Hester was apparently married to Jethro Hall. Jethro and wife Hester show up in several Cumberland County deeds on the Upper Little River adjacent to Martin Trantham and Jethro was named a constable for an area along the river in 1762. They apparently moved to Wilkes County, Georgia about 1780. A Jethro Hall of Hancock County was a land lottery winner in 1807.

Naomi Shaddock

Naomi was listed by her nickname Ome or Omi in the will of Henry Shaddock. She married John Hill sometime before her parents moved farther north before 1752. John and Naomi were my 5th great-grandparents. The first Cumberland County deed involving them was in 1755 when John Hill and John Phillips sold the land that had been granted to Joshua Shaddock based on “the rights of our wives and co-heirs.” John bought two adjoining parcels of land on the Upper Little River in 1758 and 1760 which was sold in Cumberland County deeds in 1765 and 1766.

1758 deed to John Hill

1760 deed to John Hill

1765 deed from John and Naomi Hill

1766 deed from John Hill

The 1765 deed was also signed by Naomi Hill and they were listed as residents of Orange County in the 1765 and 1766 deeds. . Since they were already living in Cumberland County in 1755 we assume that they probably already owned land there that had been acquired before Cumberland was formed from Bladen County in 1754. Bladen County records were destroyed in a courthouse fire so there is no way to verify exactly when John first arrived in that area or whether he was there before the Shaddocks. There is no record for John and Naomi in existing Orange County records for the short time that they lived there before moving to Georgia. Most Orange County records prior to 1782 were lost during the Revolutionary War. They probably moved to the Wrightsborough settlement in Georgia about 1769. Over the next 32 years there are many records for John in Wilkes, Warren and Jackson Counties but only one mention of Naomi in a deed in Warren County in January, 1801.


John Hill

John was my 5th great-grandfather. While there were numerous John Hills in North Carolina the first reference that we can definitively identify as being him is a 1755 deed in Cumberland County, North Carolina. He had already married Naomi Shaddock prior to that time – and probably prior to 1752 when the Henry Shaddock family had left the Little River area and were living on the Haw River in the newly formed Orange County. In addition to deeds in 1758 and 1760 in which he bought land in Cumberland County he also witnessed several deeds for others in the area along Upper Little River in what is now Harnett County, NC. In the 1758 and 1760 deeds he was listed as a “saddler”, saddle making being an important profession in those days. In deeds in 1765 and 1766 he was listed as a planter and a resident of Orange County. There is no known record for John and Naomi for the short period that they lived there before moving to Georgia.

The Wrightsborough Township settlement in Georgia dates from before 1767 when about 20,000 acres in St. Paul’s Parish was set aside for a settlement for Quakers who wanted to move there from North and South Carolina. From the beginning, the settlement included many non-Quakers who came to the area along with the Quakers. The Quakers were happy to have others settle there who would be willing to help defend the area from Cherokee and Creek Indian raids – since the Quakers themselves were forbidden to take up arms or fight. The largest group of settlers was from Orange County, NC. The early records are fragmentary but apparently quite a few families had already moved there by 1769. The first surveys and land grants began in 1771 and a 200 acre land grant for John Hill was recorded on April 2, 1771, along with a 100 acre grant for a James Hill the same day. Both also were given adjacent lots in the village of Wrightsborough although it is unlikely that they ever lived in the village. The larger land grants were along Germany Creek and the Little River in an area that includes parts of the current day counties of McDuffie, Columbia, Wilkes and Warren.

John and Naomi had at least three older children born in North Carolina, Lucy, Joshua, and Edward. In subsequent records in Georgia their presence helps make it possible to identify records for this John Hill and to separate them from records for two other men named John Hill who lived in the same area as well as additional John Hills who lived in adjoining counties. The presence of these children and four other known children born in Georgia helps pinpoint exactly where they lived.

There are many records for John over the next 30 years in Wilkes and Warren Counties. The entire area was included in Wilkes County when it was formed in 1777 and Warren County was formed from a part of what had been Wilkes County in 1793. The first records are as a signer of petitions in 1774 and 1777 as a resident of the Wrightsborough area. Both of these were also signed by Edward and Joshua Hill and the 1777 petition was signed by Isaac Cook who had married Lucy Hill by that time.

James Hill

James Hill had witnessed the 1765 and 1766 deeds by John and Naomi Hill in Cumberland County North Carolina and they were almost certainly brothers. James had a 231 acre North Carolina land grant in 1764 in Cumberland County, NC and sold that land in 1767. Like John Hill, James was listed as a "saddler." He either accompanied John and his family when they moved to Georgia or joined them there before 1771 when both had land grants in the Wrightsborough area. James sold his 100 acre Wrightsborough grant in 1774 in a deed witnessed by John Hill.

James Hill 1774 Deed

James then returned to North Carolina where he again began to appear in Cumberland County records in 1777 and later in Moore County records after it was formed from part of Cumberland in 1784. The last record for him is the 1810 census in Moore County. His only identified child was Hiram Hill, born about 1774 who died in Lauderdale County, Alabama, in 1850. I have a DNA match with a descendant of Hiram.

Early Georgia Records for John Hill

In reviewing “Georgia Citizens and Soldiers of the American Revolution” by Robert S. Davis, Jr. we have found about a dozen references that can be attributed to this John Hill covering the period 1774 up to 1782.

In 1774 a small group of Georgians in Savannah drafted a petition in support of the perpetrators of the Boston Tea Party claiming that this position represented the collective position of the citizens of the colony. This alarmed a large part of the population of Georgia because they were on the frontier and relied on the colonial government for protection and did not want to cause dissension with the colonial government. As a result there were petitions circulated throughout Georgia to the effect that the small number of people who had drafted the original petition did not represent the position of the populace. One such petition was circulated for signature among the “Inhabitants of the town and township of Wrightsborough, and places adjacent.” Three of the signatories were John, Joshua, and Edward Hill. From the signatures around theirs and the plats showing where these others lived it appears that in 1774 the Hills lived on the Little River somewhere near Williams Creek about 20 miles directly north of current day Warrenton.

John Hill was active in both the regular continental army and in the Georgia militia over a period of at least six years. He shows up on payrolls and rosters of the First Troop of Light Horse in 1776 and the Third Regiment of Light Horse of the Georgia Continental Battalion in 1777 and 1779. In 1777 he was listed as a Lieutenant to Captain John Baker. The Third Regiment was involved in many actions throughout South Carolina and coastal Georgia over those years but the entire unit surrendered to the British on May 12, 1780 when the British captured Charleston. Although most of the soldiers were made prisoners some officers were exchanged for captured British officers and some of the back country soldiers were paroled. There doesn’t seem to be any record regarding John Hill’s involvement but he did seem to be back in Wilkes County in April 1780 so apparently had left that unit before the Charleston siege. There is a summary regarding the Georgia regiments of the Continental Army at https://revolutionarywar.us/continental-army/georgia/ with links to more details on the Southern Campaign and the individual battles and troop movements.

In July 1777 a large number of Georgia soldiers signed a petition to the Continental Congress requesting replacement of General Lachlan McIntosh as commander of the troops in Georgia. There were numerous grievances including the fact that he had become entangled in political infighting that distracted from his military duties and that his feud with Governor Button Gwinnett had resulted in a duel in May 1777 in which Gwinnett had been mortally wounded. Gwinnett was one of the two Georgia representatives to the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. The 1777 petition was signed by John Hill, Joshua Hill, Edward Hill and Isaac Cook. As a result of the petition General George Washington reassigned McIntosh to duty at Valley Forge and replaced him as commander of continental troops in Georgia.

On April 8 1780 John Hill as a Justice of the Peace for Wilkes County attested to a letter to the Commissary General by Nathaniel Smith seeking compensation for corn stolen by a militia unit from Richmond County.

John Hill served as a militia captain in at least three separate areas from 1780 through 1782. In April 1780 Col. John Dooly, commander of the Wilkes County Militia sent a requisition to the Commissary General for supplies in support of the building of Fort Dooly on the Savannah River. This involved 50 men under the command of Captain John Hill who signed the receipt for the supplies.

In 1781, Col. Josiah Dunn, commander of the Richmond County Militia, issued a request to the Quarter Master General of the state for compensation for supplies and services provided to the militia by several individuals. The requisition was certified by Captain John Hill in June, 1782. The list of individuals providing materials and services included Lucy Cook, widow, who provided one horse, harness, and 6 bushels of corn. The horse was stolen on December 31, 1781 after 7 months in service.

There are three payroll lists for John Hill’s Militia Company in 1781 and 1782:

1. For the period June 6, 1781 – January 27, 1782, as a part of the Upper Deviation of Richmond County under the command of Col. Josiah Dunn. (The Upper Deviation of Richmond County later became Columbia County.)

2. For the period March 1 – May 1, 1782 at Fort Martin in Wilkes County under the command of Col. Elijah Clarke.

3. For the period May 1 – August 31, 1782 at Fort Martin in Wilkes County under the command of Col. Elijah Clarke.

These payrolls include John Hill, Captain; Joshua Hill Sergeant and First Lieutenant; and Edward Hill, Second Lieutenant.

On February 1, 1782, a requisition to the Quartermaster General of the state from Captain John Hill at Fort Martin requested compensation for individuals who provided material and services for the militia. These included Joshua Hill – 2 horses, 1 driver, 6 bushels of corn for 7 months service; John Hill – 1 horse lost in service and 2 bushels of corn.

On Feb 1, 1782, an invoice for Beeves and Pork purchased for the use of Captain John Hill’s Company at Fort Martin under the command of Col. Elijah Clarke.

In February 1782 John Hill wrote a letter to Gov. John Martin reporting on the completion of Fort Martin. This fort was located at a strategic point near where the lower trading path crossed the Ogeechee River and near the mouth of Long Creek. These had been used as routes into the interior of Wilkes County by Creek and Tory raiders and British raiders coming up the river from West Florida. John pointed out their shortage of supplies and men at this strategic fort and asked for the governor's help. Gov. Martin seems to have provided that since an August payroll of the company lists nearly 30 men, including Sergeant Joshua Hill and Private Edward Hill. Several of the men listed later filed RW pension applications citing service under Capt. John Hill at Fort Martin as part of their service record. According to the RW pension claim of one of the members of the company, John Hill resigned his commission as a militia captain at the end of August, 1782.

Letter from John Hill to Governor John Martin on completion of Fort Martin

We haven't found a copy of the letter that Capt Hill wrote to Gov. Martin dated 18 August 1782 but Gov. Martin's letter book contains his response to that letter on 27 Augast. It includes the phrase "you as a member of the honorable House ...." This was our first clue that John Hill also served as a member of the Georgia Assembly. The Journal of the House of Assembly for July 13, 1782, listed Assembly members including John Hill as one of the 5 Members representing Wilkes County. Also the Journal for January 19, 1784 records that John Hill introduced petitions asking for land and other compensation for his services to the State over many years. He received a grant and 500 acres as a result of that petition.

1784 Grant to John Hill

There are numerous land grants, deed and tax lists involving John Hill over the years in Wilkes and Warren County records. From sometime before 1784 the family lived on Rocky Comfort Creek about 1-1/2 miles southwest of current day Warrenton, but he also owned land on the waters of the Ogeechee River, land in Washington County derived from a military land grant to his son Joshua, and land in Hancock County bought from his son-in-law John Roberson. In 1801 he and Naomi sold land in Warren County and moved to Jackson County where John shows up in a deed for land on the Appalachee River in 1801. They then seem to disappear from records.

January 1801 deed from John and Naomi Hill

March 1801 deed from John Hill

October 1801 deed to John Hill in Jackson County, Georgia

Many of the records involving this family have been identified through the presence of their children or other extended family members. The four additional children that have been identified born in Georgia were Hester who married Henry? Wilkey, Prudence who married Barton Atchison, Charity who married Dempsey Hood, and John Hill, Jr. who we have not been able to trace after 1802 in Jackson County, Georgia.

Lucy Hill

Lucy was my 4th great-grandmother and was born in Cumberland County, NC, about 1760. Sometime around 1776 or 1777 while the family was still living in the Wrightsborough, GA, settlement Lucy married Isaac Cook. There are very few records involving Isaac who served in the Wilkes County militia and died before June, 1781. A February, 1784 land grant for Lucy based on the headrights of the “orphans” of Isaac Cook lists their two daughters Pheriba and Seletha who were 6 and 4 years old at that time. In 1798 and 1799 these two daughters married Jonathan Haggerty and Daniel Crenshaw respectively and later records for the Hill family involve them. The land grant for Lucy includes a plat that shows exactly where it was located adjacent to the property of John Hill on Rocky Comfort Creek. And the chain carriers for the survey were Joshua and Edward Hill. Sometime after 1786 Lucy remarried to John Cook who was probably a brother of Isaac, both apparently being sons of James and Lucy Cook who had moved to Georgia from Mecklenburg County, NC, in 1773. Marriage records for that period in Wilkes County were destroyed in a fire. They had two sons, Theophilus (my 3rd great-grandfather) and Robert Cook born in 1788 and 1790. Warren County was formed at the end of 1793 but records are fragmentary until later in 1794. Sometime during that period Lucy’s second husband died. From the few records available it appears that he died before the end of 1793 but no probate records for him exist. He had sold his own land on Rocky Comfort Creek in 1788 and apparently lived with Lucy on the land that was still a part of Isaac Cook's estate and, therefore, owned no property of his own so there was no basis for a probate,

In about 1795 Lucy married John Roberson and they had three children, Joshua and Edward born in Warren County and Matilda probably born in Jackson County. In 1790, John had bought 140 acres of land on Rocky Comfort Creek from John Hill. He was listed as a resident of Greene County where he shows up in Greene County, GA, records in a deed in 1791 but lived in a part of Greene that became Hancock County in 1793. His first wife’s name was Sarah as shown in a 1792 deed when they sold a part of their land. Various records list his name as Roberson, Robeson, Robison, Robinson, and Robertson and Lucy was also later listed by variations of the name. I use the name Roberson since that’s the name used by his son Joshua. His first wife apparently died in Hancock County and he moved to Warren County. John Hill bought a part of his land in Hancock County which adjoined the land of Sarah Haggerty who was the mother of Jonathan Haggerty who was a son-in-law of Lucy. In 1797 John Roberson was the defendant in a court case in Warren County and John and Edward Hill posted bond for him. In 1801, when John and Naomi Hill moved to Jackson County John and Lucy also moved there and lived adjacent to them on the Apalachee River. Other members of the extended family also moved there including John Hill Jr., Edward Hill, Joshua Hill, Seletha and Daniel Crenshaw and Charity and Dempsey Hood. Prudence and Barton Atchison remained in Warren County for several years and Phereba and Jonathan Haggerty moved to Hancock County and later to Greene County. Hester Hill Wilkey and her family were living in the Cherokee Nation by that time.

A few years later, before 1810, many of these families moved to Sumner County, Tennessee and later to Smith County. John Roberson apparently died shortly after moving to Tennessee. The Atchison, Hood, and Wilkey families also moved there. Theophilus Cook and Joshua Roberson were married in Tennessee to sisters, Elizabeth and Margaret Caldwell. A third Caldwell sister, Jane, married Bennett Maxwell Wilkey, oldest son of Hester Hill Wilkey. Theophilus Cook served in the War of 1812 in a Tennessee Regiment. In 1814 Theophilus Cook received Tennessee land grants for three parcels of land on the East Fork of Goose Creek in what is now Macon County, Tennessee. Lucy and her Roberson children lived on one of these, Robert Cook lived on another, and Theophilus and his family lived on the third parcel. Beginning about 1816 and continuing through 1820 all of these related families migrated to Jefferson County, Illinois. Lucy and some of the others show up in the 1818 IL census in White County before Jefferson was formed and in the 1820 census in Jefferson County. Lucy was living adjacent to the Robert Cook, Joshua Roberson, and Daniel Crenshaw families in the census. This is the last record of her and she apparently died about 1825.

Edward and Joshua Hill

Edward and Joshua Hill were older children of John and Naomi Hill and brothers of Lucy. After the family moved to Georgia one or both of them showed up in numerous records with John Hill beginning with the 1774 petition. To have been old enough to sign it they must have been born in the 1750s. They also signed the 1777 petition and Joshua was listed along with John in a 1777 roster of the Third Continental Regiment of Light Horse. Both Edward and Joshua were members of Captain John Hill’s company of militia in 1781 and 1782. When Lucy received her headright land grant in 1784 Edward and Joshua were the chain carriers for the survey. In 1787 Edward bought 160 acres from John Hill on Rocky Comfort Creek. The deed stated that it was adjacent to land owned by Joshua Hill. Both later show up there in several tax lists. Neither of them seems to have ever married. Both received land grants in Washington County for their military service – but never lived there. John Hill signed the receipt for Joshua’s grant and apparently bought it from him. John was listed as owner of land in Washington County in several Warren County tax lists as well as the 1802 Jackson County tax list. Edward sold his Washington County land several years later. In 1799 when Jonathan Haggerty was trying to finally settle the estate of Isaac Cook many years after his death he found it to be necessary that he first be made guardian of Phereba and Seletha. Edward Hill posted bond for him for that purpose. When the related families moved to Jackson County Edward Hill bought 150 acres on the Apalachee River adjacent to Dempsey Hood’s land. He died there in 1814 and Joshua was co-administrator of the estate. We have no record of Joshua after that.

Charity Hill

Charity was apparently born in the 1770s and married Dempsey Hood in Warren County GA in 1794. They also lived adjacent to the John Hill family on Rocky Comfort Creek but moved to Greene County for a few years from early 1799 until moving to land on the Apalachee River in Jackson County in 1801 when the rest of the Hill clan moved there. We have no record of them in Tennessee although they were probably there. They moved to Jefferson County, IL along with the rest of the group in about 1816.

Prudence Hill

Prudence was also born in the 1770s and married Barton Atchison in 1794. Barton bought a part of John Hill’s land and lived adjacent to the Hills on Rocky Comfort Creek in Warren County. They did not move to Jackson County at the time the others moved but remained in Warren County until after the death of Barton’s father. The Atchison family joined the others in Tennessee sometime prior to July 1812 when a brother of Barton enlisted in a Tennessee Regiment in the War of 1812. Later, the Atchisons had land grants adjacent to those of Theophilus Cook on the East Fork of Goose Creek in Smith County, Tennessee. They moved to Jefferson County, IL in about 1816.

Hester Hill

Hester was probably born in the 1770s in what was then Wilkes County and married a Wilkey around 1792. While descendants list his name as Henry there are no records for a Henry Wilkey that we have been able to find. There was a James Wilkey in the right area at that time but nothing is known about him either. They were married prior to the formation of Warren County and marriage records for Wilkes County for that period were destroyed in a fire. Shortly after they were married the Wilkeys seem to have moved into the Cherokee Nation since births of their children, beginning with Katherine Melvina Wilkey in 1792 and Bennett Maxwell Wilkey in about 1793, are all claimed to have occurred in various parts of the Cherokee Nation. We do not know the reason for them to live among the Cherokees and assume that Wilkey was either and Indian trader or a missionary/teacher but there are no records that we have found that would answer that question. Nor is there a record of his death. The Wilkeys probably joined the rest of the related families as they passed through the Cherokee Nation on their way to Tennessee. We know that they were in Smith County, Tennessee by July 1812 when Bennett Maxwell Wilkey enlisted for the War of 1812. The Wilkeys also moved to Jefferson County, IL along with the other related families.

John Hill, Jr.

John junior was also probably born in Georgia in the 1770s. We know that many of the records for his father began listing him as John, Sr. by 1794. In the few tax records for Warren County that exist in the 1790s John, Jr. was sometimes listed but did not seem to own land of his own. After the families moved to Jackson County the 1802 tax list lists him individually and then also lists him as Trustee for the property of John Hill, Sr. in Warren and Washington Counties. This seems to imply that John, Sr. had died by that time. There were several John Hills in Jackson County in later years but we have not been able to definitively identify any of them as applying to him – so nothing more is known about him.


There were two Cooks who were married to Lucy Hill successively, Isaac Cook and later his brother John Cook, both apparently sons of James and Lucy Cook.

Isaac Cook

The only records for Isaac Cook are as a signer of the 1777 petition in Wilkes County and as a member of the militia under Col. Elijah Clarke. There was a military land warrant issued for him in 1784 but John Hill signed for it since Isaac was dead by that time. The other records pertaining to him include the land grant for Lucy in 1784 on the basis of the headrights of her daughters being “orphans” of Isaac Cook and the records associated with his probate in Warren County in 1799-1801 after the daughters were married. There is also a Warren County tax list record for 1799 in which Jonathan Haggerty was listed as trustee for the lands of Isaac Cook, deceased, which included 200 acres on Rocky Comfort Creek and 400 acres on the Ogeechee River. The same land shows up in similar tax lists for Jonathan Haggerty in 1804 and 1806 when he lived in Greene County. Isaac and Lucy had two daughters, Pheriba, born in 1778, and Seletha, born in 1780. Lucy married John Cook after Isaac died.

Theophilus Cook

Theophilus, my 3rd great grandfather, was born February 22, 1788, according to his bible record. His parents, John and Lucy (Hill) Cook lived on Rocky Comfort Creek in what was then still part of Wilkes County, Georgia, at that time. They moved to Jackson County, Georgia, in 1801 and on to Sumner and Smith Counties, Tennessee, about 1809. Theophilus married Elizabeth Ann Caldwell in 1811 in TN and served in the War of 1812 on two separate occasions. He had three land grants on the East Fork of Goose Creek in what is now Macon County, TN. In 1820 the Theophilus Cook family moved to Jefferson County, Illinois, where he lived the rest of his life. He died there on June 15, 1858.

John Cook

There are very few records for John Cook, my 4th great grandfather. He had a land grant on Rocky Comfort Creek in Wilkes County in 1777 which he sold in 1787. From several deeds and tax lists it is clear that he was living adjacent to John and Edward Hill from 1787 through at least 1791 but died sometime before the end of 1793. He and Lucy had two children, Theophilus, born in 1788, and Robert, born in 1790.

James Cook

James Cook and wife Lucy, my 5th great grandparents, lived in Granville County, North Carolina from 1758 through the end of 1764. They had moved there from adjacent Lunenburg County, Virginia, along with two of James’ brothers. The first deed for James Cook in Granville County was on the east side of Island Creek in 1758 in an area that later became Bute County, then Warren County, and currently Vance County, NC. They sold their land on Island Creek in Granville County on December 5, 1764, and left that area. They apparently were the same James Cook and wife Lucy who then showed up in Mecklenburg County, NC.

James & Lucy Cook Deed – 1764

There are several land records for James Cook and wife Lucy in Mecklenburg County, NC from 1766 through 1772. They sold the last parcel of their land in Meckenburg in 1772.

James & Lucy Cook Deed - 1772

James received a land grant in Wrightsborough Township, St. Paul’s Parish, Georgia in 1773. The early records of Georgia include details of the grant and state that the family consisted of James, his wife, three sons, two daughters, and a granddaughter ranging in age from 3 to 19. This was the only Cook family that lived anywhere near the Hill family in the Wrightsborough area.

James was probably born before 1730 in Hanover County, Virginia, and married in Lunenburg County about 1750. The older children of James and Lucy, including Isaac and John, were born in Virginia, their younger children were born in North Carolina.

Abraham Cook

Abraham Cook was born in the 1690s in what was then New Kent County, VA, the son of Abraham Cook, Sr. and wife Martha. His birth/baptism record is in the St. Peter’s Parish records but the last digit of the year of birth is unreadable. The area later became Hanover County. Almost all records for Hanover County were destroyed before and during the Civil War. Abraham Cook, Jr. was my 6th great grandfather. His wife was named Sarah and may have been Sarah McAllister although there are no records to verify that. They moved from Hanover to what was then Brunswick County in 1741 on the north side of Roanoke River where Abraham also had a land grant in 1744. This land is now under the waters of the John H. Kerr Reservoir.

Abraham Cook Deed – 1741

That area later became Lunenburg County. Abraham Cook died in 1748 and his will and probate are on line at:

Will and Probate Record for Abraham Cook.

The will lists six children: Benjamin who married Mary Crenshaw; James who married Lucy (my 5th great grandparents); Charles who married Susanna; Barbara who married Robert Hester; Frances who married Edward Hester; and Sarah who married Gideon Crenshaw. Mary and Gideon Crenshaw were siblings of William Thomas Crenshaw, father of Daniel Crenshaw who later married Seletha Cook in Georgia. Most of these children of Abraham and Sarah moved into adjacent Granville County, NC after Abraham died. From there James and Lucy moved to Mecklenburg County, NC and then on to Georgia a few years later.

While we cannot prove the Cook ancestry of Theophilus because of the lack of documentary records in Georgia, descendants of Theophilus do have DNA matches with other known descendants of Abraham Cook. So we are reasonably confident that the above ancestry for Theophilus is correct.


John Roberson or Robertson was the third husband of Lucy Hill. The earliest record that we have found for him is a 231 acre land grant in Greene County, Georgia in 1787 in which his name was spelled Robison. Since he was illiterate the name was written by other people in various documents with several different spellings including Robison, Robinson, Roberson and Robertson. He signed with a unique mark "|-|-|" which makes it possible to distinguish documents that he signed from others signed by people with similar names. He apparently had some sort of association with the John Hill family fairly early since he bought land on Rocky Comfort Creek from John Hill in 1790 in what was then still Wilkes County but he was listed in that deed as a resident of Greene County. In 1791 he bought 846 acres on Log Dam Creek in what was then Greene County. When he sold a part of that land in 1792 the deed was signed by himself and his wife Sarah - whose mark was "T". That is the only reference to his first wife who apparently died before 1795. By 1794 the land was in the newly created county of Hancock where he was listed with 350 acres in the 1794 tax list. In about 1795 he moved to Warren County and married Lucy Hill Cook who was a widow at that time. In 1797 there is a court record in Warren County in which he signed an appearance bond as a defendant on a charge of altering the date on a receipt in Hancock County. John Hill and Edward Hill posted bond for him. There are references to continuation of this case in 1799 and a citation for non-appearance in court in 1801. In 1798 John Hill bought 500 acres of land from John Robinson in Hancock County. At that time both were listed as residents of Warren County. In 1801 there is a deed in Hancock County in which John Robinson sold a part of his land there with the deed being witnesses by John Hill and Jonathan Hagerty. In 1801 when most of the John Hill clan moved to Jackson County the John and Lucy Roberson family also moved there. The only Jackson County reference to him involved the sale of his 140 acres of land on July 4, 1802 by the Jackson County Sheriff to satisfy a debt that stemmed from the earlier court case in Warren County. In that action, recorded in deed book C, page 418, the land was listed as adjoining John Hill's land on the Appalachee River. John and Lucy had three children, Joshua and Edward (apparently named after Lucy's two older brothers) born in Warren County and Matilda born about 1808 in Jackson County. While John probably moved to Tennessee with others of the Hill extended family in about 1809 there is no record for him there.


It was only recently that we questioned what had been claimed long ago about our Caldwell ancestry and which had been repeated by many people over many years. In taking a serious look at researching the ancestry of the Elizabeth, Jane, and Margaret Caldwell who had married Theophilus Cook, Bennett Wilkey, and Joshua Roberson in Tennessee, it rather quickly became obvious that what had been believed for many years about their ancestry just didn’t make any sense. In short, it had been claimed long ago and restated may times that they were daughters of Henry Lee Caldwell, a son of John Elliott Caldwell and Elizabeth Gardiner – but when we tried to confirm that it became obvious when we traced his ancestry that Henry had been at least two generations younger than the three Caldwell girls and had not been born until 1840, long after the girls were grown, married, and had families of their own. This is fairly obvious from the Find-A-Grave memorial for John Elliott Caldwell at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/68493501/john-e-caldwell as well as other records. So we started over by looking for any Caldwells in the vicinity of Sumner County TN in the early 1800s who had lived in North Carolina in 1793 when Elizabeth Caldwell was born. That narrowed the possibilities to only one family, that of a David Caldwell and Mary Smith who had moved from Mecklenburg County, NC to Sumner County, TN in 1795. The following summary documents our Caldwell ancestry as we understand it today.

Charles, Caldwell, Sr.

Charles Caldwell, my 5th great-grandfather, was a member of a fairly wealthy family in County Fermanaugh in Northern Ireland but was not the oldest son and the estate passed to his older brother. Charles was born in 1722 at Castle Caldwell in County Fermanaugh. He became a Lieutenant in the royal service and moved to County Tyrone but seemed to have no path for advancement and left Northern Ireland with his wife in 1752 hoping to have better prospects in America. They lived for many years in the town of Newark, then in Pennsylvania now in New Castle County, Delaware, where he was a merchant then moved to Orange County, North Carolina on Moon Creek of Dan River in an area that became Caswell County in 1777. Before 1778 they had moved farther south to Mecklenburg County on the Rocky River in an area that became Cabbarus County in 1792. What little we know about him prior to his move to Mecklenburg County is from the autobiography of his youngest son Charles Caldwell, Jr. He was married in Northern Ireland but the given name of his wife isn’t shown in any of the documents found to-date other than that she was a Miss Murray. She was known to be a direct descendant and probably a granddaughter of Colonel Adam Murray, the heroic defender of Londonderry who broke the Jacobite siege of the city in 1689. Charles Caldwell died in 1792 in Mecklenburg County and his will is on-line at:

Will of Charles Caldwell, Sr.

While, according to Charles, Jr., there had been numerous children, most of whom died young, Charles had only three surviving children at the time he died. They were David who inherited the 203 acre farm on which he lived plus most of the farm equipment and some of the livestock, Charles, Jr. who inherited the home farm of 272 acres, and Martha who inherited a 127 acre farm and some of the livestock and farm equipment.

Charles Caldwell, Jr.

Charles, Jr., the youngest of the children, was born in 1772 in Orange County, NC, but grew up in Mecklenburg County. He was studious and with some mentoring by educated neighbors became fairly well educated. He apparently never did much farm work and became a teacher in a local academy. After his parents died, he sold the land in Mecklenburg County and moved to Philadelphia where he studied medicine under the well known Dr. Benjamin Rush and others at the University of Pennsylvania. Later he practiced medicine and helped establish the Transylvania University College of Medicine in Lexington, KY and then was one of the founders of what later became the University of Louisville College of Medicine. He was opinionated and somewhat controversial in his later years. His autobiography is available on-line.

Dr. Charles Caldwell Autobiography

It contains many details about his life. I found one example of his early activities from his autobiography to be particularly interesting. While he had two brothers, David and Robert, who were active in the Revolutionary War he was too young to serve himself. But later when President George Washington made a tour of some of the southern battlefields of the war, Charles was his personal escort during his time in North Carolina and gave Washington a discourse on the details of the battles including Ramseur’s Mill in which his brothers had participated. He later again met Washington as well as Alexander Hamilton while serving as a surgeon during the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. Dr. Charles Caldwell, Jr. died in 1858 in Louisville, KY.

Martha Caldwell

Martha Caldwell was married to John Brown Skillenton on June 27, 1791, two days before the marriage of her brother David Caldwell to Mary Smith. At the time of her father’s death in 1792 she inherited one of the farms. Her husband was the son of John and Elizabeth Skillenton. John, Sr. died in 1785 and Elizabeth and John B. Skillenton were administrators of the estate. In 1802 John and Martha sold the 127 acres of land, then located in Cabarrus County, that Martha had inherited from her father. It was sold to Stephen Alexander who was a friend and neighbor of the Caldwells and had co-signed the marriage bonds for Martha Caldwell and John Skillenton as well as the marriage bond for David Caldwell and Mary Smith. Because of the loss of Cabarrus County records for that period there is no further information available regarding Martha.

David Caldwell

David Caldwell, my 4th great-grandfather, was born at the town of Newark, then in Pennsylvania now in Delaware, in about 1760. By the time that the family moved to Mecklenburg County, NC, in about 1778 he was grown and active in operation of his father’s farms. During the Revolutionary War he was involved in several important engagements including Ramseur’s Mill and Charlotte as General Cornwallis's army moved north heading toward Virginia in 1780. He was listed as Captain David Caldwell in the 1790 census where he is listed next to his father, Charles Caldwell. The details of his service are documented in his 1834 RW pension application which can be accessed by searching for S21104 on-line at http://revwarapps.org. On June 29, 1791 David married Mary Smith in Mecklenburg County. Mary was presumably a daughter of either David and Mary Smith or Robert and Sarah Smith, both families being neighbors of the Caldwells At his father’s death in 1792 he inherited a 203 acre farm on which he and Mary had lived since their marriage. David sold that property on June 10, 1795 at which time it was located in the newly formed Cabarrus County.

David moved to Tennessee in 1795 and the deed for his first land, 100 acres on Asher’s Creek in Sumner County southeast of the current city of Gallatin, is dated June 23, 1796. He sold that land in July 1797. He was a signer of the petition to form Wilson County in 1797. From the early Wilson County tax lists it is clear that he he lived on 274 acres south of the Cumberland River off Coles Ferry Road near Barton’s Creek about 5 miles south and across the river from his first farm near Gallatin. He received a Tennessee land grant for the 274 acres in 1807 but had lived on it for almost 10 years prior to that. He also bought 200 acres on Spencer Creek in 1811. He sold parts of his land in three tracts totaling 204 acres in 1812, 1818 and 1822. He was granted a RW pension in 1834 and received payments through March, 1843. He died in Davidson County on April 7, 1843. A death notice for him stated that he lived in Talladega, Alabama, but had made a trip to Nashville to pick up his pension payment and had died during his return to AL. In the 1840 census he was listed as a RW veteran living with the family of his son Charles in Talladega. His RW pension application (S21104) in addition to providing details of his Revolutionary War service also identifies some of his neighbors in Wilson County. The children of David and Mary were:

Elizabeth Ann Caldwell Cook, born in Mecklenburg County, NC, October 28, 1792.
Elizabeth married Theophilus Cook October 24, 1811. No record of the marriage has been found but the date and the birthdates of both Theophilus and Elizabeth are alleged to be from a family Bible. At that time Theophilus lived in Sumner County and Elizabeth lived across the Cumberland River in Wilson County. Before July, 1812 they were living in Smith County, TN and in 1820 moved to Jefferson County, IL. Elizabeth died there on 28 March, 1857. She was my 3rd great-grandmother.

Sarah(Sally) Caldwell Birch , born in Mecklenburg County, NC, 1794.
Sally married Johnson Jordan Birch on September 13, 1811 in Wilson County. David Caldwell was listed as the bondsman for that marriage. They lived in Kentucky for several years but as of the 1850 census Sally and the Birch family were living in Clarke County, IL, where J.J. Birch was listed as a Medical Doctor.

Jane Caldwell Wilkey born in TN, 11 October 1796.
Jane married Bennett Maxwell Wilkey on June 8, 1815 in Smith County, TN according to some descendants. No record has been found of the marriage. The Wilkeys moved to Jefferson County, IL along with other related families before 1820. Jane died there in 1878.

Wallace Caldwell born in Wilson County,TN, 1797.
Wallace was a witness to some of the deeds involving David Caldwell and was co-owner with David of land sold in 1822 in Wilson County. He married Abigail Nicholson on April 13, 1821 in Wilson County. They moved to Jefferson County, IL where Abigail later died and Wallace married Matilda Ann Bostwick in 1839. He died in Jefferson County in 1862.

Margaret Caldwell Roberson born in Wilson County,TN, 1802.
Margaret married Joshua Roberson in Smith County, TN in 1819. No record of the marriage has been found. They moved to Jefferson County, IL, where Margaret died July 27, 1852.

Charles Caldwell born in Wilson County, TN, 18 March 1805.
Charles married Eliza Rebecca Patton in Sumner County, TN, 12 August 1834. By 1840 they were living in Talladega, Alabama, and David was living with them. Eliza apparently died there and Charles married Elizabeth Webb. In 1850 the family was in Shreveport LA and in 1860 in De Soto LA. During the 1860s part of the family moved to Panola County, Texas, and Charles died there in October, 1869..

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