Capt. Willard Cobb1,2

ID# 2238, (1781 - 1855)
FatherElkanah Cobb3,4 (21 Jan 1746/47 - 10 Aug 1795)
MotherMary Willard3,5 (abt 1749 - 1 Aug 1842)

Key Events:

Birth: 17 Mar 1781, Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont6,7
Marriage: Amy Allen, before 18058,9,10
Death: 23 Jan 1855, Iowa11

Spouse:Amy Allen (3 Dec 1778 - 27 Aug 1856)
     Children:

ChartsDescendants of Gideon Cobb
AncestryThe Cobbs of Pawlet, Vermont

Copyright Notice

Narrative:

     Capt. Willard Cobb was born on 17 Mar 1781 in Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont.6,7 He was probably one of the five males under age 16 listed in the household of his father, Elkanah Cobb, in the 1790 Federal Census of Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont.12
     Willard married Amy Allen, daughter of Caleb Allen, before 1805.8,9,10

A Mill Owner Like His Father --- Text Stolen from ReigelRidge.com !! ---


     Willard seems to have followed in his father's footsteps as a mill owner at an early age. On 26 Mar 1805 he bought a parcel of land with water rights for a mill from David Comstock for $80. The parcel was located on Wells Pond Brook in Pawlet, just south of Wells, at Allens bridge. He obtained the rights to all the water of the brook flowing through the land, from the bridge as far up as Comstock's land ran, apparently meaning he could build a dam that would flood the brook from the bridge as far as the seller's land extended. He obtained the right to set a "water works," except he could not install a grindstone or spinning wheel. The same day, he sold half those rights to William Maher for $40. Maher, reputed to be an ingenious mechanic who was among the first in the country to manufacture cut nails, built a trip hammer on the site.13,14
     On 20 May 1805 Willard and Amy sold 13½ acres, 20 rods of land in the same area to Daty Allen, who owned the adjacent property, for $750. This appears to not be part of the March purchase, but no record of them acquiring it has been found. The fact that this is the only one of his many deeds that includes her suggests she may have inherited it.8 On 2 Nov 1809 Willard sold 41¼ acres, 28 rods of land in Wells, lying along the Wells/Pawlet line, as well as the land he had purchased from Comstock in 1805, to Allen for $500.15
     In an undated deed, recorded 1 Jul 1813, Willard purchased 60 rods of land that seems to be the same property, or perhaps only a part of it, north of the bridge on the highway from Pawlet to Granville, New York, on the west side of Wells Pond Brook. He paid Daty Allen $100 for the land and half the water rights, specified as before, from the bridge to the end of Comstock's land (the other half apparently still owned by William Maher). On the same date Willard sold an undivided half of the land, and one quarter of the water rights, to David Murry, for $800, taking a mortgage for $600, payable $100 annually. Given the large difference between what Willard paid for the property and what he sold half of it for the same day, it may well be that there were aspects of the apparently circular transactions with Allen that are not evident in the record. Two years later, on 20 Feb 1815, Murry sold back his interest to Willard for his purchase price.16
     According to a local history, Willard built a woolen factory on this property about 1812, which, like others in the area, was erected in response to shortages caused by the war with England. Whether he constructed other milling operations on the site earlier is unclear.17 On 22 Nov 1816 Willard sold a substantial parcel around the mill, and the water rights, to Jonathan Stevens, another pioneer in the woolen business, for $1,550. Stevens operated the factory briefly before it burned.18,19

Living in Pawlet --- Text Stolen from ReigelRidge.com !! ---


     Willard appeared on the 1810 Federal Census of Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont, with a household consisting of one male under age 10 (son Willard), one age 16 to 18 (unknown), one age 26 to 45 (himself), and two females under age 10 (daughter Marietta and another unknown), one age 10 to 16 (unknown), and one age 26 to 45 (wife Amy). The census also recorded that the family had two wheels and a loom, with which they produced 50 yards of woolen cloth and 30 yards of linen.20
     During the War of 1812, he was captain of the light artillery company formed in Pawlet in 1802, having a three-pounder brass field piece. The unit volunteered to take the field in the War of 1812, but was not called out.21,22,23
     Willard was one of several who operated the public house in north Pawlet erected by Bethel Hurd about 1800.24 In 1817 he served as constable of Pawlet.25

Buying and Selling Land --- Text Stolen from ReigelRidge.com !! ---


     On 3 Oct 1815 Willard bought a 13-acre parcel formerly known as a pine pitch from his mother for $1,200.26 On 12 Mar 1816Willard purchased an undivided half interest in a parcel on the west side of the highway to Granville from Jonathan Stevens for $1,500. Eight days later he bought a half interest in 112 acres, which appears to be the same parcel, from Jared Stevens. He paid $1,300 for this interest, giving the seller a mortgage of $1,000. After selling 36 rods of the property to Hartly Hollister and Lera Wright for $35 on 16 Jan 1817, he sold Jared Stevens back his half interest for $1,375 on 22 Mar 1817.27
     On 23 Jul 1817 Willard gave Henry Buckley and Reuben Skinner of Granville, New York a mortgage on an undivided half of 90 acres of the property for $200. The note was due 1 Apr 1818, and was apparently settled by transferring the property to them outright on 18 Sep 1818.28 In the meantime, in Sep 1818 one Jonathan Bidwell won a judgement in the Vermont Supreme court against Willard and John Strong, another early manufacturer of woolen goods, for $500 damages and $79.95 court costs. The basis for the case has not been found. In response to a court order issued 14 Jan 1819, the sheriff transferred Willard's undivided half interest in 15 acres to Birdwell to satisfy the judgment.29
     On 8 Dec 1819 Willard sold an undivided half of a parcel, size not specified, to Joel Simonds Jnr. for $75. This seems to have been the last of his holdings in Pawlet, as no further land transactions involving him have been found.30 (For details of all the land records that have been found, see the extracted Cobb Deeds in Pawlet Vermont.)

The Move to Wells --- Text Stolen from ReigelRidge.com !! ---


     By 1820 Willard and Amy had moved from Pawlet to Wells.31,32 He appeared on the 1820 Federal Census of Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont, with a household consisting of three males under age 10 (sons Reuben, James and Royal), one age 10 to 16 (Willard), one age 26 to 45 (himself), and one female age 10 to 16 (daughter Marietta), and one age 26 to 45 (wife Amy Allen.)31
     They moved to Fort Ann, New York in 1824, where he built a store house at Polley's Landing before they moved on to Indiana.33,34 (See map.)

The Move to Indiana --- Text Stolen from ReigelRidge.com !! ---


     Willard and Amy moved their family to Indiana, near where his older brother Joshua was living, by 1830. Willard appeared on the 1830 Federal Census of Decatur Co., Indiana, with a household consisting of three males age 15 to 20 (sons Reuben, James and Royal), one age 20 to 30 (Willard, and one age 40 to 50 (himself), and one female age 5 to 10 (daughter Sarah), one age 10 to 15 (Parolina), one age 20 to 30, and one age 40 to 50 (wife Amy.)35
     On 30 Sep 1835 Willard was granted a patent for two parcels of land containing 40 acres each in Decatur Co., Indiana, under the Cash Entry Act of April 24,1820. That act reduced the minimum price of public land to $1.25 per acre, and the minuses purchase to 80 acres, but required payment in cash, not on credit.36
     After leaving the milling business, he seems to have regarded himself as primarily a farmer. In the 1820 census in Vermont and the 1840 census in Indiana the only occupation reported for the household was agriculture. But in 1850 he reported his occupation as merchant.37,38,39
     Willard served as one of the nine delegates representing Decatur Co. at the 1839 Indiana Democratic State Convention.40
     Willard appeared on the 1840 Federal Census of Decatur Co., Indiana, with a household consisting of one male age 10 to 15 (perhaps a grandson), one age 20 to 30 (probably one of his sons), one age 50 to 60 (himself), and one female age 10 to 15 (probably daughter Sarah, although she would have been age 17), two age 20 to 30 (Parolina and perhaps the wife of the son living with them), and one age 40 to 50 (wife Amy.)41
     Willard was appointed postmaster in Oskaloosa, Mahaska Co., Iowa 3 Feb 1849, but apparently served only breifly as he was replaced in April by Samuel Ingles.42
     He and Amy appeared on the 1850 Federal Census of Mahaska Co., Iowa, enumerated 13 Aug 1850, reporting real estate valued at $500. Their children Parolina and Sarah were listed as living with them.43
     Willard died on 23 Jan 1855 in Iowa at age 73.11

Citations

  1. [S862] Births, Marriages and Deaths, Pawlet, Vermont, 1768-1856, pg 5, shows name as Willard Cobb.
  2. [S1171] Hollister, Pawlet for One Hundred Years, pg 179, shows name as Capt. Willard Cobb, pg 261.
  3. [S862] Births, Marriages and Deaths, Pawlet, Vermont, 1768-1856, pg 5.
  4. [S1171] Hollister, Pawlet for One Hundred Years, pp 179, 261.
  5. [S1171] Hollister, Pawlet for One Hundred Years, pg 261, article attributed to Henry Willard.
  6. [S862] Births, Marriages and Deaths, Pawlet, Vermont, 1768-1856, pg 5, shows date, but last two digits of year are unreadable. Since the entries for his older siblings show other places, it appears the absence of a place entry indicates a local birth.
  7. [S863] Cobb, History of the Cobb Family, pg 155, citing Pawlet Town Records, and pg 187, shows date, town, and state.
  8. [S2267] Pawlet Land Records, 6:326, Willard Cobb and wife Amy to Daty Allen, 20 Feb 1807.
  9. [S862] Births, Marriages and Deaths, Pawlet, Vermont, 1768-1856, pg 25, birth records for children, show parents as Willard and Amy Cobb, the earliest being born 19 Jan 1807.
  10. [S500] Findagrave.com, online, memorial # 39527465, Amy Allen Cobb, includes tombstone photo showing her as his wife.
  11. [S2380] Kennedy, "Re: The Cobb Family," e-mail to author, 17 Jan 2007.
  12. [S1781] Elkanah Cobb household, 1790 U.S. Census, Rutland Co., Vermont.
  13. [S2267] Pawlet Land Records, 6:217, David Comstock to Willard Cobb, 26 Mar 1805; 6:218, Willard Cobb to William Maher, recorded same date.
  14. [S1171] Hollister, Pawlet for One Hundred Years, pg 60, shows Maher had trip hammers on Wells Brook; pg 213, describes his occupation.
  15. [S2267] Pawlet Land Records, 6:469-70, Willard Cobb to Data Allen, 2 Nov 1809.
  16. [S2267] Pawlet Land Records, 7:177-8, Daty Allen to Willard Cobb, 1 Jul 1813; 7:178, Willard Cobb to David Murry, 1 Jul 1813; 7:179, mortgage deed, David Murry to Willard Cobb, 1 Jul 1813; and 7:329-30, David Murry to Willard Cobb, 7 Mar 1815.
  17. [S1171] Hollister, Pawlet for One Hundred Years, pg 59.
  18. [S2267] Pawlet Land Records, 7:525, Willard Cobb to Jonathan Stevens, 4 Feb 1817, parcel containing lots #43, 44, 45, 46 and 26 of the pine pitches and the water rights excepting those previously sold to William Mahan.
  19. [S1171] Hollister, Pawlet for One Hundred Years, pp 58-9, shows Stevens built the first factory in West Pawlet in 1812 and operated it two or three years, then went into Cobb's factory, which was soon burnt.
  20. [S2330] Willard Cobb household, 1810 U.S. Census, Rutland Co., Vermont.
  21. [S1171] Hollister, Pawlet for One Hundred Years, pg 21, shows him as Capt. in unit formed in 1812, not called out; pg 35 shows he was one of the captains of a unit formed in 1802, pg 179 shows he was an officer in the war of 1812.
  22. [S863] Cobb, History of the Cobb Family, pg 187, citing Hollister, shows he was captain of company formed in 1802, and describes field piece.
  23. [S2332] "War of 1812 Service Records," Ancestry.com, citing roll box 42, roll exct 602, shows he was in the 1 Reg't (Martindale's) of Vermont Militia, entered and discharged as a 2 Lieutenant.
  24. [S1171] Hollister, Pawlet for One Hundred Years, pg 112.
  25. [S1171] Hollister, Pawlet for One Hundred Years, pg 39.
  26. [S2267] Pawlet Land Records, 6:224, David Cleaveland to Mary Cobb, 26 Apr 1805; and 7:475, Mary Remmington to Willard Cobb, 15 Apr 1816.
  27. [S2267] Pawlet Land Records, 7:446, Jonathan Stevens to Willard Cobb, 12 Mar 1816, described by metes and bounds; 7:447, Jared Stevens to Willard Cobb, 20 Mar 1816, described as 112 ac., and by adjoining properties, and noted and the tract deeded by William Stevens to Jared and Jonathan Stevens; 7:448, mortgage deed Willard Cobb to Jared Stevens, 20 Mar 1816; 7:529, Willard Cobb to Hartly Hollister & Lera Wright, 30 Jan 1817, 36 rods corner to Hartly's dwelling house; and 8:7, Willard Cobb to Jared Stevens, undivided half of about 120 ac., same as deeded by grantor to grantee 20 Mar 1816 excepting about ¼ ac. previously deeded to Hartly Hollister.
  28. [S2267] Pawlet Land Records, 8:9, mortgage deed, Willard Cobb to Henry Buckley & Reuben Skinner, 23 Jul 1817; 8:73, Willard Cobb to Henry Buckley & Reuben Skinner, 18 Sep 1818.
  29. [S2267] Pawlet Land Records, 8:46-7, Harris Hasford, sherriff's deputy to Jonathon Bidwell, 2 Feb 1819, includes text of court order.
  30. [S2267] Pawlet Land Records, 8:145, Willard Cobb to Joel Simonds Jnr., 8 Dec 1819.
  31. [S2329] Willard Cobb household, 1820 U.S. Census, Rutland Co., Vermont.
  32. [S2233] Paul and Parks, History of Wells, Vermont, pg 79, shows he moved to Wells in 1821.
  33. [S1171] Hollister, Pawlet for One Hundred Years, pg 179, shows that he "built the the store house at Polley's landing in Fort Ann. Thence he went west."
  34. [S2233] Paul and Parks, History of Wells, Vermont, pg 79, shows he moved to Fort Ann, N. Y. in 184.
  35. [S2331] Willard Cob household, 1830 U.S. Census, Decatur Co., Indiana.
  36. [S2360] Cobb, cash sale land patent, 30 Sep 1835, Bureau of Land Management, Jeffersonville Land Office.
  37. [S2329] Willard Cobb household, 1820 U.S. Census, Rutland Co., Vermont, shows one person engaged in agriculture.
  38. [S2327] Willard Cobb household, 1840 U.S. Census, Decatur Co., Indiana, shows two persons in the household engaged in agriculture.
  39. [S2328] Willard Cobb household, 1850 U.S. Census, Mahaska Co., Iowa, shows occupation as merchant.
  40. [S2730] "List of Delegates," Indiana Democrat, 8 Jan 1836.
  41. [S2327] Willard Cobb household, 1840 U.S. Census, Decatur Co., Indiana.
  42. [S7466] Mahaska Co., Iowa, Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971.
  43. [S2328] Willard Cobb household, 1850 U.S. Census, Mahaska Co., Iowa.
  44. [S862] Births, Marriages and Deaths, Pawlet, Vermont, 1768-1856, pg 25.
  45. [S2233] Paul and Parks, History of Wells, Vermont, pg 79.
  46. [S2328] Willard Cobb household, 1850 U.S. Census, Mahaska Co., Iowa, shows them apparently living as parent and child.
  47. [S7467] The History of Mahaska County, Iowa, pg 601.