52 Ancestors: #49 Sarah COCKRAM, wife of David PROFFITT

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #49 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Can you believe it’s December and time for the last four ancestors in this wonderful challenge?

52 Ancestors: #49 Sarah COCKRAM, wife of David PROFFITT

My 4th great-grandmother Sarah COCKRAM was [maybe] the youngest daughter of Edward COCKRAM (1748-1816) and his wife Mary (d. aft. 1816). Edward was born on
7 June 1748 in Newport, Charles County, Maryland.[1]

Others who have researched this family have claimed Edward Cockram’s wife, Mary, was an Edwards and sometimes an Isham, although never with any documentation for this claim. ~ Truman Adkins

In May 1999 Truman Adkins made this statement in a study he wrote titled “Edward and Nathan Cockram.” In this write-up he discussed evidence he found which lead to his conclusion that Edward was the son of Nathan COCKRAM and his wife Sarah who married a Mr. HARRIS after Nathan’s death in 1778. Mr. Adkins did a remarkable job of studying deed, plea, will and county order books from 1764 through 1816. He posted an update on the Floyd County, Virginia, mailing list in December 1999. He may not have found the birth/christening record in Maryland that lists Edward’s parents as Nathan and Sarah, however the evidence he presented clearly proves his case.

revEdward COCKRAM was a Revolutionary War soldier in the 1st Virginia Regiment. He joined George Rogers Clark on his expedition into the northwest territory to wrest the forts from the British in what is now Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. His name was spelled COCHRAN on this payroll of Botetourt County’s Capt. Isaac Taylor’s Company of Volunteers in the Illinois Regiment commanded by Colonel John Montgomery. He was a private, enlisted on 29 January 1779, discharged on 22 August 1780 after serving 206 days, his pay being £13 14 shilling 8 pence.

Edward Cockram, Sr. lived on the lower waters of Shooting Creek near where the creek enters Smith’s River. The old home was on the east slope of Renfro Ridge.[2]

He paid taxes in Franklin County, Virginia, is 1788 and 1799 as seen here:

1788 Personal Property List B for Franklin County, Virginia (accessed online http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/Franklin/1788PersonalB/06.jpg)
1799 Personal Property Tax List A for Franklin County, Virginia (accessed online http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/Franklin/1799PersonalA/03.jpg)

Of course he paid taxes in other years but these are the only two that are online. [Wish List: Better access to early tax lists!]

By 1810 both he and his wife were getting into their sixties and still had three daughters living at home. One of these would have been my 4th great-grandmother Sarah who would marry in 1813.

1810 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Franklin (ancesty.com)

1810 U.S. Federal Census
Franklin County, Virginia
Name: Edward Cochran
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (Edward)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Charlotte and Sarah b. abt. 1794-1800)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Mary b. abt. 1785-1794)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (wife, Mary)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 2
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 5

Edward COCKRAM died between 26 May 1816, the date he wrote his will, and 1 July 1816, the date it was proved,  and was buried in a cemetery on the Franklin and Patrick County line 1/2 mile east of Road #820.

Will of Edward Cockram, 1816 – Franklin Co. VA
Franklin County, Virginia, Will Book 2, page 148:
In the name of God Amen, I Edward Cockram Senr. of the county of Franklin and State of Virginia being weak of body but of perfect memory and calling to mind the mortality of my body and that it is appd onst for all men to die, have made this my last will and testament. Fir of all I resign my Soul into the hands of Almighty God who give it me, and my body to be Buried in Christian like Manner at the discretion of my Executors, nothing doubting but I shall receive the same again by the might power of God at the General Reseraction at the last Day. And as touching my worldly Estate whare with it has bin Please to Bless me with, I give and bequeath it in the following manner that is to say, I give and Bequeth my whole Estate – real and personal to my Beloved wife Mary so long as she lives and after her Disseas the whole that is left Land and other Property of every kind to be sold at publick Auction on a Credit of twelve months by giving Bond and approved Security and the money arising from such Sale to be Equally divided between my ten Children namely: Leah Pedigo, Nathan, Isham, Rachel Wood, wife of Richard Wood; Lydia, Preston, Mary, Edward, Charlotte, Sarah Proffitt. Also I appoint my wife Executrix Nathan my son Executor of this my last will and testament. Signed, Sealed and Acknowledged this twenty-sixth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand and eight hundred and sixteen.
(Signed) Edward Cockram
Teste: Thomas Hale, Brice Edwards, John Wood
Proved: July 1, 1816
Submitted by Truman Adkins

His wife Mary was mentioned in the will and most likely died after 1816. From Truman Adkins’ work I know that Edward and Mary were married as early as 1786 as they are seen selling land in Henry County:

Deed Book 3, page 225, on 24 May 1786, Edward Cockram and his wife, Mary, convey Preston Kendrick 50 acres on the south side of Smiths River for 15 pounds. The property description being: “Beginning at the Loer Small pond in the lo ground of the river thence north to the back line thence east to Edwards line thence along Edwards line to the river, down Smiths river to the beginning.” Both sign by a mark “X”. With the witnesses being Gabreal Roberts and Joseph Goodwin, deed recorded 27 July 1786. ~ Truman Adkins

More importantly Edward mentioned his 10 children by name. Was Mary, mention in Edward’s will, the mother of all of his children? If he listed them in order of birth, then my 4th great-grandmother Sarah was the youngest of the bunch and definitely Mary’s child as she was born after 1786. After locating the census listings of most of the children I wonder if they might not have been listed exact order of birth. I mostly had pre-1850 censuses to work from which gave only age ranges, making it impossible to draw up close estimations on the years of birth.

  • Child 1: Leah COCKRAM (1770-1840) born about 1770 or as early as 1765 (1810 age 45 & over). She married Henry PEDIGO ( -1810) on 17 November 1790 in Franklin County, Virginia. She was widowed before the 1810 census as she was seen in Barren County, Kentucky, in 1810 (4 boys and 3 girls) and 1820 with her own household. I have not been able to locate her in 1830.
  • Child 2: Nathan COCKRAM (1770-1860) born about 1770 (1850 age 80). Nathan married Bathsheba PEDIGO on 12 January 1798 in Patrick County, Virginia. He died 19 May 1860 in Patrick County, Virginia.
  • Child 3: Isham COCKRAM (1773-1860) born about 1773 (1850 age 77). He married Sarah RAKES in March 1795 in Patrick County, Virginia. He died 2 October 1860 in Patrick County, Virginia.
  • Child 4: Rachel COCKRAM (1775-1823) born about 1775. Rachel married Richard “Dickey” WOOD (1774-1859) about 1797. She died 13 December 1823 in Patrick County, Virginia.
  • Child 5: Lydia COCKRAM (1791-1860) born before 1785. She married Henry PEMBERTON, most likely before 1803 as she had two daughters born before 1805. She had 4 children under 10 in 1810 and was in the 16-25 yrs. range; 1820 age 26-44; 1830 age 40-49; [and then it gets complicated] 1840 age 60-69; 1850 age 59; and 1860 age 90! Lydia died between 1860-1870 in Casey County, Kentucky.
  • Child 6: Preston COCKRAM (1786-1840) born between 1776-1780 (per pre-1850). He married(1) Susannah PEMBERTON (1778-1829) about 1800. He married(2) Mary Elisabeth EDWARDS on 16 June 1832 in Barren County, Kentucky. Preston died about 1842 in Barren County, Kentucky.
  • Child 7: Mary COCKRAM may have been born between 1785-1794 (per 1810). No further information found.
  • Child 8: Edward COCKRAM (1786-1867) born about 1786. Edward married Mary RAKES on 1 November 1806 in Patrick County, Virginia. He died 29 November 1867 in Patrick County, Virginia.
  • Child 9: Charlotte COCKRAM (1794- ) born between 1794-1800 (per 1810). She married James PARKER ( -1822) on 9 September 1818 in Franklin County, Virginia, and as widowed 4 years later. No information found.
  • Child 10: Sarah “Sally” COCKRAM was born between 1794-1800 in Franklin County, Virginia. She was my 4th great-grandmother and the subject of this post.

The War of 1812 (18 Jun 1812-24 Dec 1814) was in full swing when Edward and Mary’s daughter Sarah “Sally” COCKRAM married David PROFFITT on 21 October 1813 in Franklin County, Virginia.[3] In 1850 she was listed on the census as 47 years old and in 1860 as 57. This would put her year of birth at 1803 which is very unlikely as she would have been only 10 years old when she married. From 1830 to 1840 her age range remained the same on the census. Could it be that once she past 40 she began fibbing about her age?

Sally and David had two daughters, Hessie (1814) and Rachel (1817), by the time the 1820 census was enumerated. My 3rd great-grandmother Rachel was likely named after Sally’s sister Rachel – could she, in turn, have been named after her maternal grandmother, Mary’s mother, who is not known?

The 1820s saw the birth of three sons, Austin (1822), Preston (1825), and David (1827) and a daughter who remains unknown. Austin and David are names from the PROFFITT side of the family, the father and grandfather of David PROFFITT. Was Preston the first name of the maternal grandfather, Mary’s father, who is not known?

Sally and David continued to name children after their parents with the birth of son Edward (1831) who was named after Edward COCKRAM. And then they ran out of parents and grandparents as they named the last two children Samuel (1837) and Stabina (1840).

Samuel became a very popular name in the PROFFIT family. Six boys being named Samuel in a 15 year period from 1853 through 1878 – you can imagine the confusion that they caused in the family tree. If Truman Adkins had not established that Nathan COCKRAM was the father of Edward one might consider all the unsourced family trees that list Samuel COCKRAM as his father ~ or maybe not!

Sally’s oldest daughter  Hessie “Esther” married Owen STEVENS (1821-1900) on 19 August 1835 in Franklin County, Virginia. She made Sally and David grandparents to two granddaughters before they completed their own family.

When Sally’s second daughter Rachel married the twice widowed Jordan N. PETERS on 8 December 1841 in Franklin County, 11 step-grandchildren joined the family. Jordan’s oldest daughter was about the same age as his bride Rachel and his youngest was only two years old.

Three of Sally’s sons married in the 1840s: Preston married Martha WRIGHT (1820-1880) on 1 June 1844 in Floyd County[4]; Austin married Vincey NEWBERRY (1827-1910) on 14 September 1844 in Franklin County; and Edward “Ned” married Sarah “Sally” KEEN (1825- ) on 6 January 1848 in Tazewell County. The locations of these marriages coincide with the move of the PROFFITT family from Franklin County to Russell County.

Sally saw three more of her children marry before 1860. Stabina/Statina married Jessee R. MUSICK on 13 September 1855 in Russell County. Two of her sons married PINION ladies however marriage records were not found: David married Jane PINION (her maiden name was found of the death certificate of a son) before 1855 and Samuel married Tabitha PINION before 1860. Samuel and Tabitha were foun in the 1860 census with a little girl with the surname PINION. This lead to the 1850 census listing of Tabitha PINION, perhaps not a reliable method of determining a maiden name but in this case the names were not too common and it worked.

Sarah “Sally” COCKRAM died between 1860 and 1870 and her husband David PROFFITT followed her during the next decade in 1870s. They were survived by all of their children except possibly Stabina who died 15 October 1874 in Lawrence County, Kentucky, while bearing a child.[5]

The dates of death of many of their children are not known but they appear to have all lived long lives. My 3rd great-grandmother Rachel was 88 and her brother Austin was in his nineties when they died.

[1] “Maryland, Births and Christenings, 1650-1995,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F48M-42Q : accessed 03 Dec 2014), Edward Cockram, 07 Jun 1748; citing TRINITY PARISH,CHARLES,MARYLAND; FHL microfilm 13759. {Request for Photo Duplication sent 3 Dec 2014}
[2] Dr. Amos D. Wood, Floyd County: A History of Its People and Places, page 37. Commonwealth Press, 1981.
[3] Ancestry.com. Franklin County, Virginia Marriage Bonds, 1786-1858 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999. Original data: Wingfield, Marshall. Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia. Memphis, TN, USA: West Tennessee Historical Societ, 1939.
[4] Barbara Reininger, compiler and website owner, Floyd County, Virginia, Marriages, Transcribed by Barbara Reininger from images of microfilm records obtained by Rena Worthen from the Library of Virginia.  (online: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~barbr/zz_marriages.htm).
[5] Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1953 [database on-line].

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

10 thoughts on “52 Ancestors: #49 Sarah COCKRAM, wife of David PROFFITT”

    1. Your Mary would be the daughter of Isham. My Sarah and your Isham were sister and brother, both children of Edward and Mary Cockram.

      Marriage Bonds of Franklin County Virginia 1786-1858; page 104
      Hale, Jonathan, s. Thos., and Mary Cockran, dau. Isham,Feb. 7, 1825. Sur. Joseph Edwards.
      [Source: Ancestry.com. Franklin County, Virginia Marriage Bonds, 1786-1858 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999. Original data: Wingfield, Marshall. Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, Virginia. Memphis, TN, USA: West Tennessee Historical Societ, 1939.]


  1. Not related, but your James Parker who married Charlotte Cockram was murdered in Sept of 1822 by William Newberry (who is my 5th great grandfather) I don’t supposed you have ran into any other information regarding this have you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michelle, although I’ve looked for census listing for some of the siblings of my Sarah Cockram, Charlotte and her husband James Parker have not been researched. I did not know James Parker was murdered and therefore have not run into any other information regarding this. I’ll be on the lookout and would be happy to share if I find anything. Thank you for stopping by.


      1. Cathy, I am the 4th great-granddaughter of Sarah Cockram Profitt as well. I am also the 4th great-granddaughter of William Newberry, who was convicted of the ( Sept 22, 1822) murder of James Parker, the husband of Sarah’s sister Charlotte. I have just begun to sort out this story but so far it seems at the time of the murder, William was an old man of 88 yrs while James was still young, having only been married for 4 years. Wm pled not guilty but I think there were those who could testify he was responsible. He was sentenced a week later on Oct 1 to 8 years, the first 8 months in solitary with a bread and water diet. It was pretty much known that he would die from it and he did, a few months to a year later. I can’t imagine how it all happened and it’s all very sad. I saw the court record that stated Wm had never had charges brought against him before that so no record of him being either a good man or a bad one.


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