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Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Search for ...Daniel Noyes Cookson #2: Too Many John Cooksons!

     As previously discussed I have been searching for Daniel Noyes Cookson. I have been searching the online Land and Probate records on Family Search. In these I found probate records for Abram Cookson in the town of Freedom, Waldo Co. Freedom is about 12 miles to the east of Belmont. I looked Abram up in Ancestry trees and found one tree which noted his marriage as being from the town records of Morrill. Morrill is right next to Belmont and I thought I should check for anything of interest in that town. Belmont, by the way, is the town noted as the birthplace of Calvin Gray Cookson in his army enlistment records.

     Ancestry has a History of Morrill in full in its collection. So I read it. On page 143 (image 157) he mentions Jos. Cookson living "at the foot of the pond" before 1820, John Cookson Sen. living on the "Uriah Rowe place" in 1820 and John Cookson Jr. living on Valley St. in 1825.  He also mentions Eben Cookson, son of John sen, in 1840 and Reuben Cookson, son of Jos. Cookson drowning in Dec 1818. Joseph Cookson is the son of Reuben and Mary (York) Cookson, he is shown as living in Unity in 1820. There is a John Cookson living in Belmont in the 1820 Census between the ages of 26 and 44, his wife (presumably) is shown as 45 or over so perhaps he was 44.  There are two males 10-15 and one under 10 and two females 10-15. Eben is likely one of these three males. John Jr. might be the oldest of these three males as he would be 20 in 1825 and likely be living on his own. I just don't know who John Sen is.  If he is 44 in 1820 then he was born in 1776, if 26 then born in 1794.  It is unlikely he would be 26 and have a wife 45 or over.

     The John Cooksons I have record of don't seem to fit these dates.  John Cookson of Boston, 1672-1762, had a son John, 1706-1790, who died in Standish, Maine.  He had a son John, born 1761, who died in Jun 1790.  That John had a son John, born 1788 who died in Maine in either 1828 or 1848. He would've been 32 in 1820, this could be him in Belmont but then his wife's age is either wrong or the woman in the household is his mother and his wife had died. The data I found on Ancestry gives his wife's name as Lydia Nash but no dates for her and names no children. John Cookson of Boston also had a son Obadiah who had a son John, presumably our ancestor. This John was born in 1738 so he would have been 82 in 1820 and not the John in Belmont. As speculation, I don't have a full list of this John's children.  The only one I have is Daniel Noyes Cookson born about 1770. Given the time frame this John in the 1820 Census could be Daniel's brother, born in 1776, making it logical for Daniel to be in the area also. These Johns had other sons for whom I have no data on children so there may be other Johns that I have not accounted for.

     We may hope that this John Cookson Sen and Jr are not in our family line.  The Morrill history goes on to tell us that John Cookson, Sen abandoned his family around 1828 and that John Cookson Jr was subject to wild fits that required several men of the town to control him!  And Eben Cookson, John Cookson Sen's son, basically lived on charity in the town in from 1840 until 1884 when he died.

      The two points of history which I gleaned from this town history which are the most helpful are these.  The Belmont area was originally part of the Greene Plantation in the Waldo patent.  This area was not well supervised and by 1805 there were 500 families living there as squatters, in other words they had settled in, worked the land and so on, without buying it or obtaining any legal deed to it.  In 1808 the authorities tried to put in order and either evict the squatters or get payment.  This was met by resistance including the men dressing up as Indians and threatening violence. They were called the Greene Indians and this was known as the Greene Indian War! Eventually it was worked out that they could pay for the land and stay on it. So this tells me that Daniel Cookson may well have been living

here without any deed being recorded. For this reason he may have been reluctant to appear on a Census record as well. (And I haven't found him on any Census.)

     The other datum of interest is that  on p. 23 (image 22), it says that from 1813 to 1820 there was a "rush from the Western part of Maine...to the east, or, into the woods" and many of the settlers sold out and went further east.  We know that our Calvin Cookson was born in Oct 1820 in Belmont but was living in Linneus, Aroostook Co. by 1839 (this is the furthest east you could go in Maine and is still largely uncultivated forest.)  So likely the family moved east to Aroostook (Washington Co. at the time) at the end of 1820 or so which is over ten years earlier than I had thought.

     So there you go.  Some clues found, some new questions and so we carry on!

1 comment:

  1. How confusing, especially with all the generations of John Cooksons! Also very unusual to "go east" into the wilderness, when it seems that the history of our country is of "go west"!