Last Known Address

Cemeteries offer clues about where people ended their days. The website sometimes includes photos of grave markers as well as notes about the relationships of the grave-holder.

Listed in the Centre Presbyterian Church Cemetery at Mount Mourne, Iredell, one would expect to find the names Thomas and Margaret Cook but of the 659 graves listed there, only two are Cook and neither Moses Sidney Cook nor his wife A. Isabel are known to be related. On the other hand, the name of Hugh Torrence (1754-1797) is certainly familiar from the Will of Thomas Cook Sr. The Hugh Torrence buried here was probably the father of the witness in the Will. While the Baker’s Cemetery in Mount Mourne has no pertinent Cooks related to this search, two McConnells are there, including John McConnell Sr. (1721-1801).

One explanation for the confusion about cemeteries is that over the years 1954 to 1964, the Catawba River was altered and flooded to create Cowans Ford Dam. Therein was Lake Norman created at Huntersville. Cemeteries and surviving buildings were moved for further preservation.12

Names of congregations and place names are reminiscent of Ireland’s Ulster region. Any Hopewell Presbyterian Church—and there are many up and down the Atlantic coast where Protestants-from-Ireland came ashore—refers to the 250 tonne passenger vessel used to bring settlers from northern Irish ports to Philadelphia, Newcastle and sometimes Halifax. The Hopewell Church in Iredell County was among the first in North Carolina.

And Mount Mourne harkens back to the highest mountain range in Ulster. A journal written by one Alexander McChesney/Chesney has survived since 1772 when, as a young man, he set off for South Carolina and traveled to the backcountry. There, he had relatives one of whom he referred to as “the widow Cook” of Thicketty Creek on a branch of the Pacolet River. Research shows that “widow Cook” was his aunt Sarah Fulton Cook who, with husband John and family, immigrated to Pennsylvania from County Antrim. John died in Pennsylvania but Sarah and her children migrated south along the Great Wagon Road to a region close to the North-South Carolina border. Chesney indicated those Cooks were Loyalist in their political persuasions. The consequences of confiscating the land of Loyalists and their diaspora remain unclear. Chesney himself was able to return to Ulster where he was buried in 1843 at Mourne Presbyterian Church in Kilkeel.13