By all indications, the Cooks in South Carolina did not come directly to the Carolinas, rather from a northern inland route called The Great Wagon Road. That’s the path taken by large numbers of people known as Scotch-Irish who left Northern Ireland to arrive at Delaware River ports, principally Philadelphia. They spent some time in Pennsylvania townships before turning south toward more open space and bargain land prices. It’s a story told over and over again in a continent that settlers believed was theirs for the taking.
The primary researcher of this family is a resident of Texas and he has posted his findings on an Ancestry Public Members Tree www.ancestry.com, Cook Family History, owned by <cook4668>. It is no surprise that various researchers interpret data differently and our account starts at a different place than the Ancestry Public Tree. We start in 1843 in Franklin County in the Northwest part of Alabama. That was the year that Joseph Thomas Cook Jr. was born. His parents were Joseph Thomas Cook Sr. and Lucinda Cook and while it may be true that Cook Senior and Lucinda came from South Carolina, because of undocumented evidence, it may be premature to proclaim it too loudly.
By 1830, a family headed by Joseph Thomas Cook and Lucinda are residents of Northwest Alabama. Tracing a family through successive census records reveals quite a lot of information. The US 1830 Census lists “Jos T. Cook” in Franklin County, AL. It’s a nominal census which means people are listed by gender, age group and race. It appears that JT Senior and his wife are in their 20s and beginning their child-bearing years. Six people are accounted for.
At the next federal census in 1840, Jos. T. Cook is still in Franklin County, and there are 11 people in his household. Agriculture is their occupation. The 1850 US Census is the first to name members of a household and list their ages. This time Joseph T. Cook and family are living in Bodcaw Township, Hempstead County in Arkansas. The parents are named and among their 13 children are 8 year old twins, “Joseph F. and Minervia A. Cook”. Allowing for Census Taker Spelling Disorder, this should read Joseph T. Cook Jr. and Minerva A. Cook.
The 1860 US Census shows quite a different profile of the family. They now reside in Alabama Township in Columbia County, Arkansas. Joseph Thomas Sr. has died and is buried in the Falcon Cemetery. Lucinda is aged 50 and heads the household even though it appears one of her sons has married and lives with his wife in his mother’s house.