Sources for Thomas & Margaret Cook

Thomas Cook’s Last Will and Testament can be found at in its All Published Collections, under North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970, image 62/238. He wrote it on the 9th Nov 1791 while living in Iredell County. His wife’s name is Margaret and it starts with giving each of his four daughters 5 shillings: Margaret McKnight, Jean McConel (sic), Mary Hughes/Hughey and Elizabeth Nelson. To his son Alexander he leaves his cross-cut saw. Son William receives Peet, a Negro boy and 1/5 of the household furniture, 1/5 of the hogs and sheep plus two cows and calves. Son Thomas Cook receives £10 or its equivalent. Wife Margaret receives a Negro woman named Kate and a Negro boy. Thomas’ youngest son Joseph receives the plantation and a Negro man named Jack and a boy whose name is illegible. Sons William and Joseph Cook are to become executors. The names of the witnesses are estimated as Thomas Beaty (Beatty), Alex’r Hughes and Hugh Torrence Jr.

North Carolina

The birth order of these children is quite random. They are named in their father’s Will, wherein he indicates that James is his eldest son and Joseph is the youngest, but the birth order of the other children is unclear. Read more

Margaret Cook’s family name, birth place and year are unknown but she did write a Last Will and Testament in Iredell County, North Carolina in 1802. See the source for Thomas’ Will above; Margaret’s follows on at image 63/238.

In her 1995 examination of Artisans in the North Carolina Backcountry, author Johanna Miller Lewis describes the people who came to the backcountry. Less expensive land was the prize that kept drawing these settlers. Many newcomers worked as farmers and craftsmen till the emerging economy could support their skills. The artisan settlers plied practical trades that supplied food, clothing, shelter, transportation and the needed raw materials were close at hand on the frontier. There were weavers, shoemakers and tailors; tanners, blacksmiths, millwrights and saddlers. They worked in flax, wool, leather, iron and harnessed waterways to provide sustained power.

In Rowan County between the Yadkin and Catawba Rivers, were several settlements, one a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian settlement near Davidson’s Creek at Coddle Creek. Lewis points to “three grantees of the original twenty-five (at Davidson’s Creek between 1748-1751) were artisans. George Davidson Jr. was a tanner, John McConnell a weaver, and Thomas Cook a tailor.” p.24. Artisans in the North Carolina Backcountry, Johanna Miller Lewis, University Press of Kentucky, 1995, p.19, 23-24.

Carolina Cradle: Settlement of the Northwest Carolina Frontier 1747-1762, Robert W. Ramsey, University of North Carolina Press, 1987, pp 53-4, 177.

A History of Rowan County North Carolina, by Jethro Rumple, originally published 1881 by J. J. Bruner, Salisbury NC; now available online thru, search: A History of Rowan County. > Tax, Criminal, Land and Wills > Cook. List of Taxable Property in the County of Rowan NC; transcribed from several lists returned by the August Term anno 1778; Captain Dickson’s District: p.8; Captain John Cowan’s District, p.29.

North Carolina, Probate Records, 1735-1970, > All Published Collections> North Carolina Probate Records > Iredell > Wills 1790-1819, Vol. 01.

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