The Will of Henery (Henry) Cobb


"The last Will and Testament of Mr. Henry Cobb made this 4th of April1673 And

exhibited before the Court held att Plymouth: the third ofJune 1679 on the oathes of Mr. Thomas Hinckley and Mistris Mary Hinckley his wife as followeth:



I, Henery Cobb of Barnstable though weak in body yett through the Mercye of God

 of disposing mind and memory and calling to mind the uncertainty of this

Transitory Life; make this my Last Will and Testament heerby Revoking and

disanulling all former Will and Wills byword or writing hertofore by mee made;

and doe heerby Constitute and desire to Comit my soul to God in Jesus Christ who

Gave it and my body to decent burial; when God shall please to call mee hence;

and astouching my worldly estate which god hath beyond my deserts bestowed on mee

 my will is to dispose of it as followeth.


Imps. My Will is that all my debts in Right or Conscience to any man due, shall

be first discharged by my executrix heerafter Named; in Convenient time out of my

estate; and to his heires and assignes forever; hee having heertofore payed five

pounds to my son John Cobb for his Interest therin; and wheras I heretofore Gave

half my Lands att Suconeesett unto my sons John, James, Gershom and Eliezer

equally to be devided betwixt them which was with my Consent sold and

exchanged;and forty shillings being in the hand of my son James for my

brother Eliezer that forty shillings in pay Currant, with the Marchant; Item,I

will and bequeath my New dwelling house and all the rest of my Lands both upland

and medow unto Sarah my deare and loveing wife, during her Natural life, for her

support; and bringing up the Children I had by her.


Item, my will is that after her decease; my son Samuell shall have my dwelling

house and two acrees of my upland; and an acree and a half of my Marsh; which I

bought with his Stock being the one half of a parcell of Marsh, lying att Sandy

Neck; in partenorship with my son James. It, I will and bequeath to my sonnes

 Samuell, Jonathan and Henery all of the Rest of my lands both upland and

meddowes, To be equally divided betwixt them after my said wifes decease, or

sooner if shee see cause; To each of them their heires and assignes for

ever; Item, I give and bequeath unto my sonnes John, Gershom and Eliezer

on shilling to each of them; and to my daughters Mayr, Hannah and Patience to each

of them one shilling out of my estate; Item, I will and bequeath to my daughter

 Sarah my second best bed and furnituretherunto belonging. Item, I will and

bequeast all the rest of my estate in whatsoever It be within dores or without

unto Sarah my Loveing wife; whom I doe by these presents Constiture and eclare to

be my sole execturix. In Witness wherof I have herunto sett my hand and seale; The

date aforsaid with this word half ente rlined before In sealeing heerof


Henery Cobb anda seale



In the presence of


Thomas Hinckley Assistant


Mary Hinckley



On further Consideration I the within or above mentioned Henery Cobb have cause


this Coddicelll to be added to this my Last Will and Testament viz: my will is


that my son Samuell shall have the onely two acrees of my upland together with


the Marsh att Sandy Neck with mensioned after my wifes decease; and all the Rest


of my lands to bequally divided between my said three sones Samuell, Jonathan


and Hennery as above mentioned.and further my will is that my son Henery shall


 have my new dwellinghouse aftermy wifes decease, and his Pte of the land aforsaid to


 lyemost Convenient to the said house onely my lannds att the Iland shalbe eually


devided between them, mysaid three sons; whom I will thatthey shall Give libertie to


my son James to dry thach on one half odan acree of said Iland; when the English


Corne is taken off in suchplace therof as they shall Annally appoint, unto him; In


Witness whereof I have heerunto sett my hand and seale this 22cond day ofFebruary






Henery Cobb and a Seale.



Signed sealed and delivered as an addition to his last Well and Testament within


 mensioned in the presence of us


Thomas Hinckley Assistant



Mary Hinckley


Proved June 3, 1679



Site of the First Church in Scituate, MA 1634


Plaque at entrance to Cemetery:



1636 1976

Men of Kent Cemetery Burial place of many of the Towns OriginalSettlers who came

from Kent County, England in 1628. This is also the site of the First Church in

Scituate built in 1634


Scituate Historical Society




First Meetinghouse erected on this lott Aug. ye 2d and 3d 1636 exercised in

Novemb 10 and 11, 1636 Site of the First Church in Scituate Marker at Center of



Erected to the Men of Kent who settled Scituate in 1628


Large Stone beyond entrance


Anthony Annable


Thomas Byrd


Henry Cobb


James Cudworth


Edward Foster


William Gillson


Timothy Hatherly


Henry Merritt


Henry Rowley


Nathaniel Tilden


Humphrey Turner




"The great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633"


Author: Robert Charles Anderson, Published: Boston: New England Historical Gene.

 Soc, 1995 3 Volumes.


Vog I, pages 392-395:


Henry Cobb: Origin: unknown: Removes: Scituate 1634, Barnstable 1639


Occupation: Tavernkeeper


Church Membership "Goodman Cob and his wife were member #7 and $8,admitted at

 the founding of Scituate church on 8 Jan. 1634/5 [NEHGR9:279]. "Decemb. 15,

 1635 our Brother Cobb was invested into the office of a Deacon"

at at Scituate [NEHGR 10:37]. Ordained ruling elder of Barnstable church, 14 April

1670 [Cobb Gen. citing BarnChR 1:1].


Freeman: in the "1633" Plymouth list of freemen near other admitted on1 Jan.

 1632/3 [PCR 1"4]; in 7 March 1636/7 list of freemen [PCR 1:53].Initially

entered in Scituate portion of 1639 llist of Plymouth Colony freemen, then

transferred to Barnstable section [PCR 8:175,177]. In Barnstable section of 1658

and 29 May 1670 lists of Plymouth freemen[PCR 5:277, 8:200]. He was a "Freeman".

The first volume of Court Orders of the Plymouth Colony gives the names of

Freemen of the Incorporation of Plymouth in New England, 1633. Henry Cobb was

Among the 68 individuals identified as a freeman.


Education: Signed his name to coroner's jury findings [PCR 2:147'. Hisinventory

included "books" valued at 24s.

Offices: Deputy for Barnstable, 5 June 1644, 3 June 1644, 3 Mar1645/6, 7 July

1646 [PCR2:72], 95, 104,117, 1:9, 162, 187, 198, 214,4:14]. Coroner's jury, 5

June 1658 [PCR 3:137]. Plymouth petit jury, 4June 1639, 3 Sept. 1639, 3 Dec

1639, 3 Mar. 1639/40, 1 Sept. 1640, 2Mar. 1640/1, 17 June 1641, 7 Sept. 1642, 6

June 1649, 6 June 1650 [PCR7:12-15, 18, 19,21, 32, 46, 49, 2:140]. Excise

collector for Barnstable, 8 June 1664 [PCR 4:67].


In Barnstable section of 1643 Plymouth list of men able to bear arms[PCR 8:193].

 Committee for defense of Barnstable, 10 Oct. 1643 [PCR2:65].


Estate: Assessed 9s. in the Plymouth tax lists of 25 Mar. 1633 and 27Mar 1634

[PCR 1:11 29].


[Brøderbund Family Archive #310, Ed. 1, Census Index: Colonial America, 1607-

1789, Date of Import: Oct 17, 1999, Internal Ref.#1.310.1.340.17]


Individual: Cobb, Henry


County/State: Plymouth Co., MA


Location: Plymouth


Page #: 253


Year: 1632


[Brøderbund Family Archive #310, Ed. 1, Census Index: ColonialAmerica, 1607-

1789, Date of Import: Oct 11, 1998, Internal Ref.#1.310.1.340.16]


Individual: Cobb, Henry


County/State: Plymouth Co., MA


Location: Barnstable


Page #: 258


Year: 1643





Henry Cobb (the Elder)

Barnstable, Massachusetts

Email File Manager  (Midge Corcoran)




Your Attention Please

Anyone who has been researching this particular Cobb lineage for very long at

all is aware of the value of a work published in 1968 by Cully Alton Cobb

(Ruralist Press, Atlanta), "The Cobbs of Tennessee". Now long out of print,

interest is being shown in doing a reprint. Your participation in this SURVEY is





Just about everything we know about Henry Cobb of Barnstable, MA, comes from the

records of Rev. John Lothrop, a Puritan preacher who emigrated from London in


Henry Cobb was the first known Cobb to emigrate from England to the Plymouth

Colony. Many descendants have long searched for his English origin and background. In developing this vignette of the immigrant I have drawn liberally

from the scholarly works of Philip L. Cobb, author of "The Cobb Family" (1907);

Richard Cobb, Harvard professor; and Richard Cobb, a retired Navy Captain.

However, the hypotheses and conclusions contained herein are my own. Much is

known on the activities of Henry Cobb, the Puritan, in the Bay Colony but little

has been done to unravel the specifics of his origin. There is general agreement

that "The Elder Henry" or "The Deacon Henry Cobb", came from an area in County

Kent east of the Medway River, which flows out of the hills of southern Kent

through Maidstone and Chatham and into the Thames Estuary. It is within this

area that inhabitants are called "Men of Kent" (Jutish origin); those to the

west of the Medway are known as"Kentish Men" (Saxon origin). Professor Richard

Cobb, through study and acquaintance with the Cape Cod descendants of Henry

Cobb, suggests that as a young man Henry Cobb was "rather short, with blue eyes

and reddish sandy hair." Interesting, as this description agrees with the

perceived appearance of the Germanic Jutes who invaded and settled in Great

Britain in the 5th century. The most visible trail of "Henry the Elder" in

England is found in his relationship with his church leader, the Reverend John



Lothrop, obviously disenchanted with the autocratic dogma of the King's Church,

left England in the ship "Griffin" with his family and some members of his

church for the Plymouth Colony, arriving there 18 September 1634. Here Henry

Cobb, the Lothrop protege who had been in the Colony for about five years,

responded to the call of his old friend and esteemed pastor. He aided the

Reverend in getting his family and church established in the newly formed town

of Scituate. Lothrop's records published in the New England Register, Volumes IX

and X, leaves little doubt of Henry Cobb's membership in Lothrop's London

church: "Uppon January 8, 1634, Wee had a day of humiliation and then att night

joyned in covenaunt to geather, so many of us had beene in Covenaunt before. To

Witt. Mr. Gilsonn and his wife, Goodman Anniball and his wife, Goodman Rowly and

his wife, Goodman Cob and his wife, Goodman Turner, Edward Foster, Myselfe,

Goodman Foxwell, Samuel House."


Most men of Kent were farmers in an area famous for hops, fruit and grain. Even

in this age, importance was attached to the idea of status. The term "Yeoman"was commonly used in legal and other documents to denote status above "Husbandman" (smaller, less prosperous farmer) and below that of "Gentleman" (upper middle class). Yeomen, from whom Henry Cobb was descended, were reasonably well educated. Some Yeomen sons attended the universities; some became clergymen. A review of the pedigrees of the Cobbs of Kent and a personal inspection of the Manor houses at Reculver and Eastleigh Court suggest 16th century gentry but 17th century Yeomen. Suffice it to say that the emigrant Henry Cobb did not inherit his father's estate. The major inheritance, by custom, probably went to Benjamin Cobb, the first-born son. This situation, as well as the significant influence of Reverend Lothrop, could have given the impressionable 18-year-old Henry Cobb ample justification to seek an apprenticeship in the shops or pubs of London in 1623, the year that Lothrop

formed his church there


The influence of the charismatic Lothrop on the Cobbs of Reculver must have been

substantial. The Cobb home at Relculver was about 15 miles from Egerton, Kent

where Lothrop was in residence from 1611-1623. Henry Cobb, the assumed father of

the emigrant Henry, was himself censured by the establishment. He had become

Lord of the Manor of Bishopstone, Reculver, Kent, when his father Richard died

in 1582. In the record of the Visitations of the Archdeacon of Canterbury in

1599 is found the following: "We present these persons whose names are hereunder

written for they refuse to pay unto a cess made by divers of our parish for the

reparation of our said church:....Henry Cobb 3 shillings, 10 pence (owed). The

nature of Henry Cobb's apprenticeship or trade in London is open to conjecture.

The fact that he came from an area rich in hops and grain and later in the

Colony he was authorized to dispense wine suggests the production and/or sale of

ale, the national beverage of the era. From the Plymouth Colony Record II 73: "5

June 1644, Henry Cobb is lycensed to draw wine at Barnstable."

What better place than an English pub in the 17th century to keep abreast of

politics, religion, and emigration. Henry Cobb of London must certainly have

been aware of a number of significant events, viz.: That in 1604, in a

declaration at Hampton Court, James I said of the Puritans,"I shall make them

conform themselves or I will harry them out of the land or else do worst." Henry

must have known the story of an undereducated group of separatists called

"Pilgrims" who sought refuge first in Amsterdam and subsequently in Leyden,

Holland; and the unwillingness to be assimilated into the Dutch culture, made

their way to Plymouth in 1620 aboard the Mayflower. (Of the 101 passengers on

the first voyage of the Mayflower, 35 were Leyden Pilgrims, the others mainly

merchants and adventurers.)

Phillip L. Cobb, historian, said of him: In 1628, the Puritans of Henry Cobb's

sect began their mass exodus. John Winthrop, a strong and able leader, in 1630

led nearly 1000 Puritans with their cattle and horses to settlements in the

Massachusetts Bay Colony. In general the Puritans were a wealthier and better

educated class than the Pilgrims but they shared their deeply religious

convictions. It was shortly after the Winthrop departure that Henry Cobb, at age

24, made his move, probably in the ship "The Anne" in 1629. Other possible ships

include "Mayflower II" and the "Little James," which also arrived at Cape Cod in

1629. Phillip L. Cobb, historian, said of him: "Elder Cobb was not a man of

brilliant talents. He was a useful man and an exemplary Christian." Richard

Cobb, educator, found the immigrant Cobb to be: "kindly, helpful, but adverse to

making trouble or having any part of it; sensible, rather shrewd, but non

assertive. Probably like many of his descendants on Cape Cod, he was independent

but sluggish in thought, conservative and sentimental in feeling, and outwardly

diffident, inarticulate. Certainly he held general respect, and he does not

appear to have excited envy." Professor Cobb said in his character analysis of

Henry, the emigrant, that he was "sensible, shrewd, adverse to making trouble or

being a part of it." How accurate this assessment of the man seems to have been.

Cobb didn't linger in London long enough to be jailed in the famous "clink" with

the zealous Lothrop and his followers in 1632. When the great Civil War of 1642

came about to settle the question of supremacy between King and Parliament, High

Church and Puritans, Henry Cobb is found saving souls and selling wine in

Massachusetts. Henry Cobb landed at the then nine-year-old Plymouth settlement

in 1629. Upon arrival, he was soon to find old friends and other "Men of Kent"

of the same political and religious persuasion. Thus he was readily assimilated

into the community. Within two years of his arrival (1631 ) he married Patience

Hurst, daughter of James Hurst (inter alia) the local tanner. Hurst was a man of

some consequence in Plymouth. He was a deacon of the church and, with men of the

caliber of Captain Miles Standish, was trusted with appraisal of estates of the

deceased. Both Hurst and Cobb were "Freemen." The first volume of Court Orders

of the Plymouth Colony gives "the names of Freemen of the Incorporation of

Plymouth in New England, 1633." James Hurst and Henry Cobb were among the 68

individuals identified as freemen. Freemen were never in the majority. In 1743

there were only 233 among a total of 634 males. To be a freeman in the Plymouth

Colony, you had to be unindentured, no younger than 21 years, of good reputation

and "orthodox in the the fundamentals of religion." Patience Hurst Cobb bore her

husband Henry seven children--two boys in Plymouth, three girls in Scituate and

two boys in Barnstable.

Patience died 4 May 1648. In typical Cobb tradition, Henry continued to marry

well. On 12 December 1649, Henry married Sarah Hinckley, the daughter of Samuel

and Sarah Hinckley. The Hinckleys were a particularly prominent family. Sarah

added eight more children to the Cobb Clan. Henry Cobb spent only a few years in

Plymouth where land was now at a premium with little room left for growth. As

early as 1628 some of his friends from Kent--among them William Gillson, Anthony

Annable, Edward Foster and Henry Rowley-- became interested in the less heavily

timbered land at Scituate, about 20 miles to the north of Plymouth. Cobb

followed; "In Scituate was constructed before September, 1634, and was the

seventh built in that county by the English." (Deane's History of Scituate,

page238.) Afterwards he sold it to a Mr. Rowley, and built on a lot he owned

on"..Kent Street, House numbered 32." The land owners of Kent Street are

referred to collectively as the "Men of Kent", giving further credence to the

idea that Henry, and many of his brethren, were from Kent originally.

In September 1634, Reverend Lothrop and family, who had just arrived in the

colony, were welcomed to Scituate by Henry Cobb, friend and follower. For his

good deeds and loyal and faithful service, Henry Cobb was "invested with the

office of deacon" by Reverend Lothrop on 15 December 1635. On the 8th of January

following (1634/5) Mr. Lothrop made this entry in his records: "We had a day of

humiliation and then at night joined in covenant togeather, so many of us as had

been in Covenant before; to witt, Mr. Gilson and his wife, Goodman Hannibal and

his wife,Goodman Rowley and his wife, Goodman Cob and his wife, Goodman

Foster,myself, Goodman Fokwell and Samuel House."

The settlement at Scituate was not to last long, however. Disputes broke out

around land allotments. In 1637/8, a petition that included Henry's signature,

found its way to the General Court complaining that they (the signers)

had..."such small proporcons of lands there alloted them that they cannot

subsist upon them." (1) By 29 November 1638, Lothrop's congregation was

observing a Day of Humiliation "as alsoe for our further Succcesse in our

Removeall." On 3 January 1636/7, Mr. Timothy Hatherly had petitioned the Court

"in the behalf of the Church of Scituate.... That the place [Scituate] is too

streate for them to reside comfortably upon and that the lands adjacent are very

Stony and not convenient to plant upon," and he requested permission for the

"said Inhabitants of Scituate" to search for lands to settle elswhere unless

other lands could be given them which would allow more comfortable subsistence

at Scituate. The court approved this reuest on 12 January 1638/39 with a grant

of land at a place clled Sippican (today Rochester) to Mr. Thomas Besbeech,

James Cudworht, William Gilson, Anthonly Annable, Henry Rowley, Edward Foster,

HENRY COBB , and Robert Linnell [p.62] as a committee for the seating of a

township and congregation. However, no town was founded there at this time, and

apparently the grant was revoked by the court, or rejected by the grantees.

There is some evidence suggesting the the dispute was settled for a time. Henry

himself received a new allotment, but when it was proposed that the Church

remove to Sippican (now Rochester, MA) Henry, a Deacon of the Church at that

time, was one of the committee members referred to in a grant for a township.

Later, in 1639, when it was decided instead to move the Church to Mattakeese,

now Barnstable, MA., he was one of those responsible for choosing the proper

location for the new town. In this new town, named Barnstable, the first

Independent Congregational Church of that name in the world was established, and

Henry Cobb was elected an elder, or Senior Deacon, almost immediately. He was

also a town officer and served on numerous committees. His signature can be

found on petitions, court reports, wills (as witness) inventories of estates, et

al. He served as a deputy to the Colony Court, and on April 14, 1670, he was

ordained as a Founding Elder of the Church, a position he would hold until his

death. His house-lot in Barnstable contained seven acres, and was situated at a

little distance north from the present Unitarian meeting-house. His great lot so

called, contained three-score acres, besides which he was the owner of several

smaller lots in Barnstable and was one of the proprietors of the common lands in

that town; he also owned lands in Suckinneset, now Falmouth, Mass. His name

appears in a list of men able to bear arms in the Colony of New Plymouth, town

of Barnstable, in 1643.

Barnstable with its great stretch of salt marsh showed promise for an"overplus"

from raising cattle which was not attracting English capital. Here in

Barnstable, an area similar in climate and topography to his homeland in Kent,

Henry Cobb found his place. The first house which he built in Barnstable was

similar to those built by the two other deacons, Thomas Dimmock and William

Crocker. The lower story was constructed of stone, while the upper or second

story was built of wood. They were fortification-houses, and were intended to

serve the double purpose of dwellings and as places of refuge for the

inhabitants should the Indians prove treacherous or hostile. Deacon Cobb's

house, as I understand it, was built on his seven-acre lot in the eastern part

of Barnstable. He was a farmer or planter, and probably devoted considerable

attention to the raising of cattle, as his "great-lot" was a good grazing farm,

as were also the two lots in the common field, which he however occupied chiefly

for planting lands as the soil was rich and productive. Some have supposed that

he sometimes worked at the trade of a mason, and built his own houses, as his

first house was of stone and five generations of his descendants in Barnstable

were masons or brick layers.

Henry continued as church deacon and right hand man to Reverend Lothrop from

1635-1670. In 1670, he was elevated to the office of ruling elder, in which

position he remained until his death in 1679. Cobb took a modest, yet not

unimportant part in the government of his town of Barnstable. For a time he was

one of three men chosen to manage the affairs of the town. He was Deputy of

Barnstable from 1659-1662. For many years he also represented the town at the

General Court at Plymouth. Old records inform us that Henry Cobb, among others

was an early taxpayer in Plymouth Colony. On January 2, 1632/3 he was rated with

a tax of nine shillings, and again January 1633/4, he was rated with another tax

of nine shillings. This we ascertained from published lists of the first

recorded colonial taxes, which according to a preface to the lists, were "to be

brought in by each person as they are heers under written, rated in Corne, at vi

s.Pr.bushell, at or before the last of November next ensuing to such place as

shall be hereafter appointed to receive the same." We infer that Henry Cobb,

soon after his coming to Plymouth united with the church there, of which the

ruling elder and preacher was William Brewster, as he was dismissed from that

church, with his wife and others Novermber 23, 1634, "in case they joyned in a

body att Scituate," which they did, soon after the establishment of that town,

when the church was organized. Amos Otis, Esq., of Yarmouth, Mass., says in one

of his historical papers published in the Barnstable Patriot, that in the autumn

of 1633, Henry Cobb "went to Scituate, then a new settlement." From Scituate

Henry Cobb removed to Barnstable, about the close of the year 1639.

Elder Henry Cobb died in 1679; the records do not give his age. (NOTE-Rev.H.W.

Cobb, of Wheaton , Illinois says he was 83, according to Henry E. Cobb of

Newtonville, MA.) In the ancient cemetery on Lothrop's Hill, in Barnstable,

within an enclosure about six feet square, surrounded by stone posts and iron

rails, is his grave with that of his first wife. In the center, between the two

graves, stands a plain simple granite shaft about six feet in height from the

base, on the front of which has been engraved the following inscription to his

memory: Elder Henry Cobb the ancestor of the Cobb Family in Barnstable. Died in

1679 --- Erected in 1871, by Enoch T. Cobb, a descendant. The precise date of

his death is not known. His will, dated April 4, 1678, and the codicil thereof,

dated Feb. 28, 1678/9, his estate, after inventory, was found to be seven pounds

in debt . His will was probated in June, 1679, showing that he died between the

months of February and June. "The promise of Abraham has been fulfilled in this

man, his posterity areas numerous, figuratively, as the sands of the seashore

that is that they cannot be number" (Massachustetts Historical Collection,

Second Series Vol. IV., page 247.)

Henry Cobb had two sons while living in Plymouth. John, who eventually returned

to Plymouth, was born in 1632; and James, who would live in Barnstable and

follow his father's footsteps more closely, was born in 1634. Henry had two

daughters in Scituate; May and Hannah; and in Barnstable, Patience, Gersom (who

was killed by Indians in the King Phillips War) and Eleazer. His wife, Patience,

died in Barnstable, on May 4, 1649, and was the second person to die in

Barnstable. According to Rev. Lothrop, she was "...the first that was buried in

our new burying place by our meeting house." Henry owned about eighty acres in

Barnstable. The homestead itself covered only seven acres, and much of it was

swamp, or marshland. It was not one of the more desirable parcels and was

situated between land owned by Thomas Huckins and George Lewis. Henry refers to

his Marsh in his will. His original house of wood was replaced by one of stone.

Apparently only the three Deacons built houses of stone, as they were reponsible

for sheltering the townspeople in time of Indian attacks or other disasters.







Reminder: Each family line has its own separate index.

The Descendants of Henry Cobb the Elder






Elsewhere at this website


  The Cobb Archives




  The Cobbs of Kent


  Ambrose Cobbs of Virginia   (The "Cobbs Hall" Cobbs)


  Descendants of Joseph Cobb of Virginia  (The Cobbs of Rocky Mount, TN)


  The Swanage/Taunton Cobbs of New Jersey  (This line includes Clisby Cobb of



  Descendants of Nathaniel Cobb of South Carolina