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John Cocke Papers

Identifier: MSS-0328

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the personal, business, and legal papers of this Marengo County, Alabama, plantation owner, who not only managed his own plantation but also served as agent for various family members. The correspondence relates to both business and personal matters.

Financial papers consists of receipts from grocers and suppliers detailing purchases (including slave purchases); account books for his blacksmith shop; and labor accounts with payroll. There are cotton records that contain correspondence as well as accounts.


  • 1810-1899


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are responsible for using the materials in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright claimants in collection materials. Copyright for official University records is held by The University of Alabama. The library claims only physical ownership of many manuscript collections. Anyone wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of literary property rights or copyrights. Please contact Special Collections ( with questions regarding specific manuscript collections. For more information about copyright policy, please visit: Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal implications, for which the University of Alabama assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

John Cocke, born February 16, 1805, moved with his father, John R. Cocke, and family to Greene County, Alabama, from Halifax County, Virginia, in the mid 1820s. John R. Cocke and wife Mary (Polly) Coleman Cocke's children included John Cocke, Martha T. Cocke (married Scott Gray in 1829, Benjamin Borden in 1845), Lucy Herbert Cocke (married George Goodrum in 1825), James Thomas Bertress Cocke (married Harriett Jack in 1851), William T. S. Cocke, and Edward A.R. Cocke. John Cocke and his wife, Amanda E. Bohannon (1815-?), resided in the Greensboro, Hale County, Alabama, area and had the following children: John R. Cocke (1832-?); Lucy Herbert Cocke (1837-?; married Samuel Webb in 1854, George W. Brooks in 1859); Susan Wade Cocke; William T. Cocke (1844-?); Mary Batherst Cocke (1841-?; married J.A. Westbrooks in 1859, Christopher Burton in ?); Amanda Bohannon Cocke (1846-?); Elizabeth Ruffin Cocke (1841-?; married B. Abernethy in ?); and John Cocke, Jr. (1850-?; married Jessie Webb).

John Cocke owned land in Greene, Marengo, and Sumter Counties. In addition to managing his own plantation operations, Cocke served as agent for his mother, siblings, children, and other family members as well, including his cousin John Hartwell Cocke of Bremo, Virginia. John Cocke assisted his cousin by serving as an occasional supervisor of John Hartwell Cocke's Hopewell plantation and entered into a partnership in a blacksmith shop with his Virginia cousin.

John Cocke later moved to Marengo County with his second wife, America P. Cheney (they married in 1857; she was the sister of Amanda E. Bohannon Cocke and widow of William J. Cheney), settling in the Jefferson area. John Cocke's funeral was held on April 22, 1884 at his home in Marengo County.

Sources: John Hartwell Cocke of Bremo: Agriculture and Slavery in the Antebellum South by M. Boyd Conyer Jr. (University of Virginia Doctoral Dissertation 992, 1961); Marriage Records of Greene County, Alabama, 1823-1860 compiled by Pauline Jones Gandrud (The Milestone Press, 1969); Marriage Records of Marengo County, Alabama, 1818-1860 compiled by Pauline Jones Gandrud (The Milestone Press, 1970); and the John Cocke Papers at the Hoole Library.


3.8 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Business correspondence, accounts, legal documents, and other materials (including the selling and purchasing of slaves) of this 19th century Marengo County, Alabama, plantation owner.


Gift of Mrs. Marsha C. Hildrebrand, Mrs. Marion Callan, and Mrs. Nancy Berg, 1993.

Separated Materials

The following newspapers have been moved to the Hoole newspaper collection:

Beacon of Liberty, October 21, 1835 (Greensborough) Alabama Beacon, September 13, 1838 (Greensborough) Voice of Sumter, June 12, 1838 (Livingston) New Orleans Delta, January 8, 1854.

Processed by

Merrily Harris, circa 2000; updated by April Burnett and Donnelly Walton, 2009; updated by Martha Bace, 2012


Guide to the John Cocke Papers
October 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266