born 1588, died 1653
Facts and Notes
- Anecdote: See person note1
- Birth: 1588; Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, NetherlandsB5,6,2
- Marriage: 1609; Elizabeth Flinton; EnglandB7,7
- Arrival: 1613; Virginia, USAB3,6
- Death: 1653; Isle of Wight County, Virginia, USAB5,1,8
- Probate: 1653; Isle of Wight County, Virginia, USAB; Joseph Cobb aged 60 years. Leg.-wife Elizabeth 300 A. called Goose Hill land; son Benjamin; son Pharoah; daughter Elizabeth.4
- Note: J.E. Cobb Jr. wrote the following about Joseph Cobb in his book Cobb and Cobbs: Early Virginians:
In 1613 Richard’s son Joseph Cobb, now an English Gentleman, debarked from the London Company’s ship, the "Treasurer", at Elizabeth City County, Virginia. Here at the mouth of the James Rivers he joined a few hundred colonists who had somehow managed to escape starvation, disease and the tomahawk.
The nature of early colonial life and the hardship that confronted these early immigrants were little understood in England. There was no gold to be found on the coast of this northern continent as the Spaniards had salvaged in Mexico and Peru; but by 1600 the time was right for departure from England. Land had become expensive; a few well-to-do were accumulating the little that remained. The land hungry small farmers anal merchants sought a rapid road to wealth in the new world. The idea of owning land in America was an appealing dream and one that seemed to be worth whatever risks that might be encountered.
In 1606 during the reign of King James I, two companies were formed to begin the American adventure-the Virginia Company of Plymouth and the Virginia Company of London. The Plymouth Company was initially given land from the top of Maine to Long Island Sound, the London Company-the land from Cape Fear to the Potomac River.
Why Joseph Cobb booked passage on the Treasurer for Virginia in 1613 is still a mystery, for it was not until 1637 that he received his first land grant. Had he come six years earlier and taken property across the James River at Jamestown, he might have been among the missing. Of the 100 souls that survived the voyage to James Island on the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, only 38 were alive seven months later (May 1607). But the ill-prepared continued to come, traders and gentlemen-too few accustomed to hard work and too many without the building skills needed to cope with the problems of the wilderness. Not all of the deaths were due to the deadly malaria from the swamps and bogs adjacent to chosen home sites. Much of the sickness came with them. The vessels from England, often overcrowded with wretched humans, were foul beyond description. A William Copps, in a letter to the London Company’s Deputy, Mr. Ferrar, noted: “Betwixt decks there can hardly a man fetch his breath by reason there artisith such a funke in the night that causes putrifaction of blood and breedeth disease much like the plague.” (sic)
There was a brighter side by 1619. There were eleven enclaves or settlements by this time. This was the year that the first hundred women were imported to the womanless wilderness. Twenty Negroes were also brought in to work the tobacco crops, which were beginning to show commercial potential. The Indian problems exemplified by the massacre of 400 of the 1240 inhabitants at Jamestown in 1622, did not completely alter progress. Neither did this near hopeless situation prevent Joseph Cobb from returning to England in 1623, presumably to make arrangements for a wife - Elizabeth Flinton, sister of a colonial surgeons Pharoah (Farrar) Flinton. Elizabeth arrived in Virginia on the ship Bonnie Bess in 1623. In 1637, Joseph Cobb received a land grant of 400 acres in Isle of Wight County, presumably for the importation of himself and his wife, Elizabeth, sons, Joseph and Benjamin, and four servants. In 1641 the Flintons joined them on 450 acres in the same county.
Little more is known of Joseph Cobb, the “ancient planter’’ who built a modest plantation (Goose Hill) on Pagan Creek at the mouth of the James River, except the observation from his will that riches of the new world had escaped him:
“This is the last Will and Testament of me, Joseph Cobbs, aged sixty years of age or thereabouts. I do bequeath unto my well beloved wife, Elizabeth Cobbs, one parcel of land containing Three Hundred Acres of Land or thereabout, commonly called Goose Hill Land. And further I do bequeath unto my well beloved Wife all moveables that are upon the said land, as cattle (to say), seventeen head of cows and yearlings and three calves, with Hoggs, Young and old, Thirty two or thereabouts. Provided she does marry, ye said children that are left shall have each a child’s proportion, and so to be divided between them. And further I do bequeath to my son, Benjamin Cobbs. one red cow and her calf. And further I do bequeath to my son, Pharoah Cobbs, one cow and her calf, red. And further I do bequeath unto my daughter, Elizabeth Cobbs, one black cow and one black yearling. This is my last Will and Testament, now living at the mercy of God on my death bed in good sense. As Witness my hand this last day of March, Anno Dom 1653-54.” (SiC)
Joseph S. Cobbs (Seal)
Signed, Sealed and Deliv in ye presence of us, Joseph Dunn,
- [S20] John E. Cobb Jr., Cobb Jr., John E., Cobb and Cobbs: Early Virginians, pg 91
- [S367] Yates Publishing, U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900, Source number: 56.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: CGC, Record for Joseph Cobb
- [S488] Ancestry.com, U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s, Place: Virginia; Year: 1613; Page Number: 30, Record for Joseph Cobb
- [S685] Ancestry.com, Virginia, Land, Marriage, and Probate Records, 1639-1850, Record for Joseph Cobb
- [S448] Ancestry.com, U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current, Record for Joseph S. Cobbs
- [S20] John E. Cobb Jr., Cobb Jr., John E., Cobb and Cobbs: Early Virginians, pg 23, 91
- [S679] Ancestry.com, Global, Find A Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current, Record for Elizabeth Cobbs
- [S679] Ancestry.com, Global, Find A Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current, Record for Sybil Cobbs