Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hello Again

Forgive me for it has been 4.5 months since my last blog post!

At last this intrepid family history blogger writes once more. Today’s post centers on my ever-favorite brick wall ancestor: Silas W. Cobb. Here is a recap of my great, great, great, great ole’ granddad’s life.

I first discovered Silas W. Cobb in the Northfield Oakwood Cemetery located in Northbrook, Illinois. Back in 1852 the area was known as Northfield Township. The cemetery is a rather small one and is home to many of Silas W. Cobb’s and my maternal kin. His gravestone provided a birth date of about 1777 and a death date of 13 April 1852 at the age of 75 years.

The year 1777 is an enticing birth year, at least for me as “1777” potentially brings my maternal line closer to The American Revolution. In the 1850 Silas W. Cobb was living with his eldest child, Adeline Stiles nee Cobb in Columbus, Columbia County, Wisconsin. In that federal census Silas W. Cobb reported his birth location to be Massachusetts. Naturally the birth location of Massachusetts peeks my curiosity even more.

“Silas W. Cobb, age 64, male, Profession/Occupation/Trade: Farm, Birthplace: Mass.”

Here is the first inconsistency. Silas W. Cobb’s tombstone reports a death in 1852 and age 75 years. In 1850 Silas is reportedly 64 years of age. The math doesn’t add up. Where does the “ten year error” lie in the 1850 census record or on the tombstone? To complicate the matter further, Silas W. Cobb appears in the 1855 Wisconsin State Census Index.

I believe that Silas W. Cobb did die 13 April 1852.  In addition to the gravestone, an obituary appeared in the 15 May 1852 issue of the North Star Newspaper of Danville, Caledonia County, Vermont. The same person most likely provided death information for the headstone and obituary. However, that person went to the effort of reporting his death in his home of Montpelier, Vermont.

North Star Newspaper: 15 May 1852 courtesy of Janice Boyko
Vermont Northeast Kingdom Genealogy

How did a man from Vermont end up in a cemetery in Northbrook, Illinois? I believe that Silas W. Cobb was visiting his children.  In 1850, Silas W. Cobb lived with his daughter, Adeline Stiles nee Cobb in Columbus, Columbia County, Wisconsin. Sometime after 20 July 1850, Silas headed towards Chicago where his sons resided.

George Whitman and Silas Bowman were successful Chicago residents. Edwin was a farmer and lived in in Northfield township not far from the Northfield Oakwood Cemetery. I believe that Silas W. Cobb was staying with his eldest son, Edwin, at the time of his death. Edwin owned the plot that Silas is buried in.

Silas W. Cobb’s gravestone is the only stone that decorates the Edwin Cobb family plot. Edwin’s family graves are unmarked. It is my guess that George Whitman or Silas Bowman provided the headstone and the obituary in the North Star Newspaper. If an obituary was published in Chicago it most likely will never be found. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed many a Chicago record.

Please stay tuned for more Cobb insights….