Although I have not found the first Cochran to immigrate to North America, I do know which Cochran was the first to arrive in Guernsey County, Ohio.
Alexander Cochran (1765-1851)
My great-grandfather’s great-grandfather (in other words, my 4th great-grandfather), Alexander Cochran, was born when Revolutionary fervor was beginning to boil in Pennsylvania.
According to family history, related in The Identity of William Cochran, Sub-Lieutenant of Westmoreland and Washington Counties 1777-1783, Alexander was born to William Cochran (b. 1772) near Fort Pitt, the fort that preceded the settlement of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1781 and 1782 he served in the Washington County, Pennsylvania militia.
Alex married Sarah (or Mary) Adams in 1787 with the Presbyterian minister Reverend John McMillan presiding. He and his wife first lived near Hickory, Pennsylvania.
Alex and his wife moved with their family of six children to Belmont County Ohio. Accounts vary as to when they relocated–from 1798 to 1802. The area the family moved in to was close to the western edge of Belmont County. On the east side, Belmont runs along the Ohio River. In 1810, Guernsey County was created, including the far western part of Belmont and the family became residents of the new county (without moving). Thus, Guernsey County histories consider them to be early pioneers of Guernsey County.
The first map below shows the 1801 shape of Ohio Counties (WA=Washington and BE= Belmont, the two from which Guernsey was created.)
This is a current map of Ohio counties.
Alexander’s son William (my 3rd great-grandfather) was one of six children born in Pennsylvania, although the last of those might have died before they moved to Ohio. Alexander had six or seven more children after leaving Pennsylvania.
The 1878 obituary of Alexander’s son William (known as Col. William Cochran) vividly describes the Ohio Territory that Alexander moved his family to around the beginning of the 19th century. Even allowing for the romanticization of pioneer days that was rampant in the late 1800’s, this reminds you of the challenge these early settlers undertook.
Alex would have seen this amazing growth and change also. It appears that he left Pennsylvania very shortly before his father died, so in addition to the challenge of breaking into new territory, he was separated from his immediate family. But not from Cochrans in general. They were thick on the ground in Ohio and neighboring states. Alex and his wife had many children–one of whom would be my 3rd great grandfather. I am lacking the most basic information about most of those children. The six born in Pennsylvania:
- Alyzannah, born in 1790 married John Ables in 1813 and eventually moved to Iowa.
- Katherine, unknown birth date, married John Messel.
- William, born in 1793 married Martha Henderson. He was my 3rd great grandfather.
- Jacob, [UPDATE 8/2017]1797-1863, married Elizabeth Shuman
- Rebecca, unknown birth date, married Samuel Anderson
- Jane Morrow, born in 1800, was the second wife of General R. E. Moore, and they lived in California. (More to come on this fascinating couple)
After the move to Ohio, these are the possible additional children (I will add information as I find it.)
- John Clark, born in 1802
- Alexander, born in 1805
- James, died as a child
- Mary Ann
Alexander’s first wife died in 1820 and he remarried a woman named Jane Henderson [EDIT January 2018. Thanks to a reader/cousin, I now have the marriage certificate of this couple and learned her first name and that her last name is Henderson, not Henson).
They had one child:
- Matilda, born 1825, married to Cornelius Dillahey and they lived in Cambridge, Guernsey County, Ohio.
In 1850, Alex is reported living with Cornelius and Matilda Dillahey and their children in Middletown (Middleborough on the map above), Guernsey County, Ohio. The 1850 census does not specify relationships to head of household, but Matilda must have been Alex’s daughter. The age reported for him is ninety, which would mean he was born in 1760 instead of 1765. More likely, everyone had lost track of how old he was.
There is no trace of a gravestone for Alexander Cochran.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Most of what I am writing about the Cochrans relies on 2nd hand reports and family history and on some assumptions (by guess and by golly). I cannot thank enough the distant cousin who contacted me with much of his own and George Williston’s past research. As I discover more concrete information, I will revise these entries.
How I Am Related
- Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
- Harriette Anderson Kaser who is the daughter of
- Vera Stout Anderson, who is the daughter of
- William Cochran Stout, who is the son of
- Emeline Cochran Stout, who is the daughter of
- Col. William Cochran, who is the son of
- Alexander Cochran
Notes on Research
The Identity of William Cochran, Sub-Lieutenant of Westmoreland and Washington Counties 1777-1783. by George Williston. Circa 1999. Paper e-mailed to me by Tom Fowler.
Some relevant footnotes from that paper:
- Chronicles of the Cochrans, Vol. 2, 1912, pages 125-128 [on line at https://archive.org/stream/chroniclesofcoch01haug/chroniclesofcoch01haug_djvu.txt]
- Genealogical and Biographical History of Allegheny County, Penna, 1889 and 1975,[ Digital Library of University of Pennsylvania,] by Thomas Cushing. [p. 156–William in Whiskey rebellion.]
- History of Washington County, Washington, Pennsylvania with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and important men by Boyd Crumrine, 1882, p. 876
United States Federal Census, 1850, Cambridge, Guernsey, Ohio for Alexander and Matilda. From Ancestry.com
U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907, Entry Date:10 Oct 1832, Alexander Cochran