Col. William Cochran, and That’s The Truth

I wrote about Col. William Cochran (1793) in June 2014. Researching and writing on a (self-imposed) deadline can lead to errors.  I hope that fewer of those happen as I get more experienced at genealogical excavations, but all family history stories and family trees are works in progress. The next week, month, or decade may turn up new evidence that changes assumptions made earlier.

Although I got most of the story right, including the background of the war of 1812, it turns out that my interesting history of Col. Cochran in the War of 1812 actually belongs to some other William Cochran.  Since writing “Would I Lie To You?“, in which I admitted I wasn’t sure of some of the facts, I have come into a great deal more information about the Cochrans. I’ve shared information about Col. Cochran’s father and grandfather, and about several of his children, the siblings of my great-great-grandmother, Emeline Cochran Stout.

I have returned to that first post about William and highlighted wrong information and explained new information. I did not delete the superfluous information, because it does apply to SOME William Cochran, and might be of some assistance to someone else who stumbles upon it. Additionally, I am going to redo William’s history here, with the old information that was correct, and the new information that has surfaced recently, most notably an article about  his political activity, his obituary, and a copy of his will.

Col. William Cochran 1793-1898

Growing Up in the Wilderness

It is interesting to contemplate how our ancestors wound up living where they did and how cities grew around them.  The picture is clear in Guernsey County.  It is all about road building.

Zane’s Trace is one of the earliest routes through Ohio (1797), started as a footpath from Wheeling West Virginia and meandering across southern Ohio to the southeast where it met another trail that went to New Orleans. Towns like Cambridge in Guernsey County grew up around ferry crossings along the trail.

In 1806 Thomas Jefferson authorized the building of  the first national highway, called the National Road as far as Wheeling West Virginia. There it stalled until 1825, when construction resumed, following the path of Zane’s Trace as far as Zanesville and then heading straight for Columbus, Ohio.  Today tourists can follow the historic road on route 70. My ancestors lived along these two main routes into Ohio. As you drive You’ll see sections of brick surfaced road and the “s” bridge that my mother said she remembered because when her family drove to see the Stouts in Guernsey County they knew they were close when they crossed the “s” bridge.   On the map below, the towns of Washington and Middleborough were just east of Cambridge.

Zane's Trace in Ohio

Zanes Trace was later extended from Zanesville to Columbus to become part of the National Road. Image from Roots Web.

William Cochran, father of Emeline Cochran Stout, was in the first generation of the Cochran clan to move to Ohio. He is my 3x great-grandfather.  Born in Hickory, Pennsylvania, he got to Ohio about 1802 when his family moved to a settlement along the National Road in Southeast Ohio making them one of the earliest families to settle in that county in frontier Ohio Territory. As an old man, one account says he claimed there were only 25 families in the county in 1802, and this one says 15 families.  [ See Alexander Cochran Arrives in Guernsey County]

A Correspondent writes from Hamilton, Butte County, California 1874 (Probably in the Cambridge, Ohio newspaper–I have only a transcript given to me by a cousin).

Col. Cochran is 81 years of age  and has been a resident of this part of the country for 73 years.  When he first set his foot in what is now Guernsey County it was occupied by but fifteen families and the site of Cambridge was a wilderness, the only building being a cabin on the creek below the present pike bridge, occupied by a man named Tunes who kept a small ferry.  The redskins were plenty in the region at that time as were all kinds of wild animals and game.
William Henry Harrison

“Old Tippecanoe”, William Henry Harrison, painted by Rembrandt Peale in 1814

Note: General William Henry Harrison gained his fame and nickname “Old Tippacanoe” fighting Indians in 1811 along the Ohio River.  See political implications to William below.





William’s obituary in the Cambridge Jeffersonian in 1878 also described the territory.

The first settlement of the family was made upon the land embraced in the Carlisle possessions near the Salt Works on the National road between Washington and Middlebourne. His father located there when the region was an unbroken forest, no other “clearing” being then within several miles of him.  Afterward they moved a few miles eastward up the Salt Fork on Wills Creek upon land which remained in the family until a very few years ago.

What an exciting place for a little boy to grow up.

Military Service

As a young man, William enlisted in the Ohio Militia.  According to an article in The Guernsey Times (1893) “He received his title of colonel in the Second brigade of the Fifteenth division of Ohio Militia, General James M. Bell commanding the division.”

Although none of the articles about him, including his obituary refer to the War of 1812, there is a War of 1812 marker with his gravestone in the Stout farm cemetery in Guernsey county. And there is a Pvt. William Cochran listed as being a member of Captain Cyrus Beatty’s Company from Guernsey County who served from October 23, 1812 to February 22, 1813. William would have been nineteen at that time. I assume that was his company, but how he got from private to Colonel, I’m not sure. And I have found no evidence that William, Captain Beatty, or Major General Bell saw military action during their time in the militia.

Marriage and Family

At the age of twenty-four, after working on his father’s farm,  he married Martha Henderson, who lived on a neighboring farm on February 20, 1818. Their own farm on Zane’s Trace, became quite prosperous.

Martha and William were said to have had thirteen children. I have evidence for ten (UPDATE 2021: I have added Hamilton, so now have eleven). However, in William’s will he mentions 6 living children and 3 deceased with children. I have to assume if they had 13, that three died in infancy or young childhood. In the case of the son William, he may have died before his father and left no children, and thus is not mentioned in the will.

  • 1818: John Henderson Cochran, who moved in 1857 to California and spent his life there.
  • 1822: Jacob Cochran who went to California in the Gold Rush, then settled first in Iowa and then in Kansas.
  • 1823: Birmingham, who relocated in Christian County Illinois, where William invested in property and when he was a widower, moved to Oklahoma.
  • (UPDATED 2021)1824: Hamilton. This is from historic records and I have no more information, including death, so he may have died young.
  • 1828: Emeline, who married neighbor Isaiah Stout, my 2x great grandparents.
  • 1830: William H. Cochran, listed in the 1850 census living with his father and mother, but not in the will.
  • 1832: Alexander, who went to California for a few years as a young man and then returned to found Quaker City in Guernsey County.
  • 1834: Thomas W. Cochran, listed in the 1850 census and in the will, but I have no other information.
  • 1838: Joseph Cochran, who died one year before his father, leaving children.
  • 1842: Martha A. H. Cochran. William states that Martha’s children are to receive no part of his estate as “having made advancements to her in her lifetime of one thousand dollars or more being her full share…”  Sounds like some family trouble there!
  • (UPDATED 2021) Mary Elizabeth (Nellie). Although one source gives her death as 1911, I list her as died Aft. 1878. In William’s will she is listed as one of eight children and he leaves a share of his estate to her children.

See Early California for more information about some of these Cochrans descendants.

Community Involvement

In 1825, William became a member of the first Masonic lodge in Guernsey County “The Old Guernsey Lodge,” Cambridge.  Later in his life he was a member of the Eureka Masonic Lodge in the village of Washington. He was a member for more than 50 years, and was the last living member of the “Old Guernsey Lodge.”

William was active in the Disciples of Christ church, a believer in reform Protestantism.

In addition to being a busy and successful farmer, WIlliam took part in affairs of the community. He held the title of Tax Collector for four terms, personally collecting taxes.  “He knew every man in the county.  He grew up with and noted the coming of people into it and watched its growth and development and lived to see the territory it then embraced rise from a mere handful of persons to a population of thirty thousand souls, and from a wilderness of woods and swamps to a region filled with farms and doted with twenty towns.”

I will talk more about his political involvement in a later article focusing on the political activities of various ancestors and family, but the high point for him was working for the election of William Henry Harrison of the newly formed Whig party in the 1840 Presidential election.


By 1850, William’s very prosperous farm contained a total of 460 acres (300 under cultivation), worth $4,000. He owned 16 horses, nine milk cows, 15 other cattle and 330 sheep.  Crops he raised included wheat, corn and oats.  Since he instructs in his will that there be no “appraisement and no sale of my personal property” we are denied the pleasure of pawing through his personal effects to learn more about him.

We do learn from his will that he owned land in Illinois, probably related to the fact that his son Birmingham settled there.

In 1851, his wife Martha died, leaving children 9, 11, 15, 17 and older. In the same year, William’s father, Alexander Cochran died. Within a year, William had married his second wife, Ruth Hazlett. She bore him no children in their 16-year marriage. They moved from the farm to the town of Middlebourne in 1863.

Ruth died in 1868, and two years later, at the age of 79, he married his third wife, Mary Moore.

His obituary sums up the personality of this man who contributed so much to his community affairs and so many successful and adventurous offspring to the world. He is an ancestor to be proud of.

Col. Cochran had a kind heart and a fast hold upon the affections of all who knew him.  He was a man of remarkable vigor of intellect, of indomitable will, of perseverance, patience and industry which did not desert him until stricken with his last illness, and then to the closing hour his mind was as unclouded as on any day of his busy and useful life.  The qualities named made him a man of influence in his community and that influence was used to the promotion of the welfare of those about him.

Col. Cochran’s impressive tombstone, with its Masonic emblem and War of 1812 medal, stands in the overgrown and overlooked old cemetery on what was once the farm of Isaiah and Emeline Cochran Stout (William’s daughter).

Willliam Cochran

William Cochran Tombstone in the Stout Cemetery, Guernsey County, Ohio

William Cochran

Wm. Cochran Grave Marker, with War of 1812 Marker Stout Cemetery


And that’s the truth.


How I Am Related

Vera Marie 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 Stout and Martha Henderson Stout

Notes on Research

  • A genealogy of Alexander Cochran and family by George C. Williston, found on the web at RootsWeb.
  • Information about Alexander Cochran, the son of William Cochran and brother of Emeline, is in History of Guernsey County, Ohio by Col. Cyrus P. B. Sarchet, Illinois, Vol. 1 & 2, pg. 615, (1911)
  • The Household Guide and Instructor with Biographies, History of Guernsey County, Ohio, by T. F. Williams (1882)  (Two copied pages that include the Stout/Cochran family are in my possession. (Whole available free through Google books)
  • U. S. Federal Census reports: 1820, Oxford Twp, Guernsey County, Ohio; 1830, Knox Twp., Guernsey County, Ohio, 1840, 1850 and 1870 Oxford Twp, Guernsey County Ohio.
  • Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850, Agriculture, Oxford Twp, Guernsey County, Ohio,
  • Ohio, Marriages, 1803-1900, Jordan Dodd, Liahona Research, Ancestry.comWilliam Cochran and Mary Moore, 31 Mar 1870, Belmont, Ohio.
  • Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998,, Record of Wills, 1812-1918; Index, 1812-1972; Author: Ohio. Probate Court (Guernsey County); Probate Place: Guernsey, Ohio, William Cochran, 1 April 1878, Guernsey County, Ohio, Will Records, Vol 3-4, 1875-1891
  • Find a Grave, William Cochran, Martha Henderson.
  • The Campaign of 1840: A Series of Articles in The Guernsey Times, 1893 Compiled by Kurt Tostenson. Original author Col. Cyrus P. B. Sarchet in 1893. In my possession a photo copy of compilation of articles from the Guernsey Times for the Guernsey County Genealogical Society in August 1994
  • Letter from Cambridge Lodge 66 F & AM, Letter to Tom Fowler from David Campbell, Cambridge Masonic Lodge.Undated. In my possession a photo copy of the letter, provided by the recipient.
  • The Jeffersonian, Cambridge newspaper, Obituary of Col. Cochran,  In my possession, a photocopy of transcript of the obituary of Col. William Cochran, dated 1878
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