Brazure Cocke of Henrico
and Brunswick Counties, VA

Brazure Cocke, son of Capt. Thomas COCKE & Mary BRASHEARS, was born abt. 1694 in Henrico Co., VA, and died abt. Oct. 1770 in Brunswick Co., VA. He married Frances, last name unknown.

Children of Brazure & Frances Cocke:

  1. Elizabeth Cocke, probably b. 1720's; d. unk; m. Dibdale or Dibdall HOLT, son of David HOLT & Margaret DIBDALL of New Kent, Hanover, and Williamsburg, VA (b. 1720's; d. aft. 1792).

    The HOLTS were a prominent family in Williamsburg, VA.  Dibdall's brother John HOLT was mayor of Williamsburg and later published newspapers in New York City and Norfolk VA.  Dibdall is named in John HOLT's will, dated Oct. 1, 1749, proved Oct. 30, 1784, in New York.  Dibdall's sister Jane HOLT married a famous Presbyterian minister, Rev. Samuel DAVIES (1724-1761), of Hanover Co., VA.  Dibdall probably married Elizabeth COCKE roughly 1745 and moved to Amelia Co., VA, soon after.  He was in Amelia Co. as early as 1748 when he witnessed the will of William STONE (Amelia WB 1, p.55) and still there in 1762 when he appears on a tax list.  Lived in Nottoway Parish, which later become Nottoway Co.  A deed dated Dec. 14, 1751, from Phillip STONE of Johnston Co., VA, to Charles CONNALLY & Robert TAYLOR of Nottoway Par., describes 100 acres in Nottoway Par. adj. where Dibdall HOLT now lives, Charles CONNALLY, Joseph HARPER, Robert TAYLOR's line by the county line, & William STONE's line now Dibdall HOLT's (Amelia Co., VA, DB 4, p.338.)  Robert CHEEK worked as Dibdall Holt's overseer and lived with him in 1754 and 1755, according to the Amelia Co. tax lists & court records.  Dibdall's daughter may be the Elizabeth HOLT who m. Samuel BIRCH (or BURCH) on May 1, 1764, in Granville Co., NC, with Robert CHEEK as bondsman.  Dibdall moved to the Natchez District of the Louisiana territory sometime in the 1770's & settled in an area that later became Jefferson Co., MS.  Dibdall's name appears on a petition dated Oct. 4, 1779, "from the citizens of Natchez to Lieut. Col. Dickson, 16th Reg. commanding his Britannick Majesty's Forces in the River Mississippi…"  He is also mentioned in his sister Sarah TRULY's will dated Mar. 15, 1792 (Natchez Dist.) and in other Natchez records.  Children may have included David HOLT (m. Rebecca BELK), John HOLT, and William HOLT (d. 1836 in Hinds Co., MS).
  2. Thomas Cocke, probably b. 1720's; d. abt. 1759; m. Keziah ANDERSON, daughter of Charles ANDERSON & Elizabeth CHAMBERS.

    On May 3, 1759, Thomas COCKE "of Cumberland County" sold 162 acres of land in Brunswick Co., VA, to John GUNTER, Jr., beg. at mouth of Rocky Run & adj. lands of DAVID, Wm. MATTHIS, & Nottoway River; wits. William COCKE, Robt. CHEEKS, & Richd. GUNTER (Brunswick DB 6, p.353).  Some important info about Thomas COCKE's family comes from a chancery court petition filed in Jan. 1775 by Thomas's children Anderson COCKE & Elizabeth COCKE, seeking division of the land they had inherited from their father (Library of VA, Cumberland Co. Call #1778-002, Anderson Cocke v. Adm'r of Thomas Cocke &c.)  The petition states that Thomas COCKE died about 1759 with considerable land and slaves, administration was granted to their grandfather Capt. Charles ANDERSON, their mother remarried to John RAYNE, and they became wards of Thomas REDD.  A separate document dated Jan. 23, 1775, shows division of 9 slaves between Jno. RAINE, Anderson COCKE & Elisabeth COCKE.  (The above documents were discovered & kindly shared by Larry Cates).  Cumberland Co., VA, marriage records show that Keziah COCKE m. John RAINES, Dec. 23, 1761; Anderson COCKE m. Elizabeth MICHAUX, Sept. 12, 1782.
  3. William Cocke, probably b. 1720's-1730's; d. 1796 in Granville Co., NC; m. Rebecca EDWARDS, July 23, 1754, Brunswick Co., VA.

    Oct. 22, 1753, William COCKE bought land in Brunswick Co., VA, from Luke WILLIAMS. (Brunswick DB 5, p.475.)  Aug. 20, 1761, sold 400 acres on Reedy Creek in Brunswick Co., VA, to Gronow OWEN. (Brunswick DB 7, p.7.)  May 3, 1759, William witnessed a deed from his brother Thomas COCKE to John GUNTER, Jr. (Brunswick DB 6, p.353.)  Moved to Granville Co., NC, by 1767 when he appears on a tax list.  Feb. 21, 1772, deeded 420 acres on Rocky Run in Brunswick VA to Isham TROTTER. (Brunswick DB 10, p.454.)  Gave consent for his daughter Sally to m. James DANIEL, Nov. 30, 1772. (Granville Co., NC, Marriage Bonds.)  Jan. 8, 1778, witnessed a deed from Michael PEALOR to James DANIEL, north side of Crooked Run in Granville Co., NC. (Granville DB L, p.251.)  Ordered to lay out a road, Feb. 3, 1783. (Granville Court Minutes.)  William COCKE's will is dated Mar. 12, 1795, and was proved Nov. 1796. (Granville WB 4, pp.50-53.)
  4. James Cocke, b. unk; d. 1761, Lunenburg Co., VA; m. Catherine RICHARDS, who apparently predeceased him.  Will dated Feb. 1, 1761; recorded Dec. 1, 1761, in Lunenburg Co., VA, names brother William COCKE, sisters Susannah COLEMAN, Anne COCKE, Mary ANDERSON, and Martha COCKE; friend Thomas ANDERSON.  Exec: brother William COCKE.  Wits: Richard HALL, Thomas BRACEY, John LYNCH.  (Lunenburg Co., VA, WB 1, p.336.)
  5. Frances Cocke, m. John OLIVER.  They reportedly moved to Granville Co., NC.
  6. Mary Cocke, b. 1730's; m. Parsons ANDERSON, son of Charles ANDERSON, Feb. 15, 1758, Cumberland Co., VA.  The bondsman for her marriage was Thomas COCKE.  ("Cumberland Co. Marriage Bonds," William & Mary College Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 1 (July 1911), pp.21-30.)  Lived in Prince Edward Co., VA. Children included Brazure Cocke ANDERSON and Mary ANDERSON (m. Ransome DUDLEY).
  7. Susannah Cocke, m. unk. COLEMAN, possibly Williamson COLEMAN.
  8. Martha Cocke, probably b. 1740's; m. William MERRITT, aft. 1766.

    He may be the William MERRITT of Bute Co., NC, who purchased 100 acres on Lizard Creek in Bute Co., NC, from John LINCH, Jr., Dec. 25, 1772. (Bute Co., NC, DB 4, p.149.)  Ordered to view a road in the Fishing Creek area of Bute Co., Feb. 16, 1775. (Bute Co., NC, Court Minutes.)  A deed from William MERRITT & Martha his wife to Frederick COOKE was proved by oath of William MYRICK on Feb. 13, 1776. (Bute Co., NC, Court Minutes.)  They reportedly moved to Chatham Co., NC, and settled on New Hope Creek.  William MERRITT appears in the Chatham Co. census, in 1790, 1800, and 1810, and the tax list of 1815.  May be related to Rev. William H. MERRITT who filed a declaration in support of James CHEEK's application for a Revolutionary War pension, May 28, 1833.
  9. +Ann Cocke, b. around 1741-1745, probably in Williamsburg, James City Co., VA; d. aft. 1817 in Orange Co., NC; m. Robert CHEEK, son of John CHEEK, Jr., of Essex and King & Queen Co., VA, abt. 1761 (b. bef. 1733; d. 1817-1820).


Brazure Cocke was the fourth son of Capt. Thomas Cocke and Mary Brashears of Henrico County, VA.  The Cockes were a very prominent family in the early history of Virginia.  See, e.g., "Genealogy of the Cocke Family in Virginia," Genealogies of Virginia Families from the Virginia Magazine of History & Biography, Vol. II (Gen. Pub. Co., 1982), p.93 et. seq., and "Concerning the Origin of the Cockes of Henrico", Genealogies of Virginia Families from the William & Mary College Quarterly Magazine, Vol. II (Gen. Pub. Co., 1982), p.34.

Brazure's great-grandfather, Richard COCKE (c.1600-1665) arrived in Virginia prior to 1632 and settled on the James River, near present-day Richmond.  Some researchers believe that Richard Cocke came from the town of Pickthorne, located in Stottesdon Parish, Shropshire, England.  One of Richard's sons, Col. Thomas Cocke (c.1638-1697), named his home "Pickthorne Farms," perhaps in memory of the family's ancestral village.  There was a Cocke family in Pickthorne, Shropshire, around the time that Richard Cocke emigrated.  In addition, Richard Cocke's plantation on the James River (see VA Patent Book No.1, p.707) was known as Malvern Hill.  It must have reminded someone of the Malvern Hills in England, which are only a few miles from Pickthorne.

According to "Names and Places in Henrico County" by the Henrico County Division of Recreation & Parks,

Malvern Hill House historic photo

The Malvern Hill House
Historic Virginia Homes and
by R.A. Lancaster

"Malvern Hill was first owned by Richard Cocke, who settled at Point Bremo, which is now part of the Curles Neck Farm.  Cocke acquired a great deal of land in Henrico County and one such tract of land was Malvern Hill.  He gave Malvern Hill, which he named because it reminded him of the Malvern Hills in England, to his son, Colonel Thomas Cocke.  The ruins of a house on Malvern Hill today are said to be the last remnant of the house that Thomas Cocke built there."  View a Google map.

The Marquis de Lafayette camped at Malvern Hill in July-August 1781. During the Civil War, General Robert E. Lee attacked Major General George B. McClellen's Union Army of the Potomac at Malvern Hill as it retreated to the James River from the gates of Richmond.  The Malvern Hill House survived the battle as a Federal headquarters, but burned down in 1905.  Only the ruins of the chimney and foundation are left today.

Ruins of the Malvern Hill house
Photo by R. Moon, 2007

Richard Cocke's son Col. Thomas Cocke left the Malvern Hill plantation to his son, Capt. Thomas Cocke (c.1662-1707), the father of Brazure Cocke.

Brazure's unusual name comes from the last name of his mother, Mary BRASHEARS (also spelled Brasseur, Brazure, Brazier, Brashure, Brassieux, etc.), daughter of John BRASSEUR and Mary PITT of Nasemond Co., VA.  The Brasseurs were French Huguenots who came to Virginia to escape religious persecution.  See "Robert Brasseur (c.1597-) of Nansemond" by John W. Pritchett (click here to purchase his CD) and "The Brasseur Tree" by Ron Ulrich, citing Charles Daniel Brashear, The First 200 Years of BRASHEAR(S) in America.

Brazure COCKE's father, Capt. Thomas COCKE, died in 1707 at only about 45 years of age.  His will names his (second) wife Frances, his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, and four sons: Thomas COCKE, James Powell COCKE, Henry COCKE, and "Brassiur" COCKE.  "Brassiur" (Brazure) was the youngest, probably about 13 years old at the time of his father's death.  He received 2 tracts of land totalling 1,650 acres.  In all, Capt. Thoms COCKE devised about 6,000 acres of land.  His will also makes referance to numerous slaves, horses, and valuable personal property.  (Genealogies of VA Families from the VA Mag. of Hist. & Bio., supra, Vol. II, pp.114-115; see also Henrico Co., VA, Wills & Deeds, 1706-1709, p.24.)

Brazure's older brother Thomas COCKE Jr. died childless in 1711.  His will (dated Aug. 29, 1711, recorded Nov. 5, 1711), leaves brother "Brawshaw" COCKE the plantation called "Mawborn Hills" (Malvern Hill) in Henrico County, VA.  From the settlement of Thomas's accounts, it appears that Brazure was away at boarding school at the time.  (Genealogies of VA Families from the VA Mag. of Hist. & Bio., supra, at p.125; see also Henrico Co., VA, Wills & Deeds 1710-1714, pp.102, 113.)

Brazure was also named in the will of his brother Henry COCKE, dated Feb. 1, 1714/15, recorded Apr. 4, 1715.  Henry left 500 acres in Henrico County next to White Oak Swamp to his brother "Brassure COCKE."  (Henrico Co., VA, Wills & Deeds, 1714-1718, p.17.)

According to Genealogies of VA Families from the VA Mag. of Hist. & Bio., supra, p.129, Brazure moved to Williamsburg, James City County, VA, around 1730 and can be found there as late as 1753.  He subsequently moved to Brunswick Co., VA, where he had purchased land in 1750, and died testate in 1770 (see below for additional details).

Malvern Hill Plantation
drawn by Valentine Mott Hodgson,
a Civil War solider.


Brazure COCKE is named in the wills of his father Capt. Thomas COCKE (1707), his brother Thomas COCKE (1711), and his brother Henry COCKE (1715) (see above). (Henrico Co., VA, Wills ∓ Deeds, 1706-1709, p.24; 1710-1714, pp.102, 113; 1714-1718, p.17).

Mar. 7, 1725, Henrico Co., VA. Deed from William EASLY and Mary his wife to Joseph MAYO, 57 acres above the Falls and on north side of James River, bounded by the river, William BRADSHAW, said MAYO and Brazure COCK. Wits: William MAYO, Daniel STONER, Wm. CABBELL. Signed: William EASLY, Mary (x) EASLY. Rec. Mar. 7, 1725. (Henrico Co., VA, Deeds 1677-1705, by Benjamin Weisiger (1986), p.78.)

Oct. 17, 1734, Henrico Co., VA. Capt. Braz. COCKE paid cash owed to the estate of Hugh BALLENTINE. (Henrico Co., VA, Wills & Deeds, 1725-1737, Part 2, p.519).

Jan. 17, 1735/36, Henrico Co., VA. Brazure COCKE of parish and county of Henrico sold to Nicholas DAVIES of same, a water grist mill on the north branch of Gillys Creek and 5 acres of land adj. Benja. BRIDGEWATER, Sr. Valued by Nich. DAVIES & Saml. LIGNON and agreed by COCKE. Signed: Braz. COCKE. Wits: Saml. (x) LIGNON, Nowel BURTON, Sam ALLEN, Robert HUTTON. Recorded May 3, 1736. (Henrico Co., VA, Wills & Deeds, 1725-1737, Part 2, p.538).

Apr. 2, 1736, Henrico Co., VA. Braz. COCKE witnessed a deed from Wm. BRITAIN of Henrico to Capt. Isaac WINSTON of Hanover Co., merchant, 300 acres in Henrico on south side of Chickahomony Swamp adj. land of Ralph HUNT, Robt. MOSBEY, Tho. OWEN. Land granted BRITAIN Sept. 8, 1732. Signed: William (x) BRITAIN. Other wits: Wm. FULLER, Robt. GOODE. Rec. May 3, 1736. (Henrico Co., VA, Wills & Deeds, 1725-1737, Part 2, p.547).

Dec. 14, 1739, Williamsburg, James City Co., VA. The Virginia Gazette reported on a horse race in Williamsburg: "Mr. COCKE's horse, Sing'd Cat, came in Second, and won the Bridle." (Source: Genealogies of VA Families from the VA Mag. of Hist. & Bio., supra, Vol. II, pp.129.)

Mar. 1, 1743/44, Goochland Co., VA. Brazure COCKE patented 400 acres in Goochland County beside Green Creek off the Appomattox River, adj. John COOKE and Joseph WOODSON. (Virginia Patent Book No. 22, pp.50-51.) [Note: this area became part of Cumberland County in 1749. It isn't clear whether Brazure actually moved to Goochland County; the land may have simply been an investment. However, many of Brazure's relatives were leaving Henrico County during this period.]

Nov. 23, 1750, Brunswick Co., VA. Brazure COCKE of Henrico Co., VA, purchased 420 acres in Amelia Parish, Brunswick County, VA, from John BURCH and Elizabeth his wife of St. Andrews Parish, Brunswick County, for £150. The land was located on the fork of Rocky Run, "being a Patent granted to Richard BURCH, Father of the said John BURCH dated 28 September 1728 and by Deed of Gift from the said Richard BURCH the land was transfered to the said John BURCH." Signed: John BURCH, Eliza. BURCH. Wits: Hugh WILLIAMS, Richard BURCH, Burgess WALL. Proved Dec. 26, 1750. (Brunswick DB 4, p.200).

1753, Lunenburg Co., VA. The will of James COCKE of Cumberland Parish, Lunenburg Co., VA, dated Apr. 30, 1753, proved July 3, 1753, makes a contingent bequest to "Braizure COCKE's 3 sons." The will refers to the Malvern Hill plantation in Henrico County as well as substantial holdings of land in Cumberland, Halifax, Lunenburg, and Amelia Counties. (Lunenburg Co., VA, WB 1, p.96.) [Note: James COCKE was Brazure's nephew, son of his brother James Powell COCKE.]

Jan. 7, 1754. Brunswick Co., VA. Brazure COCKE of St. Andrews Parish, Brunswick Co. to William COCKE of same, for 5 shillings, 420 acres where said Brazure COCKE now lives in the fork of Rocky Run, after the deaths of said Brazure COCKE & his wife Frances. Wits: Hugh WILLIAMS, Robert BRIGGS, Dibdall HOLT, John GUNTER, James COCKE. Proved Jan. 22, 1754. (Brunswick DB 5, p.509.)

1766, Brunswick Co., VA. Brazure COCKE of Brunswick Co., VA, wrote his will on Sept. 20, 1766, and it was proved Oct. 22, 1770. The will names wife Frances, son William, son Thomas's children, daughters Elizabeth HOLT, Fanny OLIVER, Mary ANDERSON, Susannah COLEMAN, Martha COCKE, and Ann CHEEK [or CHICK]; granddaughter Elizabeth HOLT; and Samuel BRIGGS (relationship not described).  Ann CHEEK was to receive "Negro wench Jenny which my son James willed to her" also wench Aggy and a feather bed. Execs: friends Nicholas EDMUNDS, Henry EDMUNDS, daughter Martha COCKE. Wits: John Flood EDMUNDS, Bartholomew DAMRON, David ROPER, James TARPLEY. Fifteen slaves are mentioned by name. Probate indicates that William MERRITT presented the will in right of his wife Martha the said executrix, with Richard ELLIOT as security. (Brunswick WB 4, p.32; see also Dr. Stephen E. Bradley, Jr., Brunswick County VA Will Books, Vol. 2 (Lawrenceville, VA, 1997.)