John Riley Cockerham &
Mary Little Kennedy

John Riley Cockerham, son of James Adam COCKERHAM & Nancy Carolina HOOD, was born May 23, 1847, in Surry Co., NC, and died Dec. 31, 1944, in Alleghany Co., NC, at the age of 98. He married Mary Little Kennedy, daughter of William KENNEDY & Amanda EDWARDS, Jan. 14, 1872, in Wilkes Co., NC. She was born Aug. 13, 1856, in Wilkes Co., NC, and died Feb. 2, 1934, in Grayson Co., VA. John R. Cockerham and Mary L. Cockerham are buried at Snow Hill Baptist Church near Galax, VA.

Children of John Riley Cockerham & Mary Little Kennedy:

  1. Olevia Jane Cockerham, b. July 4, 1873, Wilkes Co., NC; d. Dec. 30, 1965, Alleghany Co., NC; m. James Franklin WOODRUFF, son of Moses O. WOODRUFF & Mary Little KENNEDY, Feb. 9, 1893, Alleghany Co., NC (b. Nov. 1, 1856; d. Dec. 2, 1935); bur. Woodruff Primitive Baptist Church, Alleghany Co., NC.
  2. +Laura Ennice Cockerham, b. July 18, 1875, in Wilkes Co., NC; d. May 9, 1937, in Payette Co., ID; m. Mack M. CHEEK, son of Richard "Dixie" CHEEK & Martha "Patsy" JENNINGS, Dec. 28, 1899, Alleghany Co., NC (b. Aug. 2, 1871; d. July 18, 1936); bur. Riverside Cemetery, Payette, ID.
  3. Cyrus Monroe Cockerham, b. Dec. 25, 1880, Wilkes Co., NC; d. Sept. 21, 1965, VA; m. Ennice ROBERTS, daughter of Swift ROBERTS & Margaret TOLIVER (b. Sept. 17, 1884; d. Feb. 1, 1973), abt. 1905; bur. Snow Hill Baptist Church, Galax, VA.
  4. Guy Luther Cockerham (Cockerum), b. Jan. 11, 1890, Wilkes Co., NC; d. June 1, 1947, Payette Co., ID; m. Cora Mae CARICO, May 5, 1915, Galax, VA (b. Feb. 4, 1897; d. Aug. 25, 1971).
  5. Carlie Clair Crockett Cockerham (Cockerum), b. Dec. 23, 1891, Wilkes Co., NC; d. Mar. 26, 1952, Columbia Co., OR; m. Beulah May FINKLEFINER, Jan. 5, 1931, Fresno, CA (b. Dec. 19, 1898; d. Apr. 7, 1985).
  6. Lela Maggie Cockerham, b. Apr. 9, 1898, Wilkes Co., NC; d. Apr. 13, 1970; m. Dexter "Deck" PARSONS, son of John T. & Fannie PARSONS of Grayson Co., VA, abt. 1921 (b. Sept. 15, 1890; d. June 1966).


John Riley Cockerham "was a tall man, with a big beard, a mustache, and brown eyes. He smoked a pipe and chewed tobacco.  He lived to be ninety eight years old … John bought and sold land.  He would buy land that needed care, clean it up, and sell it again.  A hard worker, John managed his money well.  At the age of eighty he was still shucking corn.  He would take cows to the Salisbury Cattle Market and sell them.  On the way home he would sleep under or beside a haystack on the way.  At one time he went to Idaho where he bought land and irrigated it for farming.  Mary Little Kennedy was a short heavy lady with a round face.  She was a good cook and made their clothes.  Towards the latter days of their lives they lived in a two-story house painted white which was near Galax, Virginia, at Snow Hill." (Alleghany County Heritage published by the Alleghany Hist.-Gen. Society (1983), pp.136-137, article no. 210 by Norma Woodruff Brooks.)

Cockerham Family Photos
John Riley Cockerham
John Riley Cockerham, c.1930's
Guy Luther Cockerham
Guy Luther Cockerham
Laura Ennice Cockerham Cheek
Laura E. Cockerham Cheek
& Mary Lee, c. 1918


1880 Census, Wilkes Co., NC, Trap Hill Twp., p.23:
-- Mary L., 22, wife, NC NC NC
-- Olevia, 6, dau., " " "
-- Laura E., 4, dau., " " "
1900 Census, Alleghany Co., NC, Glade Creek Twp., p.140 (HH#203):
JOHN R. COCKERHAM, May 1847, age 58, m. 28 yrs, NC NC NC
-- Mary L., wife, Aug. 1856, age 48, m. 28 yrs, 6 children born, 6, living, NC NC NC
-- Cyrus M., son, Dec. 1880, age 19, NC NC NC
-- Guy L., son, Jan. 1890, age 10, " " "
-- Carlie C., son, Dec. 1893, age 6, " " "
-- Lelar M., dau, Apr. 1898, age 2, " " "
-- Nancy B., mother, June 1824, age 75, wd, 10 children/3 living, NC NC NC
1920 Census, Grayson Co., VA, Old Town Dist. (HH#224):
JOHN R. COCKERHAM, 72, NC NC NC, farmer- general farm
-- Mary, wife, 63, " " "
-- Lelia M., 21, dau, 21, " " "
1930 Census, Alleghany Co., NC, Cherry Lane Twp., p.6 (HH#120):
JAMES F. WOODRUFF, 73, 1st m. at age 17, NC NC NC, farmer - general farm
-- Olevia J., wife, 56, 1st m. at age 19, " " "
-- Gwynn W., son, 20, NC NC NC
-- Paul, son, 16, " " "
COCKERHAM, John R., father-in-law, 88, 1st m. at age 24, NC NC NC
1930 Census, Carroll Co., VA, Galax Town, Pipers Gap Dist., p.1 (HH#24):
DEXTER M. PARSONS, 38, 1st m. at age 28, VA VA VA, occupation: barber
-- Lela M., wife, 31, 1st m. at age 23, NC NC NC
-- Mary F., dau, 8, VA VA NC
-- Dale W., son, 5, " " "
COCKERUM, Mary L., mother-in-law, 73, 1st m. at age 16, NC NC NC

Deed Abstracts

Sept. 27, 1886. Leah RICHARDSON, Hastin RICHARDSON, Huston RICHARDSON & wife Elizabeth, and J.W. GREEN & wife Angeline of Alleghany Co., NC, to John R. COCKERHAM of Wilkes Co., NC, 60 acres in Alleghany Co. adj. Hugh ISOM, Albert RECTOR, Drewry JOHNSON, & COCKERHAM, for $600. Signed by all the grantors. Proved Sept. 27, 1886. Reg. Mar. 25, 1893. (Alleghany DB 9:202.)

Sept. 27, 1886. Thompson KENNEDY & wife Sarah of Alleghany Co., NC, to John R. COCKERHAM of Wilkes Co., NC, 60 acres in Alleghany Co. adj. John T. KENNEDY, Albert RECTOR, M.V. RUSSELL, & Barney EVANS, for $300. Signed: Thompson KENNEDY, Sarah KENNEDY. Wits: Wm. EVANS. Proved Sept. 27, 1886. Reg. Mar. 25, 1893. (Alleghany DB 9:204.)

Mar. 28, 1893. John R. COCKERHAM & wife Mary L. to Amanda KENNEDY, for $200, a life estate in a tract of land in Alleghany County [no acreage stated]. Signed: J.R. COCKERHAM, Mary L. COCKERHAM. Wit: Wm. EVANS. Proved Mar. 28, 1893, by the grantors. Reg. Jan. 28, 1894. (Alleghany DB 9:417.)

June 23, 1903. John R. COCKERHAM & wife Mary L. to Cyrus M. COCKERHAM, 77 ½ acres adj. John BRYAN (Colored) & Glen WILLIAMS, for $200. Signed: John L. COCKERHAM, Mary L. COCKERHAM. Proved [??] 14, 1903. Reg. Oct. 7, 1904. (Alleghany DB 18:437.)

Apr. 30, 1909. J.R. COCKERHAM & wife Mary to T.J. PARKS, 128 acres adj. J.F. POOL, Mary KENNEDY, A.J. RECTOR, John HIGGINS, for $1,800. Signed: J.R. COCKERHAM, Mary COCKERHAM. Proved Apr. 30, 1909. Reg. Feb. 27, 1911. (Alleghany DB 26:41.)

Obituary of Mary L. Kennedy Cockerham

Little River Baptist Association, 1934
Transcribed by Nanalee Wrenn

MRS. MARY L. COCKERHAM, whose maiden name was Mary L. KENEDY was born August 13, 1856, was married to John R. Cockerham about 62 years ago in Wilkes County, North Carolina and departed this life at the home of her daughter, Mrs. D.M. PARSONS, Main Street, in the Town of Galax, VA. February 2, 1934 at the age of 77 years, 5 months and 18 days. Her husband John R. COCKERHAM survives her.

To this union was born the following children, Mrs. Frank Woodruff, Cherry Lane, N.C., Mrs. Mack CHEEK, Payette, Idaho, Cyrus COCKERHAM, Galax, VA, Guy COCKERHAM, Payette, Idaho, Clair COCKERHAM, Redlands, California, Mrs. D.M. PARSONS, Galax, VA, all living, also one sister, Mrs. Moses WOODRUFF, Galax, VA, and one brother T.W. KENEDY, Conesville, Iowa, 32 grand children and 19 great grandchildren.

Mr. and Mrs. COCKERHAM first settled in Wilkes County, North Carolina, later lived in Alleghany County, North Carolina, were in the west one year and then in Grayson County, VA.

Mrs. COCKERHAM made a profession of faith about the year 1877 and became a member of the Regular Baptist church in Wilkes Co until about the year 1919 when they moved to Alleghany County she placed her membership with Cherry Lane Regular Baptist church and she remained a member there until she died.

Mrs. COCKERHAM had been sick and practically an invalid for a number of years. All during her long illness she was patient, kind and never complained. She recieved careful nursing and every thoughtful consideration that willing hands could render at the home of the daughter Mrs. D. M. PARSONS and family during the illness.

John R. Cockerham & Mary L. Kennedy Cockerham

Snow Hill Baptist Church, Grayson Co., VA
Photo by Katherine Bailey, 2003

AUG. 13, 1856
FEB. 2, 1934
MAY 25, 1847
DEC. 31, 1944