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Biography: Elisha Cottingham Jr. (1793 – 1870) Bibb County – photographs

My Historical Fiction series Tapestry of Love and the novel Discordance is based on and inspired by the Cottingham family. Ribbon of Love is the first book in the series and begins with the Cottinghams’ ancestors in 1630s in England. 


Elisha Cottingham’s tombstone at Wesley Chapel in Bibb County, Alabama

Elisha Cottingham tombstone





Elisha Cottingham, Jr. was born ca. 1793 in North Carolina. His father, Elisha Cottingham, Sr. is listed on the 1784-87 census of Richmond County, North Carolina and was unmarried at the time. He must have married somewhere around 1789-90, but at the present time, we do not have the name of his wife. In 1798, Elisha, Jr. appears again on the Montgomery County, Tennessee tax list along with William, Charles and John Cottingham.


Elisha, Jr. was just a young child when his father, Elisha Cottingham, Sr. left North Carolina with Elisha Jr.’s brothers and sisters, John H, Sarah, Rebecca, Charles, William, and Margaret.

There is a deed (B-631) in Montgomery, Tennessee March 17, 1804, Reg. 15 September 1804 where Henry Lawson sold 200 acres to Benjamin Thomas for one hundred dollars. This was part of 3840 acres originally granted to the heirs of Capt. William Goodman, Sr. The land was situated near the Brushy Fork of Yellow Creek. Witnesses were James C. Brown and Elisha Cottingham.

Elisha Cottingham, Sr, is not listed in NC after 1790 but turns up in 1806 on a petition to establish Humphrey’s County, Tennessee as a new county. Humphrey’s County had previously been a part of Stewart County.

According to Goodspeed’s History of Humphrey County, Tennessee,

“All of Humphreys County was granted by the State of North Carolina at the time this was a portion of that State, to survivors of the Continental war, and was afterward farmed out in smaller tracts to the settlers as they arrived from the older States”

Goodspeed further states; “From the first days of the settlement up to the year 1812 the Indians were a source of great annoyance and trouble to the whites, and raids were made by hostile savages upon the settlements frequently when the houses of the settlers were burned and their stock run off. In not a few instances the lives of the settlers were sacrificed in defending their families and property.” The area was also affected by an earthquake in November 1811, later called the “great shakes” and also a flood in 1814.

Goodspeed describes the earthquake in the following. “Dr. John Brown one of the oldest citizens of the county, who resides on White Oak Creek, and to whom the writer is under obligations for valuable information, tells an incident of the “great shakes,” the first of which occurred in the night time, while the family was asleep.: The shock was so violent they were all awakened, and the house trembled and shook as though persons were on the roof. The first thought of the Doctor’s father was that they were attacked by the Indians. Hastily dressing, the father aroused the family, and the balance of the night was spent in waiting for the dreaded attack. None came, however, and the next day the cause of their scare was explained by another violent earthquake, which shook and rattled the house, and made the trees quiver and shake as though in an ague. Dr. Brown stated that sometimes the bed would shake so violently he could with difficulty hold himself on it”

Many people were settled in the Stewart, Humphrey County area by the War of 1812 and a militia was organized for their protection and by the end of 1814, people in the area were concerned about a potential British invasion from the lower end of the Mississippi River so thirty-six men from Stewart County signed up for a six-month tour of duty. They marched south under the command of Major General John Coffee in October and by November, seventy-five flatboats loaded with Tennessee Militia were on their way to New Orleans. Stewart County’s Captain James Gray served in the division of Colonel William Carroll in the battle. John and William Cottingham served under Captain Gray in this battle from 13 Nov. 1814-10 May 1815. General Andrew Jackson’s victory made him a hero in the War of 1812 with England.

As the soldiers, serving under Andrew Jackson moved across Alabama in a series of Indian fights and the Battle of 1812 in New Orleans, many made note of the fertile Cahaba Valley in present day Bibb County, Alabama and returned to settle there after completing their military duty.

There is a deed (B-631) in Montgomery, Tennessee March 17, 1804, Reg. 15 September 1804 where Henry Lawson sold 200 acres to Benjamin Thomas for one hundred dollars. This was part of 3840 acres originally granted to the heirs of Capt. William Goodman, Sr. The land was situated near the Brushy Fork of Yellow Creek. Witnesses were James C. Brown and Elisha Cottingham.

There is a 25-acre Quit Claim deed registered 24 Nov 1823 from Allen Barker of Humphreys County to William H. Burton of Henderson County, Tennessee which indicates that Elisha Cottingham, Sr. deeded his land in Humphreys County, Tennessee to William H. Burton 28 Feb. 1816 so he this is probably when he left Humphrey’s County, Tennessee.

Typically, the men of the family first settled in an area and then returned to bring the rest of the family. This probably occurred in Elisha Sr’s family as the 1850 census of Bibb County indicates that Elisha’s second daughter Huldah was born in Tennessee in 1819 but all the men in Elisha Sr’s family were in Alabama in 1817.

The names of Elisha Cottingham’s Sr’s and his sons William, Elisha Jr. and John H. were on a petition to Congress as inhabitants of Montgomery County, Alabama.

Elisha Jr. was married by this time to Nancy Parker in Tennessee since their first child, Charlotte was born ca. 1816. Many of Humphreys County records were destroyed by two fires and only deed records remain so we will probably never be able to ascertain the exact date of their marriage. Nancy Parker was born Feb. 3, 1796, in Marlboro County, SC to John and Sarah (Brown) Parker.

Elisha, Jr., and Nancy had the following children:

  • Charlotte Cottingham (b. ca. 1816 Tennessee -d. aft. 1874 AK?) married David A. S. Walker April 14, 1832, Bibb County, Alabama
  • Huldah Cottingham (b. 1819 Tennessee- d. BEF. 1874 Bibb County, Alabama), married John Meeks Cates May 6, 1836, Bibb County, Alabama
  • Rebecca Cottingham (b. 1823 Alabama – d. Mar. 31, 1890 Bibb County, Alabama), married Aug. 4, 1841, Bibb County – Benjamin C. Battle

Rebecca Battle born Feb. 17, 1822 died Mar 31, 1890 age 68 yrs 1 mo. 10 daysGrave of Rebecca Cottingham Battle

  • John Pinkney Cottingham (b. June 10, 1824, Bibb Co., AL), Sep. 14, 1845 Mary Amanda Cochran in Bibb County
  • James Monroe Cottingham (b. June 25, 1826, Bibb Co., AL- D. Jun 28, 1888, Bibb County, Alabama), married Anna Elizabeth Trucks Feb. 12, 1852, in Bibb County, Alabama.
  • Moses Lambert Cottingham (b. Jun 17, 1828 -Aug. 29, 1911, Bibb County, Alabama), married 1st Dec. 6, 1849 Bibb County, Alabama Nancy Catherine Woods, 2nd Erie E. Risinger 1871 Bibb County, Alabama – Moses and his 1st wife lived in Louisiana, she died there.
  • Harvey Pitts Cottingham (b. July 17, 1830, Bibb Co., AL – d. Feb. 2, 1879), married January 14, 1853, Bibb County, Zilpha Pratt
  • Catherine Cottingham (b. 1832 Bibb Co., AL – d. aft. 1930 Jefferson County, Alabama), married 1st Dec. 23, 1852, John David F. Trucks in Bibb County, 2nd William Pleasant McElroy
  • Appy “App” Caroline Cottingham(b. 1836 Bibb Co., AL -d. Sep. 20, 1920 Jefferson County, Alabama), married 1st Francis Marion Trucks Dec. 17, 1856, 2nd William J. Hawkins
  • Elisha Cottingham, III (b. 1841 Bibb Co., AL- d. 1864)

All ten children were raised to adulthood and all married except for Elisha, III. He died in 1864 in the War Between the States.

The Cottingham’s settled on a beautiful rise above Cottingham Creek in Bibb County, Alabama. The Cottingham Cemetery is below close to Wesley Chapel in Bibb County, Alabama. Wesley Chapel was first named Cottingham Chapel. John Wesley, an early Methodist circuit riding minister, his wife, and a child are also buried in the Cottingham Cemetery.

Elisha, Jr. purchased quite a bit of land before 1860 and his estate was listed in the 1860 U.S. Census — home and land were valued at $3800. His personal property was valued at $19,455. In 1870 his land and home were valued at $1000. His personal property was $500. Elisha Cottingham, Jr. died in Bibb County, Alabama Nov. 10, 1870. Nancy (Parker) Cottingham died July 22, 1873, in Bibb County, Alabama. Both are buried in the Cottingham Cemetery in Bibb County, Alabama. Many of Elisha and Nancy’s children and grandchildren traveled to other Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Now they are scattered throughout the world but all can trace their origination back to Bibb County, Alabama.

* Note: On 28 Feb 1812 Drury Barker of Humphreys did give a title bond to Elias Lane of Humphreys for 25 acres lying on a branch of Big Richland Creek known as Dry Creek and being all of Grant No. 18213 to said Drury Barker by the State of Tennessee, which said title was assigned to Elisha Cottingham 6 Feb 1814 and by him made over to said William H. Burton on 28 Feb 1816. Further that Younger Barker began the administration of the estate of Drury Barker and that before the estate was settled, Younger Barker died and Allen Barker was appointed the administrator of his estate. Witnesses were Jonathan G. Holland and Jonathan Thompson. (Vicky L. Hutchings Humphreys Co., TN Deeds, pg. 72 (Abstract from Deed Book C, pg. 292-294 – Webpage of Compiler John K. Brown, Jr. of Prattville, Alabama


  1. Hal Cottingham and Ellorine Cottingham Morgan compiled records
  2. Bibb County, Alabama marriage and census records
  3. Genealogist- Col. John Palmer Cottingham records
  4. Cottingham Bible records
  5. Cemetery Records in Bibb County, Alabama.
  6. Find A # 92774914 # 92774802 l# 41497743 # 41493574 # 20885954 # 20885966 # 113391343

This biography is included in the book Biographies of Notable and Not-so-Notable  Alabama Pioneers Volume I and more genealogy information can be found in the book

Alabama Descendants of Elisha Cottingham (ca. 1755 – ca. 1820) with notes and sources

Alabama Descendants of Elisha Cottingham (ca. 1755 – ca. 1820) with notes and sources

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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