A Cook Untangling…..

For the past 3 months, I have been untangling all the Cook families in Laurens, South Carolina. I made private Ancestry trees for them so I can the right people in the right family.

The Cook families are as follows (by head person):

James Cook (1750?- 1816) married Ursula Mitchell. Ursula was the daughter of Isaac Mitchell and Mary Williams and granddaughter of Daniel Williams and Ursula Henderson Williams.  I believe James Cook was son of Clayton Cook and Henrietta Henderson. James Cook lived near the North Creek on the Little River in 1786.

John Cook (brother of James above 1756 to 1781)- He was killed, along with several other men at he massacre at Hayes Station by William Cunningham. I think he may be my direct ancestor but I am not sure. He may have married a Randolph because there is a lease and release from a James Randolph and wife to a John Cook between the years of 1770-1777.

Randolph Cook (1760’s -1840) married a daughter of Thomas Henderson and Francis Henderson first ( he is listed as a Legatee on Frances Henderson’s will in 1813 in Laurens County, SC. His second wife was Mary Potter. He died in Illinois. I believe Randolph may be a son to John Cook above.

Cornelius Cook ( 1770-1838) married Nancy Kinman. I think Cornelius had a sister named Mary Cook ( 1775-1813) who married Thomas Donaldson. Cornelius Cook may be a nephew to James Cook and son of John Cook. He was living near a son of James Cook in 1820. Cornelius Cook lived on the Saluda near the Greenville County on the Laurens Co side and sister Mary Cook lived across the Saluda on the Abbeville County  side.

John Cook ( 1765- 1835)- son of a Anne Jane Cook and stepson to John O’Neil.  He is executor on Anne O’Neil’s estate record in Laurens. He was married to Catherine Griffin. John Cook lived in the area of Mudlick Creek ( near the Little River).

Abraham Cook- (1790- 1843) was married to Henrietta Irby. Henrietta Irby was the daughter of William Irby and Henrietta Henderson. He lived on the Little River area of Laurens.

George Washington Cook (1792- 1845) was married to Mary Polly Garrett. She was the daughter of Jesse Garrett and Elizabeth Henderson. Elizabeth Henderson was the sister to Randolph Cook first wife and daughter to Thomas and Frances. Jesse Garrett is executor on Frances Henderson’ s will in 1813 in Laurens.

Mary Cook Mitchell Putman (1771- 1847) may be the mother of the above George W. Cook) from a first marriage. Mary Putman and George W. Cook are both married in Warrior Creek Cemetery in Laurens.

I have discovered a pattern of Cooks marrying into Henderson families or grandchildren of Henderson families. Most of the wives are descended from men who were killed or wounded at the Massacre of Hayes Station.

My research on the Cook families isn’t over. I am missing a generation of Cooks between 1760-1790, namely the parents of these men. I am in need of estate records for Clayton Cook and Henrietta Henderson Cook who died somewhere between Cumberland County, Virginia and Granville County, North Carolina. I also need to find more information on the Randolph family.




Goals for 2018….

My research goals for 2018 are a continuation from my 2 uncompleted goals from 2017…

  1. Finding the parents of Mary Cook Donaldson. I have a father for her in mind but I need actual documentation to either prove or disprove my theory. In order to do this, I will make a private tree on Ancestry of possible father since I know his relatives. I will be working backward starting with relatives and not the possible father.
  2. Find out where Thomas Donaldson came from.

Maybe if I can figure out Mary Cook Donaldson family first, then it will uncover information about Thomas Donaldson’s family.

Here is to a year of genealogy breakthroughs and broken brick walls!!!


I found Mary Donaldson’s estate record…..

Do you know where it was? It was nestled within the confines of her husband’s, Thomas Donaldson, estate record.

There were 2 separate bills of sales, one in Nov 1811 and one in March 1813. I always wondered about the one in 1813. I looked at the 1813 sales bill more closely today and realized that Mary Donaldson’s name was conspicuously absent. I looked at the items sold in the estate and realized they were they were the same items purchased by Mary from her husband’s estate in 1811.

I  also looked at the administration page for March 1813 and found that William Donaldson, Mary’s stepson, was the administrator. In 1811 on Thomas Donaldson’s estate record, William Donaldson and Mary Donaldson were both listed as administrators.

I have found other estate records where the wife’s estate record was within the husband’s estate record. The idea that Mary’s would be in Thomas’s was very possible even though it took me a while to make the actual discovery.

The only downside to this is that my great, great, great grandfather, Nimrod Donaldson, became an orphan at almost ten years of age and was probably raised by older siblings.

***Thomas Donaldson’s Estate Record (died 1811 in Abbeville, SC) is located at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and on Ancestry.com. It is accidently connected to Jennet Donaldson’s estate record. Jennet Donaldson is an entirely different person with no known connection to Thomas Donaldson ( or at least not found yet).***

Nimrod Donaldson, Grantor of Conveyances

( greenvillecounty.org “Grantor of Conveyance Index, 1787-1913”. page 632)

Nimrod Donaldson to Young Simes (Sims), 43 acres on Horse Creek. Executed in 1871 and recorded in 1873.

Nimrod Donaldson to Chism (Chisolm) Austin, 134 acres adjoining Allison and Austin. Executed and recorded in 1872.

Nimrod Donaldson to J.W. Sullivan Ex., 11 and 3/4 acres on Horse Creek and Reedy River – Dunklin Township. Executed in 1875 and recorded in 1876.

Nimrod Donaldson to Chrisoline (Chisholm?) Austin, 134 acres on waters of Horse Creek. Executed in 1879 and recorded in 1890.

Nimrod Donaldson to Anna D. Miller, 1,280? acres adjoining Austin, Sims, and McDavid. Executed in 1880 and recorded in 1886.

Nimrod Donaldson, Grantee of Conveyances

(taken from…. greenvillecounty.org  “Grantee of Conveyances Index”. page 639. )

  1. Nimrod Donaldson from William McCullough, 42 acres on Horse Creek.  Executed in 1833 and recorded in 1836.
  2. Nimrod Donaldson from Charles P. Sullivan, 175 acres on Carrol’s Branch. Executed and recorded in 1836.
  3. Nimrod Donaldson from William McCullough, 303 acres on Horse Creek. Executed and recorded in 1841.
  4. Nimrod Donaldson from William Choice, 142 acres. Executed in 1853 and recorded in 1854.
  5. Nimrod Donaldson from Joseph W. Sullivan, 9 acres. Executed in 1875 and recorded in 1887.


Nimrod Donaldson in 1820……

I think I have finally found Nimrod Donaldson in 1820. I think he was living, as a farmhand or boarder, with his future in laws in Greenville, SC. William McCullough, Nimrod’s future father in law, had an extra male age 16-25 in household in the 1820 census. Nimrod was born in 1803, thus making him 17 in the 1820 census.

William McCullough’s only child, Sarah, turned 16 in March 1824. She married Nimrod on November 23, 1824. Nimrod stayed close to the McCullough family until William McCullough and his wife, Jane, died in the 1850’s. Nimrod Donaldson was the only child of his parents to stay in South Carolina after his siblings either died or moved out of state. The McCullough’s were very wealthy farmers so Nimrod probably had great motivation to stay close to them. I also think that Nimrod probably didn’t want to move his wife away from her parents because she was an only child.

I am glad this mystery is solved, hopefully!

Hello Mrs Cornelius Cook Jr….

I finally found the name of Cornelius Cook Jr’s wife after 2 years of searching. Her name was Belinda Ellison Cook, daughter of Joel Ellison.

On Cornelius Cook Jr’s estate record in 1838, there was a Lindy Cook. I had no idea if Lindy was a male or female until I looked at what Lindy bought out of the estate. Lindy bought “1 loom and harness, 1 chest of drawers, 1 table, 1 lot tea ware, 1 feather bed and furniture, 3 quilts and pillow, 1 lot bed clothing, 1 umbrella and 1 lot of cabbages.”  I thought it was pretty safe to say that Lindy was a female.

I was looking a Joel Ellison (of Laurens) estate record (Nov 1838)  and found the following…” John R. Ellison who is also guardian of David Ellison and Belinda Cook being absent” and “add amt of Cornelius Cook’s note”. Cornelius Cook Jr a few weeks earlier in Oct 1838.

Another clue that points to Belinda Ellison being the wife of Cornelius Cook Jr is the fact that there is a James Ellison listed under Lindy Cook’s name in Cornelius Cook Jr’s estate record. I think James was a brother to Belinda.

The bottom line is that the estate records of your ancestor’s neighbors, as well as the ancestor himself/herself, offer valuable insights. Don’t overlook them!