Search billions of records on

                                        Researched and Written by George C. Williston


        The Identity of William Cochran (probably


 Sub-Lieutenant of Westmoreland and Washington Counties, PA


Probable father of Alexander (1765-1851), Jacob

and Mary Elizabeth Cochran

Alex Of Fort Pitt, PA area and Guernsey Co, Ohio

And Jacob Adams died 1821 Guernsey Co, OH

     Through an ancestral connection much research has gone into discovering the paternity of Alexander Cochran (l765 Fort Pitt, Pa-l85l Cambridge, Ohio) said by one of his grandsons to have been born at or around Fort Pitt in 1765, and to have been fathered by William Cochran (probable l722-1803).1 It was claimed by a descendent that this William Cochran came to the area about l742 from Maryland, and that he fathered three children: Alexander, Mary Elizabeth and Jacob.[1] The name of the wife and the mother of the children of this William is not stated, and remains unknown. It appears that this William was originally from Cecil Co, Maryland.

     The other facts given about Alexander Cochran in the same place are that Alex married Hannah, Mary or Sarah Adams ( Sarah may be the nickname for Mary Adams) on a date in l787 by the Reverend John McMillan, the well known pioneering Presbyterian minister of the Chartiers area; and that the family lived near Hickory, Pennsylvania before moving to Ohio about l801.  Hickory was organized later than their being there at the time, but someone in the family thought that their place of residence had been near Hickory, PA.

 The name of the daughter of Jacob Adams whom Alexander Cochran married is problematic. There is no record of the marriage. Jacob Adams apparently followed Alexander Cochran and his wife and family to Guernsey County, Ohio; and made a will there in 1821. In that will he calls his daughter Mary Cochran.  Another descendent with first hand information has evidence that her name was Hannah. Maybe, Hannah could be a nickname for the more formal Mary. 

      Who was William Cochran, father of Alexander ? It is my contention that this William Cochran lived during the Revolution in the Chartiers Creek area now part of Greater Pittsburgh on the West side. This is written in part to stimulate the development of more evidence as well as make the circumstantial case.

Wartime service of William Cochran as a county Sub-Lieutenant

Mistakenly represented to and accepted by the DAR and SAR

     During the Revolutionary War in Pennsylvania several prominent men in each county were designated by the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania as Sub-Lieutenants for that County. Those men ranked under the County Lieutenant who was the highest ranking militia officer with the militia rank of Colonel.  The county lieutenants served directly under the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania.  Sub-Lieutenants may have had the militia rank of Major[2], but the position was related to money and wartime business. It is likely that the Sub-Lieutenant was a man of some social position who was trusted to take care of the finances of the militia and/or other government business[3]. The sub-lieutenant was obviously a trusted and important person in the county. He may even have been expected to be willing and able to use his own money which the Supreme Executive Council evidently reimbursed at the end of the war when accounts were made.

     William Cochran was one of the Sub-Lieutenants of Westmoreland County from his appointment on 12 March, 1777.[4] He lived in that part of Westmoreland County which became Washington County in l78l, and continued as a Sub-Lieutenant until a final accounting with the wartime government of Pennsylvania the 28th of August, 1783.2 The final accounting in the Pennsylvania Archives involves collecting militia fines. There was also some business with Mr.  Cooke, a prominent man and Sub-Lieutenant in Westmoreland County. William Cochran’s home probably remained in the same place, but was put into Allegheny County in 1788. It was certainly possible for the same piece of land to be in the three counties from 1777-1788.

     In a recent book on Revolutionary War soldiers buried in Allegheny County another William Cochran is wrongly identified as one of the Sub-Lieutenants of Westmoreland County.3 This wrongly identified William Cochran is claimed to have lived in Pine Township, Allegheny County, and apparently has a grave stone there. William Cochran of Pine Township apparently married Elizabeth Booth. This MIS-identification of the William Cochran of Pine Township as the former Sub-Lieutenant of Westmoreland and Washington Counties has been incorrectly accepted by the D.A.R.   This mis-identification is perpetuated and probably not originated  by Myers in his book cited. William Cochran Esquire was listed as a Sub-Lieutenant in Kempler’s Rangers in Westmoreland County whether or not the man of our interest.[5]

              The younger, mis-identified  William Cochran of Pine Township was born in 1777, was in politics in 1812 in that township, and died in l867. He would have been too young to have been active in the Revolution. In fact, the father of this 1777 born William wasn’t a William either4 It would have been impossible for this younger mis-identified William Cochran to have been in the Revolution at all.

            It needs to be said that there were several men named William Cochran in Pennsylvania and in Western Pennsylvania during the Revolution. That fact is evident, but makes definitive identification even more  difficult.

Facts about this William Cochran

     To tell the story chronologically we begin with the published papers of Colonel Henry Bouquet, a British Officer who headed an expedition which arrived at Fort Pitt, and was in command at Fort Pitt for a while.  Those papers 5 

1.       reveal that a William Cochran sold 15 ½ bushels of  salt to the British at Fort Pitt on the 16 January, l76l,

2.       William Cochran petitioned Col. Bouquet  19 January, 1761 with five other men claiming they were  owed money by Phillip Stone:

3.       On 30  October, 1761 William Cochran and another man owned  houses outside the Fort and gave up rights to the property for the protection of the fort and garrison;

4.       William Cochran  on 39 June, 1761 was a member with Thomas Cochran and 28 other men of the militia of the Lower Town near the fort.

             This would make it feasible that our Alexander Cochran could have been born to William Cochran and his unknown wife at or near Fort Pitt in l765.

            According to the research of Alfred James the Ohio Company which was organized by a few rich and prominent Virginia men including Lawrence Washington and George Mason had surveyors in the area of Western Pennsylvania as early as 1753.[6] A town was being planned on Shurtees (Chartiers) Creek, and they raised 900 British pounds for the survey work by Christopher Gist with 11 families. The Ohio Co also planned to build a fort there and a school for Indian children. George Mason of the revolutionary generation was Secretary of the Ohio Company for many years. The possibility that William Cochran could have been in the area from 1753 with Gist or on the building of the

Braddock Road
needs to be checked.

            This part of the country opened for settlement after 1765. As many as 10,000 people flooded into Pennsylvania West of the Mountains in the next ten years. During and after the Revolution a prominent William Cochran lived on Miller’s Run above where it flows into Chartier’s Creek just over the border into present day Allegheny County, but in an area previously in Washington and Westmoreland Counties. A main road ran from Fort Pitt along Chartiers Creek to present day Canonsburg and Washington, Pa. Some prominent and well-to-do families were settled in the “Shurtee” area which was what the settlers called this French-named creek and area.

The William Cochran Land Record

            There were at least two William Cochrans in early Westmoreland/Washington Co. One of those men was granted land he settled on Short Creek in 1772.[7]. That land being now in Ohio Co, VA may also have been an early purchase by the W.C. of our interest.

            There is a beautiful map of this area inside the covers of a book on the Whiskey Rebellion.[8] It shows Millers Run and Chartiers Creek forming a triangle with the road from the fort. This would be a key area for water power and transportation. That map notes the Armstrongs, Craigs and Colonel John Neville further East toward the fort.  William Cochran’s 7 sided place was called “Newberry”, and included 220 acres along Miller’s Run now in Fayette Township, Allegheny County patented by William Cochran in l7866. It is on a map designated South Fayette Township in the Horn Books.[9] It is possible that the land adjoined Millers Run so that a mill could have been run by that water as mills were at the time.

            There likely was an earlier place which is recorded somewhere not yet found, or William Cochran lived on the place a long time before recording it.  Among the prominent men and families in the area were: Colonel Dorsey Pentecost, Colonel/General John Neville[10], the Armstrongs, the Craigs  Dr. John  Morgan among others.[11] This was a well settled area with men of prominence and position. It is the area where George Washington had about 2400 acres patented. It was one of the earliest settled communities in the area, and a likely place from which to have a respected man as a Sub-Lieutenant to handle public business.7 

            Three Cochran men: John, Thomas and William each got 200 acre adjoining square pieces of land in present day Greene Co whether bought or given as bounty land. The William Cochran of our interest with the rank of Major would have been entitled to more than 200 acres for his service if eligible.   The sale of the land owned by W.C. after his death in 1803 would be of interest as to who was the beneficiary of that selling.

Cockran and Adams Tax Record In Western Penna.

            William Cochran (as Coughran) appears on the Washington County 1781 tax list with 200 acres, 3 horses, 4 oxen and no sheep worth $130[12]. On the tax list for l783 he is in Cecil Township of Washington County on 200 acres with personal worth of 113 pounds. The “Newberry” place was put in Allegheny County in l788 when the eastern parts of four townships were all put into Allegheny County.

            This William Cochran was among the men who petitioned in l7938 for a charter for a Presbyterian Church in the Chartiers area. This is the place where the Reverend John McMillan came to stay in l776 as the first settled minister in the area. This would give credence to the claim that our Alexander Cochran and his bride, Mary Adams, were married in 1787 by the Reverend McMillan although McMillan’s marriage records have not been found.9

            After the Revolutionary War there were William Cochrans on the l793 tax lists in both Somerset and Nottingham Townships of Washington County. Of course, this could be the same man owning land in several places if his stills, and mill were profitable. 

Property Broken by a gang in the Whiskey Rebellion 1794

             William Cochran of the Millers Run, Chartiers area figured unwillingly in the Whiskey Rebellion. He had a saw mill, a grist mill and two stills. The story of how his stills, and both mills were deliberately broken was reported to men running the Pennsylvania government10 as well as the newspaper in Pittsburgh. Here is the story as told by Creagh in an early history of early Washington County:

            In January, 1794, further violence commenced. William Richmond who had informed in the affair of Wilson, (the maniac) had his barn, hay and grain  burnt; and Robert Strawhan, a complying distiller, had his still house broken open; balls were fired into the still, and part of his grist mill carried away. William Coughran’s sill was destroyed; the saw of his saw-mill stolen, and his grist-mill greatly injured. He was threatened, in a figurative and expressive note, with having his property burned, if he did not himself publish in the Pittsburgh Gazette the wrongs already inflicted on him.[13]

             That story is repeated in books about the Whiskey Rebellion where the name is sometimes wrongly spelled as Coughran. {which was one of the common misspellings] It is, however, spelled right in the Pennsylvania Archives report on the incident.11  The times of this virtual insurrection in the Western Country were personally put down by a huge army under the direction of General George Washington.

The 1803 Estate of this William Cochran

            The estate of the William Cochran with the grist mill, saw mill and two stills was appraised in Allegheny County on the 24th of May, l803. It was apparently the 21st estate filed there.  The personal property was appraised at $2171 which would be at least 20 times that much today. Only the inventory is obtainable in Allegheny County today so that no heirs are listed. It is obvious from the inventory that this man lived in style as he had silver buckles for his shoes and a library of books in his house.

            The inventory with my own comments and the appraisers misspelling includes:  (“do” or “ditto” means the same thing repeated)

                        2 pair silver shoe buckles, silver knee buckles and a stock              $20

                        “his library of books”                                                                               $5

                        Cash                                                                                                     $30

                        1 clock and case compleat  (probably a tall “grandfather” clock)                  $70

                        Case of drawers  [for food or kitchen storage ?]                                        $16

                        2 dining tables- [then made in two parts to be put together]  ……….           $10      

                        Tea table (probably a round table on a pedestal)                                       $4

                        2 winsor chairs and 6 common chairs @ .25                                             $2.50

                        Old desk and drawers                                                                             $8

                        Bureau                                                                                                  $8

                        Sacken bottomed bedstead with [feather] bed and bedding                        $24

                                                Another the same                                                           $24

                                                Another the same                                                           $20

                        Low corded Chaff                       (hired man’s bed ?)                                $8

                                    Another the same                                                                       $8

                        Bed with [feather?] bed and bedding                                                        $20

                        4 Coverlids @ 5 and 7 blankets @ 2    (coverlets)                          $34

                        Large looking glass @ 4 and small do @ .25                                             $4.25

                        Case with raizor with shaving box and glass                                              $1.50

                        2 pair fire tongs and 2 (fire place) shovels                                                $3

                        3 large table cloths 2 small do 5 sheets 6 pillow cases                               $16.50

                        Stair curtains @ 5 and 10 ¾ yards ticken  @ 40    (pillow ticking)               $9.30   

                        New bedstead @ 4 and old do at .50 and unfinished at .50             $5

                        3 half worn coarse shirts                                                                         $1

                        Kitchen cobboard patter (?) plates                                                            $8

                        2 large puter dishes & tines         (pewter dishes tines unknown)                $2.48

                        1 dozen puter spoons 2 pewter basons large                                            $2.50

                        2 small beasons 2 tin coffee pots and canister                                           $1.25

                        1 Lantron 1 walnut table with draw (drawer)                                            $3.25

                        2 Verry small tables 1 Beem and scales                                                    $1.0

                        1 knife box with 10 knifes and forks          ……………………………………          $2

                        1 old chest and trunk 3 old smoothing irons                                              $3.50

                        1 17 gallon kittle and 2 ten gallon kittles   (kettles)                        $6.80

                        2 pots 1 washing tub 1 frying pan                                                            $6

                        1 griddle and gridiron and backoven   (fireplace cooking)                           $4

                        3 brass 1 –inkblot- candlesticks one pair stillyards   (weighing scales)         $4.50

                        1 old Riffle (rifle) and 5 old sickles and old iron                                         $4

                        4 old axes one iron [splitting] wedge  2 old augurs                                    $3.25

                        1 qt decanter l goblet 2 tumblers 2 wind glass                                           $1.55

                        1 caster 2 cruets 10 china cups and saucers                                             $2

                        12 silver spoons 1 pair sugar tongs                      ………………………..         $4

                        2 small bowels and sugarsift 10 Delf plates [sugar sifter/Delft]                   $8

                        1 large dish 1 tea canister                                                                       $1.25

                        2 log chains 2 hilling hoes 1 Dong fork                                                      $5.25

                        2 Dung forks one Cuting dose and Knife                                                    $2

                        1 grindstone one wagon                                                                          $17.50 

                        1 Plough 2 cleveses 2 Dubletrees                                                 $5

                        1 old harrow 2 set horse gears 1 Blind Bridle                                            $7

                        2 Mens saddles shovel Plough                                                                  $18

                        1 Womans saddle with buckskin seat                                                        $4

                        9 Hogsheads 4 Barrels of whiskey supposed to contain 86 gallons

                                                @ .40                                                                            $34.40

                        32 Light barrels 2 watter buckets one pale                                    $16.50

                        11 Still Tubs 11 ditto (still tubs)                                                   $16.50

                        7 Tinglin Keggs (?) 2 flakestand (?)                                              $8.80

                        1 still containing 112 Gall Do 1 containing 67 gallons                      $72.62

                        1 Bay horse call Paddy 8 years old                                               $60

                        1 Gray Studd 7 years old 1 Bay Mare called Skip                            $111

                        1 Chestnut Filley 1 Brown Mare 1 Bay Horse called Dick                  $130

                        7 old sheep & lambs 4 yearling calves                                          $28

                        3 Milch cows 1 Brown one stall fed                                               $66

                        1 Yoke draft oxen 2 three year old heifers                         $64

                        2 two year old heifer one lang Brown Cow                                    40

                        1 small brown cow 1 two year old Bull                                          $24

                        1 Young Calf & one Hare Brush                                                    $3.50

                        16 Acres of rye in the growing at 3 Dos per bushel                        $48

                             Bushel of wheat in the barn at 4/ bu    wheat amount   $219. 89

                        26 hogs now in the pen                                                               $52

                        Former wife wearing aparel                                                        $26.49

`                      1 Silver wach  [watch]                                                                $15

                        Amount of store goods                                                                $9.24

                        2 gold rings 6 silver spoons                                                         $4.25

                        7 ¾ lb sole leather 2 remnant      (for making shoes ?)                  $3.55

                        1 Spinning wheel  1 Bug wheel a keel  ( spinning   wheels)             $2

                        1 Flax hatchel 4 yds Linen                                                           $2.32

                        4 Bushel potatoes                                                                       $1.60

                        9 Large spools 1 Bundle Flax and two yarn                                    $1.27

                        13 tt Scotch Flax 2 tt Flecked Flax                                                $1.2

                        1 pare wool cards 1 pare saddle bags                                          $ .75

                        12 yards blanketing .66 per yard                                      $7.92

                        30 lbs sugar 2 bushels salt                                                          $9.60

                        24 lb tallow l pare flare (?) basket                                                $4

                        1 Drawing knife 1 oil cloth for table                                              $1.50

                        2 Humberalles  1 yoke Tate (?)                                                    $3

                        1 pare Spectacles and steel case                                                 $1

                        1 Bondle of nails                                                                         $1.5 

                        1 wire sifter 1 Cunk shell                                                             $ .75

                        718 lb bacon  [can that weight be right?]                          $43

                        Pickled pork   hard cider                                                  $26.24

                        1 ten gallon measure 1 large funnel                                             $1

                        1 jar mettle hand irons 2 lotts raks  (?)                                         $3

                        1 copper tea kettle 1 ladle and flesh fork                          $1.30

                        8 baggs at .70 per bag                                                                $5.50

                        1 coffee mill                                                                               $ .50

                        1 cooper auger 1 auger 1 tap borer bitt    [drilling casks]               $ .80

                        1 Horse Him smoothing Iron glue & antomery (?)              $ .48

                        1 yd cotton velvet ¾ yd rail rib                                                    $.

                        3 Brass Handles for drawers and screws                                      $ .12

                        5 Vest Lattrons 3 yds spoted Geran                                              $7.00

                        1 half bushel                                                                              $ .50

                        45 flower (flour ?) barrels     -[for the mill]                                   $11.25

                        Branding iron in the mill                                                  $8.

                        1 iron square and old hand saw                                                   $ .25

                        1 Crobar l old hand iron                                                              $1.50

                        3 geese                                                                                     $1.60

                        1 Sow and pigs                                                                          $4.00

                        1 pair iron hipples 1 cow bell                                                       $1.16

                        5 gallons Vinegar                                                                       $  .66

                        6 ½ bushels of Malt                                                                    $3.48

                        6 young hogs                                                                             $4.00

                        2 (blurred/blotted) turkey hens and chickens                                 $  .75

                        100 bushels of rye in the mill                                                       $40.00

                        31 lbs of beef  at .06 per pound                                                   $  1.68


                            On the 24th of May, 1803 Total value of personal property $2171.30


            Using tables for the shrinking value of the dollar one can guess that this amount of $2171 in today’s money would be at least fifteen-twenty times that amount not including the value of the Newberry property and the mill.                                                                        

            Copies of the original three pages on legal size paper are available. I was assured in October, 1995 by Jay Costa Jr, Register of Wills for Allegheny County that this estate  WB 3, PG 311, #163 had no more papers. There is no will and/or no final accounting extant today according to Mr. Costa.  Originally there must have been some kind of final accounting which would have named the heirs, and would have been of great importance to this history.

The late 18th Century way of life in Chartiers

            Something of the lifestyle of these people can be deduced from this interesting list of about everything in the household. The house had two fireplaces and lots of beds. At least nine beds are listed plus possibly low ‘hired mans’ beds that rolled under the beds of the time higher off the floor. The house was probably a two story with an unheated upstairs or with two sets of fire place tools they moved the tools back and forth on each floor. The fireplaces were probably in the ends of the house. There were certainly the beds and covers to sleep quite a few people. People in those days visited for days not hours as now.

            Note is made of the clothes of his ‘former’ wife which means she was not there, and left her clothes so was probably deceased. There is no listing of any of his clothes which is interesting as other old estate inventories sometimes list the remains of a man’s clothes not buried with his body.

            There was enough kitchen ware to cook for and feed quite a few people. There were 12 pewter spoons and 12 of silver with 10 knives and forks.

            The animals being cared for at the time included 6 horses with three saddles (one for a woman),  and 2 oxen to pull heavy loads. The farm animals included 7 sheep, 13 cows, a bull, calves and heifers: i.e. cows of various ages and sex for milk and meat. There were 25 chickens, geese and turkeys. For meat there were also seven pigs including a sow with a litter of piglets.

            There was plenty of food stuffs on hand as well as cloth of various kinds. There were also two spinning wheels and the tools to spin wool and flax for linen cloth.

            There were 86 gallons of whiskey on hand, and the two stills to make whiskey or other spirits. One would assume he was selling whiskey. There is some produce from a mill for grinding corn.

            This was a largely self sufficient place probably on the 220 acres unless he owned more than one farm at his death.



Graves of this William Cochran and his wife                     

            The graves of this William Cochran and his wife whose name is unknown have not been found. However, this may not be a surprise. It has been reported that hundreds of graves of the old Presbyterian Cemetery in the Chartiers area near Pittsburgh were destroyed.12  The graves of this couple also do not appear in the cemetery next to Rev. McMillan’s church- Hill Presbyterian. So for whatever reason there are no stones today to mark their former existence.

1826 William.Cochran Estate in Allegheny Co., PA.


            It should be noted that there is an Allegheny County will of l826 (No 163 of Vol. 3) of a William Cochran witnessed by William Herdman, Robert Herdman and Thomas Hanson. That will was entered in probate 29 January, l829. That will lists an Alexander as a son; a grandson, John, a daughter, Mary Hanna, a daughter, Elizabeth McComick who was to keep him till his death. This William Cochran specified that Mary Lutton (Lawton?) is to be kept for the remainder of her life. He also mentions a granddaughter, Isabell McCormick and grandsons, William and John McCormick. James Reed and Samuel Brice were administrators of the estate. The final accounting of December, l830 lists as legatees: Mary Hanna, John Cochran and William Cochran; Robert and Isabella Boreland. This William Cochran is not likely to be the father of our Alexander, but the size and names of the family ought to make identification possible. This is given to make sure that the 1803 estate is for the man we have identified.

Wartime Washington Co militia Service of Alexander Cochran

Misrepresented to and accepted by the DAR

            There were several men by the name of Alexander Cochran in Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War. Research in the Pennsylvania Archives would quickly establish that fact.  The service of this Alexander Cochran has been wrongly attributed to wartime service in Cumberland County, PA; and that mis-attribution has been accepted by the DAR. The Alex Cochran of our interest was 12 years old if born in 1763 when the war began, and only 20 years old when the war finally ended in 1783 This Alex Cochran had no reason with a guerilla war around his home to serve in another county. There was plenty of reason to serve in Washington County where he lived. As late as 1782 some of the older, established men of his neighborhood were saying that they were desperate for protection.[14] It is no wonder that this young man served near his home in Washington County, and not in Cumberland Co as claimed. It is also apparent that he probably did not serve six months active duty which would in his old age  have qualified him for a pension- which would explain why he did not make application for a pension about 1834.

            There are three periods of service in the rosters printed in the Pennsylvania Archives for service in the Washington County militia which is perfectly logical for the Alexander Cochran of our interest. [15]

1)      Alex is listed in the 2nd class (squad) of 12 men in the 3rd Battalion of Washington County militia on the 25th of September, 1781 under Captain George Sharp and Colonel David Williamson. It is not clear how long his squad served. He could have been with Williamson on the first ‘Williamson’ expedition to the three Moravian Indian towns in the fall of 1781. Alex would have been about 16 at the time or he was born about 1763. The age of service was from 18 years, but young men eager to fight undoubtedly volunteered under that age.

2)      Alex’s Company under Captain Sharp was ordered to rendezvous on the 4th of April, 1782. No more is explained there.         

3)      Alex was in the 2nd class (squad) of Captain Samuel Shannon’s Company ordered to      rendezvous at Leet’s Mill on Saturday the 13th of July, 1782 with 10 other   men.     Nothing further is explained. 

            A case is made by Paul W. Myers that the same men could be part of Rangers outfits, and could be listed in the county militia both at the same time. Myers who has studied this subject extensively lists both Alexander Cochran and Jacob Adams in Ranger units with Alex being in Stokely’s Rangers which could be the above periods of service.[16] It is recorded in the Pennsylvania Archives that an Alex Cocharan was awarded Depreciation pay for service in the Washington County Militia. There were no other Cochrans in that list.[17]

            Service is also recorded for other Alexander and William Cochrans in other counties in Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War. That fact alone complicates the issue of identification beyond doubt.

1785 Washington Co, PA Alexander Cochran Estate-

            The father of one of these Williams shows up in the estate of Alexander Cochran of Cecil County, Maryland  who re- settled late in life and died in Washington County in l785. That will of l783 (Book 1, page 44) lists as heirs John, William and Alexander Cochran as well as Sarah Willson, Mary Allison and Jean Roberts Loton (Lawton ?); and a granddaughter, Sarah Young Cochran. The witnesses were John Moore, Alex Finley and James Heaslot. That will was probated the 4th of March, l785 and the final accounting of the small estate was done in l789.

             It is obvious that this Alexander moved to the frontier to be near his family who settled his estate which did not involve much cash, but did require two trips back ‘over the mountains’ to collect small claims in Cecil County, Maryland.

1790 Census and 1791 Allegheny Co Tax List record for Wm and Alex and Jacob Adams      

            In the l790 Federal Census of Pennsylvania there are 6 William Cochrans, 2 Alexanders, and 3 Jacob Adams

             Only one William Cochran is listed in Fayette Twp, Allegheny County, with a male under 10 years old and three females in his household.13 There are two Alexander Cochran households listed in the same township: one Alex Cochran family living next to William has two females which could be our Alexander with their first child who was Alyzannah born in l790. The other Alexander has four females in the household. There were no William Cochrans in Cecil or Chartiers Township of Washington County in l790 which substantiates the contention that William’s land was in Allegheny Co. at that time. There was a Jacob Adams (probably Alex’s father-in-law) in the same Fayette Twp. neighborhood at that time with two males over and under 16 years, and three females age unspecified in that census. . All three of these related families apparently lived near each other at that time.

            A tax list of Moon township, Allegheny Co of 1791 is confusing as it seems to reveal the men of our interest there. Jacob Adams is taxed 4.2, William Cochran is taxed 3.5 and Alexander Cochran is taxed .5.[18] This is really confusing when looking at the census record below unless it can be explained by movement of the boundaries of the townships. Page 125 of the census has interesting notes that explain this discrepancy. It says that “Fatette Township was established in 1789/90, but not used much until 1792.” Another place shows Moon Township in 1791 with 567 people and none in Fayette Twp that year.  That explains the 1791 discrepancy. It is noted that Jacob Adams in that year had more to tax than William Cochran.

On page 105 in the l800 Census for Allegheny Co. William and Alexander and their families were in the same place in Allegheny Co.

 Both those heads of families disappear from the 1810 census in that place. That would coincide with the death of William and the removal of Alex and Mary and their first six children to Belmont County Ohio as claimed. Jacob Adams is listed on the preceding page. In the 1810 census Jacob Adams is still in Fayette Twp, Allegheny Co on page 280.

The Alexander and Sarah/ Mary or Hannah Adams[19] Cochran family[20]

            It was claimed by William Cochran, grandson of Alex and Mary/Sarah Adams Cochran that the couple had six children near present-day Hickory, Penna; before taking the family to Ohio in l80l, that they had three more children in Ohio all as listed below, and that after Mary’s death Alexander re-married to an unnamed lady; and had four more children.14 At that rate Alexander would have fathered thirteen children in all.

                        Alyzannah, 1790, married John Ables l813 Guernsey Co, Ohio died near Mt.                                                 Pleasant, IA[21] 


                        William 3 July, l794 and died in Guernsey Co, OH 7 Oct, 1878[22]



                        Jane 4 Jan, 1800[23]

            The Cochrans  born in Ohio after l80l Belmont County, and l802 Guernsey County:

                        John Clark 1802, father of Col. William Morgan Cochran who reported on the                                              family[24]

                        Alexander, l805 was a business man in Guernsey Co.

                        James died as a child

                        Brice, Mary Ann, Hanson and Matilda (1825)  by the second wife,


            There was a William Cochran who was apparently related to Alex who also took his family to Guernsey County, Ohio, and whose estate Alex administered in 1836- the relationship there being unclear whether brother, cousin or uncle.

The 1805 Alex Cochran and 1809 William Cochran land record in Guernsey Co, OH

            It would appear that after the settlement of his father’s estate Alex had the money to buy a home place for his family. The first land purchase of Alexander Cochran was recorded in Zanesville, OH before the formation of Guernsey Co; and was never re-recorded in Cambridge.

             On the 4th of December, 1805 Alex Cochran bought 100 acres in the U.S. Military Lands surveyed tract bought at Pittsburgh of James Johnston being part of the ¼ section in the 2nd Twp, 1st Range- the south ½ lot no 2. It is recorded in two places: Tr216 and Deed Book A No 216 and 185. The land is in Wills Township of Guernsey Co. This was bounty land bought from a veteran from another man who was given it for service in the Revolution. Alex paid $1 or so per acre. There is a grid on the recording which shows the section with lot 2 the second up on the East side.

            The U.S. Military district was set aside in 1788 for veterans bounty land to entitled men.  Public land record on the www indicates that Alex bought one piece from the government in section 2N and William Cochran bought two pieces in section 3N. William Cochran in 1809 bought from Andrew Hanna in Sec ML Twp 2 Lot 8 probably in the town of Cambridge recorded in Book B page 384.  Then in 1813 William Cochran bought 100 acres ML Twp 2 R1 lot 8 recorded in Book B page 220.

            There was another land purchase recorded in Zanesville for Alex Cochran before 1810. However, an experienced clerk in Zanesville could not identify the land description  as it appeared to be in the plat of a town.

            William, son of Alex and Mary Cochran, claimed in his eighty-first year that Guernsey Co had fifteen families in it when his family arrived.[25] Imagine a hilly and wooded area of at least 25 square miles populated by only 15 families. Of course, there was plenty of land and timber to put up a cabin in a couple of days “The first settlement of the family was made upon land embraced in the Carlisle possessions near the Salt Works on the

National Road
.” [That refers to some place near Middlebourne on the US 40 of that time.]  “Afterward they moved a few miles eastward upon land that remained in the family till a few years ago up the salt fork of Wills Creek.” There is evidence that Moses Shuman, a William Cochran and John Ables also settled there at that time. The Salt Fork Lodge in the State Park is just North of where the Cochran, Adams, Shuman and Ables families settled. It is no wonder that young men and women of these families intermarried.

            The obituary of Colonel William Cochran in the Cambridge Jeffersonian newspaper for his death 7 October, 1878 said that he was born near Hickory, PA and the Cochrans had come to Guernsey Co in 1802. Since he had been there, and had been active in seeing the county grow as tax collector, one would think the date is reliable.[26] 

            There are further land transactions in the name of an Alexander Cochran. There is one sale by Alexander and his wife, Mary, “subject to the dower of Margaret Cochran widow of William late of said Co deceased”  which is probably a sale to Hugh Gallagher Book J page 640 of 120 acres R4, Ss21 Twp 3 for $500. This may not be the Alex of our interest.

The Cochran Tax  Record Guernsey Co, Ohio


            Guernsey County, Ohio was formed in March, 1810 out of Belmont and Muskingum Counties.Alex Cochran is listed in a Guernsey County tax list for 1810-.[27] In fact, there are about 120 men on the list. None of the other men of the family are listed.

             Alex is listed in the 1815 Guernsey Co tax list. No other Cochran is listed and Jacob Adams is not listed. [28] Alex is on the 1816 tax duplicate being on 200 acres the original owner being James Johnston. The partial description of the land is lot 17, Sec 1, Twp 2. This conflicts with the land purchase information by being 100 acres larger requiring two lots. Moses Shuman was also on the 1816 tax duplicate having lot 3 next to Alex.[29] 

            An 1832 tax list for Oxford Twp lists Alex with two horses and 2 cattle worth $96, and William Cochran next on the list with two horses and ten cattle worth $160. The fact that they are listed together in this township location conflicts with census information so may not be the men of our interest.


The Ohio Federal Census Record of Alex, William and Jacob Cochran

            The 1810 Ohio census was mostly burned by the British when they burned Washington.

            The 1820 census is the first to survive. In that census Alex and family are listed on page 181 in Wills township, Guernsey Co; and a William Cochran is in Oxford Township, Cambridge on page`170 whether or not related, but probably the man who bought land in 1809.

             In 1820 there were 10 people in the Alex Cochran household. The adults were both over 45 years of age. The male children were: 2 between 5-10, 2 from 10-15 years old, a man 16-25 and Alex. The female children were a girl less than 9 years, a female 16-25 and the mother and wife. We assume the wife was Mary Adams, and that Mary and Alex had been married about 33 years by this time.

            In the 36 square miles of Wills Township in 1820 were 1067 people or about 30 persons per square mile after about 20 years of settlement.


            In the 1830 census both Alex and Jacob Cochran are listed in Wills Township # C265-423. That suggests that both were living on the same piece of land. Jacob may have been the son of Alex. And Mary Adams.

            The Alex Cochran of our interest is listed in Wills Twp next to Jacob Cochran on page 553. The Alex Cochran household has four people in it: two males under five years and between sixty and seventy; and two females five and under and between forty and fifty. This would indicated a re-married Alex with a younger wife with two young children under five years.

             Jacob Cochran had four males and two female. This Jacob was younger than Alex being between 30 and 40 years without a wife of comparable age. The three male children of Jacob were in the first three categories: under five, between five and ten and ten to fifteen years. The two females were under five years. This suggests that these two men and Alex’s wife were living together or next each other with seven young children.

            Another Alex and William Cochran are listed in Oxford Twp page 510. This Alex was living between Thomas Henderson and Joseph Stanton  is aged 30-40 and his wife is 20-30 with no children. This Wm being 30-40 years old was living between Elizabeth Henderson and William Bevard  had four other males and four females in his household. The oldest woman in this home was also between 30-40 years of age. This is most likely sons of Alex and Mary Adams.

            In the 1840 Guernsey Co census shows three in the Alex Cochran household of our interest. Alex is listed as between 70-8-, a female is between 15-20 and another between 70-80. The page is numbered top left 610/129. There is William Cochran with 11 in the household. That man between 50-60 has a lady in the house also between 50-60 years. There were six younger males 1 less than 5 years, 3 between 5-10 years, 1 10-15, 1 15-20 and another 20-30. The younger females were 10-15 and 15-20 years. The township designations are missing here, but one assumes Alex was in Wills Twp and William was in Oxford Twp. 

            The 1850 census is very important as it is the first census in which each person is named. In the 1850 census for Guernsey Co, Ohio Alexander Cochran is recorded as age 90 living in family #1514 on page 295 in the home of Cornelius and Matilda Dillehey at Cambridge, Ohio. Matilda was 25 years old in 1850 married to Cornelius Dillehay age 29 a merchant worth $2300. They may have been incorrect about the year of Alex’s birth. Four Dillahey children are listed: John age 6, Thomas A.  age 4, Anne A.  age 2 and Jane age 6 months. Those names are hard to read.

            William Cochran, son of Alex and Mary, is listed in Oxford Twp #252/1612 age 56 a farmer worth $5000 born in PA (about 1794). The wife of this Wm is Martha (Henderson) age 51. The children are William H age 20, Alexander age 18, Thomas W age 16, Joseph age 12, Martha age 8 all born in Ohio. 

            John H. Cochran is #242/1482 in Oxford Twp age 32 a grocer with $500 born in Ohio. His wife is Elizabeth age 28 born in VA; and the children are Brohelia age 2 and Julia A. age one month.

            In that Guernsey Co census a 50 year old William Cochran #196 with wife and eight children is listed in Beaver Township. There is also a William #311 in Buffalo Township, Guernsey County.

Guernsey County Law suits involving Cochrans

            An 1810 Guernsey County record book available in the Recorders Office has a several page list of men who were sued by the State of Ohio for money allegedly owed. One would only suspect it was about land. On page 590 Alexander Cochran was being sued for $100 at that time. The state got judgement against quite a few men for unknown reasons.

Guernsey Co Naturalization Records

            Searching in about 1995 the old books freely available above the Guernsey Co Recorders Office these naturalization records were found in Guernsey Co.  An Alex Cochran of Ireland in April of 1831 declared his intention to naturalize. In the Common Pleas Docket Book B William Cochran on page 286 No 25 from Ireland made his intention to naturalize 15 Feb, 1826 which was continued yearly  through 1833 whether ever granted. Obviously this leads to confusion, but may be related men involved in the estate of William Cochran 1834-1836. .


Mary Cochran ‘bastardy’ suit

             Searching the old court records in Guernsey Co Recorders office I found this record about Mary Cochran. Record M 379 #25 G.L.I.A. April term 1842 a trespass suit for $1000 filed 28 January, 1842 by Mary Cochran against James Farrell claiming that on 29 Oct, 1841 she had been seduced and was with his child. She had made this assertion 29 Oct, 1841 before Josiah Smith Esquire, Justice of the Peace. Mary won a $2000 judgment on the suit. Her father, William Cochran also sued J.F. for the seduction of his daughter and won apparently another $2000. It is not clear but possible that Mary got a total of $2000, and not 4K.  It is not clear whether any of it was collected. That was a whole lot of money in those days.

Estate Record-Alexander and William Cochran

            There is no estate for the  Alexander Cochran of our interest in Guernsey Co, OH.

            One of the Alex Cochrans was heir to the estate of William Cochran case beginning in October of 1835. At that time the widow, Margaret, and John S. Worden were appointed executors of the estate with a bond of $600. The heirs were widow, Margaret, John and Thomas.  The securities approved were Isaac W Veandin Sr., Lemuel Oldham. Appraisers appointed were Josiah Wilson, John McMillan and Wm Cullon according to book Jp 637. .

             Alex was awarded most of the land of Wm except for the widows ‘dower’ share.  There was litigation in Guernsey Co regarding the estate of William Cochran of Mifflin Twp, Allegheny Co, PA. and a land certificate #54 of 1821 recorded in 1836. There is also a land sale in 1836 Book J page 640 of 120 acres in Sec 21, Twp 3, Range 4 for $500. There was another 40 acre tract in Section 21 also involved.[30] That sale designates Alex Cochran and his wife, Mary “subject to the dower right of Margaret Cochran, widow of Wm late of said county deceased….”  This may not be the Alex of our interest. However, the deeds say that this William was from Allegheny Co, Pennsylvania.


            Tragically, no birth, death or marriage records have been found for these people in  Pennsylvania or, Ohio. The evidence thus far is all circumstantial and family history- which is all it may ever be.  We have fit together substantiated facts with the published family history of  Colonel William Morgan Cochran, grandson of this Alex and Mary Adams Cochran into a reasonable scenario. 

            It will remain for the discovery of further evidence to verify or disprove this circumstantial thesis.     

Appendix One- THE Jacob Adams Record

Record of Wartime military Service

            There were a number of men named Jacob Adams in Pennsylvania who served during the Revolution. That makes it very puzzling to differentiate service for the Jacob Adams of our interest here. One or more men of this name served in Washington County militia. It would be quite difficult to know for sure which man was of our interest.[31] 

Land Record in Washington and Allegheny Co, PA

            The tax and census record discussed above shows that Jacob Adams lived near William and Alexander Cochran in what became Fayette Twp, Allegheny.

            There is another very irregular shaped [actually eight sides]  piece by Jacob Adams Administrator of 440 acres in Center Twp of Greene Co, PA the warrant dated 12 March, 1836. Whether or not the man of our interest remains to be seen.

The Jacob Adams 1821 Will in Guernsey Co, OH

            It is apparent that Jacob Adams, father-in-law  of Alex Cochran, followed the younger family to Wills Township of  Guernsey Co from his home in Western Pennsylvania. On the 9th of March, 1821 Jacob Adams made his mark on a will which was filed the 14th of April, 1821. That means that he died between those dates. The will was witnessed by Thomas (?) Hendrson and Jacob Cochran made his mark.

            The will is short and the essential parts are as follows: “First it is my desire that all my just debts be paid by my executors out of my estate, and all my contracts; Secondly, I will and bequeath unto my daughter Mary Cochran one mare; Bed and bedding and three sheep ….., I allow my executor to sell a certain tract of land laying in Allegheny county state of Pennsylvania, when he may think proper and when sold I allow said Executor to pay unto my two daughters each one hundred dollars (viz) Mary Cochran and Hannah Achison (seems to be), and .… the remainder of the whole estate, consisting of land and debts due and owing to me. I do allow to be equally divided among my three children (viz); Wm Adams, Mary Cochran and Hannah Achison- nextly I allow my son Wm Adams to have one bed and beading now in his possession – lastly I do appoint my son-in-law, Alexander Cochran- my whole and sole executor…”

            The record of the recording of the will is signed with a very flowery signature of the county Clerk, C.T.Beaty.   If there was money paid to heirs of Jacob Adams at his death it is not to be found in the surviving papers. There are a whole lot of old record books in Guernsey Co yet to be explored.  

Grave stones for Alex and either wife

            There isn’t a  gravestone to be found for Alex in that area now. However, in the recording of stones in Old Washington Cemetery a stone was listed for an Alexander Cochran without readable dates. That stone has now disappeared in the 1990s. The maintenance man for the cemetery Old Washington Cemetery told us that the maintenance man previous to him had thrown stones out. Old Washington cemetery would have been the nearest to where the Cochrans had lived even had he died in Cambridge.

Note about footnote numbering: Having worked on this several times the footnotes got mis-numbered for reasons I don’t understand. It is part of a computer software problem. It is too much to try to fix.  This is the only instance I have of this kind of error, and it will just have to be accepted.


                                                                                    Researched and written by:

                                                                                    George C. Williston


W. Green St

                                                                                    Hastings, Michigan 49058


                                                                                    Last corrections 2/2006




1 Ida Cochran Houghton, Chronicles of the Cochrans, 1912, Vol 2, 125-128.  Ed. T. Woodworth , descendent,  of Jonesboro, Ill  years ago said Alex was born in 1760 and died in 1817.

[1] Houghton, ibid 125 gives some circumlocution for Jacob in VA, KY ,  W.VA.

[2] Penna Archives 6S:2: 281 mentions William.Cochran. and Christopher Hay given the rank of Major in the 3rd B’n Westmoreland Co Militia 1 August, 1778 and “impowered to put part of the B’n on the N side of a

Penna Road


[4] Penna Colonial Records 11:379 and  Penna Archives 6S:2:261.


2 Pennsylvania Colonial Records, 13, 674 and  Pennsylvania Archives, 3S:7: 127.


3 Paul W. Myers, Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Allegheny County, ( Heritage:  PA; l988) 14.


[5] Penna Archives 5S:4:775.

4 Thomas Cushing, Genealogical and Biographical History of Allegheny Co, Penna., l889 and l975, p753


5 Penna. Historical and Museum Commission, Henry Bouquet Papers, (Harrisburg: PHMC,l984), Vol V, 253, 257, 606, 847.


[6] Alfred P. James The Ohio Company (Pittsburgh: UPittPress, 1959) 78, 83, 86, 89, 93.  William Crawford and Daniel Leet were likely two of the later surveyors George Washington may have hired to survey in the area.  The biography of George Mason by a granddaughter says that the Ohio Company was chartered in England in 1749  with a gift of 600 thousand acres. In the next couple of years Christopher Gist was hired as agent, and sent with 11 families to build a road and survey for a town and fort near present day Pittsburgh. The 1752 treaty with the Indians included the Ohio Company as an interested party. Kate M. Rowland The Life of George Mason (NY: Putnam, 1892) Vol 1: 58.

[7] George Bell  Ohio Co Land Grants from Virginia  Virginia Genealogist 7:1963:158.

[8] Leland Baldwin Whiskey Rebels  1939 the map was done by Reading Howell for about the 1792 time.

6 Pennsylvania Dept. of Internal Affairs, Warrantee Atlas of Allegheny County, PA; 1914 and l982, map 22. This territory was not surveyed into a grid or square pattern. The pieces were irregular maybe from hill to hill or hollow to hollow.

[9] The Horn Papers Volume 3

[10] Reputed to be the most  wealthy man in the area with slaves. General Neville had a leading role in the Whiskey Rebellion.

[11] There was a Samuel Morgan in the Millers Run area from Cecil Co, MD with his wife, Elizabeth Murry, This couple of Welsh origin had three daughters two of whom were married to Adams men: Margaret and Jane. Is it possible one of these daughters were married to the Jacob Adams of our interest ?

 7 On the :”Shurtee”: or Chartiers settlement see the following:

                Alfred P. James, The Ohio Company, Pittsburgh, l959, pp 78,83,86,89,96.

                Dwight R. Guthrie, John McMillan, (Pittsburgh, l952) 33-35, 51-52, 151-154.


8Boyd   Crumrine, History of Washington County, Washington, PA, l882, p876.


9 Dwight R. Guthrie, Op. Cit., 30.  PA Archives 3S:22:714.


10 Pennsylvania Archives, 2S: 4:97-98.


[13] Alfred  Creagh Early History of Western Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh: Kauffman, 1847) 271.


11 Some of the historical reporting of the involvement of William Cochran in the Whiskey Rebellion

    other than the original material in the Pennsylvania Archives above would be:

                Isaac Craig, History of Allegheny County, Penna., Chicago, l889, 156.

                Daniel Rupp, Early History of Western Pennsylvania, l847, appendix XXVII,274;

                Leland Baldwin, The Whiskey Rebels, l939, map in the covers;

                Elizabeth Wall, Men of the Whiskey Insurrection of Southwest Penna., l988, note 72 and index;

                Steven R. Boyd, The Whiskey Rebellion, l985, p42;

                Thomas Slaughter, The Whiskey Rebellion, Oxford U. Press, l986;

                Jerry Clouse, The Whiskey Rebellion, l994, 24.


12 C. W. Elkin, “Old Cemeteries of the Pittsburgh Area”, Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine,



[14] George C. Williston Desperation on the Western Pennsylvania Frontier Late 1781’ Pennsylvania History  67:7, Spring, 2000:298-312. .


[15] Pennsylvania Archives 6S:2:92, 99, 110.

[16] Pennsylvania Archives 3S:23:201, 213, 544.


[17] 5S:4, 394.

13 U.S.Census, l790, Allegheny County, Fayette Township part that was Washington County, page 125.

[18] PA Archives 3S:23:668.

[19] Jacob Adams calls his daughter Mary in his will. One of her descendents, Col. Wm Cochran, called her Sarah in his exposition cited above.

[20] Ed T. Woodworth then of Jonesboro, Ill said years ago the wife of this Alex was named Hannah who was born in 1767 and died in 1819.  Woodworth had the service wrong so his dates have to be verified.


14 Ida Houghton, Chronicles of the Cochrans, ibid. There is now a short biography of Colonel William Morgan  Cochran of Indianapolis and Vigo, Cos; Indiana on the internet among Indiana Biographies.  This man claimed that he was a grandson of Alexander Cochran of our interest.


[21] Extensive information about this family is to be found in a privately printed book by Celeste Bishop at publication of Snohomish, WA. History of the Ables Family (Renton: Bishop, 1996) 2 volumes. Available in a few libraries such as Cambridge, OGS, Allen Co, LDS; and may still be bought from Celeste Bishop. .

[22] This big family is carried out in his obituary, and in his article referred to in note 14 above.

[23] Jane Cochran was said in a newspaper article from Hamilton, Butte Co, CA. where she lived in her 84th year to have married General Moore who had been born in Newcastle Co, Delaware 4 Jan, 1790. Their son, Andrew B. Moore was born in Cambridge, OH 4 Jan, 1820 and died in CA in 1857. There was a son, R.A.Moore, living in 1884 and one or  two other children.

[24] That is the report in note 14 above. Colonel Wm M. Cochran is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis across the street from the Art Museum.

[25] Guernsey County, an area of 522 square miles, was formed in March of 1810 out of Belmont and Muskingum Counties. 

[26] Cambridge Daily Jeffersonian 7 Oct, 1878. The copy from microfilm is difficult to read, but a transcription was sent to me by Mary Teters of Cambridge as a very helpful fellow searcher. .

[27] Esther W. Powell Early Ohio Tax Records  (Akron: GPC,  1971) 146.

[28] The Guernsey County Genealogical Society has a lot of old record books of public information which were thrown out by the County Commissioners. The Clerks Office in the Court house also has many old books. These records will be a gold mine of early local information if and when they ever get transcribed or digitized so that they can be searched.

[29] Microfilm at the Cambridge Library Guernsey County Tax Duplicate for 1816.

[30] Some of those deeds are in Book J pages 636-638. Guernsey County Recorders Office.

[31] Pennsylvania Archives 5S:4:698