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THE VESTS OF WHITE OAK MOUNTAIN, W.VA.
AND RELATED FAMILIES
Updated July 17, 2020
Ruth Radford's family
Origin of surname Radford: (English) Red-soil river crossing, a farm landmark. “What’s in a Name? Surnames of America,” La Reina Rule & William K. Hammond, 1973, Pyramid Book, New York., Page 351.
Ruth Radford (27 Jan 1828/08 Aug 1900) was a daughter of William M. Robert Radford (1792/30 Dec 1861) and Elindor Underwood (02 May 1792/17 Jan 1879). Sources for the Radfords' birth and death dates: Ed Wojtowicz and Find a Grave. Robert and Elindor are buried in the Radford Cemetery, Floyd County, Va. Find A Grave Memorial# 32566436 and # 32566409. Robert Radford was a son of James Tazewell Radford and wife Mary. Elindor was a daughter of Samuel Underwood and wife Misniah Cannaday. More about Samuel and Misniah is in William Cannaday of Franklin County, Va., a document on Bill Putman's Home Page. Elindor and Robert had seven children: Ruth Radford; Mary "Polly" Radford, born about 1826, died 28 Mar 1876 in Virginia (Virginia, Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917) who married Burwell Janney; Ellender Radford who married Alexander Underwood; Lewis A. Radford who married Elizabeth Via, born about 1831; Jesse Radford, born 1822 in Virginia, died 08 Oct 1883 in Raleigh Co., W.Va., (West Virginia Death Index) who married Dorothy Thomas; William Riley Radford who married Arta Cochran (go to Vest/Cochran Page 2: The Cochran Family of Virginia and West Virginia.) and Joanna (Elizabeth Rosanna?) Radford who married Sparrell Janney. (Original source: Ed Wojtowicz.)
The Legend of Granny Radford
By Eva Smith-Carroll
Updated January 27, 2013
Sanford Walter Vest of West Virginia told stories about Granny Radford, an Indian ancestor on his mother’s side. Sanford, my great uncle, was a son of Malinda Jane Cochran and husband Columbus Washington Vest of White Oak Mountain, W.Va. (Sanford’s nickname was “Samp” for reasons lost in the mists of time.) Sanford had a sister and three brothers: Callie Matilda Vest Richmond, Leonard Haliburton Vest, Luther Flemon Vest and Ethiel Barah Vest.
His mother Malinda was a daughter of Charles Cochran and Ruth Radford, both born in Virginia. The Granny Radford stories told by Uncle Samp, as I recall them:
When she was a girl, Granny Radford lived with her tribe. She could stand up on a galloping bareback horse. She was known for her physical courage. Her job was to guard the family flock. A mountain lion attacked the herd and her little dog was barking at the lion. She ran over and scooped up her dog and saved it. When she was married, soldiers (Yankees?) invaded her home and made her cook. She prepared the food then held a knife to the leader’s throat and made him eat his meal in that perilous position.
Nina Vest Bennett Worley was a granddaughter of Malinda and Columbus Vest and daughter of Leonard. Aunt Nina wrote me a letter in 1992 with her version of the legend:
“Grandmother (it seems she was Ruth) Radford was a full blooded Cherokee Indian. She was not afraid of anything. One evening she went to get the cows (she was a young girl about 10-13 years old). Driving the cows along the road she saw a big pile of leaves and a tree. She stopped and raked deep into the leaves to see why they were piled up and found a deer ½ eaten. She went home [and] told her parents and they went to see – and a big lion was lying on the limb of the tree above the deer & leaves. They knew before they went to see, that some kind of animal had killed and covered the deer. They warned her never to do that again. She could have been killed. Guess the lion was full and probably asleep or I would have a different story ending.
Another time she was tending the sheep. They had to be watched in case a wild beast would get among them and kill them. She was to run to the house and get her dad, [and he would come] with his gun to kill the beast. But she had a little feist dog and a [lion] came among the sheep and she was afraid the lion would kill it. So she ran after her little feist dog, got him and ran home for her dad. You can imagine the little dog barking at the lion, and see her grab the little dog. My Grandmother Melinda [Malinda] Cochran Vest told me these stories and did I drink it all in. I am and was always a fraidy cat.”
Ruth Radford Cochran, Malinda’s mother, was born about 1828 in Franklin County, Va., a daughter of William Robert Radford (1792/1861) and wife Elindor Underwood (1792/1879). Ruth died around 1900. Uncle Samp always referred to the heroine of these tales as Granny Radford. Nina thought this must be Ruth although Radford was her birth name and Cochran her married name.
There are several indications that the Cochran and Radford lines in Virginia had Indian ancestors. But my only “evidence” in support of a claim to Native American heritage are these family stories and Grandpa Leonard Vest’s cheekbones.
There is a mention of the Cochran name in an Indian genealogy book, but I don't know if this family has any connection to my Cochrans:
COCHRAN, COCHRUM -- a Cherokee name. Listed on the 1835 Cherokee Census was the household of Jesse Cochran, consisting of two fullbloods and two halfbloods. Also, living on Chetowgata Creek in Georgia, was the farm household of Jim Cochrum, including one halfbreed and two quarterboods. See Tyner, p. 51, 91. (TYNER, James W., Those Who Cried: The 16,000. Records of the individual Cherokees in the U.S. official census of the Cherokee Nation conducted in 1835, Thomason Co., Muskogee, Oklahoma, 1974, Library of Congress # A-827601) Indian Blood II: Further Adventures in Finding Your Native American Ancestor by Richard Pangburn, Butler Books, Louisville, Ky., 1996, Page 144.
Ruth Radford and Charles Cochran
Charles Cochran (07 Oct 1824/02 Nov 1919) was a son of Edward Cockram Jr. and wife Mary Rakes. His grandparents were Mary and Edward Cockram Sr. and Charles and Jane Rakes. His siblings were Mary Jane Cochran Via, Rhoda Cochran Vest, Nathan Cochran, Anna Cochran Whitlock, Patsy Cochran Via, Harden Cochran, Arta Cochran Radford and Edward Cochran III. For more information about Charles' birth family, go to Vest/Cochran Page 2: The Cochran Family of Virginia and West Virginia.
Charles and Ruth married on 07 Nov 1848 in Franklin Co., Va. with minister Howery Michael officiating. (Records at the Rocky Mt., Franklin County Courthouse.)
Charles Cochran, one of the oldest citizens of this county, resides in Jumping Branch District. He emigrated to this county from Franklin County, Virginia in 1872. His wife’s name was Ruth Radford. He is now eighty two years old, hale and healthy. He was a Confederate soldier throughout the Civil War. He at this time has two sons living – Robert, who married Miss Pack, a daughter of Preston Pack, and A.J., who married a Miss Shively. Robert is a prosperous farmer in Jumping Branch District. A.J. has been a justice of the peace eight years. He also held the office of Constable for the Jumping Branch District for several years, and has been a member of the Democratic County Executive Committee, and aggressive in the causes of his party. One son, Michael, died in 1884. He married a Miss Vest, daughter of Anderson Vest. In 1894, (error in text) he was accidentally cut by a scythe while mowing his meadow, from which wounds he died. He had also held a position as constable for a number of years.
“The History of Summers County” by James A. Miller of Hinton, WV, 1908. Page 546.
Note: The History of Summers County is online at Google Books
Here is some information from cousin Dean Bennett from a daughter of Glen Cochran:
“…One story she gave me that needs to be verified is ...Charlie was captured during the Civil War and marched to Boston. He was declared dead…After the war ended the prisoners was sent by ship to Norfolk, Ruth had accepted the fact that he was dead since he had not arrived home after a couple of months. Then (more than she could take) he walked in. He had walked all the way from Norfolk... True or not remains to be seen...”
Children and grandchildren of Charles and Ruth Cochran. (Sources.*)
- ANDREW JACKSON (A.J.) COCHRAN. Born 23 April 1851/died 24 Feb 1933, according to his death certificate. and his tombstone. (His birth date from "Charles Cockram family Bible in the possession of Gay Parker, Mary Eleandor's daughter," is 23 April 1853.) Find a Grave: Anderson Vest Cemetery, Summers County, W.Va. Married Maude Eleanor (Addie) Shively. Children of Andrew and Addie Cochran: 1. Clyde Raymond Cochran, 22 Nov 1885/May 27, 1924. Death certificate. Find a Grave. He married Lottie C. Vest. Photo: Clyde and Lottie. In 1930, Lottie Vest Cochran married Allen Robert Mann. Marriage certificate. Mrs. Mann's obituary.
2. Carl Frazier Cochran, b1888; 3. Charles Frederick Cochran, b1890;
4. Till D. Cochran, b 24 May 1894/d 27 Sept 1989. Three Church Charter Members To Attend 55th Annual Meeting, Register/Post-Herald, Beckley, W.Va., 27 Nov 1971, article about Beaver First Baptist Church, W.Va., including information about Rev. Cochran, Mable (Mabel?) Dobbins Meador and Texie Dobbins Brammer. Photo from article. Rev. Cochran: funeral card. The Rev. Till D. Cochran (obit from Raleigh County GenWeb),
5. Lola Wayne Cochran, born 10 Nov 1902, Summers County, W.Va./died March 1986 in Roanoke County, Va. (Source for dates: Social Security Death Index.) Lola married Kahle Stuart Burton, born 16 Jun 1896 in Radford, Va., son of John and Mary Burton. He died in May 1962. (Sources for Mr. Burton: World War II draft card and the 1910 census.) Lola and Kahle are buried in Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens, Roanoke, Va. Find a Grave
6. Ada Lee Cochran, born16 Feb 1903/died April 1903.
- MICHAEL COCHRAN. (Source B: 30 June 1855/1884). His wife’s name was Arta Angeline Vest, according to A and Ana Angeline “Lina,” daughter of Anderson Vest, according to B. A family history said the couple had "no issue." But there is a 20 Dec 1881 Summers County death record for a Cochran, no first name/no age given, son of Michael Cochran. The informant was grandmother Ruth Cochran. See Infant Cochran on Find a Grave, Anderson Vest Cemetery. Infant of Michael and A.A. Cochran.
One son, Michael, died in 1884. He married a Miss Vest, daughter of Anderson Vest. In 1894, (error in text) he was accidentally cut by a scythe while mowing his meadow, from which wounds he died. He had also held a position as constable for a number of years.
“The History of Summers County” by James A. Miller of Hinton, WV, 1908. Page 546.
- MALINDA JANE COCHRAN. She married Columbus Washington Vest. Their children were Leonard Haliburton Vest, Ethiel Barah Vest, Sanford Walter Vest, Luther Flemon Vest and Callie Matilda Vest Richmond. (The 1900 census states that Malinda was the mother of six children with five still living.) For more on Malinda's children, go to Vest/Cochran Page 3 (Columbus and Malinda).
- MARTHA COCHRAN. Born 29 Apr 1860 (Source: Cochran family history) and died 16 Jun 1926 in Summers County. Death certificate. Martha's obituaries. Martha, 19, married Peter Bennett, 20, son of William Bennett and wife Elizabeth Adkins, on 17 Feb 1881 in Summers County. Martha and Peter's marriage record. In 1908 Martha Cochran Bennett married Isaac Sears (Siers) in Summers County. Marriage record. Isaac died in 1919 in Summers County. Death record. Children of Peter and Martha Bennett: 1. Minta Ella "Minnie" "Minty" Bennett. Born 19 Feb 1882, Raleigh County, W.Va.; died 13 Sep 1966, Bellepoint, Summers County. Source: death record. Minta married Charles E. Yancey. Mr. Yancey was born 27 Sep 1878; died in 02 July 1942: death record. Minta's obituary.
2. Cleora Olive "Corie" Bennett. (22 May 1884/Jan 1961) Obituary. Cleora married Elbert Workman in 1898. Cleora, divorced, married Stephen Yancey in 1904. Find A Grave Memorial 90695721.
3. Oscar Bennett.
4. Roxie Elizabeth Bennett (11 Nov 1886/08 Jan 1965). She married Green H. Vest. Roxie's obituary. Death record. Green's obit.
5. Cecil Abshire Bennett. Born 14 Oct 1894; died 19 Dec 1969. Source: Cochran Reunion. Obituary. Military photo (around 1918-19).
6. Simon Peter Bennett (06 March 1897/09 Feb 1968, Summers Co.) He was married to Lillie Mae Simmons (01 Mar 1901/Jan 1962, Summers County, W.Va.), daughter of Amon J. Simmons and wife Nellie D. Vest. Simon's obituary. Lillie's obituary.
- R.E. (ROBERT EDWARD) COCHRAN. Born 04 April 1863/died 05 April 1939, according to his death certificate. In 1886, Robert, 23, married to Virginia Belle Pack, 16, (l870/1924) daughter of Preston and Amanda J. Pack. Marriage record. Virginia's death record. Source B (see sources listed in the last paragraph) states that Robert and Virginia had “13 children including Robert Glen and others including four that died at birth.” Robert Edward, 62, married Mrs. Margaret Jane Mann, 58, in 1925. Marriage record.
Children of Robert and Virginia Cochran: 1. Fred Emmet Cochran, born 28 Oct 1887, Summers County, W.Va. died 1976, in the Webster Springs Hospital, birth record, obituary. A 1961 article about his birthday celebration (Cochran To Mark 74th Anniversary) says Fred and Minerva Via married in 1913. She was a daughter of Isaac Via (see Mr. Via's Find a Grave page) and wife Mary E. Vest. Minerva Cochran's obituaries. Fred and Minerva had six children: Basil Cochran, Lacy Cochran, Annabelle Cochran Bennett, Jack Cochran, Pearl Cochran Campbell and Betty Cochran Wills.
2. Lena Ruth Cochran. William Asa Bennett, 23, son of Henry Bennett and wife Louisa Ferguson, married Lena R. Cochran, 16, on 27 March 1905 in Summers County. Marriage record. Lena & Asa - 50th anniversary. Lena R. Bennett obituary. William Asa Bennett obituaries.
3. Mary Amanda “Polly.” Mary A. Cochran was born 09 Oct 1890 in Summers Co. Birth record. Mary A. Vest, 46, married Wilmer A. Ward, 44, in 1937 in Summers Co. Marriage record. Mary "Polly" Vest Ward died 21 Nov 1976. Obituary.
4. Annie Cochran. Anna Cochran was born 17 Apr 1892 in Summers Co. Birth record.
5. Michael Alexander Cochran. Born 24 June 1894, Summers Co. Birth record.
6. Mattie Sona Cochran. Born 15 July 1896, Summers Co., (Birth record) and died 16 Sep 1997 in W.Va. (Social Security Death Index.) Mattie S. Cochran, 16, married Frank H. Simmons, 24, on 28 Jan 1913 in Summers Co. Marriage record. Frank Harrison Simmons Sr. was born 25 Dec 1888 in Summers County, W.Va. (World War II draft card.)
7. Robert Glen "Beardy" Cochran. Born 03 May 1898, Summers Co. Birth record.
He died in November 1976. Among his survivors was wife Edna Cole Cochran. Robert's obituary.
8. Ruby Belle Cochran. Born 29 May 1900, on White Oak Mountain, W.Va. Birth record. She died 01 Aug 1963 in West Virginia. Obituaries. Ruby, 18, married Ezra Calloway Cole, 20, in 1918 in Summers County. He was born 14 Dec 1897 in Raleigh County, a son of Joseph Cole and wife Texas Foley. Ruby and Ezra were the parents of Wilmer Thurl Cole, husband of Mary Lucille Vest, and Mildred Ruth Cole, wife of George B. Scott. (Link to Mildred's obit here: In Memory.) Ezra Cole died 23 June 1965 in Beckley, Raleigh Co. Obituaries.
9. Charles Jackson Cochran. Birth record (with error in transcription) appears to be Chas. J. Cochran, born 14 May 1902 in Summers Co. The 1910 census lists Charles, 8. (A family history says Robert and Virginia had a son, Charles Jackson, who died 29 Nov 1913 at birth. I haven't been able to find a 1913 birth or death. )
10. John Edward Cochran, died at birth. 11. Eva Cochran, died at birth; 13. Ona Ivan Cochran, died at birth, 13. Susie Faye Cochran. She was born 10 Nov 1911. (U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 2) Susie married Cyrus Hershel Pack in 1934 in Raleigh County. Marriage record. Mrs. Pack, 87, died 13 Aug 1999, in Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital, W.Va. (Charleston Gazette online: 15 Aug 15 1999.) Mr. Pack was born 18 May 1909 and died in April 1978. (Social Security Death Index)
- RACHEL COCHRAN. Born 28 Sept 1866/died 17 Sept. 1952. (This entry and the photos were e-mailed from cousin Kathleen, 03 Sept 2007.) Rachel married Jacob Bennett, born 11 July 1858, a son of William H. Bennett and Sarah Elizabeth Adkins. Jacob died 07 Jul 1907. According to a family tree on Ancestry.com, Jacob and Martha's husband Peter Bennett were brothers. Rachel Cochran Bennett obit. Photos: Rachel Cochran Bennett (courtesy of Brian B.), Rachel with children Orpha and Roscoe . Bennett brothers, the eight sons of Jacob and Rachel. Front row, left to right: Elbert, Roscoe, Oliver, Edward. Back row, left to right,: Earl, Earnest, Mike, Noah.
Rachel and Jacob are buried in the Bennett Cemetery, Brooklyn, Summers County, W.Va. Find a Grave.
Children of Jacob and Rachel Bennett:
1. Oliver Syrus Bennett, born 17 Feb 1883 in Raleigh County, W.Va; died 30 Jun 1943 in Jumping Branch, Summers Co., W.Va.. He married Caldonia "Callie" Vest, born 25 Sep 1883 in Summers Co., W.Va.; died 20 Jun 1939 in Summers County, W.Va. Callie's death record. Find a Grave: Anderson Vest Cemetery, Summers County.
2. Elbert Pason Bennett, born 15 Feb 1885 (Source: World War I and II draft cards.); died 01 Dec 1962 in Summers County. (Source: West Virginia, Deaths Index, 1853-1973. FHL Film Number: 2074176.).
3. Bessie Bennett, born May 1887 in West Virginia (Source: U.S. Federal Census. Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Jumping Branch, Summers, West Virginia; Roll: 1773; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 130; FHL microfilm: 1241773.)
4. Oscar Bennett, born 25 Aug 1889 in Raleigh County. (Source: West Virginia Vital Research Records Project.) Oscar died Feb. 28, 1895. (Source: Find a Grave, Bennett Cemetery, Brooklin, Summers County, W.Va.)
5. Edward Bennett, born Feb 1892 in West Virginia (Source: U.S. Federal Census. Source Citation: Year: 1920; Census Place: Jumping Branch, Summers, West Virginia; Roll: T625_1968; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 144; Image: 1056.)
6. Noah Aaron Bennett, born 25 Aug 1894 in West Virginia (Source: World War I draft card.); died Oct 1976 (Source: Social Security Death Index.).
7. Ruth V. Bennett, born 10 May 1896 in Madams Creek, Summers County. (Source: Birth record, West Virginia Vital Research Records Project.); died 28 Nov 1896 in Madams Creek, Summers County. (Death record, WV Vital Research Records Project.) Ruth, 6 months old, died of "hepatic congestion." Find a Grave # 92076140, Bennett Cemetery, Brooklin, Summers County, W.Va. Ruth shares a tombstone with brother Oscar. See link above.
8. Michael J. "Mike" Bennett, born 01 Jul 1898 in Summers County; died abt. 1985 in Virginia. He married Ethel. Obituary.
9. Ernest Bennett, born Abt. 1901 in West Virginia (Source: U.S. Federal Census. Source Citation: Year: 1920; Census Place: Jumping Branch, Summers, West Virginia; Roll: T625_1968; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 144; Image: 1056.)
10. Earl Bennett, born 1903 in West Virginia (Source: U.S. Federal Census, 1920)
11. Orpha Beatrice Bennett, born 26 Jan 1905 in Summers County. (Source: West Virginia, Births Index, 1853-1969. FHL Film Number: 589341. U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 2). Orpha married A.E. Gulley, a Kentucky native, in 1924 in Summers County. Marriage record. Orpha and A.E. (Photo from newsclip fragment.)
12. Roscoe R. Bennett, born 09 Nov 1907 in Summers County; died Oct 1982 in Lowmoor, Va. Obituary.
- ISAIAH COCHRAN. Born 09 July 1869/died Feb. 1870.
Sources: 1. U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885. 2. Cochran family history distributed in connection with reunion. Notation: "Obtained dates from Charles Cockram family Bible in the possession of Gay Parker (Mary Eleandor's daughter)."
- MARY ELEANDOR COCHRAN. Born 07 Apr 1872. Her sister Rachel's obituary lists her as "Ella Parker." Mary E. Cochran, 19, of Franklin, Va., married Cornelius Pendleton "Neal" Parker, 25, son of J.A. and Sarah Parker on 30 Sep 1891 in Summers County. Marriage record (summary is in error: Parker not Barker). Mr. Parker's death certificate. Children of Mary and Neal Parker(sources: 1920 census and news articles):
1. Frank Neal Parker, born 24 Jan 1897, Summers County, (birth record). He died in February 1978, according to the Social Security Death Index. 2. Ora Gaye Parker, born 12 Oct 1892, Summers, birth record. Summers Woman, 82, Still Makes Quilts, Post-Herald, Beckley, W.Va., 05 March 1975, Page 10. 3. Ann Parker. In a 1975 news article (see above), she is called Ann Hodges.
4. Cassie Pearl Parker, born 15 Apr 1900, Summers, birth record. Cassie Pearle Parker, 23, married Horace Maben Rogers, 34, Pulaski Co., Va., on 09 Apr 1924. Marriage license.
5. Flossie Lee Parker, born 22 Nov 1894, Summers. Birth record On 06 March 1924 in Glen Morgan, W.Va., Flossie Parker, 25, born in Jumping Branch, W.Va., married John William Kessinger, 25, born at Flat Top, W.Va. Marriage record. She died 3 Jan 1984 in Ohio. (Source: Ohio Division of Vital Statistics.)
6. Clara Ray Parker, 25 Sep 1902, Summers, birth record.
* Sources of original information: The first five children were listed in one section of Source A. Another section lists the first five children plus: Rachael (28 Sept 1866); Isiah (09 July 1869/Feb. 1870) and Mary Eleandor (07 April 1872).
SOURCE A: A Xeroxed copy of family history that was produced in connection with a family reunion in southern West Virginia. Verna Vest Bennett gave me a copy in the 1970s. A note says this is a “Record of Charles Cockram, son of Edward Cockram and Mary Rakes (records at Stuart, Va. - Patrick County). It also has a notation that the birth dates of Charles and Ruth’s children came from Charles Cockram’s family Bible in the possession of his niece Gay Parker, daughter of Mary Eleandor. SOURCE B: An online source, N. Clifton. Ms. Clifton sent me three e-mails with about 35 pages of Cochran Family information. SOURCE C: “The History of Summers County” by James A. Miller of Hinton, WV, 1908, Page 546. SOURCE D: Another online source: Ed Talbott. Mr. Talbott sent two text files with information with information on both the Cochran and Rakes Families. He lists several sources including “The History of Floyd County, Virginia” and “Mountain Legacy: A 200-Year History of One Family Line in Southwest Virginia” by Gayle Fuller Stanley.