John Cotten, Mary, Martha Godwin, & William Green

Sally’s 6-great Grandparents:

John Cotten 1660 – 1728 | his parents
&? Mary | her parents
& ca 1700 Martha Godwin ca 1683 – aft 1732 | her parents
& bef Nov 1731 William Green | his parents
of South Quay, Virginia
& Bertie County, (Hertford County,) North Carolina

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

John Cotten and Martha Godwin married in Isle of Wight County, VA,
probably just before 1701 (D.B. 2 p.69 & G. B. 2 p52.)
In 1704, he was a resident of Isle of Wight Co, VA, and then is listed in Nansemond Co, VA,
John Cotten lived in South Quay, VA on the Blackwater.

John Cotten/on who died in Bertie Precinct, NC in 1728 is the son of John Cotton, who died in York County ca. 1683.

26 Jan, 1698-9–John Cotten appointed as an appraiser of the estate of James Gardner. Isle of Wight Co, Va: Bk A-415

From Bruce Cotten’s The Cotten Family of North Carolina — We have a record of John Cotten as early as 1701 residing in South Quay on the Blackwater river in Virginia. This place is about four miles south of the present town of Franklin and about four miles north of the North Carolina line. It’s on the Nansemond side of the river and appears on a map made in 1695.
John Cotten conducted a trading post here for many years in conjunction with his plantations.
The Blackwater, Nottoway, and Chowan Rivers were the highways of travel and commerce between Virginia and the fringe of settlers who had planted themselves along the shores of Albemarle Sound.
Canoes and flatboats traversed these streams almost to the James, and in this way, we find that Mrs. Hyde widow of the late Governor of North Carolina elected to return to Virginia in 1713, stopping at John Cotten’s at South Quay and that Gov. Spotswood took advantage of these canoes to forward four barrels of gun power to Gov. Pollock of North Carolina.

In 1719 John, Cotten moved his family to North Carolina.–about 15 miles or so down the river to what is now known as the Potecase Creek. and became a neighbor of Frederick Jones.

Our ancestor John Cotten died in 1728 in Bertie Co, NC.
Contrary to claims of other “genealogists” I think this John Cotten married Martha Godwin of Isle of Wight and all his children were by her. [His wife certainly was NOT Martha the daughter of Frederick Jones, the chief justice of NC. She was still unmarried and underage at the time of her father’s death in 1722.] Michael Cotten. seems to think that John had an earlier wife Mary who was the mother of his firstborn John. Possible.

Martha GODWIN was born ca 1683 in Isle of Wight, VA, daughter of William GODWIN and his wife, Elizabeth WRIGHT.
Martha married a second time before Nov 1731 William Green whose first wife was named Elizabeth. May Ct. Records 1732 Bertie County.

Child of John Cotten by first wife Mary:
1. John COTTEN ca 1695 – 2 Feb 1741 (N. Hampton, NC)
married bef 13 May 1723 1st Judith who died 12 Nov 1726
married 2nd Anne JONES dau of John JONES and wife, Martha CARTER

Children of John COTTEN (from will 1728 Bertie Co) and Martha GODWIN:
2. Patience COTTEN 1703 – 30 Nov 1725
married 1722 Capt John SPIER 1693 -1764
Capt. John may have married next Martha COTTEN BENTON (Barry Hayes)
Jan 1761, his last wife was named Elizabeth? died 1774 Pitt County Wills
3. Martha COTTEN ca 1704 – before 1761
married ca 1721 1st Francis BENTON
he had died prior May 1728

? married 2nd aft May 1728 Capt John Spears (Spier) 1693 -1764
widower of sister Patience
4. William COTTEN ca 1705 – before 1753
married Sarah DEW d 1753
(widow of Wm. BRIDGERS died 1729)

5. Anne COTTEN ca 1706 – aft 1746
married John THOMAS
son of William THOMAS and Elizabeth HILL
6. Mary COTTEN ca 1707 – ?
married Richard [or James or Henry] HOLLAND
7. Samuel COTTEN ca 1708 – 1774
appt guardian to Arthur COTTEN Feb 1734
married 1st Elizabeth 
( she sold land with Sam 5 Sept 1750)
married 2nd ca 1756 Mrs. Lydia EWELL ca 1735 – 1783
(divorced wife of Solomon EWELL)

8. Joseph COTTEN ca 1710 – ca Apr 1765
married Elizabeth ERVIN
9. Alexander Spotswood COTTEN ca Aug 1711 – ca Dec 1764
the story is that the night Alexander was born Alexander Spotswood was staying at the John COTTEN’s house in South Quay along with Fred JONES and other dignitaries including an Episcopal minister who christened the baby on the spot with Fred JONES as god-father. the full name appears on a 1751 deed Bertie Co H-213
appt guardian to James COTTEN Feb 1734
Depos. of Alexander COTTEN, age 48 of Bertie Co Apr Ct 1759 DB I-273
Will proved Jan 1765 Hertford Co Ct by Thomas COTTEN, James POWELL & William COTTEN, SS State papers Raleigh, (NCGSJ May 88 page 104)
married 1st Ann FOSTER died 1740 dau of Robert died 1740
married 2nd Elizabeth WEST dau of Peter died 1751
10. Susanna COTTEN ca 1713 – ?
married Esau BLOUNT
11. Arthur COTTEN 9 Sept 1716 – 20 May 1789
*Sally’s ancestor*

married Elizabeth RUTLAND dau of James
12. James COTTEN ca 1718 – 1758
married ca 1737 Sarah BRIDGERS
dau of Wm BRIDGERS & wife Sarah DEW
13. Thomas COTTEN ca 1720 – 1787
and ca 1740 Ann MOORE
married ca 1746 Patience BRIDGERS 1729-
sister of Sarah who married James COTTEN
married bef 1767 Mary COTTEN half-sister of Patience and Sarah
NH deed book 4 – page 81

14. Priscilla COTTEN ca 1721
married ca 1739 Francis LEONARD (alias LEE)

Isle of Wight rent rolls 1704–John Cotten–200 A.

John COTTEN in 1711 was living in Nansemond near the junction of the boundaries of that county with Isle of Wight and North Carolina. Philip LUDWELL, one of the commissioners for the “setting the bounds” between N.C. and VA stated, July 28, 1711, that it was agreed next that we meet at John COTTEN’s house at South Key. Also, from “Nansemond Indian Town” August 1, 1711, John LAWSON, one of Comrs. for N.C. wrote to Benj. HARRISON a commissioner for Va. “I desire your appointment at John COTTEN’s and hope it will be by the last of this month”(5 V. 21).Bodie Vol III p82

1711–John COTTEN sued out a patent on southside of Cedar Swamp and assigned it to David LEWIS deceased and his son David LEWIS now possesses it.
Reel 87 C.O. 412/25 16 Dec 1738–

23 Dec 1712 – Gov. POLLOCK in reply – Wherefor would earnestly entreat yr: honor to order the duffells for us at Mr John COTTEN,S at Blackwater, Likewise a dozen spades, twenty brass pans and about fifty or sixty hand granads, they being very necessary for the ready takeing of the Forts. I shall have a boat or cannoe at John COTTEN’S on Monday next. It will be of extraordinary service to the Countrey at this time For the Army being to march out the first of the next month, If it come not before that time shall have no men to goe out— . . Tom BLUNT, the Indian comeing in befor I had finished hath hindered my sending thes two days, so that i beleive if the boat or cannoe for the duffells be at Mr COTTEN’S by Wednesday the last of this month, it may be time enough
[found in Saunders’s Colonial Records taken from Calendar of Virginia State Papers Vol 1 p 157]

15 Jan 1712/13 Tho: Pollock to Gov. Spotswood — upon receat of yr honors last letter sent away a runner to Tome Blunt, to desire him to be in at Mr Cottons on the 20th instant.. [from Calendar of Virginia State Papers Vol 1 p 161]

Nansemond county–13 Nov, 1713–91 A granted to Jno. Cotton;
13 Nov, 1713–158 A granted to Jno. Cotton.
Surry county–23 March, 1715–75 A granted to John Cotton.

Hofmann’s Abstracts Chowan Precinct NC 1696-1723: p277 832
John Cotten 9 June 1719 640 A SW side of Ahotsky meadow.

Col. Records — 1719 -The Petition of John Cotten was read Shewing that he purchased a Tract of Land of one Thomas Dyal lying at Ahotsky containing 640 acres which sd Land in Lapsable for want of due seating praying a Lapse patent for the same may be granted him — Ord that the same be granted.

Hofmann’s Abstracts Chowan Precinct NC 1696-1723: #442 pg 21
Charles Eden, Esquire, Governor to John Hardy, William Charlton, John Holbrook, John Cotton, Thomas Betterley, Samuel Pagett, Thomas Rountree, John Bryan son of Lewis Bryan, John Parker, Luke Meazell esquires By virtue of a commission from the Lord Proprietors appointing me Governor, Captain General and Admiral of the Province of N.C. with full powere and authority to Commissionate and appoint all officers and Magistrates-military and civil – I therefore, being appraised of the Loyalty, Prudence, and Integrity of you and each of you do hereby assign and appoint you Justices of the Peace for the Prect. of Chowan in the Co. of Albemarle to keep his Majesties Peace within the Prect. and John Hardy, William Charlton, John Holbrook, and John Cotton shall keep a Court four times every year, Vizt. on the 3rd Tuesday, in the months of Jan, Apr, July, and Oct. This Commission to continue during my Pleasure given under the seal of this Colony 29 Aug AD 1719 /s/ Charles Eden.

#443 pg 22 CHARLES EDEN, esquire, to JOHN HARDY, WILLIAM CHARLTON, JOHN HOLBROOK and JOHN COTTON By a Commission bearing the date 29 Aug 1719 power to administer the Oaths to be taken, as well as the Oaths of a Justice of the Peace to your associates Given under my hand and seal at Ann(sic) the Day and Year afrsd.

#526 pg 116 THE HONORABLE FREDERICK JONES, Esquire of Chowan Prect. to JOHN COTTON, Gentleman and MARTHA his wife and ALEXANDER COTTON son ot the sd JOHN all of the sd Prect. 18 Apr 1720 5 shillings lawful money of this Province a lease for one year of 800 acres whereon the sd JOHN COTTON now dwells on Meherring Creek, joining the sd JONES, Cat Tail Branch and Hoskey Path all houses, gardens, orchards etc. and is part of a larger tract belonging to the sd JONES Wit.: THOMAS HARVEY, J. LOVICK Reg Chowan Ct Apr 1721 Test: THOMAS HENMAN, Clerk.

#527 pg 117 FREDERICK JONES, Esquire of Chowan Prect to JOHN COTTON, Gentleman, and MARTHA his wife and ALEXANDER COTTON son of the sd JOHN 19 Apr 1720 for 40 L and the love and affection I bear toward my grandson (the “experts” say this was a copying error on the part of the clerk, that the word was God-son) the sd ALEXANDER the 800 acres whereon the sd JOHN now lives Wit: THOMAS HARVEY, JOHN LOVICK Reg Chowan Ct Apr 1721 Test: THOMAS HENMAN, Clerk.

JW Moore V1 p49– Superior Ct held at Edenton 1723–John Cotten, Esq., had sued John Grey, of Bertie precinct, gentleman. On appeal from a precinct ct. held at the house of James Howard at “Ahotsky,” on 14 May, 1723.

Bertie County Deed B193 Aug. 8, 1723, proven in November Court 1726.
John COTTON to Richard HOLLAND; land on the south side of the Roanoke River and Broad Meadow adjoining John GREEN; part of a patent granted Cotton. wit; Whilliam Whitfield, John Scott

Bertie County Deed A 402 May 10, 1725, proven in May Ct. 1725…John and Judith COTTON to James BROCKDEN; 50 acres on the south side of the Morratuck River adjoining John GREEN and William GREEN, Wit. John Kelly

From Margaret Hoffmann Deed Books 1-6 Halifax Co., NC. p.48:
James BROGDON and Susanna Brogdon of Edge. Co. to John MINGE of Charles City Co., VA. 21 May 1751 150 pounds current money of Va. 400 acres on the south side of Roanoke river, joining John GREEN, Moses BECK. William GREEN and the river.
250 acres of which was sold by John COTTON late of Bertie. Co. to Richard HOLLAND 8 Aug. 1723 and by the sd HOLLAND sold to James BROGDON father of the above said ANNA his wife late of Chowan Precinct to James BROGDON 1 Aug. 1721
and 60 acres sold by John COTTON Late of Bertie and Judith his wife to James BROGDON 10 May 1725.
Wit: Monfort EELBECK, Samuel SAXON, Frances HARVERY Reg. Edge Co. May Ct. 1751 B. Wynns C/Ct.

Colonial Records – 27 July 1725 – At a Generall Court of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Delivery held at the Courthouse in Edenton — The Grand Jury presented a Bill of Indictment against John Cotton for marryn a Molatto Man to a White woman.
John Cotton didn’t show up for the first hearing so he was summoned for the next court where he did appear and it was decided it had been so long since this marriage happened that there was no remedy so the case was dismissed.

Sept 1725 – By Jo Cotton D M in Bertie to Compleat his Accot Ending Sept. 1725.
Col. Records. [Collector of the Quit Rents]

JOHN COTTON’S WILL. In the name of God Amen. I, John Cotten, of Bartie Precinct, in North Carolina, Gent., being sick in body but of perfect Sence & Sound memory, blessed by God, doe mak and ordaine this to be my last will and Testament, in manner and forme folowing, Viz: first,
Item. I gaive to my son John Cotten, three hundred and twenty acors of land, be it more or less, whar he now lives, on the west sid of Ahorskey Marsh, to him and his heairs for ever.
Item. I give to my son William Cotten one hundred and fifty acors land be it more or less, lying in the oserow (?) Meadows whar he now lives, beginning at a marked hickory at my uppermost line, so runing down a line of marked trees to the lower most line, to him and his heairs for ever.
Item. I give to my son Samell Cotten, a Neack of land whar he now lives, be the saime mor or less, and parte of a survay that I bought of Charles Stevenson, being a hund. acors mor or less to him and his heairs for ever.
Item. I give to my son Thos. Cotten, all the remainder of my land bought of Charles Stevenson, it is northerdly of William Cotten and containes three hund and forty acors beinga neck called the Green pond neck to him and his heairs for ever.
Item. I give to my sons Arthur Cotten and James Cotten my lowermost survay land on fishing creek to eaqualey devided betwixt ym, to them and their heairs for ever.
Item. I give to my son Joseph Cotten, to hundred acors land and to be taken oute of my uper survay on fishing creek, to him and his heairs for ever.
Item. I give to my son Alexandr Cotten, one hundred acors land out of my uper survay of fishing creek to him and his heairs for ever and the other three hundred acors to be equaley devided betwen my sons John Cotten, William Cotten, and Samll. Cotten, to them and their heirs for ever.
Item. I give to my son Arthur Cotten, one Neagerow man naimed Meingo, butt except the labour and sarvice of the sd. Neagerow to be preformed and don for my loveing wife Martha Cotten deuring her widowhood, and my sd son Arthur Cotten to be and goe for himself when he shall arrive at the age of 18 years.
Item. I give to my son James Cotten, one Neagerow boye naimed Peter to him and his heairs for ever and that my son James Cotten may goe and for himself when he shall arrive att the age of eighteen years.
Item. I give to my son Thos. Cotten one Neagroe gerlle naimed Rose to him and his heairs for ever but except the labour and sarverce of the sd Neagrow geirll to be for and with my loving wife Martha Cotten deuring her widowhood, and that my son Thos. Cotten be free and goe for him self when the sd Thos. arrive at the age of eighteen years.
Item. I give to my son Joseph Cotten one Neagerow boy named Toney to him and his heirs for ever.
Item. I give unto my daughter Presseler Cotten on Neagerow woman named Mooll to her and her heairs for ever, butt except the youse and labour of the sd Neagrerow to be for my loving wife Martha Cotten dewering her widowhood.
Item. I give to my son Alexander Cotten one Neagerow man named Guge, butt except the sd Neagerows labour and survice to be for my loveing wife Martha Cotten during hur widowhood.
Item. I give to my son William Cotten one new feather bead and a woosted sett ruge and one large fine blanket and a sheate, to pewter bassons, and to pewter dishes, three cows and calves, to yearlings, and one three year ould heifer, and eight soues with their in creese, and one baye Gelding horse, and one large barow or spayed sow, and a pateran of fine druged for a sute of close, coate, bretches and jacket and triming answreable and fifty bushalls of oyster shells. And all that parsell of plank that wase sawed for the meill work to euqualie devided betwene my sd son William Cotten and my son Samll. Cotten.
Item. I give to my son Samll. Cotten, a p’terne of fine druged to make him a sute of close and trimings answrable which cloth and triming is to be answare and euqualey devided betwix my sons William and Samll. Cotten.
Item. To my son Samll. Cotten, I give one feather bead known by the naime of the Trundle bead and a blew wostde sett rugg and one blanket and sheate and one square fraimed warnut table, and three cows and calves, and an in broke hors of to years ould, to puter bassons, and to puter dishes, and fifty bushells of oyster shells and to each of my sons Samll. and Wm Cotten, a large steare, to purches ym nails to buld them a howse, each &.
Item. I give to my son Alexander Cotten, eight sowes with their increase and three cows, one heifer yearling, and one to year ould steare and one three year ould steare.
Item. I give to my son John Cotten all the stock of both hogs and cattle that is now in his possession of my marke and fifty bushels of oyster shells.
Item. I give to my daughter Susannah Cotten, the feather bead whar on she lyes with all its furniture.
Item. I give to my son Thos. Cotten, one sute of new courteins of a blew couller, one large fine bead tick, one wosted sett rugg, and one large fine blankett.
I give and bequeath to my loveing wife Martha Cotten, my bead whar on I lye with all its furniture, courtens, rugg, blankets, sheates, pelowes, and one large new fine blanket and quelt, besides and bead stead corde and matt. and,
Item I give to my son Alexander Cotten as much dewroys which is now by me as will make him a suite of clothes.
Item. I give to my sons Alexander and Samll. Cotten as much striped holan, as will make each of ym a jeacket and bretches and trimeing to sons Alexander and Samll. Cotten as much striped holan, as will make each of ym a jeacket and bretches and trimeing to it.
And I give and bequeath to my loveing wife my riding horse, calling his name Blaise, and a sid sadle.
Item. I give to my son in law, John Tomas, one puter dish.
Item. I give to my son in law, Capt. John Spears, one puter dish.
Item. I give to my daughter Mary Holand, one puter dish,
and the use of the above neagreroes is left to my sd wife for hur own and my sd fower youngest childrens maintaneance during her widowhood.
Item. I give to my son Joseph Cotten, three wethers and a ramm, to yewes and a lam.
Item. I give to my daughter, Martha Benton, late widow of Frances Benton, deceased, three ewes with their increase.
Item. I give to my sons Wm and Samll. Cotten, 20 pounds of feathers to be equaly devided inlargen their beds.
My will is furder that my mill stones, spindle, jaks, and peecks to be sold for silver money and that to be equaley devided betweixt my fower small children, Arthur, Pesseller, James, and Thos. Cotten and all the remd of my estate both within and with oute dores I leave to my and fower small children above named to be equaley devided.
Item. I give to my daughter, Susanah, as much fine silk stufe as will mak hur a sute of clothes
and my will is that my mair that runes in Tormenteing nack, the first coult she brings may be for my son, Arthur Cotten, and if the sd mair lives to bring aney more coultes may be for my son, James and Thos. Cotten and,
Lastly, I doe apoint my loveing wife to be exetrs. of this my last will and testment,
butt nomonate and appoint my loveing friend, Thos. Bryant, and Wm Benet to be over Sears, and have power, in case my wife should again marey and hur covetor prove unhappy to hur and my fower small children, to remove and secure them and their estate att their desc.
In witness war of asigne this to be my Last will and testement.
John Cotten. (Seal)
Test. Thos. Bryant, Jurat; Thomas Strange; her mark, Mary M Parkers. Jurat.

Bertie Sc May Court 1728, The above will was exhibited by Martha Cotten, Widow and sole executrix of John Cotten, deced. and was proved by the Oaths of Capt. Thomas Bryant, and Mary Parker, in open court in due form of law, who were evidences thereto. And then the sd. Martha took the Exrs: oath in Open Court. Test. Rt. Forster, Cler, Cur. Office of the sec. of state.–Grimes. also S.S. archives of NC

Note: I see no mention of JOHN, the eldest son, Patience’s widower John Speir, Anne Thomas, Mary Holland or JOSEPH in the following divisions in the Bertie Court records. Had they received their shares previously?

May 12, 1728 JOHN COTTEN Division of estate among (1) William Cotten, (2) Samuel Cotten, (3) Elexander Cotten, (4) John Cotten as gdn. of Susanah Cotten, (5) the widow Martha Benton with the residue undivided for the four small children. Record signed by Simon Jeffreys, John Dew, James Moor and R. Brasswell.

Nov. 25, 1731 JOHN COTTEN Division of estate at the home of Martha Green by James Moor, Titus Moor, John Jones, Senr. and Samuel Williams (1) A Negro was put in the hands of Thomas Bryant and William Bennet for the use of Priscilla Cotten. (2) Clothing was allotted to Thomas Cotten. (3) A Negro was allotted to Martha Cotten. (4) A Negro was allotted to James Cotten. (5) A Negro was allotted to Thomas Cotten. Millstones, etc. were divided among the four small children (6) Arthur Cotten, Priscilla Cotten, James Cotten, and Thomas Cotten. Of the residue of the estate, one-fifth was allotted to Martha Green and the other four-fifths divided among the four children.

Tuesday 9th of May 1732 At a court held at the Court House on Timber Branch
. . . And Thomas Jones Attny for Wm. Green that intermarryed with Martha Cotten Relict Widow of the sd. John Cotten Prays an appeal from the above Judgement. [follows]

June 5, 1732 JOHN COTTEN Completion of division of estate at the home of Mrs Martha Green,. The farm animals were put into the hands of Capt Thos Bryant and William Bennet for the use of the four small children. Signed by James Moor, Saml. Williams and Jno. Jones. Gammon, Records of Estates Bertie Co, NC Vol11728-1744

Va Historical Mag 35-273: 1 Nov, 1729-On reading at this Board the petition of Samll. Pugh Gent & late Sherrif of
Seventeen Shillings Current Money and four Hundred fourty five pounds of Tobacco or the current price thereof out of his Majesties Revenue of two Shillings p Hogshead it being for one half of the costs and Charges expended by the petitioner in Defending a Suit brought against him for Seizing Six Hogsheads of Tobacco on one John Cotton deceased pursuant to an Act of Assembly the one halfe of the said Seizure having long since paid by the petitioner to his Majestys use. Ex’d p Wil Roberson Cls Con.

2 thoughts on “John Cotten, Mary, Martha Godwin, & William Green”

  1. I’m curious if you know anything about John Cotton that served Revolutionary War SC and took Orangeburg SC from the rebels…? I have Green’s in my family that fought is this battle. Abednego Green, Thomas Green, John Green, and Leut. Gardner Green, under John Cotton. My Greens were from the Roanoke area of VA.

    I always wondered where Gardner Green got his name. Possibly from this record:

    26 Jan, 1698-9–John Cotten appointed as appraiser of the estate of James Gardner. Isle of Wight Co, Va: Bk A-415

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