Thomas “Tommy” Edward Wheatley (b: May 8, 1948 St. Louis, Missouri; m: August 9, 1969 Frances Geraldine Cochran)

Tommy Wheatley 1974Thomas Edward Wheatley was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Lester Edward Wheatley and Elma Ruth Kolb Wheatley, but early as a kid, moved to the Northern Louisiana area (Holly Ridge/Monroe) with mother when his parents split up.  As a kid, there were many fond memories of extended visiting time at Granddaddy and Mamma Kolb’s farm and house like getting the cows, playing “house,” using Dr. Tichenor’s bottles as toy cars on oak tree roots, slaughtering farm animals to eat, leaving water in the hand pump to get the prime going, climbing and picking fig trees, etc.).  One memory was that sometime around 7thgrade, Tommy came home from summer with Aunt Sybil and found his mother and step-father Billy had moved a couple of blocks without notifying…kind of an eerie feeling not knowing where your family was. Thomas started high school at Ouachita Parish High School for the first two years and remembers eating lunch and hearing the announcement that Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.  Tommy met some high school sorority girls (Mary Lou Reljac, Marilyn Daigle, and Sherry Ushery) from Neville High School and decided to switch schools, although it meant a longer bus ride (girls drove many of his youthful decisions). In May 1966, he graduated from Neville High School and remembers having a red, manual transmission Chevrolet Corvair that he loved.  To start as a math major at Louisiana State University (LSU), Tommy moved to Baton Rouge in August 1966, living near Bon Marche with father-in-law Billy and mother Elma Ruth and later moving off Nicholson Drive near Pastime Bar.   He got mono the first semester freshman year at LSU and had to drop out of ROTC (took in future semesters) and remembers working at Food Town, a local grocery.  Unfortunately, early in 1967, the red Chevrolet Corvair engine died and Tommy just left in the road and walked away…bought a Chevy Impalla and burnt the transmission and hadTommy Wheatley 1982 replaced with a manual transmission.  Tommy was setup on a blind date by friend Marilyn Daigle with her LSU roommate, Frances Geraldine Cochran sometime in March or April 1967.  Marilyn was doing Tommy a favor by going to the ROTC ball with him, but made the arrangements with Geraldine because Marilyn’s fiancé, Butch Lee and good friend of Tommy, was coming in town.  Soon after Tommy and Geri started regular dating, even having pet names of “Dee” and “Charlie” for each other.  The mode of transportation during this time was a Honda motorcycle that he rode all thru dating Geri.  In August 1968, Tommy asked Jack Cochran for permission to marry Geri who asked, “how are you going to support her?”  Jack liked Tommy because he was working his way to school and could appreciate that, but just wanted both to finish school before getting married. The answer was that he had a cashier job at A&P grocery so Jack said…”why don’t you wait a bit…” but eventually Tommy proposed in December 1968.  Mother Elma Ruth was working as a switchboard operator at Channel 9 WAFB and helped Tommy get a job in January 1969 at $2.50/hour as a floor man to move lights, countdown to being online, film editor, etc. working for shows like Buckskin Bill, 6pm news, 10pm news, and commercials.  At this point, he knew for sure he could for sure afford marriage and even bought a brand new Opel Kadett for $1600.  During this time in 1969, Tommy remembers living in multiple places…a trailer with Elma Ruth, with sister Cheryl and Wayne off Briar Cliff near Highland Road, then with sister Barbra, and then good friend Butch Lee. Tommy and Geri married in August 1969 in Bunkie, Louisiana.  December 1, 1969, Tommy got a draft number of 321 out of 365, but never officially got drafted for the Vietnam War.  Geri graduated from LSU December 1969 and started teaching while Tommy continued school.  They were both attending Southern Methodist Church in Brownfield, Louisiana with friends when Geri made a commitment to Christ Easter of 1970 while talking with Mamma Kolb. At this point, Hungry for one last bowl of Fruit Loops or Appendicitus 2010both started attending a Church of Christ at the LSU student center.  Tommy graduated winter of 1970 with Bachelor of Science in Accounting.  With this degree, Tommy got a job with A.A. HARMON & CO. in New Orleans, but got lost on the first day of work and decided he could not work in New Orleans. So, he found a job and started an accountant position at Cosmar on January 3, 1971.  Cosmar was a styrene plant in Carville, Louisiana that was a joint venture between Cosden Oil & Chemical and Borg-Warner's Marbon Chemical Division.  In 1971, Tommy and Geri bought their first house in Baton Rouge at 4788 Idlewood Drive during the middle of night, not noticing it needed “some work” and later moved to 1433 S. Potwin Drive.  Around 1977, they designed and built a one story, white brick house on Miller Road in Prairieville, Louisiana on ~two acres of land.  The house had a big sand pile, long curvy driveway, lots of trees for planters and woods and treehouse, large garden, burn pile, bamboo groves, etc. with great spaces for young kids Daniel Aaron, Anna Elizabeth, Deborah Ruth, Abigail Joanna, and Rachel Susanna to explore and play (or in Deborah’s case…”kick the cat.”  Somewhere around 1978 or 1979, both Tommy and Geri were asked to leave Baton Rouge Church of Christ as Geri had received the Baptism with the Holy Spirit.  The church leadership led a six-week study with Tommy and Geri where they tried to convince them it was female emotions. Tommy was mostly there to defend Geri because he knew she was not emotional, but both became more convinced by the “study” and were ultimately asked to leave.  They started attending Victory Bible Fellowship (later named Victory Harvest Church) off Flannery Road by being introduced to tapes of services from sister in law Jane Cochran who was living with them between marriages.  Tommy quit Cosmar in summer of 1981 because of a “jerk boss.”  Talks were that many would announce quitting to try and get the boss moved out, but in the end, he was the only one that quit, and so he moved on without a firm plan for a next job.  Geri remembers being pregnant with Abigail at that time and visiting the charity hospital, Earl K. Long Hospital in Baton Rouge and crying with hospital workers because theyTommy and Geri Wheatley 2016 did not have insurance, but were not yet unemployed long enough to qualify for any benefits.  For the summer of 1981, Tommy made some needed cash by helping friend and carpenter Leroy Ash build houses…hauling lumber, setting up, etc.  In September 1981, Tommy gained employment with Entergy at River Bend Nuclear Generating Stationin St. Francisville, Louisiana, helping build the accounting department for the new plant.  Tommy and Geri moved the family in April 1985 to 14701 Avalon Ave. off of Millerville Road to get closer to church and school activities.  This was a brick, one-story, ranch style home with a swimming pool where Geri taught swimming in the summer and family gathered for BBQ and swimming parties.  Leroy Ash helped renovate by enclosing the carport into an office/bedroom/bathroom/laundry/shed which kept Danny on that wing of the house and the four girls in the original wing.  Tommy retired from Entergy River Bend Nuclear Plant in 2003 and started a home renovation and handy man business called Redeeming Properties, buying and remodeling several homes in the East Baton Rouge area.  Sold most of the homes during the aftermath of 2005 Hurricane Katrina when the market got hot with people from New Orleans and workers needing homes.  From that point, Tommy worked here and there with some handy man type jobs with Redeeming Properties, but mostly lived the retired life. Tommy and Geri downsized homes during retirement to 4312 Blue Ribbon Dr. between Baton Rouge and Central, Louisiana.  Tommy and Geri were extremely generous with time and money, putting their beliefs in action with the Pro-life movement and housing several un-wed mothers until they could support themselves, hosting French exchange students with France teacher Marie Moirignot, leading as elders of the Victory Bible Fellowship and youth group Dayspring with Mike Cooper and Ron Ericson (who they eventually help plant church Future Hope in Central, Louisiana).  Activities that they enjoyed included serving Christ in fellowship at Victory Bible Fellowship and Future Hope, supporting and loving their family, travelling by cruise boat, gardening, ball room dancing, supporting LSU sports (especially football), and watching movies.  Tommy and Geri survived the August 2016 Louisiana Flood where they saw four feet of water inside their Blue Ribbon house, losing most contents, and taking 7+ months to rebuild back from studs and concrete with the help of family, friends, and contractors. Sibling of Thomas Edward Wheatley include:

  • Cheryl Ann Wheatley b: Oct 12, 1945
  • Barbara Jean Wheatley b: Feb 19, 1950

Barbara, Thomas, and Cheryl Wheatley

Lester Edward Wheatley (b: Sep 7, 1924 St. Louis, MO; m: Elma Ruth Kolb Feb 3, 1945; d: Nov 21, 2007 Ballwin, St. Louis, MO)

Lester Edward Wheatley was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to parents David E. Wheatley and Pearl Reidt. Lester met Elma Ruth met when he was stationed in Louisiana for WWII (never saw overseas duty) and returned back in St. Louis after the war where they had kids Cheryl Ann in 1946, Thomas Edward in 1948, and Barbra Jean in 1950.  Not long after Barbra was born, Lester had an affair with Dorotha “Dot” Lucille Surface, who was a secretary at the auto dealership where Lester was employed as an accountant, so Elma Ruth moved with her kids back home to family in Rayville, Louisiana.  Lester and Dot started a family in St. Louis where they had two kids, Judy Wheatley (quilting business with Dot) who married Jim Devries (carpenter) and Lester “Dandy” Edward Wheatley Jr. who lives in California.  Lester married a 3rdwife, Betty after meeting at a dance club.  Betty said Lester was nice, active, and fun, but when Lester got sick at the end of his life, Betty’s kids encouraged them to divorce to protect Betty’s money, but ultimately, they died about a week apart.  The end of Lester’s life was in a nursing home in St. Louis where the story was that he even chased the nurses there.  Lester ultimately died of blood disease where his body quit making red and white blood cells.

David Edward Wheatley “Grandpa” (b: Dec 16, 1898 St. Louis, MO; d: Aug 15, 1973 Ballwin, St. Louis, MO) married May 19, 1920 to Pearl Reidt "Grandma" (b: Dec 8, 1900 St. Louis, MO; d: Dec 3, 1985 Ballwin, St. Louis, MO)

Living in St. Louis, Missouri, David drove a potato chip truck for Old Vienna Potato Chip Co. and is also remembered to have worked in a candy factory.  David had a hobby train set/village in the basement of his garage.  Memories from grandkids were having to have a spoon full of milk of magnesia every morning (terrible) and that they had apple trees in back yard that was turned into apple sauce.  Pearl was born in 1900 in Missouri to Frederick Adolph "Fred" Reidt and Anna Mary "Annie" Reidt.  Sibling of David Edward Wheatley include:

  • Anthony Raymond Wheatley (b: Oct 6, 1887 Millwood, MO; m: Frances Gertrude Flynn Dec 21, 1912; d:June 17, 1949 Philadelphia, PA) Granddaughter Sue Wheatley says Anthony served in the US Navy for 40 years and retired as a Chief Carpenter Mate, which is what brought him from St. Louis to the Philadelphia area.  Son Joseph Robert Wheatley (father to Sue) retired from US Army and AirForce as a full bird COLONEL serving at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumpter, South Carolina.
  • Charles Henry Wheatley (b: Feb 1, 1892 St. Louis, MO; m: Phoebie Jane Deffendoll; d: June 1962 Columbus, IN)
  • James Ralph Wheatley (b: May 9, 1896 St. Louis, MO; m: Margaret Biermann; d: July 8, 1962 St. Louis, MO)

Wheatley Family from Maryland to Kentucky to Missouri

There is some family legend (Sue Wheatley) that says that at one point the family owned Wheatley Stables outside of Pikeville, Kentucky that trained/housed Kentucky Derby horses.  This hasn't been confirmed as all information shows it was a partnership formed in 1926 by Gladys Mills Phipps and her brother Ogden Livingston Mills and there isn't any information on where the name Wheatley came from.  While it does not appear to be one of my ancestors or a sibling, maybe there was a friend or employee connection to a Wheatley.  The following information is still being researched about the Wheatley family, but by looking at family records:

  • James Sterling Wheatley (b: 1865 MO; m: Zoe Shoemaker Oct 26, 1887; d: Nov 1899 St. Louis, MO)
  • Anthony Cletus Wheatley (b: May 13, 1826 Covington, KY; m: Amanda Elizabeth Raney Mar 3, 1863; d: June 2, 1901 Millwood, MO)  I am still researching why Anthony Cletus moved from Kentucky to Missouri, but likely was part of the continued push to the frontier West.  There is no indication that it was with his parents as they died in Kentucky.  The first mention of Anthony Cletus in Missouri is in marrying Amanda Elizabeth Raney in 1863 in Lincoln County, MO at the age of 36.  Amanda was born in Missouri to the parents of Felix Ruben Raney (grandson of Thomas Edward Riney who was sibling of James L. Wheatley's wife Susannah Riney) and Hannah Morris.    
  • James L. Wheatley (b: Sep 23, 1759 St. Mary Parish, Charles, MD; m: Susannah Riney Jan 4, 1798; d: Sep 23, 1842 Kentucky)  James was the 2nd of 9 children of James Wheatley and Henrietta Norris.  No siblings of James were born in Kentucky which provides evidence that James was the one who moved from Maryland to Kentucky. The first indication of being in Kentucky is Jan 4, 1798 when James married Susannah in Washington County, Kentucky (Washington County was established in 1792 as the first county created by the Commonwealth of Kentucky after it's separation from Virginia).  Susannah was the daughter of James Riney and Priscilla Mudd, both of whom were born in Maryland and died in Kentucky, and by looking at Susannah's sibling birth records, appears James & Priscilla Riney moved the family, including Susannah, from Maryland to Kentucky sometime between 1793 and 1796.  All of James and Susannah's 10 children were born in Kentucky, including Anthony Cletus Wheatley in 1826 (#10).

Earlier than this, there hints to a couple of generations being in Colonial Maryland and before that in Colonial Virginia including a Captain John Wheatley that could have immigrated from England in 1641.  A lot more research or help is needed in confirming earlier in history.  


Elma Ruth Kolb (b: Dec 10, 1927 Richland Parish, LA; m: Lester Edward Wheatley Feb 3, 1945; d: Oct 29, 1982 Pima, Arizona)

Elma Ruth KolbRecords show that Elma Ruth Kolb was born in 1927 in Richland Parish, Louisiana, but it is unclear at this point if her parents Tandy Otis Kolb and Alma West Kolb were in Rayville, Holly Ridge, Delhi or some other nearby place at the time. Elma Ruth met Lester Wheatley when he was stationed in Louisiana for WWII (never saw overseas duty) and followed him back to St. Louis after the war where they had kids Cheryl Ann in 1946, Thomas Edward in 1948, and Barbra Jean in 1950.  Not long after Barbra was born, Lester had an affair with Dorothy “Dot”, who was a secretary at the auto dealership where Lester was employed as an accountant, so Elma Ruth moved with her kids back home to family in Rayville, Louisiana.  Back in Louisiana, Elma Ruth married her high school sweetheart Billy Norris Bruce (born Dec 26, 1922 and died July 11, 1995).  Billy had served in WWII in the Philippines as a Private in US Army and had two boys with a previous marriage (one unknown because went with wife and William Keith Bruce who worked on nuclear subs with the US Navy. After the release from the Navy, William was involved in turquoise business in Arizona and somehow ended up murdered with his girlfriend on Jan 1, 1977.  Newspaper articles show Paul Frederick Coatney II was charged mid-1977, but also showed two hung jurys with the last in Nov 1978 at 10 for acquittal and two for conviction).  Billy was an electrician who worked on missile silos, the Lake Powell Dam, and Louisiana National Bank (LNB) bank in Baton Rouge.  Unfortunately Billy had anger issues when drunk and Elma Ruth would frequently send kids to Granddaddy and Mamma Kolb’s house for protection.  Elma Ruth was working as a switchboard operator at Channel 9 WAFB and helped son Tommy get a job in January 1969 at $2.50/hr. as a floor man to move lights, countdown to being online, film editor, etc. working for shows like Buckskin Bill, 6pm news, 10pm news, and commercials.  Elma Ruth was in Pima, Arizona in 1982 where Billy was working when she died with blood pressure swings (spiked up and then dipped).  Her ashes were brought back to Rayville, Louisiana for burial. Billy got sick with lung cancer (smoking) and moved from Arizona to Eufala, Oklahoma where Barbra helpednurse him back to health…and then back to Rayville where he eventually died in 1995.  

Elma Ruth KolbBilly Bruce

Siblings of Elma Ruth Kolb include:

  • Otis West Kolb (b: Nov 23, 1914; d: Feb 5, 1917)
  • Clifton Kolb (b: Mar 14, 1916 Delhi, LA; d: Nov 1, 1923 Delhi, LA)
  • Clyde Hedley Kolb (b: Oct 28, 1917; m: Bessie Ruth Thornhill (1921-2018); d: Mar 27, 1979) worked at paper mill in Evadale, TX
  • Sybil Elaine Kolb (b: Feb 1, 1920 Dehi, LA; m: John Robinson; d: Feb 11, 1998)
  • Alda Belle Kolb (b: Mar 8, 1923 Rayville, LA; m: Carlyle O’Neal; d: Feb 1, 2017 Rayville, LA)
  • Tandy Alton Kolb: (b: Oct 8, 1930 Holly Ridge, Louisiana; m: Joy and lived in Missoula, Montana) article Sep 16, 1972 in Lethbridge Herald reported that Tandy volunteered space at his bar called the Reno Inn for a head start program for young kids as schools and churches were not providing space…offered to make some modifications to a back room and promised not to start serving alcohol until kids were gone

Tandy Otis Kolb “Granddaddy”(b: Feb 28, 1890; m: Mary Alma West; d: Sep 27, 1969) married Mary Alma West "Mamma Kolb" (b: Oct 24, 1898 Natchitoches, LA; d: Jan 1982 Dehi, Richland, LA)

Tandy Otis Kolb was a carpenter working in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA). He was also very musical and led worship at Church of Christ Rayville and played the violin at weekend Stockyard Jamborees and Dances.  Tandy lost a pointer finger during a lawnmower accident sometime around 1956-1958 and tried to teach grandson Thomas Wheatley how to play, but Tommy didn’t want to learn because he was “too stupid.”  Tandy and Alma had a farm in Holly Ridge, Louisiana where Tandy built the house and farm with his carpenter skills.  The farm had 4-6 dairy cows, chickens (chicken manure used to squish between toes when walking out back door), pigs with a mud hole, and a pond.  The main product from the farm was growing corn for cattle and chicken feed. They had a tenant farmer who lived across the street in a rent house where Tommy would play “mom and dad” and kiss with their daughter.  Mamma Kolb never worked outside the farm…always plenty to do there.  At some point in the early 1960s and towards the end of Tandy’s career as a farmer and carpenter, they sold the farm and moved to 6011 Pine Street in Rayville, Louisiana. Tandy died in 1969 of prostate cancer at age of 79 and Alma died of lung cancer in 1982, though she did not smoke. Siblings of Tandy Otis Kolb include:

  • Daisy Ann Kolb (b: Jan. 9, 1886 Sparta, LA; m: Allen Augusta Smith (1885-1954); d. May 25, 1974 Castor, Bienville Parish, LA)
  • Hattie Kolb (b: December 14, 1887 Bienville, LA; d: February 5, 1900 Castor, LA)
  • Robert Manning Kolb (b: Feb. 24, 1888 Sparta, LA; d: Jun. 20, 1929, Delhi, LA) Married Rachael Louisiana "Annie" Anderson (1894-1956) and had a son Allison Ray Kolb (1915–1973) who was a Louisiana lawyer and Democratic auditor (1952-1956) fighting corruption and tangled with many people including Earl Long.  Allison Kolb ran for Lieutenant Governor in 1956 as a Democratic candidate and was defeated.  He swithched to the Republican Party in a political comeback in 1968 for State Treasurer and again was defeated by Long cronies. 
  • Thomas Guice Kolb (b: Jul. 12, 1892 Sparta, LA; m: Bertie Treadway (1904-1945); d: Aug. 5, 1940, Cook County, Illinois)
  • Beadie Maybell Kolb (b: May 18, 1894 Bienville Parish, LA; m: Daniel Isaac Sutton (1886-1955); d: Jan 5, 1951 Pineville, LA)
  • Annie Lee Kolb (b: Mar. 26, 1896 Bienville Parish, LA; m: Henry Sutton; d: Dec. 22, 1912, Natchitoches Parish, LA)
  • Ruby D. Kolb (b: Mar 25, 1900 Bienville Parish, LA; m: Oscar Andrew Worsham (1896-1973); d: Jul 12, 1973 Pineville, LA)
  • Trudie Jane Kolb (b: Jul 30, 1902 Bienville Parish, LA; m: Tommy Cisero Robinson (1896-1976); d: Dec 29, 1933 Castor, LA)
  • Ludie Kolb (b: Nov 25, 1904 Bienville Parish, LA; d: Dec 1904)
  • Bennie Neal Kolb (b: Jul. 28, 1906 Bienville, LA; m: Lottie Mae Pittman (1910-1986); d: May 1, 1983, Alexandria, LA)

Kolb - Wiggins - Cooper

The Kolbs from Northern and Central Louisiana (Bienville Parish, Castor, Sparta Ringgold, etc.) have heritage from Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hamshire, Pennsylvania, England, etc.  Below are some of the interesting names (not all) that have been noticed during research:

  • Tilman Robert Kolb (b: Jun 17, 1861 Bienville Parish, LA; m: Margaret Lucinda Wiggins (1868-1939); d. Apr 11, 1930 Cottonport, LA)
  • James Robert Kolb (b: Sep 16, 1821 Darlington, SC; d: February 11, 1885 Castor, LA) Its not clear when James Robert Kolb migrated from South Carolina to Louisiana, but likely started with his parents as his father, Josiah Kolb who was born in South Carolina died in Alabama.  Also, James married his first wife, Susan Powell, in Lowndes, Alabama in 1852, his second and third wives were married in Bienville Parish, Louisiana (Sarah Ann Littleton and Almedia Jane Leggett).  The gravestone for James Robert Kolb at the Castor, Louisiana cemetery says he participated in the US Civil War, Company H of the 6th Louisiana Calvary.  History says this group assembled near Minden, LA in January 1864 and in March 1865 were patrolling the West side of the Mississippi River.
  • James Elihu Wiggins (b: Apr 22, 1831 Pike County, AL; m: Susanah Watters 1851; d: Aug 31, 1906 Jamestown, LA) Participated in Civil War as a private in Company D, of 33rd Regiment Alabama Infantry
  • William Wiggins (b: about 1755 Johnston, NC; m: Elizabeth Cooper 1755; d: Jun 8, 1819 Monroeville, AL) Born to William Wiggins Sr. and Priscilla Brown.  Served in the Revolutionary War in North Carolina's 10th Regiment of Foot commanded by Col. Abraham Sheppard.  He enlisted in Coleman’s Company of the North Carolina line for 12 months, and served in the militia of the District of Wilmington in Wilkerson’s Company in 1781-1782.  William married Elizabeth Cooper (born about 1759 to Fleet Cooper, Sr. and Margaret Coor) around 1775 in Sampson County, North Carolina and after the war raised eight sons and one daughter. In the fall of 1817, William and Elizabeth Wiggins and their four oldest sons and their families, joined with their extended families and neighbors in a wagon train that was formed in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  Slowly they made their way through South Carolina, garnered passport through the Indian country of Georgia, until they connected with the Old Federal Road that brought them into Southwest Alabama.  One of the four sons (Elisha) left the convoy at Greenville and settled in Butler County.  Another son, Elihu, departed when the group reached Burnt Corn and settled in Sparta in Conecuh County. The other two sons, (Stephen and Elijah) and their father (William) moved on and settled in the Mexia, Alabama area.  Later, Elijah moved his family to what is known as the Red Hills area in northern Monroe County, where he resided until his death.  The order of business for the newly arrived Wiggins families was to apply for a land grant, clear the land for crops, and found a church.  On Nov. 28, 1817, William Wiggins and his sons joined the founding of Old Salem Baptist Church and served among its first deacons. This is believed to have been the first Baptist Church established in all of Monroe County, which in 1817 was still a part of the Alabama Territory (Alabama did not become a state until 1819) and included all the former land area claimed by the Creek Indian Nation. William Wiggins died on June 6, 1819 and thus only enjoyed his frontier home less than two years. Since there was no established cemetery in the area at the time of his death, he was buried in an obscure plot of his land.  Six years later in 1825, William Wiggins' wife, the former Elizabeth Cooper died and was buried next to her husband. Throughout the following years, other family members were buried nearby on the same plot. Today, there are 68 marked graves and 44 unknown graves that are marked with large rocks located at present day 430 Thompson Drive in Mexia in the Wiggins cemetery that is managed by Wiggins descendant.
  • John W. Wiggins (b: about 1716 Surry, VA; m: Catherine Bray Baker about 1748; d: Jul 15, 1786 Martin, NC) Sources differ on where John W. Wiggins was born…either Surry, Virginia, while others say he was an Englishman who came over and settled on the Roanoke River in Martin County, North Carolina about 50 years before the Revolution.  John was a very land conscious landlord running from Enfield to Hamilton.  John first married in 1748 to Catherine Bray Baker, the daughter of Colonel Henry Baker. Henry Baker (1684-1739) was commissioned Colonel in the Colonial Militia of his district. He was the proprietor of the first ferry crossing Chowan River, between Mt. Gallant Fishery and the mouth of the Meherrin River. This ferry was in operation prior to 1722, and was known as the Henry Baker Ferry. John Wiggin’s second marriage was to Ruth Chancey in 1724 in North Carolina. John Wiggin’s wife, Catherine died in 1766 and after he married Elizabeth Bevins on Sept. 30, 1766 in Bertie County, North Carolina.  He was a planter whose crops included flax.
  • Thomas Wiggin (b: 1640 Dover, NH; m: Sarah Barefoot 1759; d: 1700 Hampton, NH) Wife Sarah Barefoot had a brother, Captain Walter Barefoot, who fought with Thomas’ older brother, Andrew Wiggins, both in court and physically (bit face). The nature of the conflicts in court records stated molestation, stealing pistol, defamation, business takeovers, etc.
  • Thomas Wiggin (b: 1592 Douglas, Lancashire, England; m: Catherine Whiting; d: Mar 22, 1666 Hampton, NH) Captain Thomas Wiggin first appears in colonial records as a signatory to the Wheelwright Deed in May 1629 which transferred land along the seacoast of present-day New Hampshire from the local Indians to a group of English colonists led by Reverend John Wheelwright.  He was a land owner and close ally of Governor John Winthorp of the neighboring Massachusetts Bay Colony.  In 1632, he traveled to England, and returned the following year with expanded powers and 30 Puritan settlers acting as governor of the plantation until it’s inhabitants established a more formal government in 1637.  When Massachusetts’s authorities asserted territorial claims over the New Hampshire plantations in the early 1640s, Wiggin represented them in the colonial assembly, and eventually rose to become a member of the Massachusetts council of assistants.  Wiggin was a Puritan and extremely religious. He ascribed fervently to the belief that the Anglican Church had to be cleansed of Catholic theology and ritual. He was convinced that God would punish England for its heresy, and believed that English Puritans needed to create a New England in a new world.  (A book has been published about him titled Shadow Echo Me the Life and Times of Captain Thomas Wiggin 1601-1666, the Making of American Values, by Joyce Wiggin-Robbins.)
  • Fleet Cooper (b: 1722 Philadelphia, PA; m: Margaret Coor 1747; d: 1795 Sampson, NC) Fleet Cooper, Sr. was born to Benjamin Cooper and Elizabeth Kelly in 1722 and moved with his family in 1725 to Isle of Wight County, Virginia, and then to Loudon County, Virginia.  He married in 1747 to Margaret (Marguerite) Coor of Loudon County, Virginia who was the daughter of Thomas Coor of Northampton County, North Carolina.  Margaret appears to have first married Fleets younger brother, Thomas, and then Fleet after Thomas’ death.  On January 21, 1764, Fleet was a resident of Dobbs County, North Carolina, when he bought 100 acres on Great Coharie, Duplin County, North Carolina.  Later he received grants for more than 1,000 acres of land located at Concord, six miles west of Clinton on Highway 24.  At the beginning of the American Revolution, Fleet Cooper, Sr. was the 17thof 21 signers of the “Oath of Allegiance and Abjuration” (November 1777) passed by the General Assembly at New Bern declaring his loyalty to North Carolina and not to Parliament or the King of Great Britain. Immediately after the surrender of the British Army at Yorktown, he was among those who worked to establish Sampson County and was appointed by the Governor as one of the 12 justices appointed to the Court of Please and Quarterly Sessions in 1784 and held that position until ill health forced him to retire.  After the Coopers arrived in what is now Sampson County, they were members of Coharie Baptist (Rowan) Church where Fleet was pastor from 1785 to 1787.  After his death in 1795, the Religious Herald (February 22, 1828, pg 27) said Fleet was an “advocate for the doctrines of the cross in the Baptist church for fifty years” and the Goshen Baptist Association Minutes, 1828 (North Carolina) said he “appeared somewhat blunt in his manners, on a superficial acquaintance; but was found to be essentially kind and polite on further intercourse...His public discourses, in the judgment of the worldling, were often a little rigid, but strictly scriptural in the opinion of the Church, generally doctrinal, though he chiefly excelled in practical and experimental preaching, the impressions of which will long remain on the hearts of many who have been refreshed and built up by his searching addresses.” Fleet Cooper Sr.'s son John (1748-1792) was a Captain in the North Carolina militia, his son William was a Lieutenant in the 5th Continental Line, and his son Fleet Jr (1750-1828) is said to have fought in the Revolutionary War, but no records have been found.
  • Benjamin Cooper (b: 1691 Philadelphia, PA; m: Elizabeth Kelly; d: 1761 Granville, NC) Benjamin Cooper was born to parents James Benjamin Cooper and Hester Burrows.  He first married Sarah Ester Burton who was born about 1701 in England.  Later, he married Elizabeth Kelley November 28, 1720 in Christchurch, Philadelphia who was born 1699 in Philadelphia.  According to Murphy Rowe Cooper (The Cooper Family), "Benjamin Cooper was somewhat visionary. He imagined that if he could leave Philadelphia and get into the 'great out of doors' he could soon become a great county Gentleman. So, he left Philadelphia going to Isle of Wight County, Virginia, Loudon County, Virginia, and eventually Cape Fear River, North Carolina where he died in 1761.  Elizabeth died in 1780 in Loudon County, Virginia.
  • James Benjamin Cooper (b: May 16, 1661 Stratford on Avon, England; d: Dec 4, 1732 Philadelphia, PA) James Benjamin Cooper of Stratford-on-Avon, England was born to George Ashley Cooper (twin of Anthony Ashley Cooper) and Elizabeth Oldfield in 1661.  James immigrated to America in 1682 aboard the ship Welcome with William Penn and was given land in Gloucester County, New Jersey.  Tradition says that James was a minister and signed a note with some of his parishioners. It was a bad crop year, and they were unable to pay, and the creditors looked to him. At that time in England, when one could not pay a debt, he was put in prison. Out of respect for him, the authorities gave him the choice of coming to America. Tradition further states that he was visiting an old friend, Edward Byllinge, who carried him around and showed him several sites, watching to see which one appealed to him most, then gave him the deed to it the next day. Whether that story be true or not, we do not know, but the deed, dated September 21, 1682, reads: “Edward Byllinge to James Cooper 50 acres, consideration out of good will and kindness for ye truth's sake he beareth unto you said property.''  In December 1684 James bought a lot on Chestnut St. between 4th and 5th Streets in Philadelphia, across from where the old marble customhouse would later be built.  He sold the New Jersey land on Oct. 20, 1685 and settled in Philadelphia, where he was a Petit Juror in 1686 and Foreman of the Grand Jury in Feb. 1701.  He married first Hester Burrows, but there is mention of a wife named Mary in his will.  James was a first cousin of Judge Cooper of Burlington, New Jersey who was father of the author James Fennimore Cooper.
  • George Ashley Cooper (b: Jul 22, 1621 Wimbourne, England; m: Elizabeth Oldfield 1645; d: Jan 28, 1683 Stratford on Avon, England) Cooper was born to Sir John Cooper, 1st Baronet of Rockbourne in Hampshire, and his mother was former Anne Ashley, daughter and sole heiress of Sir Anthony Ashley, 1st Baronet. He was born on 22 July 1621, at the home of his maternal grandfather Sir Anthony Ashley in Wimborne St. Giles,  Dorset.  Twin brother Anthony Ashley Cooper (July 22, 1621 – Jan 21, 1683), also known as the 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, was a PROMINENT English politician during the reign King Charles II, a founder of the Whig party. The history and life Anthony Ashley Cooper is well documented with stories of starting a riot at Exeter College, Oxford, serving as a Royalist, and illness with a hydatid cyst that left a tube inserted to drain fluid and being nicknamed "Tapski" from enemies.
  • Sir John Cooper (b: Oct 24, 1597; m: Ann Elizabeth Ashley 1617; d: Mar 23, 1631 Rockburn, England) John Cooper married Ann Elizabeth Ashley, daughter of Baron Sir Anthony Ashley II (1551 - 1628) Secretary of Queen Elizabeth I's Council of War, and King James I's Privy Council and knighted for his services at the capture of Calais, Knight of Wimborne, Saint Giles, co. Dorset.  In 1623, John Cooper was living with his father-in-law in St. Giles-in-the-Fields and was probably recommended to the electors of Poole in 1625 by his wife’s uncle, Sir Francis Ashley. Despite his hostility to popery, Cooper displayed no obvious puritan leanings, being ‘of an easy and an affable nature’ and a compulsive gambler. Ann Ashley Cooper died of smallpox in 1628, shortly after succeeding the Ashley estate, and Cooper, who was reputedly ‘very lovely and graceful both in face and person’, married again to another wealthy widow. According to family tradition he kept three houses fully furnished and staffed, and exercised great hospitality at each of them.  He died of consumption in March 23, 1631 at Cassiobury, his wife’s jointure estate, and was buried at Wimborne St. Giles, leaving debts computed at £40,000 or more.  Sir John Cooper and Ann Ashley Cooper had two twin sons, Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper (1621-1683), usually known as “Lord Ashley,” the 1st earl of Shaftesbury, who became one of the leading politicians of the Restoration era and George Ashley Cooper (1621 - 1682), who went to America in 1681, settling in Philadelphia, where he had eight children.
  • Sir John Cooper (b: Dec 1558 Drew, England; m: Martha Skutt; d: Jan 13, 1627 Whitchurch, England) John Cooper married the daughter of Anthony Skutt, Esquire of Stanton Drew, in Somersetshire.  He received the honor of knighthood from Queen Elizabeth.  He was a soldier who sat for Whitchurch in 1584 and 1586 and died in 1627 a prosperous landowner, owning nearly 7,000 acres in Somerset and Hampshire, including the Rockbourne estate, in the county of Southampton, which he had only recently purchased.
  • Richard Cooper (b: Jan 8, 1538 Rudgwick, England; m: June Kingsmill; d: May 8, 1566 Manor Paulette, South Hampton, England) Richard Cooper inherited large estates from his father (John Cooper, Esq. of co Hants.) and brother in Sussex and Southhampton. Richard married June Kingsmill, daughter of Sir John Kingsmill of Sydmonton (died 1509) and Joan Gifford.  He purchased the Manor of Paulette in 1532, the 23rd year of Henry VIII.