William Cocke's place in American history...

Local historian and History Press author Rufus Ward has just penned an article about one of Tennessee's most important historical figures, William Cocke -- a man who had a connection to one of my own favorite historical figures, John Sevier. Here's an excerpt...

During the American Revolution, [William Cocke] served as captain and one of the "Overmountain Men" under Col. John Sevier in the 1780 American victory over British Col. Ferguson at the Battle of King's Mountain. Cocke also saw action at the battles of Long Island Flats and Fort Thicketty. Another of Columbus' founders, Silas McBee, was also present at the Battle of King's Mountain.

Cocke continued his association with John Sevier after the Revolution and was one of the foremost proponents of the state of Franklin, which later evolved into the state of Tennessee. Upon Tennessee's statehood, he became one of the new state's first two U.S. senators.

In November 1792, Cocke wrote a very long letter to the Nashville newspaper that was uncomplimentary of the Cherokee Indians. In response Cherokee Chief Hanging Maw wrote a very short letter to the newspaper. That letter mentioned Cocke's "long letter" and in effect said that "he who must talk long must not be talking the truth."

His first wife, Mary Maclin, died in 1795 and a year later he married Kissiah Sims. In Tennessee, Cocke became friends with Andrew Jackson. He became judge of the First Circuit in 1809. Political disagreements led to Cocke and Jackson almost fighting a duel. Their mutual friends intervened to prevent the possibly deadly confrontation.

A Columbus, Mississippi native, Rufus Ward examines William Cocke's connection to the Columbus area, and to another pioneer in American History, Daniel Boone. It's an interesting read.