Rationale for George W Cottle to be a son of Hannah Cottle

Census records suggest that George W Cottle was born around 1806. All the facts I have for George - his spouses, where he lived, etc. - suggest that he grew up around Wolf Creek and Swope's Knobs in western Monroe County. He's almost certainly connected to the other Cottles of Greenbrier and Monroe Counties, but no one has ever found clear documentation how he is connected. Most Cottle genealogies speculate that he was the son of either John Cottle or Giles Cottle. I believe that it's more likely he was an illegitimate child of Hannah Cottle. Unfortunately, I have no proof. My logic is similar to Sherlock Holmes' quote: "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

The Cottle surname suggests that he was the child of either of a married male Cottle or an unmarried female Cottle. Also, it's reasonable to assume that his Cottle parent was between 15 and 45 years old at the time of his birth. Here's how the potential Cottle parents stack up - from least likely to most:

· Ruth Cottle Nutter, Margaret Cottle Cotton, and Sarah Cottle Hamm: These three women were all married before 1804. Any child they had wouldn't have been named Cottle.

· Charles William Cottle and Joseph Cottle: Charles William and Joseph were both in Kanawha County at the time George was born - 100 miles or 4-5 days' travel away. If either Joseph or Charles William had a mistress in Monroe County, George's last name wouldn't be Cottle. Finally, there's no good explanation why Joseph would take all his children to Kentucky and Charles William all his children to Kanawha/Nicholas County, but leave George W behind.

· Giles Cottle: I believe that Giles Cottle was too young - about 12 years old when George W was conceived.

· Martha Cottle McCoy: Martha was old enough - 18-20 years old - to be George's mother, but she apparently lived in Greenbrier County before she married James McCoy - two to three days away. She can't be completely ruled out, but it seems unlikely.

· John Cottle: Doc Cottle and others assert that John and Rebecca Cottle had no children. However, they were the right age to be George's parents, and the 1810 US Census indicates that they had a child in their household who was the right age to be George. I haven't found an original record that confirms they didn't have children, so John and Rebecca can't be completely ruled out. However, if George was John's legitimate son, why doesn't he appear in John's household in the 1820 census? Why doesn't he appear in John's 1850 will? Why did he apparently grow up a day's travel west of John's home on Second Creek? John and Rebecca seem to be unlikely parents.

· Sarah Cottle Jones: Sarah was barely old enough - 17 to 19 - to be George's mother. Assuming she was living in the Nutter household near Union, (West) Virginia, she was near the right location, but still a half day away. There is no evidence to support that she's the mother.

· Ann "Nancy" Cottle Pine: Ann is the right age - 24 to 26 - and didn't marry Robert Pine until 1807. Also, her associations with Jonathan Swope and Robert Pine suggest that she was living in the right area. However, if George is her son, why doesn't he appear in the Pine household and why didn't Robert Pine sign his marriage bond, as was the case with Sophia Cottle? Nancy is a better possibility than any of the preceding Cottles, but not the best.

· Hannah Cottle Foster: Hannah was the right age- 31 to 33 - and lived in the right area. She also had at least two other illegitimate children - Giles Cottle in 1793 and Robert Cottle ca 1802. The most intriguing evidence that Hannah was George's mother is the name George gave his second daughter - Hannah Rebecca Cottle. If he was following the most common west-England naming convention, this supports the possibility that his mother was Hannah Cottle. Although traditional English onomastic conventions were dying out in 19th century America, it looks like George may have followed the convention to document and memorialize his mother.

Males with Surname Ellis in Monroe County Virginia, 1806

In 1806, at the time of George W Cottle's birth, the following Ellises were living in Monroe County Virginia. With the possible exception of Enos Ellis, they were neighbors of John and Elizabeth Eagan [Elizabeth was likely the widow of Uriah Cottle]. They had three daughters, Mary "Polly" Eagan, Eleanor Eagan, and Elizabeth Eagan. Eleanor and Elizabeth married Ellises [see below]. They were also neighbors to Robert and Nancy Cottle Pine, John and Sarah Cottle Hamm, and Hannah Cottle. Based on their respective ages in 1806, the potential fathers of George W Cottle are Owen Sr. (50), Enos (33), Jacob (28), Joseph (26), John (24), James (22), Phillip (21), and Evan (20). Owen Sr., Enos, Jacob, Joseph, James, and Phillip were already married in 1806. I suspect that his might make them less likely candidates, but doesn't completely rule them out.

Owen Ellis (Sr.), 1756 - 1822, married Christina Van Doren (1760-1835) in 1777 Augusta VA, born Mossy Creek Augusta VA, moved to Leachers Branch Greenbrier VA ca 1780, buried Mt. Peniel Methodist Church, Wolf Creek WV

Enos Ellis, born 1770-1775; died after 1840, married Jane Wilson 7 Feb 1799 Greenbrier VA [Enos may not be a son of Owen Ellis Sr., but lived in Monroe County. He was born 2-7 years before Owen's reported marriage date. Also, he owned several slaves according to US Census data, which suggests he may have been wealthy and possibly lived in eastern Monroe County, where open & relatively flat land would have supported a the use of slaves. The other Ellises had no slaves and lived on the south slope of Wolf Creek Mountain in western Monroe - terrain about as unsuitable for large-scale farming as any in the area.]

Jacob Ellis, 23 Feb 1778 - 14 Aug 1856, married Margaret Griffith (1778 - 1852) 17 Nov 1795 Greenbrier VA, son of Owen Ellis Sr. born at Mossy Creek Augusta VA, died Monroe VA, buried Mt. Peniel Methodist Church, Wolf Creek WV.

Joseph Ellis, Jun 1780 - May 1830, married Sarah Alfred (1781-1825) - bond date 30 May 1803 - in Monroe VA, son of Owen Ellis Sr. born possibly in Greenbrier VA, buried Mt. Peniel Methodist Church, Wolf Creek WV.

John Ellis, 1 Jun 1782 - 1 Nov 1823, married Eleanor Eagan (1790 - after 1830) 26 Jan 1811 Monroe VA, son of Owen Ellis Sr. born in Greenbrier VA, buried Mt. Peniel Methodist Church, Wolf Creek WV.

James Ellis, 1784 - 1824, married Stella Woodside 16 Jul 1801 Monroe VA, son of Owen Ellis Sr. born in Greenbrier VA, buried Mt. Peniel Methodist Church, Wolf Creek WV.

Phillip Ellis, 5 Nov 1785 - 1862, married Elizabeth Hinchman (1785 - 1852) - bond date 4 Aug 1804 - in Monroe VA, son of Owen Ellis Sr. born in Greenbrier VA, buried Earling Cemetery, Logan WV

Evan Ellis, 12 Jan 1786 - 1 July 1871, [some genealogies provide a 1791 birth date, but the Roane County Death Register suggests 1786], married Margaret Hines 20 Jun 1811 Monroe VA, son of Owen Ellis Sr. born in Greenbrier VA, died Roane County WV

Owen Ellis (Jr.), 14 Jan 1793 - 5 Mar 1871, married Elizabeth Eagan (28 Nov 1785 - 30 Sep 1868) 4 Feb 1813 Monroe VA, son of Owen Ellis Sr. born in Greenbrier VA, buried Ellis Cemetery, Daviess MO

Ignatius Ellis, married Margaret Baily 18 Sep 1815 Monroe VA, son of Owen Ellis Sr. born in Greenbrier VA

Loyd Ellis, 1 May 1797 - Dec 1864, married Felicity Hines (1799-1882) 20 Apr 1819 Monroe VA, son of Owen Ellis Sr. born in Greenbrier VA, buried Mt. Peniel Methodist Church, Wolf Creek WV.