Archiver > CHAMPLAINLG-VALLEY > 2004-01 > 1075054117

Subject: [CHLGV] Who was Robert Cochran?
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2004 13:08:37 EST

Robert Cochran began his fame as one of the leaders in the struggle to
defend New Hampshire land titles against New York claims in what is today
Vermont and eastern New York State. He became a Green Mountain Boy and served with
Ethan Allen and Seth Warner, but then during the Revolution he joined a New
York Regiment of the Continental Line as an officer.
     Does anyone have biographical backgound on him?  This would be very
helpful, because there is conflicting information.  I have been trying to collect
information on him for more than 40 years.  Apparently there were actually
several different individuals, all of about the same age, named Robert Cochran,
and each particular Robert Cochran is claimed to be the famous one.  I think
the Green Mountain Boy-New York Line Robert Cochran lived for awhile at Crown
Point, then moved to present Clinton County (Peru, N.Y.), and then ended up in
Kingsbury, where he died in 1812.  His obituary says he was born in
Massachusetts, fought in the French War with Rogers Rangers, "went to Arcade and Nova
Scotia with the New England emigrants" in 1764 [that is a puzzling], and was a
Revolutionary War officer in the New York Line.  He was 73 years old when he
died.  Lossing in his Field Book illustrates a nice line drawing of Col. Robert
Cochran's gravestone at Fort Edward.  The stone confirms that he died in 1812
in his 74th year.  A history of Colrain, Massachusetts, lists a Robert Cochran
(father of Esther) as a son of Thomas and Margaret Cochran.  But Thomas and
Margaret Cochran's children are listed with birth dates that range from ca. 1748
to 1766, which seems wrong.  And there was a Robert Cochran with a farm in
Colrain in 1759.  He served in 1760 under Seth Pomeroy. And Robert and Mary
(Gilmore?) Cochran of Colrain left Colrain in 1764 when they joined some families
migrating westward from Pelham, Massachusetts.  In 1766, Seth Warner, Robert
Cochran Sr., and Robert Cochran Jr. signed a petition as Hampshire grantees. 
Robert and Mary Cochran seem to have settled in Rupert (now in Vermont) and
then in Bennington, where their daughter Esther was born. 
     New York Governor Tryon's declaration in 1774 lists Robert Cochran, late
of Rupert.  He may have moved from Rupert to Bennington about 1772.  It would
seem that Mary died, and he married Thankful Rice at Bennington in 1777. 
Then he must have moved to Crown Point about 1783.  In 1787 he acquired land on
the west side of Lake Champlain north of Crown Point, but the 1790 census has
him still living at Crown Point. 
     This is where it gets contradictory.  Genealogists apparently believe
that Robert Cochran was a son of Thomas and Margaret Cochran, was born in
Colrain, Mass., in 1741, and died in 1807. A history of Cambridge, Lamoille County,
Vermont, (northeast of Burlington) claims the first death in that town was
Martha, daughter of Robert and Thankful Cochran, in 1788.  And the 1790 census
for Cambridge, Vermont, lists "Col. Robert Cochran."  He signed a petition in
Cambridge, Vermont, in 1795, but the 1798 tax list for the Town of Peru,
Clinton County, N.Y., also lists Robert Cochran with 130 acres, a log house, and a
barn.  By 1802 the New York Robert Cochran and Mary his wife had left Clinton
County and settled in Kingsbury, N.Y., and that is where he died in 1812. 
While living in Kingsbury, he sold some land that he still owned in Crown Point. 
So who was the Robert Cochran of Cambridge, Vermont, who died in 1807?  In the
National Archives I found the original pension application of Thankful,
Robert Cochran's widow.  She said he had died in 1807 and that he had served in the
Vermont militia, under Stark at the Battle of Bennington, etc.  There is very
little detail in her application about his service after 1777, and no
reference to any service by him in the New York Line.  The supporting depositions
simply agree that after 1776, Cochran "left his home to go into actual service,
and did a good deal of service in the different years of the war, at Fort
George, White Hall, Castleton, and other places."  Thankful herself said only very
vaguely that after 1777 he "was in the service of the United States."  One
deposition specifically stated that this Vermont Robert Cochran was a leader with
Seth Warner and Ethan Allen in the Hampshire Grants dispute.  Is this an
early example of identity theft? Was there some simple lying or distortion of the
facts?  Perhaps there was great sensitivity about Robert Cochran becoming an
officer in the New York Line.
Any help with this, based on original records, would be greatly

Paul Huey
Cohoes, N.Y.  

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