unc logo

Collection Number: 01587

Collection Title: Harrison Henry Cocke Papers, 1762-1876

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Collection Overview

Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 200 items)
Abstract Harrison Henry Cocke was a U.S. Navy officer of Prince George County, Va. The collection includes papers of Cocke and his family. The bulk of the collection consists of family correspondence and other papers of Cocke's first wife, Elizabeth Ruffin Cocke (d. 1849), and their children in Prince George County, Va., including many letters from their daughter, Tariffa Cocke Witherspoon, in Mobile and Greensboro, Ala. Other items include Elizabeth Ruffin's diary in Prince George County, circa 1826, and her diary, 1827, of a trip to New York City, Saratoga, N.Y., Philadelphia and Bedford Springs, Pa., Washington, D.C., and other places in the North, accompanied by her half-brother, Edmund Ruffin (1794-1865). Cocke's papers include correspondence, orders, and other records of his service in the U.S. Navy, including a manuscript book of regulations, orders, and letters kept by Cocke at the Pensacola, Fla., navy yard, 1832-1838, and on the U.S.S. "St. Louis", which he commanded, circa 1844-1849. Papers of relatives of Cocke's second wife, Emily Banister Cocke, are also found in the collection, including a diary of Robert B. Banister at sea, 1841-1842, mostly concerning religious thoughts; and recollections of childhood during the Civil War at Petersburg, Va., by Anne Banister.
Creator Cocke, Harrison Henry, 1794-1873.
Language English
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Harrison Henry Cocke papers, #1587, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Mrs. Munro Banister Slaughter of Mobile, Ala., in 1949 and purchased from D. R. Spaight, Bookseller, Tall Timbers, Md., in 1962.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Related Collections

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Harrison Henry Cocke (1794-1873), Prince George County, Va., planter and U.S. naval captain, married his cousin Elizabeth Ruffin (fl. 1809-1849) around 1828. After Elizabeth's death, Cocke married Emily Banister (fl. 1852-1868).

The papers consist chiefly of the personal correspondence of Cocke and his first wife and their daughters, Rebecca "Beck" Cocke Henley (fl. 1838-1899), Tariffa "Tiff" Cocke Witherspoon (fl. 1844-1874), Juliana Cocke (fl. 1849-1872), and Eliza "Bunnie" Cocke (fl. 1849-1871), and the Cocke's various cousins, grandchildren, and in-laws. Tariffa married William Alfred Witherspoon (d. 1862) of Greensboro, Ala. Rebecca married a Dr. Henley of Richmond, Va. Juliana and Bunnie did not marry. The papers chiefly concern family and social life in Virginia and Alabama. Financial and legal papers are chiefly deeds, indentures, and receipts. Harrison's second wife is minimally represented in the papers.

The collection also includes papers related to Harrison Cocke's naval career. He served intermittently from 1812 until his resignation in 1861. Most of these papers are from 1848 to 1851 when Cocke commanded the U.S.S. Saint Louis in the south Atlantic in the suppression of the illegal slave trade. During this period, Cocke was temporarily suspended for "neglect of duty."

Other items in the collection include two diaries kept by Elizabeth Ruffin around 1827; the devotional diary of Robert B. Banister kept on a sea voyage in 1849; Anne Banister's "Incidents in the Life of a Civil War Child," circa 1904; and El Asesinato de Camila O'Gorman: Articulos del "Comercio Del Plata," 1848, a pamphlet that Cocke may have collected on one of his voyages that tells the story of Camila O'Gorman, Argentine heroine who was executed in 1847 for eloping with a priest.

Papers relating chiefly to Harrison Henry Cocke and Elizabeth Ruffin Cocke have been placed in series 1 and 2. Other Cocke family papers, chiefly correspondence among the Cocke's daughters, appears in series 3.

Back to Top

Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Harrison Henry Cocke, 1762, 1788, 1811-1870.

About 150 items.

Business and professional papers, items related to agricultural improvement, naval papers, and the personal correspondence of Harrison H. Cocke.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. Business and Professional Papers, 1762-1870.

About 65 items.

Chiefly indentures, inventories, wills, deeds for land and slaves, various receipts, and a brief report on the Brandon and Merchants Hope Church in Prince George County, Va. The earliest papers concern John Imray; his relation to the Cocke and Ruffin families is unknown. Other papers relate to Nathaniel Snelson, George Ruffin, John Hite, and James Epes.

Folder 1

1762, 1788 #01587, Subseries: "1.1. Business and Professional Papers, 1762-1870." Folder 1

Folder 2

1811-1839 #01587, Subseries: "1.1. Business and Professional Papers, 1762-1870." Folder 2

Folder 3

1842-1870 #01587, Subseries: "1.1. Business and Professional Papers, 1762-1870." Folder 3

Extra Oversize Paper Folder XOPF-1587/1

Various oversize certificates of insurance, and an oversize commission, 1852 #01587, Subseries: "1.1. Business and Professional Papers, 1762-1870." XOPF-1587/1

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. Agricultural Improvement Papers, 1846-1855 and undated.

4 items.

Reports and constitution of the No. 1 Hole and Corner Club and a proposal to establish an agricultural school at an experimental farm.

Folder 4

Agricultural Improvement Papers #01587, Subseries: "1.2. Agricultural Improvement Papers, 1846-1855 and undated." Folder 4

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. Naval Papers, 1815-1852.

About 50 items.

Chiefly orders, regulations, commissions, personal invitations to shipboard and port of call functions, and communications regarding Cocke's command. Items relating to the suppression of the slave trade and to Cocke's temporary suspension from command are located in Folder 6.

Folder 5

1815-1816, 1839-November 1848 #01587, Subseries: "1.3. Naval Papers, 1815-1852." Folder 5

Folder 6

December 1848-1854 and undated #01587, Subseries: "1.3. Naval Papers, 1815-1852." Folder 6

Folder 7

Manuscript volume containing the " Rules and Regulations, U.S. Naval Yard, Pensacola," 1831-1833 #01587, Subseries: "1.3. Naval Papers, 1815-1852." Folder 7

Also includes a Harrison family genealogy and newspapers clippings, circa 1845-1888, that have been pasted over some pages.

Folder 8

Printed copy of "Naval Register of the United States for the Year 1834--a List of Commission and Warrant Officers, including the Marine Corps" #01587, Subseries: "1.3. Naval Papers, 1815-1852." Folder 8

Folder 9

Manuscript volume containing "Rules & Regulations of the USS St. Louis," circa 1848-1852 #01587, Subseries: "1.3. Naval Papers, 1815-1852." Folder 9

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.4. Personal Correspondence, 1806, 1814, 1821, 1833-1868.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Elizabeth Ruffin Cocke, 1825-1840s.

About 12 items.

Personal correspondence and two diaries.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1. Personal Correspondence, 1825-1840s.

About 10 items.

Chiefly letters of Elizabeth Ruffin Cocke to her mother, Rebecca Woodlief, and to Elizabeth Ruffin Cocke from members of her family.

Folder 11

Personal correspondence, 1825-1840s #01587, Subseries: "2.1. Personal Correspondence, 1825-1840s." Folder 11

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.2. Diaries, circa 1827.

2 items.

Elizabeth's diaries before her marriage. One diary was kept at home, probably in the spring of 1827; the other is a travel diary describing a trip taken with her brother (possibly Edmund Ruffin (1794-1865)) in the fall of 1827 to the springs of New York and Pennsylvania. Both diaries contain entries documenting her leisure and entertainment, courtship, and gender relations. In the travel diary, she also compared northern and southern society and the role of women in each. She also described a Shaker meeting and a public execution in New York.

Folder 12-13

Folder 12

Folder 13

Diaries #01587, Subseries: "2.2. Diaries, circa 1827." Folder 12-13

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Cocke Family 1843-1876 and undated.

About 75 items.

Chiefly correspondence of Tariffa, Beck, Juliana, and Bunnie Cocke, with occasional letters from Harrison and Elizabeth Cocke and other family members. The Federal occupation of Williamsburg, Va., is described in a letter of 14 October 1862. Otherwise, there is little substantial information on the Civil War.

Folder 14

1843-1859 #01587, Series: "3. Cocke Family 1843-1876 and undated." Folder 14

Folder 15

1860-1865 #01587, Series: "3. Cocke Family 1843-1876 and undated." Folder 15

Folder 16

1866-1876 and undated #01587, Series: "3. Cocke Family 1843-1876 and undated." Folder 16

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Banister Family, 1841-1842, circa 1904.

2 items.

Two writings by members of the Banister family.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.1. Robert B. Banister Journal, 1841-1842.

1 item.

Journal of Dr. Robert B. Banister, kept mostly while he was at sea aboard the U.S.S. Levant and in the ports of Pensacola, Fla., and Norfolk, Va. Entries chiefly convey his religious thoughts.

Folder 17

Robert B. Banister journal #01587, Subseries: "4.1. Robert B. Banister Journal, 1841-1842." Folder 17

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 4.2. Anne A. Banister Reminiscences, circa 1904.

1 item.

Reminiscences entitled "Incidents in the Life of a Civil War Child," typescript, 8 p., of Anne A. Banister (Mrs. A. Campbell Pryor) of Petersburg, Va., documenting her life during the waning days of the Civil War, but written around 1904.

Folder 18

Anne A. Banister reminiscences #01587, Subseries: "4.2. Anne A. Banister Reminiscences, circa 1904." Folder 18

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Camila O'Gorman, 1848.

1 item.

Pamphlet entitled "El Asesinato de Camila O'Gorman" (in Spanish), about Camila O'Gorman, Argentine heroine who eloped with Jesuit priest Ladislao Gutierrez in 1847. They were executed by the Rosas regime in December of that year.

Folder 19

"El Asesinato de Camila O'Gorman" #01587, Series: "5. Camila O'Gorman, 1848." Folder 19

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Back to Top

Processing Information

Processed by:Scott Philyaw, September 1991

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, December 2009

This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.

Back to Top