Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County, Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y. 1897

This wonderful history of the Cotton Family was published by the Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania.  


The ancestors of this connection came from Ireland at a very early day.  They were the parents of


and had seven children:  WILLIAM, Sr., HUGH, JOHN, SAMUEL, MOLLIE, MATTIE and RACHEL.

HUGH never married, but became very rich, and died aged.
JOHN married Peggy Stoglen.  His children were Robin, Henry, Hugh, Samuel, William, Polly, and Peggy.
Henry became a physician, and married a gay, rich girl, and is now dead.
SAMUEL COTTON, brother of William Cotton, Sr., died young.
MOLLIE COTTON, his sister, married Isaac Vance, of Washington county, Pa.  His children were Samuel, Isaac, Iby, Polly; Hannah, Mattie, and Peggy.  The family live in Washington county.
MATTIE COTTON, sister of William Cotton, Sr., married Patrick Scott.  Their children were Polly, Mattie, and Francis.

WILLIAM COTTON, SR.  Beverly's 4th Great-grandfather.

     Son of the American immigrants, was born in Washington county, Pa., July 16, 1762.  His wife was Mary Scott, daughter of Josiah and Violet Scott, who emigrated from Scotland very early.  Mary Scott was born in Scotland.

Very early in this century, Mr. Cotton became one of the first settlers of Pulaski township.  He purchased some four or five hundred acres of land from the United States Government, spent his days upon the soil, and died in December, 1841, in the eightieth year of his age.

The children of William Cotton, Sr., were:

VIOLET, born August 16, 1787; married William Williamson.  Both deceased.  Had a large family.
HENRY, born September 2, 1788; died October 3, 1803.
MARY, born June 19, 1790.  She had a cancer on her breast when she was a young girl, and went through the painful and hazardous operation of having the entire breast cut off, and recovered!  Became the wife of John Morehead, and died upwards of eighty.  She always looked on the dark side of life, borrowing trouble when it came in no other way.  She was, however, a good, Christian woman.
JOSIAH, born May 26, 1792; died September 1, 1796..
JANE, born October 15, 1793.
WILLIAM, Jr., born December 13, 1795; married Betsy Black.
Beverly's 3rd Great-grandfather.

HUGH, born September 10, 1797; married Diadema Drake.
JOSIAH, Jr., born March 13, 1799.
ALEXANDER, born February 4, 1801; died October 22, 1840.
JOHN, born January 20, 1803.
RACHEL, born June 30, 1805.
JAMES, born May 6, 1807; died July 26, 18--.
SARAH, born December 27, 1809.  She is now widow of Lucas Alexander.
Josiah, Jr., married Catherine Harris, daughter of Barnabas C. Harris.
Rachel was a school teacher for awhile, and married James Breden, of Mercer county, a widower with two sons.  She had nine children.  Both parents are now dead.

Mrs. William Cotton, Sr., -- whose maiden name was Mary Scott - was a woman of medium size, and of very fine appearance.  She had black eyes, and hair of the same complexion.  She brought up her children under the most strict, Puritanical rule.  When the Sabbath morning came, there was profound silence in the household.  Not a work was spoken, only of necessity.  It was a sin to laugh or even smile!  All that could go, went to church, the young folks waling, while the parents rode on horseback.  The distance was eight or ten miles.  The girls walked in their bare feet, carrying their cowhide shoes in their hands, and putting them on (the shoes) just before entering the church.

Mrs. Cotton's daughter, Polly (Mary), had a head of beautiful, black, and naturally curly hair, but her mother would not allow her to curl it (or allow it to curl!), but required her to comb it straight back, and as plain as possible.  She (the mother) did not approve of such vanity as "flowing locks!"

What would this good woman say, could she but return to earth and take a seat in the velvet-cushioned pew of some of our present fashionable churches, and see the rich attire and costly jewelry that decks the persons of some of the devout worshipers of her sex!

Mr. Cotton was a tall man, with commanding appearance, and black piercing eyes, and was a great reader.


Was born in Mercer county, Pa., December 13, 1795.  His wife was Elizabeth Black, born in Washington county, Pa., November 5, 1797.  They were married October 28, 1819.  Their children were:

JOHN, born in 1820; died at the age of eight.
JAMES, born June 20, 1822.
MARY S., born January 9, 1826.
JOHN C., born August 31, 1828.
JEMIMA, born November 15, 1830.  Beverly's 2nd Great-grandmother.
PHEBE L., born January 6, 1832.
AUSTIN D., born May 26, 1835.
Also, ELIZABETH, MELISSA and WILLIAM, who all died in infancy.

     Mr. William Cotton was one of the most industrious and active men of his time, and from a youth was a consistent member of the Presbyterian church.  He died March 20, 1843.

     Mrs. Cotton died April 7, 1864.  She also was a woman of many Christian virtues, and a member of the Presbyterian church.  She was very smart and industrious, and at the age of seventy-five, made her great-grandson, Thomas C. Wilson, a fine shirt in most excellent style, and also cut and made for her grandson, H. H. Wilson, a nicely fitting pair of pants.  She was a remarkably, sprightly, mirthful woman for her age, and her society was much enjoyed by the young folks.