Found in the loose records of Charlotte County was a court case about a road coming across the Staunton River at Cobbs Ferry and Stewart’s Ferry when Halifax County was still a part of Brunswick County.
The road was called Morton’s Road, which came from out of Charlotte County by Joseph Morton’s plantation near the mouth of Wallace Creek, which was across from the “Cove” in Halifax County.
In the court case dated 1811 were many depositions made by local people of Halifax County. Samuel Cobbs made a deposition and stated his father, Robert Cobbs, born circa 1687, came to the “Cove” in 1738 when Samuel Cobbs was only 4 years of age. Robert Cobbs was a captain of the Foot Company of Halifax County in 1754. Robert Cobbs Sr. died on his plantation in the “Cove” on January 1769 and in his will left his land in the “Cove” to his son, Samuel Cobbs.
Samuel Cobbs stated in his deposition “when I was a small boy I had to go along that road to school and I lived on the plantation where Cobbs Ferry was kept at in 1738 four years of age which plantation is on the Halifax side and when I went to school I crossed the river in a canoe.”
Samuel Cobbs stated that Cobbs Ferry and Stewart’s Ferry were very close to each other. He said there were many people in Halifax County in the place called the “Cove.” The road, which came from out of Charlotte County, went to the ferries. The only way one could get to Stewart’s Ferry was Morton’s Road without going many miles around.
Samuel Cobbs remembered when the Indians of the south were crossing the Staunton River in Halifax County to join General Braddock. Cobbs stated “many of the Indians stayed in my father’s yard all night in the ‘Cove.’” They continued their journey to meet General Braddock during the French and Indian War in 1755.
Paul Carrington, the elder, born 1722, made a deposition and stated that he became acquainted with the road in question 1755-60. The road led to the two ferries on the Staunton River. The Randolphs, Coles and Morton’s Plantation were seated on the Staunton River around 1740-45.
James Johnston, born 1752, stated he had known the road for 50 years and Samuel Cobbs was his grandfather.
James Brent made a deposition that Col. Morton stopped up the old road coming to both ferries.
Godfrey Jones, born 1726, remembered the old road when it was part of Brunswick County. Jones stated at that time it was a path, not a road.
Richard Crews, born 1740, made a deposition that he had known the road from 1762 until he moved away “15 years ago.”
The very early records of our roads, ferries, mills and taverns are listed in court order records.
Abner Wesson made a deposition in this case about Morton’s Road. He was, at the time, a deputy clerk under Herbert Hill, clerk of court from 1797-16 in Brunswick County. Wesson stated, “the clerk and I together have examined the records of that office from 1732 to 1750.” He added, “I have been told that there is a hogshead (barrel) of papers on the plantation where John Jones died and I have understood that they belonged to the office and heard Mr. Hill, the present clerk, tell Colonel Morton that he might go and look at them. He had no control over them as they had not been put in his possession by the former clerk.”
The deputy clerk of Brunswick County said, “at the request of Colonel Morton we searched the records at the court house at Brunswick County and found no opening of the road going to Cobbs Ferry and Stewart’s Ferry.” John Jones was clerk of court in Brunswick County from July 27, 1789, to his death in January 1793.
The Cobbs family was one of the first families to buy land and move into the “Cove.”
Samuel Cobbs lived there his entire life and died in the “Cove.” His land in the “Cove” was sold to Clement H. Read and his wife, Betsey Sims, by his heirs.
The Sims family had settled in Cornwall Parish, Charlotte County, early when David Sims Sr. and David Sims Jr. were listed in Charlotte County in 1764.
Both men are listed in a tax list with John Randolph with 9,580 acres. David Sims Sr. was the overseer for John Randolph Sr.
David Sims Sr. made a contract with John Randolph. Randolph did not give Sims 33 shares of Indian corn and a share of the tobacco and the salary of 22 pounds of English money. John Randolph Sr. did not keep his word so David Sims’ sons, Matthew, William and David Jr. sued John Randolph for 200 pounds in English money. Randolph refused to pay the money. It is believed that the sons carried this case to a higher court and won. William Sims, one of the sons, got 3,100 acres and divided it between Matthew and David Jr., his brothers. This land came from John Randolph. It is believed that Randolph paid them in land, not money. At this time in history a lot of the elite establishment had more land than money. Their wealth was their land.
On June 4, 1764, John Randolph, of Henrico County, sold to David Sims Sr., of Cornwall Parish, 500 acres of land on both sides of the Staunton River, partly in Halifax County and partly in Lunenburg County (Charlotte). This land sold to Sims were low grounds on both sides of Staunton River. Part of this land was across from the “Cove” on Wallace Creek in Charlotte County. The land went to his son, William Sims, who married Keziah East, in Halifax County in 1773. William Sims Sr. died circa 1778. They had two sons. David Sims, the oldest, married the widow of David Clarke. In 1801, David Sims died from an accident. His land in the “Cove” went to his widow and only daughter, Betsy Sims.
When David and his younger brother, William, were young, their guardian was William Brittian. Brittian went into Charlotte County and bought the Stephen Bedford house and plantation on Wallace Creek right across from the “Cove.” This land joined the low grounds, which had been bought from Randolph in 1764 by their grandfather.
William and David, sons of William and Keziah Sims, lived in the Bedford house in Charlotte County, according to a deposition made in a court case. The two boys lived in the Stephen Bedford home on Wallace Creek with Samuel Harris and his family, who was the overseer for William Sims Sr. Their mother, Keziah, married John Hundley after the death of William Sims Sr.
William Sims Jr. was born 1778 and died circa 1807. He married Mildred Cobbs Nov. 17, 1804, in Halifax County. They had one son named David Sims, born circa 1805-06. In William Sims Jr.’s will he left his land in the “Cove” unto his niece, Betsy, if his son, David, was deceased.
Betsy Sims married Clement H. Read and in 1843 they sold 1,232 acres in the “Cove” to John Coleman for $36,000. In the deed to Coleman it stated that Clement H. Read purchased land from the estate of Samuel Cobbs.