Major General-David Cobb-Continental Army-Loyal Aid To General Washington

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David Cobb, Major General

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Attleboro, MA, USA
Death: Died in Taunton, MA, USA
Place of Burial: Plain Cemetery, Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Son of Capt. Thomas Cobb and Lydia Cobb
Husband of Eleanor Cobb
Father of Eleanor Cobb; Mary Cobb and David George Washington Cobb
Brother of Sarah "Sally" Cobb Paine; Hannah Crocker; Lydia Leonard Williams; Jonathan Cobb; Thomas Cobb, Jr. and 1 other

Managed by: Ivy Jo Smith
Last Updated:

About David Cobb, Major General

A Patriot of the American Revolution for MASSACHUSETTS with the rank of LIEUTENANT COLONEL, PHYSICIAN OR SURGEON. DAR Ancestor #: A023428

Added by Elwin Nickerson II- Note Citations added below for my ancestor- Also Notice Below as Noted his Brother-in-law- Robert Treat Paine(Taunton Resident and (Brother-in-Law) of The General)-Signer of The Constitution of The United States! Born in Attleboro, Massachusetts on September 14, 1748, Cobb graduated from Harvard College in 1766. He studied medicine in Boston and afterward practiced in Taunton, Massachusetts. He was a member of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress in 1775; lieutenant colonel of Jackson’s regiment in 1777 and 1778, serving in Rhode Island and New Jersey; was aide-de-camp on the staff of General George Washington; appointed major general of militia in 1786 and rendered conspicuous service during Shays' Rebellion.

Judge of the Bristol County Court of Common Pleas 1784-1796; member of the State house of representatives 1789-1793, and the Massachusetts Senate and served as Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and President of the Massachusetts Senate. [edit] Congress

Elected to the Third United States Congress (March 4, 1793 – March 3, 1795), replacing Elbridge Gerry. [edit] Maine

Cobb moved to Gouldsboro in the district of Maine in 1796 and engaged in agricultural pursuits; elected to the Massachusetts Senate from the eastern district of Maine in 1802 and served as president; elected to the Massachusetts Governor's Council in 1808; Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1809; member of the board of military defense in 1812; chief justice of the Hancock County (Maine) court of common pleas; returned in 1817 to Taunton, where he died on April 17, 1830. His remains were interred in Plain Cemetery. [edit] Legacy

In 1976, David Cobb was honored by being on a postage stamp for the United States Postal Service. [edit] Notes

 1. Porter, Joseph Whitcomb (July,--August, 1888), Bangor Historical Magazine Vol. IV Memoir of Gen. David Cobb and family of Gouldsborough, Maine, and Taunton, Mass, Bangor, ME, p. 2. 
 2. ^ Porter, Joseph Whitcomb (July,--August, 1888), Bangor Historical Magazine Vol. IV Memoir of Gen. David Cobb and family of Gouldsborough, Maine, and Taunton, Mass, Bangor, ME, p. 6. 
 3. ^ a b The Daughters of Liberty (1904), Historical researches of Gouldsboro, Maine, Gouldsboro, ME: The Daughters of Liberty, p. 22. 
 4. ^ Porter, Joseph Whitcomb (July,--August, 1888), Bangor Historical Magazine Vol. IV Memoir of Gen. David Cobb and family of Gouldsborough, Maine, and Taunton, Mass, Bangor, ME, pp. 6–7. 

[edit] References

  * Porter, Joseph Whitcomb: Memoir of Gen. David Cobb and family of Gouldsborough, Maine, and Taunton, Mass (1888).

-------------------- Added by Elwin Nickerson II about my Ancestor : Note Citations Below:.

Born in Attleboro, Massachusetts on September 14, 1748, Cobb graduated from Harvard College in 1766. He studied medicine in Boston and afterward practiced in Taunton, Massachusetts. He was a member of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress in 1775; lieutenant colonel of Jackson’s regiment in 1777 and 1778, serving in Rhode Island and New Jersey; was aide-de-camp on the staff of General George Washington; appointed major general of militia in 1786 and rendered conspicuous service during Shays' Rebellion. [edit] Massachusetts Government

Judge of the Bristol County Court of Common Pleas 1784-1796; member of the State house of representatives 1789-1793, and the Massachusetts Senate and served as Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and President of the Massachusetts Senate. [edit] Congress

Elected to the Third United States Congress (March 4, 1793 – March 3, 1795), replacing Elbridge Gerry. [edit] Maine

Cobb moved to Gouldsboro in the district of Maine in 1796 and engaged in agricultural pursuits; elected to the Massachusetts Senate from the eastern district of Maine in 1802 and served as president; elected to the Massachusetts Governor's Council in 1808; Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1809; member of the board of military defense in 1812; chief justice of the Hancock County (Maine) court of common pleas; returned in 1817 to Taunton, where he died on April 17, 1830. His remains were interred in Plain Cemetery.

In 1976, David Cobb was honored by being on a postage stamp for the United States Postal Service. [edit] Notes

  1. Porter, Joseph Whitcomb (July,--August, 1888), Bangor Historical Magazine Vol. IV Memoir of Gen. David Cobb and family of Gouldsborough, Maine, and Taunton, Mass, Bangor, ME, p. 2. 
  2. ^ Porter, Joseph Whitcomb (July,--August, 1888), Bangor Historical Magazine Vol. IV Memoir of Gen. David Cobb and family of Gouldsborough, Maine, and Taunton, Mass, Bangor, ME, p. 6. 
  3. ^ a b The Daughters of Liberty (1904), Historical researches of Gouldsboro, Maine, Gouldsboro, ME: The Daughters of Liberty, p. 22. 
  4. ^ Porter, Joseph Whitcomb (July,--August, 1888), Bangor Historical Magazine Vol. IV Memoir of Gen. David Cobb and family of Gouldsborough, Maine, and Taunton, Mass, Bangor, ME, pp. 6–7. 

[edit] References

   * Porter, Joseph Whitcomb: Memoir of Gen. David Cobb and family of Gouldsborough, Maine, and Taunton, Mass (1888).

Grave stone of David Cobb in Plain Cemetery in Taunton. (Staff photo by Mark Stockwell)

Attleboro native David Cobb played role in Revolution, Shays' Rebellon Judge, doctor, politician and businessman, Revolutionary War veteran David Cobb cut a dashing figure both on the battlefield and in Congress, where he served toward the close of the 18th century.

But Cobb, born in Attleboro in 1748, was also a larger-than-life figure whose resolve and audacious character helped end a dangerous rebellion - and in some respects, paved the way for the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

A trained physician, Cobb served as aide de camp to General George Washington, serving in Rhode Island, New Jersey and the Yorktown campaign that culminated in the British surrender in 1781.

But his most important service may have come five years later, when he was called on to quell a local armed revolt by farmers bankrupted by taxes and post-independence inflation.

The insurgency, known as Shays' Rebellion, was most pronounced in the western part of the state. But it came to an abrupt end in Eastern Massachusetts when Cobb and about 300 militia volunteers faced down a mob attempting to shut down the county's court system in Taunton. Oil painting of Attleboro native David Cobb is on display at the Old Colony Historical Society in Taunton. According to local legend, Cobb trained a cannon on the insurgents and drew a line in the dirt, warning that anyone who crossed would be fired upon. Cobb and his men prevailed without firing a shot at the rebels, who were poorly armed.

A plaque on Taunton Green memorializes the location where the revolt reached its highwater mark.

According to his Congressional biography, Cobb graduated from Harvard in 1766, studied medicine in Boston and later practiced in Taunton. A staunch patriot, he served in the Bristol County Convention formed to protest the British closing of Boston Harbor and served in the Massachusetts Provincial Congress in 1775.

Cobb, whose brother-in-law was Declaration of Independence signer Robert Treat Paine, joined the Continental Army, where he was listed as a surgeon and came out with the brevet rank of general.

After the war, he was appointed a major general of militia.

His political and judicial legacy is equally stunning. Cobb served as judge of the Bristol County Court of Common Pleas from 1784 to 1796. He was also a member of the state House of Representatives before being serving in Congress from 1793 to 1795.

He later moved to Maine - then, still a part of Massachusetts - where he continued his political career, serving as a judge and eventually lieutenant governor.

But it was during Shays' Rebellion that Cobb gained fame as the fighting judge who on two occasions faced down unruly mobs.

The rebellion, named for Continental Army veteran Daniel Shays, was a grassroots movement spawned by farmers who found themselves the victims of rampant inflation and huge tax increases in a state trying desperately to pay off the costs of the Revolution.

"These were people caught in a vise of change," said Taunton historian William Hanna, whose book, "A History of Taunton, Massachusetts," gives an account of Cobb's career.

"They were literally between a rock and a hard place," Hanna said of the insurgents.

Many of the revolt's participants had fought during the Revolution against what they considered unfair British taxation. Now, they found themselves with little or no money and facing foreclosure for inability to pay levies. Many were thrown in debtor's prison.

Confronted with bankruptcy after enduring years of wartime privation and danger, many of the farmers fell back on a weapon that had proved potent against King George III - protest and civil unrest.

The rebels wanted establishment of a paper currency, lower taxes and an end to foreclosure and imprisonment for debt - things the struggling government was ill-equipped to grant.

The rebellion was looked at in horror by the state and national governments, who feared it might result in the dissolution of the government, altogether. Some, like Abigail Adams, thought they saw the hand of British government at work.

It was at that point that Shays and a ragtag band of farmers rose up. Shays and his men were foiled in an attempt to seize the government armory in Springfield, but there were also flareups elsewhere in the state in which rebels attempted to close courts to prevent foreclosures.

In September 1786, about 400 insurgents massed in the center of Taunton with the intention of closing the Court of Common Pleas where Cobb was then presiding judge.

The feisty soldier, who had been appointed a general of volunteers, wasn't about to take the threat lying down.

What happened next, although partly shrouded in the mists of time, qualifies as high drama.

According to Hanna, Cobb, with 300 volunteers at his disposal, sought to avoid bloodshed through parlay with rebel leader and Revolutionary veteran David Valentine of Berkley.

The opposing leaders agreed to defuse the situation, with Valentine assenting not to interfere with the court as long as Cobb agreed not to issue any decisions that day.

But Valentine was shouted down by fellow insurgents when he announced the compromise, Hanna said.

That incensed the dignified Cobb, who legend says retired to the courtroom to don his military uniform.

When he re-emerged, Cobb humbled the mob with words that, had they been uttered against the British, would have gone down alongside John Paul Jones' "Don't give up the ship."

"I will sit as a judge, or die as a general," Cobb sternly told the mob.

The jurist-general had called the rebels' bluff.

Unprepared to face a well-armed militia with scant weapons of their own, the insurgents decided to fold their hand. The mob dissolved, but Cobb had to repeat his command role a month later, when a smaller group of rebels appeared in an attempt to close the Superior Court.

This time, Cobb and his volunteers had a cannon waiting for a group of fewer than 200 men, disgruntled but mostly unarmed. Faced with even heavier odds than at the first confrontation, the rebels dispersed never to reform.

The rebellion continued to fester in Western Massachusetts for several months before General Benjamin Lincoln, who had also served during the Revolution, routed a force under Shays in the town of Petersham.

About a dozen rebels were condemned to death for their role in the uprising, but a general amnesty was granted in 1788.

While America won its independence with Washington's victory at Yorktown, some historians point to Shays Rebellion as the final battle of the Revolution. Although the 13 states were no longer subject to George III, independence left a host of unresolved issues - from the need for a national currency to a stronger, overarching federal government - that threatened the unity and stability of the former colonies.

Not the least of those issues were high taxes and the indifference of state and local governments, grievances which closely paralleled revolutionaries' complaints against the British crown.

Shays, himself a wounded Revolutionary officer and poor farmer who had been sued for outstanding debts, saw himself as battling against unfair taxation and a feckless government.

"To the end of his days, Shays maintained that he had been fighting for the same things he had fought for in the Revolution," Hanna said.

Massachusetts' farmers got little satisfaction out of their abortive revolt.

Many continued to see themselves as oppressed and the innocent victims of an unfeeling government and an economy that was shifting irreversibly away from small farms and toward maritime and mercantile trade.

Within months of Shays' defeat, however, the government convened the Constitutional Convention.

At last, the nation would have a president and a strong federal government counterbalanced by a Bill of Rights that would guarantee the rights of speech and peaceful protest and require due process before a citizen's property could be confiscated.

Cobb, himself, moved on from his conspicuous role in quelling rebellion.

He relocated in Maine, where he would continue to serve as a judge and politician and administer over a 2 million-acre timber estate owned by land baron William Bingham/His Relative.

Eventually, he retired to Taunton, where he was buried in 1830.

Locally, Cobb is remembered as one of the founders of Bristol Academy, the first public school in Taunton. He is also reputed to be among the founders of Massachusetts General Hospital.

His grandson, David Crocker Cobb, later served as a mayor of Boston.

Today, Cobb's remains rest in Plain Cemetery, where his grandson is also buried.

A portrait of the judge, thought by some to have been painted by Gilbert Stuart, hangs in the Old Colony Historical Society Museum in Taunton, as does his ceremonial sword.

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Major General-David Cobb-Continental Army-Loyal Aid To General Washington's Timeline

1748
September 14, 1748
Attleboro, MA, USA
1766
1766
Age 17
1767
1767
Age 18
1776
1776
Age 27
1830
April 17, 1830
Age 81
Taunton, MA, USA
1830
Age 81
Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts
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