Cotten family emigrated from England in 1600s

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 16, 2016

There was a Cotten family who resided in Covington and surrounding counties fairly early. The descendants appear to be different from the Cotton family, which is better known in this area and continues to live here. This writer has not found any specific connection between the two different lines; however in various records the names may be interchangeable.

The immigrant ancestor of this Cotten family appears to be John Cotten was who was reported in some records to be born in England.

John was born in 1625 and came to America some years later. Records indicate he was married to Anne Harrison (or Hutchinson) who was born in 1630 in Eyeworth, Bedfordshire, England. The date of her death is not known, but it is reported that she died in Isle of Wight County, Va. John and Anne had a son named John “Bertie” Loftin (or Lofton) Cotten, Jr.

John Bertie Cotton was born in 1658 in Isle of Wight, Va., so the immigration would have occurred before this date. Family records indicate John Birtie had two wives and had seven children by each. However, records for one wife, Martha Godwin (ca 1665-ca 1730), were found. The first child by Martha was born in 1700 while the family resided in Virginia. The family later migrated from Nansemond County, Va., to Bertie County, N.C. They reared the following seven children: Alexander Spotswood, b. 1700, d. 1765, m. (1) Ann Foster (2) Elizabeth West; Patience, b. 1703, d. 1215; Joseph H., b. 1706, d. 1772, m. Elizabeth Ervin; Priscilla, b. 1706; Thomas, b. 1709, d. 1771; James, b. 1712, d. 1758; and Arthur, b. 1716, d. 1729.

From this point the family of the oldest son, Alexander Spotswood Cotton, will be followed. Alexander Spotswood was born in 1700 before the family moved to North Carolina. He also had two wives as his father did. He was married first to Ann Foster (1711-1740). Three children who were identified for them on were as follows. Alse, b. 1735, d. 1989; Jemima; and Susannah. It appears Ann may have later married Samuel Cotton Sr. These additional children: were shown for Anne in other records: Samuel Cotton, Jr.; John; Thomas; Euridice; N.N.; and four others.

Alexander Spotswood Cotton was married second to Elizabeth West (1695-1774).

The following four children were found for them on Col. William, b. 1724, d. 1800; Alexander Spotswood Jr., b. 1726; Abner, b. ca 1738, d. ca 1810, m. Winifred Loftin; and Cyrus, b. 1741 d. 1786.

Next to the youngest son, Abner Cotton, was born in Hartford County, N.C., and was living in Franklin County, Ga., when he died circa 1810. In 1767, Abner sold his land in Hartford to a cousin and moved to Rowan County, N.C. He was married circa 1765 to Winifred Loftin, and they reared the following children: Alexander, b. 1768, d. 1830; Abner, b. 1770, d. 1849; Winifred, b. 1774, d. 1849; Mary, b. 1774; Loftin, b. 1776, d. 1840; Radford Lewis West, b. 1780, d. 1840, m. Susannah Brady (1790-1860); and William Eaton, b. 1785, d. 1845.

Circa 1793, Abner and his son, Loftin Cotten, moved to Abbeville Co., S.C. Circa 1797 Loftin Cotten was married to his wife who was not identified. A year or so later around 1798 their son, Loftin Cotten Jr. was born in Abbeville County. Circa 1802 Loftin Cotten Sr. moved into the Mississippi Territory. Circa 1816 Loftin Jr. arrived in South Alabama and settled first in Monroe County. Within a year or so he was married to Edith Jernigan. By 1820, Loftin Sr. and Loftin Jr. were residing in Conecuh County. Between 1820 and 1821, both families moved south to Escambia County, Fla. Between 1835 and 1838, Loftin Jr. moved into Covington County to continue farming. In 1840 he was listed in Covington and owning three slaves, so he would have been engaged in fairly large farming operations. Prior to 1850, he moved back to Santa Rosa County, Fla.

Loftin Cotten Jr. and his wife, Edith (Jernigan), reared the following 11 children: Ann Mariah, b. 1818, d. 1889, m. 1841 William Washington Harrison; John Fletcher, b. 1819, d. 1907, m. 1848 Elizabeth Grandberry Hart; Nancy, b. 1823, d. 1890s; Columbus Cyrus, b. 1824, d. 1853; Alexander Bruce, b. 1825, m. (1) Minerva ? (2) Martha; Josephine, b. 1829, d. 1894, m. (1) John Jernigan (2) Jacob Warling; Frank Sylvester, b. 1833, d. 1904, m. 1852 Ann Peaden; Mason, b. 1834; Jackson Augustus, b. 1835, d. 1953; Minerva Alice, b. 1838; and William S., b. 1840, m. 1877 Mary West. Records show that Loftin Jr. and Edith Cotten died in 1853.

There is some genealogy available on the family of Loftin Cotten Sr.’s son, Radford Lewis West Cotton. Note that Radford used the Cotton spelling of the name. He was married to Susannah Brady, and they reared the following children: Mary Caroline, b. 1805, d. 1843; Cynthia A., b. 1806, d. 1860; Wesley D., b. 1814, d. 1866; John Fletcher, b. 1879, d. 1907; and West Florida, b. 1824, d. 1863, m. Mary Almira Hart.

It is desired that descendants of this Cotten family continue to complete genealogy research and provide such with other interested people. The primary source for this writing was a family story written by David Millican and submitted for publication in The Heritage of Covington County, Alabama. Appreciation is expressed to him for making this family story available to the public. Also, some information was used from and other genealogy records.

Anyone who might discover an error in the above is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email:


The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will conduct its annual meeting to honor and remember Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas E. “Stonewall” Jackson upon the occasion of their birthdays—Lee on January 19 and Jackson on January 21. This year’s special meeting will be on January 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the Dixon Memorial Room at the Andalusia Public Library. Members of the Thomas Randolph Thomasson Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will be joining the compatriots and their wives. Anyone interested in Confederate heritage is invited to attend. Everyone is asked to bring a finger food for the refreshment period.