Thursday, May 25, 2017

Salem BOCOCK (1721-1783) and Susanna BOW (1720-1757) -Married in 1740 Virginia

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Edna OTWELL-SIM > Edwin OTWELL > Maurice OTWELL > John F. OTWELL > Quintilla GARTH-OTWELL > John GARTH > Judith BOCOCK- GARTH > Salem BOCOCK and Susan BOW

There were several families in the colonies that used the BOCOCK surname (or variations of it). Salem was also listed as BOWCOCK in a few documents. There is no documentation linking Salem to any of these colonial families. It is believed that this surname is of French origin (BEAUCOCKE). It is suspected that his father was Henry BOWCOCK (1690-1730) of Virginia, husband of Mary. But, Salem does not appear in Henry’s 1742 will.

Salem was born about 1721 and probably in Virginia. Some researchers believe he was born in England. He married Susanna BOW (or BOWE) (1720-1757) about 1740 in Virginia. We do not know her parents names. They had at least 6 children: Judith (our ancestor), John, Mary/Mildred, Samuel, Elijah and Jason.

The earliest record for Salem was a 1742 Louisa County document that he witnessed.

Susannah must have died before 1757. In 1757, Salem was courting a local Quaker, the widow Agnes JOHNSON. The Quakers condemned Agnes for Salem’s “frequenting her house as a suitor.” Agnes broke up with Salem and returned to the Quakers, only to be condemned in 1758 for marrying a non-Quaker “by a priest”. It may be that Salem was the husband. But, this marriage did not last long and Agnes married another in 1764.

In November 1767, Salem and his son-in-law Thomas GARTH (our ancestor) drew up an article of agreement in which all of Salem’s entire estate was relinquished to GARTH. GARTH would then pay all of Salem’s taxes and provide accommodations to Salem. Any property that was sold, the proceeds would go to GARTH. Salem was only 46 years old at the time and it is unknown why this arrangement was made. The contract allowed Salem to request an annual allowance of 10% if he no longer wished to live in the GARTH household and within 2 years, he no longer appeared on GARTH’s tithe list. Another caveat of the contract was that GARTH would provide for Salem’s son Samuel who was ill and under the care of the Parish. The contract stated that if Samuel ever recovered and had to leave the Parish, GARTH would provide for him, too. (It is unknown if he ever recovered.) Also interesting is that this agreement was written by Patrick HENRY.

He may have become a Quaker in November 1776. He may have died in Bedford County, Virginia in 1783 and it is unknown where he or Susanna were buried.

This ends the BOCOCK and BOW research.


Davis, Rosalie Edith. The Garth Family: Descendants of John Garth of Virginia, 1734-1986. Dexter, MI: Thomson-Shore, 1988. Print.

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