Dr. Needham Bryan Cobb Family

    Dr. Needham Bryan Cobb 1836-1905
    Needham Bryan Cobb was born in Jones County, NC, February 1, 1836, the son of William Donnell Cobb and Anne Spicer Collier. After graduating at Hughes Academy, he entered the University of North Carolina, graduating in three years in 1854. His M.A. degree from that institution in 1856 was the first earned Master's Degree granted by the University, and his picture and diploma hang in the University's Graduate Office in Chapel Hill. He taught school in Wayne and Cabarrus counties and was the first teacher of shorthand in the state. While he maintained an interest in education throughout life, making an outstanding contribution in that field, he turned early to the study of law, being admitted to the bar at Greenville, NC where he practiced for a while. He made a further change in profession and religious belief, leaving the Episcopal Church to become a Baptist minister. In 1889 Judson College conferred upon him a Doctorate of Divinity degree. He did a great deal of missionary work throughout the state and served as pastor for many Baptist churches, including that in Goldsboro. He held positions of State Superintendant of the Baptist Sunday School Board and as Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary and President of the Baptist State Convention at times. During the Civil War, Doctor Cobb served as Chaplain in Lee's Army and was in charge of colportage work among Carolina Troops until the end of the war. He and Doctor J.D. Hufham published "The Daily Record," the first daily paper printed in Raleigh after the war, with the permission of the Northern officer in charge of the city. Doctor Cobb was known as a historian of his state and his denomination. He was author of a small book of verse, "A Poetical Geography of North Carolina" containing a tribute to President Jefferson Davis at the time of his death and "A Reply To Gray's Elegy." In 1859 Doctor Cobb married Martha Louisa Cobb, a distant relative, from Falkland, NC, the mother of twelve of his children and an inspiration to him throughout his life. She died in 1888 and he married in 1891 Ellen DeLisle Fennell of Sampson County, a devoted wife and the mother of three of his other children. Doctor Cobb died in 1905 in Sampson County, his grave being in the cemetery next to the old Baptist Church where he served as pastor at one time. [Both of Dr. Cobb's parents, William Donnell Cobb and Anne Spicer Collier, are buried in Willowdale Cemetery, Goldsboro, NC, very near the Confederate Monument. Dr. Cobb's grandparents were John Cobb and Ann Nancy Whitfield. She was the daughter of Brig. Gen. Bryan Whitfield of Whitehall, (Seven Springs) - Charles Norwood] ----------

    [Copy of a newspaper article] Sixty creeks west of the Blue Ridge were named and then Dr. Cobb skipped to the north-central part of the state and his musical lines started the creeks singing their way toward Roanoke River: Wolf Island and Marrows Towns, Hogan and Show And Big, Mill and Moon these names are no jokes From Rockingham, Caswell and Person and Stokes And Bearskin and Nutbush from Granville and Vance Big Grassy, Big Island and Jonathan's prance With Sassafras, Gardener's and long County Line Kehuke, Skewarkee and Old Sandy Run. The mountains, bay and sounds were treated in a similar way but Dr. Cobb knew how to teach so he gave them sufficient variations of meter and rhyme scheme to avoid monotony. The North Carolina sounds were treated thusly: Just eleven shallow sounds Slumber on our shore Albemarle and Pamlico Topsail, Stump, and Core Currituck and Croatan Where the wild geese soar Wrightsville, Masonboro Bogue, Roanoke-and no more. In the preface of his text, Dr. Cobb informs us that the pupils were required to repeat the rhymes in concert. After the rhymes were memorized they were used as recitations when the parents came to visit the school on Friday. Dr. Needham Bryan Cobb, great preacher and teacher, was born in the Old North State in 1836. He lived a long life and died in his native state in 1905. During his long ministry in the Baptist church he served as pastor in Hickory, Fayetteville, Lilesville, Ansonville, Shelby, Waynesville and several other North Carolina Communities. ----------

    [Excerpts from a page of "Tar River History" included in file] In October 1869, he left the Episcopal Church, in which he had been a vestryman, and was baptized in Greenville by Rev. Henry Petty. In 1860 he was ordained in Wilson, the ordaining presbytery was composed of Revs. Levi Thorne, J.B. Solomon, Henry Petty, G.W. Keene, W.C. Lacy and J.G. Barclay. During his long and successful career as a minister of the gospel he served various churches as pastor, notably Goldsboro, Elizabeth City, Second Church, Portsmouth, Virginia; returning to North Carolina he served as pastor in Shelby, Lincolnton, Lilesville, Rockingham, Fayetteville, Chapel Hill, Waynesville, Morganton, Hickory, Hillsboro and later Gardners and Sharon, in the Tar River Association. During this protracted period of pastoral work he frequently engaged in teaching and was president of Wayne Institute and Normal College; professor of Latin and Greek at Goldsboro Female College, and was also principal of Lilesville High School. ----------

    Geography Was Poetry In Teacher's Textbook
    Goldsboro News-Argus June 23, 1963, by Calvin Jarrett Dr. Needham B. Cobb was a very versatile teacher and he wrote a textbook that was unique. Many of the early schoolmasters in this country were ministers as well as teachers. Dr. Cobb was Baptist minister of note as well as a great teacher. Dr. Cobb received both his A.B. and M.A. degrees from the University of North Carolina. Judson College conferred an honorary D.D. later. The University of North Carolina opened the first summer school held in this country in 1877 and Dr. Cobb gave the first instruction in shorthand ever given to a class in this state. While teaching geography in the schools of North Carolina, Dr. Cobb wrote his own textbook. The title of the book was "Poetical Geography of North Carolina." The rhymes were written to aid his own pupils in learning the geography of the Old North State and in 1887 the Riverside Press, Cambridge, published the book for use in other North Carolina schools. The students in our schools learned the musical names of our mountain rivers in this order back in the gay nineties: Swannanoa, Tahkeosta Tuckaseige, Tennessee Wild Watauga, Hiawasse Nantahala, Cheowee Valley, Elk, Oconalufta New and Toe and Pigeon flow From the Skyland through the mountains To the Gulf of Mexico. A footnote to the quoted lines explained that "Tahkeosta" is the Indian name for the French Broad. After this rhyme of the 14 westward-flowing rivers, the 59 other North Carolina rivers were accounted for in similar poetic style. The rivers east of the Blue Ridge were grouped as tributaries of the Catawba, Yadkin, Cape Fear, Neuse, Pamlico and the Albemarle for convenience in memorizing. The smallest group, the Pamplico rivers, were given as follows: Little, Flat and small Eno Trent and Neuse and Pamlico Pungo, Tar and Pantego Bay and Long-Shoal slowly flow To the Sound of Pamlico. The "Poetical Geography of North Carolina" had the students memorizing all the mountains, bays, sounds, principal creeks. It also had a "Key to the Ninety- six Counties" that the Tar Heel state was comprised of at that time (1887). Dr. Cobb undertook and accomplished the task of cataloging all 394 principal creeks in rhyme. The names of some of these Tar Heel creeks reveal an insight into early pioneer North Carolina. There is a story in these names: Hardscrabble, Troublesome, Panther, Wolf Island, Searing Gunpowder, Meat Camp, and Sandy Mush creeks. The "Poetical Geography" reveals that most of our 394 creeks in North Carolina have Indian names. Some of the mountain streams were rhymed thusly: Stekoah, Tuskegee, Balds three and Cowee Catalooche and Jonathan's Cove and Crabtree Two Ivys and Laurel and Piney and Pines Beaver and Beaverdam, Sugarton, Fines Hurricane, Hominy, Richland and Scotts Sandy Mush, Gash's Mud, Cove and Plott's Brushy and Beech, Jack's, Grassy and Rheams (queer little streams) Licklog and Shooting, Barker's, Alarka, and tumbling Cat Stair Red Marble and Briartown high up in the air.

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