John George Clinkscales was born in 1885 to George and Eliza Clinkscales. He and his family lived on a plantation in the Diamond Hill area of Abbeville County. I scanned through his book looking for familiar names, and there she was--"Old Mrs. Cobb".
Old Mrs Cobb was almost certainly Charlotte (Campbell) Cobb, my great-great-great-grandmother. She, too, lived in the Diamond Hill area of Abbeville County when John Clinkscales was a child. In 1860, Charlotte was living with Nancy Botts, who was listed as dwelling 1475 on the 1860 US Census. Listed on the next page of that census, in dwelling 1484, lived the Clinkscales family. And listed next to the Clinkscales? Mary F. (Cobb) Cunningham, Charlotte's daughter, in dwelling 1485. Charlotte would have been in her late 60s during the early 1860s during the time period of John Clinkscales' story. Old indeed, especially at that time period and even more so to a child.
This particular story recounted by John Clinkscales tells about the time one of his young sisters had gone missing. His mother was understandably very upset while awaiting news from the men who had gone off to search for his sister and the two other girls that had gone missing with her. John's father was ill (he died in 1864), and so his mother had the extra burden of worrying about him, as well. It was getting late into the evening, and there had still been no word from the searchers. Here on page 112 is where Old Mrs. Cobb makes her entrance into the story.
Left in the home besides my mother and me were my sister Ida and Old Mrs. Cobb. Mrs. Cobb was a neighbor, a very old lady, and lived three miles up Penny's Creek. The old soul was a privileged character. Everybody knew her and respected her and humored her. When she felt like it, she came to our home and remained as long as she pleased, sometimes several days.So, there you have her, my great-great-great grandmother Charlotte (Campbell) Cobb. I have to say, I was not expecting the tobacco pipe. But given what she had to go through being married to my great-great-great grandfather James Cobb, she probably started smoking to calm her nerves.
That night she was a veritable Job's comforter. Soon after my father had gone, while Mother was walking the floor and wringing her hands, the old lady refilled her pipe, raked it in the ashes, and said:
Yes, that thar Penny's Crick is a mighty dangerous crick; ef the baby goes in thar, she'll sholy git drownded. You know, 'Liza, Joe Spence's little gal was drownded in that same crick three years ago. Hit was up, and the little gal tried to walk a foot-log and hit turned with her. Yes, hit's a dangerous crick, hit is.'
Mother made no reply, but continued to pace the floor....After the old visitor had smoke her pipe of tobacco, she knocked out the ashes and said: 'Well, 'Liza, I'll lay down; I can't do no good a-settin' here.'
She did lie down, and in two minutes was snoring quite lustily.