Skip to main content
Main Content

John Hartwell Cocke was born in Surry County, Virginia in 1780. He attended the College of William & Mary from 1794-1799 . He married Ann Blaus Barraud of Norfolk on December 25, 1802. After serving in the War of 1812, he returned to his home, Bremo, a plantation in Fluvanna County, Virginia, to pursue an agrarian career. Known for his agricultural experimentation with crops and livestock, he maintained several estates and plantations in Virginia and Alabama. Being a deeply religious man, John Hartwell Cocke held strong views against drinking and tobacco. In order to combat these "evils," he was elected president of the American Temperance Union in 1836, and stopped all production of tobacco on his land. These views also led him to support and become a member of the James River & Kanawha Company board of directors. He believed that many poor farmers in Virginia were forced to turn their grain into whiskey because there was no profitable way to transport the grain to market. He felt that with the creation of the canal, farmers would turn to other occupations, thereby lessening the supply of alcohol and with it the desire to drink. He died on July 1, 1866.

Further Reading

"John Hartwell Cocke" Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. Accessed October 3, 2016.


Want to find out more?

To search for further material, visit the Special Collections Research Center's Search Tool List for other resources to help you find materials of interest.

Questions? Have ideas or updates for articles you'd like to see? Contact the Special Collections Research Center at or 757-221-3090.

A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.