Shelby County Indiana
Thomas A. & Phebe Cotton
He has had ten children, as follows: Theodore (deceased), Rosco (deceased), Indiana, Carey C., America, Florence, Ida (deceased), Phebe A., Mary J., and Frank Ward.
The Cottons are among the earliest settlers of Shelby County, and it is to their thrift and enterprise that Shelby County to-day owes some of its finest improvements and best men. William Cotton, the father of Thomas A., was a native of Kentucky, as was also his wife.
On the 8th of February, 1828, Thomas A. first saw the light, and his birthplace was a log cabin within a few feet of where his substantial and comfortable house stand to-day. On March 11, 1830, his mother Mary Cotton, died, leaving him a boy of tender years, and in July, 1830, his father was again married, to Ann Burgess.
Thomas' early years were spent in the hard work that was the portion of all at that time, though his father gave him what school advantages he could, and when he was seventeen years of age told him he would give him his portion in land. Thomas, seeing that his father's heart was set upon his remaining at home, finally concluded to do so, and thus with some regret, closed upon himself the opportunity for professional honors. Though it is probable that a man of his ability would have made his mark in a professional career, still one could hardly wish to be more successful than Mr. Cotton has been as a farmer; and, while his name might have been more famous in a professional light, we are sure that for his independence and happiness his choice as a farmer was a wise one, and that to-day he is better off than by far the greater per cent of men who live by some profession.
On the 18th of October, 1849, he was married to Phebe Johnson daughter of Jonathan and Ann (McGrew) Johnson, and went to , housekeeping in another house on his father's farm. For one year he rented land and then bought some, and has ever since been working his own farm.
Mr. Cotton settled down to farming with the determination of making a success, well knowing the requirements of a successful farmer, and it is evident to all that he has accomplished his object in that direction. To-day he is possessor of nearly 600 acres of beautiful farming land, and buildings that are an honor not only to him but to the whole county; his barn is a model one, and complete in all particulars. It is probably the largest in Shelby County, having a length of eighty-six feet by forty-eight feet wide and twenty feet siding. In addition, a large basement fifty feet square is fitted up with every convenience for his stock. Mr. Cotton has a choice collection of stock; he makes a specialty of the short-horned Durham breed of cattle, having at the present time in his possession some of the best in the county.
As a man, Mr. Cotton is well thought of by all who know him; kind in his family and to his neighbors, strictly honorable to all with whom he has any dealing, and hospitable to any wo have the good fortune to become his guest.
He and his wife are good Christian people --- he being a Baptist by profession, as were his father and mother -- and his wife a Methodist, as were her father and mother. Four of his children are at present members of the Baptist Church. Mr. Cotton has given his children a good education, and they are doing well in the world. Three are married, and the remaining four are still at home.
Thomas A. Cotton is now in the fifty-third year of his age. Politically, a Democrat himself, yet he is not too partisan to recognize good wherever it is to be found, and believes every man should vote according to his own conviction of right. Mr. Cotton is young for his years, and has ever prospect of holding for a long period in the future his position as one of the enterprising, popular men of Shelby County.
Atlas of Shelby Co., Indiana, Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co, 1880, page 71.
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