Williamson Robert Winfield Cobb Edit Profile
Cobb received a limited education and worked as a clock peddler and merchant in Bellefonte before being elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1844. In 1846 he was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives from Alabama's sixth congressional district, which then included Huntsville and the mountainous counties of northeast Alabama, including Cobb's home county of Jackson, carved out of Madison in 1819. Cobb was a strong Unionist and opponent of secession, and when Alabama did secede in 1861, he withdrew from Congress only reluctantly.
He ran unsuccessfully for the Confederate House of Representatives in 1861, but was elected to the Second Confederate Congress in 1863 amid growing antiwar sentiment. He however did not arrive to take his seat, and was subsequently expelled by a unanimous vote for his avowed Unionist sentiments. Cobb was killed by the accidental discharge of his own pistol while putting up a fence on his plantation near Bellefonte on November 1, 1864.
On May 3, 1864, the Confederate House created a committee of 5 to investigate charges against Cobb. After Cobb's death, the House voted 75 to 0 in favor of expelling Cobb (November 17, 1864). The resolution appears to have been made without knowledge, or even in spite of, Cobb's demise.
It charged him with failing to claim his seat in the House, "being behind enemy lines on terms of friendly intercourse", and "manifesting his disloyalty to the Confederate States."
Discovered in the basement of the Jackson County Courthouse in 2004, a payment voucher dated January 4, 1863 and signed by Abraham Lincoln named Cobb as provisional governor of Alabama. No evidence exists to suggest that Cobb ever redeemed the voucher or served as provisional governor, though this does confirm the long-held belief that Cobb was in touch with, and working for, the federal government during the War.
Member Ala; member United States Ho.