Military Service, United States Genealogy

Richard Cohea and the War of 1812.

My 5th great grandfather Richard Cohea served in the war of 1812. Richard was born in Talbot, Maryland in 1786 and died on 4 March 1854 in Effingham, Illinois. In 1815 he married my 5th great grandmother Rodicia Rentfrow in Tennessee. When I started research my family, this was on of the easier families to research. My mom lives close to Effingham, Illinois and everytime I visited my mom I would make the trip to the Effingham Public Library, where they had a genealogy room. The first trip that I made there I discovered surname files and was able to search and find all kinds of wonderful information in them.

Found in the Cohea file in the Effingham Public Library. Frances White made a note on the bottom of the copy. France White researched this family from Effingham, Illinois. I love that they also included Old Whimp who died 18 December 1898. I am assuming that Old Whimp was a family pet.
Image from Fold3.

Rodicia filed a pension in 1878 , twenty four years after the death of Richard. This happened after the act of 9 March 1878 provided pensions for surviving soldiers and sailors of the War of 1812 who had served for 14 days or in any engagement and had been honorably discharged and for their surviving widows. This information was found on ancestry.

As I started to search more about Richard and his service in the war of 1812 I discovered a copy of his original discharge paper.

The discharge above is hard to read, but it says: “By Gilbert C Russel, Commanding the 3rd Regt of Infantry in the service of the United States. Richard Cohea, a sergeant having faithfully served in the army of the United States, the term of five years, for which he enlisted, and last in Captain Duncan R Clinch company of the 3rd regiment of Infantry from the eleventh day of September 1808, to the seventh day of September 1813 and having been paid, clothed, and subsistence agreeable to the law, as will appear from his Regiment service amended, He is hereby discharged. To prevent improper use being made of this discharge by falling into the hands of others, here follows the description of the said Richard Cohea. He was born in Talbot County State of Maryland, 22 years of age, 5 feet 10 inches high, has brown eyes, brown hair, light complexion, is by occupation a farmer. Given under my hand at Washington County in the Mississippi Territory this seventh day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirteen and of the independence of America the 38th. Signed Gilbert C Russel Lieutenant, 3rd Infantry. Received of the United States all pay, clothing, subsistence and traveling expenses to which I am entitled by law.”

Image on Fold3. Richard Cohea signature on a document in the pension file.
U.S General Land Office Records.

Richard Cohea was granted 40 acres of land in Effingham, Illinois. I have visited Effingham several times and learned so much about all my family that lived there. I think Rodicia did receive her pension but I could not confirm that. In one of the documents filed Rodicia’s daughter was, looking for some additional funds that were not paid the last couple of months before Rodicia died.

Richard and Rodicia had seven children: from the copy of Her bible record.

  1. Jame  born 2 May 1816
  2. Elizabeth born 21 June 1818
  3. Margaret born 10 October 1824
  4. Rodisa (Rhoda) born 15 July 1828
  5. Henry born 11 November 1830
  6. Tabitha born 4 November 1834
  7. Alexander 25 February 1837

This was said of Rodicia in an article placed in the Effingham Democrat on Friday, August 2, 1888:

A Good Old Age

Grandma Cohea, who was in our city last week to sit for a photograph, has lived a good old age. Her maiden name was Rodica Rentfrow, having been born in North Carolina in May 1800. At the age of five she came to Tennessee with her parents and while living there united in marriage to Richard Cohea at the age of 16. By this union 11 children were born, her oldest son, James Cohea, of this township, being still alive at the advanced age of 71. Mrs. Cohea’s husband died in 1854, since which she has remained a widow. She is now in good health and seems to greatly enjoy her advanced years, surrounded as she is by five generations of her family. Grandma Cohea is living to her advanced age by simply keeping up the record of her family for longevity, her mother having lived to the age of 99. Many others of her blood and name have almost become centenarians. These patriarchal pioneers deserve the respect of the entire public as they go about caring with them their fullness of years and honors.

This is a photo of Rodicia Cohea also known as Disa or Granny Cohea. This photo was also in the Cohea file at the Effingham Public Library. from the Effingham Democrat.

This is a transcript of the article from the Effingham Democrat by the Effingham Illinois Genealogical society. In the article it states they have eleven children but I still need to verify this as only seven are listed in her bible records. Rodicia lived another four years after this article and picture. She died 4 January 1892 at the age of 93. She lived 38 years longer than her husband.

At this point, I have not researched much on Richard and Rodicia’s children expect Elizabeth, who I am a direct descendant of. I am going to add this to my research list and see what I can learn about their children and their lives. As I search my family and learn more about them, it seems that I am finding more and more work I need to do. I would not have it any other way.

5 thoughts on “Richard Cohea and the War of 1812.”

  1. Excellent post and congratulations on finding Richard’s discharge details — quite a discovery! It might be interesting to follow up on the land he was granted for his service to see what more you can discover about those 40 acres.


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