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Thomas Jefferson and McCuin (Cobb) Tharp

Thomas Jefferson Tharp, born October 24, 1850, in Louisiana, died December 29, 1905, in Preston, Webster County, Georgia. Being orphaned at about age eight, Thomas and his younger sister were returned to Twiggs County., Georgia where they were reared by their grandfather, Charnick A. Tharp until his death and then by Charnick's daughter Francis. Thomas was educated and grew to manhood in Twiggs County. In 1883 he went to Cuthbert, Georgia, where he engaged in the sewing machine business. He crossed the Chattahoochee River and sold his wares in Eufaula, Alabama. It was here that he met his future bride, who with her sister Mittie, operated a millinery shop in that city. On the 15th of December 1881, he married Miss McCuin Cobb, born April 7, 1853, and died April 19, 1933. She was named for her father McCuin Cobb who died a few months before she was born in Barbour County, Alabama. She was called "Maccie."

After living in Alabama for two years, this couple moved to Sumter County, Georgia, in 1885. In 1886, they moved to Webster County, Georgia, where T J operated a mercantile business in Preston. In 1892, he was elected Ordinary of Webster County. T J Tharp was one of the orginal school board members in Preston.

"Memoirs of Georgia" by the Southern Historical Association says of T J Tharp, "Sometimes extraordinary individual characteristics and intelligence are found in all walks of life where they are not looked for. They are none the less deserving conspicuous in memories such as in these volumes. And besides their efforts an example worthy of emulation. Such characteristics and example are present in T. J. Tharp.

Following his death in 1905, his wife Maccie operated the store for a number of years with the help of her older children and her sister, Mittie Cobb. After the death of Miss Cobb, Maccie sold the store. She then lived with her son, Thomas Cobb Tharp, in Leesburg, Georgia, and with her daughter Vesta Tharp Maddox, in Athens, Georgia. It was here that Maccie died in 1933. She was brought back to Preston and buried in the Tharp lot in the Baptist Cemetery a couple blocks south of the square in Preston.

To this union five children were born: 1) Minnie Cornelia born June 30, 1882, died October 6, 1944 2) Vesta Keith born March 8, 1886, died March 26, 1961, 3) Harriet Elizabeth born March 17, 1888, died March 9, 1890, 4) Thomas Cobb born June 27, 1889, died December 2, 1952, 5) David King born October 25, 1893, died October 10, 1906.

A daughter of the above Thomas Cobb Tharp, Florence Moye of Cuthbert, Georgia, writes of Maccie Cobb, "She was a stately, large woman with beautiful dark brown eyes. When she was young, her hair was black, but I remember it as snow white, worn in a bun on top of her head. She was a quiet person, seemingly always composed. She wore ankle-length dresses, weekday cotton prints with white background with purple sweaters or a short cape for warmth. Her Sunday or special occasion dresses were of black silk, had full skirts, and a Basque waist. The bodice front had a white or ivory colored satin insert with lace or tucked net overlay. Her hose were either white or black, depending on the season, and her shoes here black plush (or velour) coat and muff to match; also the black beaver-skin hat, which I believe she made. The crown of the hat is draped with metallic embroidered tapestry and bands of folded satin."

"Grandmother Tharp spent the 'cold' months with my family, and the 'hot' months with Aunt Vesta in Athens, Georgia. I well remember her departure on the trains from Leesburg, and the sadness I felt at her leaving. Then about six months later came the thrill of her return, meeting the train with childish anticipation of what she had in her trunk for me. Sometimes when the drayman didn't get the trunk to the house at once, or if she was too tired to start unpacking right away, a few hours seemed like days to me."

"She was endowed with a talent for nursing and spent many days and nights with sick neighbors in Preston, the local doctors often relying on her help. She was so patient, loving and kind. I must state, too, that she was one mother-in-law who was loved and respected as I grew up to recognize and realize the strong bond of affection between Mama and Grandmother. Usually if she was asked for, or gave any advice, Mama and 'Son' (as she called Daddy) took it."

"Her hands were seldom idle. She was a fine cook. I can see her now stirring up an enormous bowl of cake batter, or beating one to two dozen egg whites for the yearly Christmas eggnog. She belonged to the generation of women who had to can and preserve foods, and also had to make most of the family's clothes and household linens. She learned to weave on a loom in her youth; she and her sisters made coverlets from home-produced linen and wool threads. I have two of the coverlets, hers and Aunt Millie's ... one with natural color and indigo-blue dyed threads. Both designs are different. She could knit, tat, crochet and embroider with perfection, and when she sat down 'to rest' her sewing basket was nearby as she busily worked on her current creative project, mending or darning."

"I guess the only time I saw her show consternation was the day our home burned in February, 1924, a few days after my eighth birthday. By the next Christmas she and Aunt Vesta had made clothes for all my new dolls."

"We were all saddened when she suffered a stroke while at Aunt Vesta's and found it hard to see her suffer as an invalid until her death on the 19th of April, 1933. I still remember the day of her funeral when we went to Preston where her body was interred by her husband and two children in the cemetery by the Baptist church. She was 'back home' at last."

Florence Moye
Memoirs of Georgia - Southern Historical Association
Webster County History Book 1980
Notes on the Allentharp and Tharp Families by Eleanor Davis

Tharp Family and House
Thomas and Maccie Tharp Tombstones
Thomas Tharp and Maccie Cobb Marriage
McCuin Cobb Tharp Death Certificate