The Cochrane Families – Coming to America

The story of the Cochrane (pronounced “Coke-run”) families is really the story of nine families.  Patriarch, David Cochrane and wife Catherine Rattray Cochrane and eight of their children left from Greenloch, Scotland aboard the ship “Roger Stewart” to come to America.  They arrived in New York on July 13, 1839.

The potato famines that devastated Ireland in the late 1830s and again in the late 1840s also occurred in Scotland but the famines were not as severe.  This may have been a contributing factor in David and Christena deciding to leave Scotland.

David Cochrane was baptized on February 25, 1787 in Errol, Perth and Kinross, Scotland.  He was the son of John Cochrane ( – ) and Margaret Ogilvie Cochrane ( – ). 

On December 22, 1816 in Errol, David married Elspet (probably Elizabeth) Jackson.  When and where she was born and information on her parents is not known.

David and Elspet would have five children – three sons and two daughters.   Their first son, John, was born on March 15, 1817 in Scotland.  William Cochrane was born on June 18, 1819 in Inchsconins, Perthshire (location unknown).  Third son, David was born in 1821.  Their first daughter, Christina was born about 1827 and David and Elspet’s last child, Elizabeth, was born in 1830.

Elspet died about 1831 in Scotland but no specific date is known.  Shortly after Elspet’s death, about 1832, David married Christena Rattray in Scotland.  No information about their marriage date and location and information about her parents and siblings are available.

Family history says that David and Christena had five children but only four are known.  It is an assumption that the other child died as infant or was stillborn.  There is also the possibility that this child died on the journey to America or on the journey from the east coast to Michigan.

David and Christena’s first known child is James Cochrane who was born on April 14, 1833 in Scotland.  There is an indication that James had a twin sister, Isabella, who came to America with the family but no other information is available.  Daughter Janett was born on August 17, 1835 in Scotland.

Family history says they reached Michigan – probably Macomb County – in 1839 but the exact date and location are not known.  The 1840 U. S. Census has them living along Bordman Road near David Taylor and William Robertson, which was between Kidder and Scotch Settlement Roads.  It appears that he was working as a farm laborer, along with his sons. 

On August 14, 1840, daughter Anna Cochrane was born in Bruce Township, Macomb County.  It is highly probable that they had settled near other immigrants from Scotland who had created the Scotch Settlement area.  The Scotch Settlement covered the southeast corner of Almont Township in Lapeer County, the southwestern corner of Berlin Township in St. Clair County, the northeastern corner of Bruce Township and the northwestern corner of Armada Township in Macomb County.

Family history has David dying about 1841.  About the time of David’s death, his sons bought property in Almont (William fore sure in 1842).  The property was along what is now Almont Road and at the county line with St. Clair County – Section 25.  The property was not bought directly from the Federal government.  It is likely that some improvements had been made to the property before they took possession.David’s oldest sons, John, William and David, each established their own homesteads.  They cut a road down the middle of their properties which became the western section of “Cochrane Road” – named for the family.  This section runs south from Almont Road to Hough Road.  A Cochrane farm was located at the corner of Almont Road and what would become the eastern section of Cochrane Road, which runs north from Almont Road to Terry Road.

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