Dr. William Tomphson Cocke
by Grandson Jimmy Cocke
Dr. William Tomphson Cocke practiced
medicine for over fifty years, most of the time in Demopolis. Dr Cocke was
born in Hale County in 1878 just west of Greensboro on a plantation called
Oaklawn. The home site was just north of the Greensboro airport (which was
part of Oaklawn’s acreage). The only thing left of Oaklawn, which burned
in the early 1920’s, is the family cemetery (see papers at the University of
Alabama’s Hoole Special Collections).
Dr. Cocke’s Great Grandfather, John Ruffin Cocke bought the land and built Oaklawn in 1824, John Ruffin Cocke moved to Alabama from Virginia. Shortly after John Ruffin Cocke came to Alabama his cousin in Virginia, Gen. John Hartwell Cocke bought adjacent land (see the book “Dear Master“), Gen Cocke lived on a plantation in Va. named Bremo, located at Bremo Falls, Va. Bremo is a 6,000+ acre plantation that is still in possession of family. His friend Thomas Jefferson, who by family legend helped designed Oaklawn, aided Gen Cocke in design of Bremo.
Dr. Cocke graduated from Southern University in Greensboro, Al. (now Birmingham Southern in Birmingham) attended medical school in Philadelphia, PA and interned and did a residency in surgery at The Tennessee Coal and Iron Hospital, (now Lloyd Nolan).
Dr. Cocke married Bessie Chapron Browder from Sumter Co., AL. in 1904.
Dr. Cocke’s medical office was located and attached to his home on Strawberry Street. After the death of his wife Bessie, Dr. Cocke moved to Jefferson, AL to live with his daughter, Justina Cocke Simmons.