Bryson collection: Cobham family



The Cobham collection is part of the larger Bryson family collection (D/B). The Bryson collection was compiled by Joe Bryson who had a varied career history as a soldier, fairground artist and angler. This is a large collection of documents collected by Bryson over a twenty-year period and includes material about Liverpool business, legal records, personal letters and maritime shipping history. Within the Bryson collection, there are several family collections, mainly from the estates of people who emigrated. The Cobham collection pertains to one such prominent Liverpool family. George Ashworth Cobham (1806-1870) was a member of an old established Liverpool family who was committed to Lancaster Castle as a debtor. He had earlier married his sister-in-law, a breach of Canon Law, which made his nephews his stepsons. He escaped from prison and with his family set sail from Le Havre for New York. They settled in Warren, West Pennsylvania where he built a house that still stands today. The surviving records cover his financial and business affairs both prior to and after his emigration and include correspondence with his nephew John and solicitors in Liverpool. Personal letters written at the time of the Civil War, reveal his support for the Union whilst his nephew was influenced by Confederate opinion in Liverpool. There are also many papers relating to the extensive litigation concerning the will of George Cobham Senior, their Lancashire estate and genealogical material dating the family back to the 16th century, along with records of leased property and land with on his estates. George Ashworth Cobham the younger (1825–1864), his stepson and nephew would become a Lieutenant Colonel of the 111th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, following his migration to the United States and was famously killed during the Battle of Peach Creek in 1864. The records continue from the early 18th century to the early 20th century and include a significant amount of correspondence between members of the family and their solicitors totalling over two hundred items. A large number of solicitor’s correspondence pertains to drafts of eventual formal documents. There is not much evidence of an original order due to the manner in which the records were accumulated by Joe Bryson, however, the collection has been organised into records of a similar type such as records pertaining to estate management and records deemed to be personal such as correspondence and pertaining to family legal matters. The entire Bryson collection was purchased by the Maritime Museum in 1976 with no specified conditions of use or copyright. The Cobham section of the collection has been catalogued in three parts and includes three separate reference codes D/B/1/A, D/B/1/B-D and D/B/1/D/E-F. Part of the collection is available at the Maritime Museum and part is kept in an offsite store, please contact The Archives Centre before visiting to confirm the material you wish to consult is available. See attached list or contact The Archives Centre for a copy of the catalogue.