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Vianah Gardner Cobb

After John Harmon's death, Vianah had to raise their four children alone. Their oldest son, John Lafayette Cobb, was 13 years old; my grandfather, William Pinckney, was 9, Anzin Barnett was 7 and their sister, Martha Ann, was only 2 years old. They lived as tenants on a large farm in the Bethlehem community. They were poverty stricken. The cabin they lived in had no windows, just shutters, and looked like it had never had a coat of paint. Anzin Cobb once said. "I do not believe that a black man would have lived in the cabin."

Our Cobbs endured many years of poverty but Vianah managed to keep her family together. She made life as pleasant as she could and saw to it that her children attended school and made good grades. In school, they were taught to read music without a musical instrument. Music was always a part of their lives.

Despite their impoverishment, she took two orphans into her household. Vianah almost certainly would have received a great deal of condemnation from her community for taking them in. The two orphans, Charles and Lucy Oats, were black.

The Cobb children attended Bethlehem school. Once when the school district lines were changed, they were transferred to Grover. They had to walk five miles to their new school. Vianah's nephew, C.P. Gardner, was a well-known and respected musician, who taught music twice a week at Bethlehem school. When he noticed that his cousins were no longer at Bethlehem, he pulled some strings and had them transferred back within a week. C.P. Gardner also donated a generous amount of books to the school.

Though the children of John Harmon Cobb and Vianah Gardner knew nothing but poverty and hardship as children, they all made successes of their lives.

--Cobb Family History, Ray Henderson