What is Cobb County named for? (It has nothing to do with salad)

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What is Cobb County named for? (It has nothing to do with salad)

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H.S. Tanner, Map of United States of America, 1834 via Digital Library of Georgia
This is a map of Cobb County and the surrounding region from 1834, two years after the county was established.

Three-quarters of a million people live in Cobb County, which is named after a guy who wasn’t born there and who isn’t buried there.

Georgia’s third-most-populated county is named after Thomas Willis Cobb.

He was born in Columbia County in 1784, and he died 46 years and about 50 miles away at his Greene County home on Feb. 1, 1830. That’s according to his congressional bibliography.

The epitaph on Cobb’s grave tells a lot: “In his domestic circle he was fond and affectionate. As a friend he was ardent and devoted. As a man, honorable, generous, and sincere. As a statesman, independent, and inflexible. As a judge, pure, and incorruptible. Amiable in private, and useful in public life, his death was a deep affliction to his children, his friends, and his country. ‘An honest man's the noblest work of God.’ ”

Cobb served as a U.S. Senator and a judge of the Superior Court of Georgia.

By the way, you didn’t think that Cobb County was connected to Cobb salad or anything, right?

Because, as discussed in Mark McWilliams’ 2012 book “The Story Behind the Dish: Classic American Foods,” the Cobb salad was invented by made-resourceful-by-hunger Robert H. Cobb one night at his Tinseltown mainstay, Hollywood Derby Brown.

But the history of the name of Cobb County also connects to the namesake of Marietta. You could even say the two are married.

That’s because Marietta was named after Cobb’s wife Mary Moore, the Georgia Gazetteer reported in 1837, according to the city’s history.

And now that we’re talking about Thomas Willis Cobb again, it seems he is among a minority of senators in that the Senate Historical Office does not have a photo of him on file, according to the agency. So if you have one of those handy, holler at them: photo_historian@sec.senate.gov. 

Baseball Hall of Famer Ty Cobb died of prostate cancer at age 74. Bain News Service/Wikimedia Commons

There is one of his kin who had lots of photos taken of him. That’d be Ty Cobb.

In the 1993 book he coauthored — “My Life in Baseball: The True Record” — the Detroit Tigers legend and Georgia native described how his father made sure he was “well-versed in Cobbian history” at a young age.

He wrote that the county-namesake Cobb “became a United States Senator in 1824. Cobb County, Georgia, was laid off in 1832 in his honor ... We had everything on our family tree, including dashing Indian fighters, pro- and anti-slavery exponents, and generals.”

That all sounds right for Ty Cobb, who was among the first class inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 along with Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth.

There’s something else about Cobb.

He earned the reputation as being antagonistic and at times racist, with widely reported stories of him being violent toward black people. But Charles Leerhsen, the author of the 2015 biography “Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty,” found little evidence to back those claims up. You can read an excerpt of his book here.

Cobb died on July 17, 1961, of prostate cancer in Atlanta at age 74.

A statue of Cobb that sat outside Turner Field (he never played for the Braves, but he’s Georgia’s most famous son ever to swing a bat) when the decision was made to move the Braves to Cobb County.

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Fans leaving SunTrust Park after the Atlanta Braves defeated the San Diego Padres (5-2) on opening day.
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