Needham Cobb was born in Jones County in 1836. After attending school in Orange County and graduating from U.N.C. Chapel Hill, he served as President of Wayne Institute and Normal College and taught Greek and Latin at Goldsboro Female College. In 1856, he turned to law and received a Master's degree from U.N.C. Chapel Hill, the first student ever to do so. Cobb practiced law in Pitt and Wayne counties for several years, while at the same time teaching himself to write in shorthand. Before the Civil War, he worked as an editor for the Biblical Recorder and attended many meetings of the State Legislature, taking shorthand notes for the press. In 1859, Cobb became a Baptist minister and began preaching and baptizing across the eastern part of the state. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Cobb first served as a chaplain in the 14th North Carolina but soon became General Superintendent of Army Colporteurs, delivering bibles to the troops and assisting in the field hospitals in Virginia and North Carolina. Following the war, Rev. Cobb worked as an editor for the North Carolina Baptist Almanac, served as the president of the Baptist State Convention, and was elected Mayor of Lilesville, N.C. A trustee of Wake Forest College, Cobb retired to Sampson County in 1895, where he would die ten years later. Needham Cobb married twice, first to Martha Cobb and later to Ann Fennell, and fathered fifteen children.