From the notes of HIKARU KITABAYASHI, noted Cotton genealogist:
The will of Thomas Cotten of Surry County; dated 26 February 1718/9 and proved 18 March 1718/9, named his wife Mary as executrix and left her his plantation; at her decease this land and other property was to pass to his "cousin" Thomas Cotten, son of Walter Cotton and Walter's wife Elizabeth [Surry Co. Wills & Deeds 7:168]. In this period "cousin" was often used for "nephew" and, together with the original joint patent, the will provides evidence that Walter and Thomas Cotten/Cotton were brothers. This fact may well be helpful in tracing the parents of Walter Cotten in England.
The will of the widow Mary Cotten, dated 7 March 1728/9 and proved 21 May 1729 [Surry Co.Wills & Deeds 7:92S] names her "son" Thomas Cotten executor and bestows the residue of her estate upon her "son" Thomas Cotten and "daughter" Jane Cotten. Legacies are also left to a grandson, David Hide, and a granddaughter Mary Cotten. Now we remember that Thomas Cotten who died in March 1718/9 has no children surviving him. The only way to interpret this instrument is that the widow Mary Cotten had formerly
been married to a Hide and by him had at least one son and a daughter Jane who married her husband's "cousin" [nephew] and heir Thomas Cotten. Upon a further search, your thought that the first husband was one Richard Hide is confirmed. On 2 March 1701/2 Richard Hide and his wife Mary, the latter signing by mark, sold for 6500 lbs tobacco to William Cock 150 acres which had descended to Richard from his father Richard Hide, deceased [Surry Co. Wills & Deeds 5:239, ackn. and rec. 3 March 1701/2]. The will of Richard Hide, dated 13 October 1710 and proved 25 February 1710/1 [id. 6:40], appoints his wife Mary as executrix and mentions his son Richard and daughter Jean Hide among others; the will of his son Richard Hide, dated2 May 1719 and proved 17 June 1719, with Mary Cotten a witness [id. 7:1911, names as eldest sonand heir David Hide who is named as a grandson in the will of Mary Cotten in March 1728/9. Finally, the widow Mary Hide, again signing by mark, gave two cows to each daughter, including Jane Hide, and the rest of her personal estate to her son David Hide, on 16 March 1710/1 [id. 80:47, and rec. 20 March 1710/1], probably in preparation for her second marriage to the widower Thomas Cotten. So we have here the not unusual situation where a daughter by a first marriage marries the nephew and heir of the mother's second husband. Often it is a son instead of a nephew, but, as we know, Thomas Cotten had no surviving sons if he ever had any in the first place. The actual date of the marriage of the younger Thomas Cotten to Jane Hide is not known. The records of Albemarle Parish [p. 166] show that Jane died of cancer 2 December 1768, age not reported. The date of her husband's death is not reported, but his will, dated 26 June 1777, was proved 18 February 1779 in Sussex County Court, Sussex County having been split from Surry County in 1752 [Sussex Co. Wills C:318], and in this will one of his sons, Richard Cotton, was given a Negro boy named Gabriel. The will signed by mark.
The surname of the wife of Richard Cotton may have been Weaver, because on 13 July 1776 Richard Cotton was named as a trustee in a marriage settlement between Edward (X) Weaver and the widow Jane (X) Scoggin to hold 570 to pay to Jane three months after Edward's death [Sussex Co. Deeds E:377, ackn. by two witnesses 18 July 1776, by a third witness 20 February 1777 and recorded]. This remains to be investigated.