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Cook Families

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Spelling Variations - Cooke, Koch (as far as we know this variation was never used by our Cook ancestors, but one has to always be aware of German census takers and tombstone carvers!)

Links - This site: Beard, Carr, Davis,Mannon , Mills (to come), Orphan Willits Families
Other sites: (Use the back button on your browser to return here) Woodward Web Site: (William Carr)(Cook) (Mills) (Beard); Cook Website with many, many Cook links {Click}

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There were several Cook families in Mercer County in 1860, including a Scotch family (Archibald Cook) in Pope Creek; an Irish family (William Cook) in Viola; and an English family (John Cook) in Richland Grove. An Ebenezer Cook bought 32 parcels of land in various parts of Mercer County in 1852. He is not found in any other records, so may have been a land speculator.

We will concern ourselves here with the Cook families of Eliza & New Boston Townships. These two families were those of Martin Cook & Eli Cook found in the 1860 census in Eliza Township. The progenitors of these families were Quakers who came originally from England in 1713 to Pennsylvania. Descendants went to North Carolina, then to Wayne County, Indiana.

The ancestors were Peter & Eleanor Norman Cooke. Peter Cooke was born 1674 in Tarvin, Chestershire, England. He married Eleanor Norman 10/7/1695 in Chestershire, England. The family immigrated to America in 1713, but Peter Cooke died at sea. Eleanor married again in 1714 to John Fincher in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and the Cooke children were raised in this family. Son Thomas Cook was the ancestor of Martin & Eli Cook. His history can be seen at the Woodward Web Site linked above. We are not yet certain of the connection for Eli Cook. He is shown as 23 years old in the 1860 census (born about 1837), and born in Indiana. He has wife Nancy and a six month old daughter Ella. He could be the son of Eli Cook and Hannah Beard Cook of Wayne County, Indiana. It is more likely that Eli was the son of Martin A. Cook of Mercer County, since he named a child Martin A. Cook.

Eli Cook

Eli Cook's young wife, Nancy Mannon, whom he married 3/20/1859 in Mercer County, died at the age of 19 on 9/15/1860, probably in childbirth, and is buried in New Boston Cemetery. Her marriage record gives her as Mrs. Nancy Jane Mannon. She is buried among Davis families in the cemetery, so was likely Nancy Jane Davis who married Sylvester Mannon, 9/24/1857, in Mercer County. We do not know how Nancy fits into the Davis family. Eli married again to Lydia Elizabeth Willits, daughter of Isaiah and Henrietta Willits, on 2/21/1861. Eli and wife Elizabeth are found in the 1870 census in New Boston Township. Eli is age 33, farmer, farm valued at $3000, born Indiana. Elizabeth is age 35, born Illinois. There are three children, Lila, age 10, born Illinois (no doubt the child censused as Ella in 1860); Sarah, age 8, born Illinois, and Martin A., age 2, born Illinois.

Martin A. Cook

Martin A. Cook purchased the SESE Section 28 in Township 15NR5W on 5/1/1851 for $1.25 per acre according to public land records. When Eliza Township was organized in 1854 Martin Cook was made Commissioner of Highways jointly with D. W. Noble. Martin Cook descended from Thomas Cook & Mary Mills Cook. Thomas and Mary Cook had a son William Cook who married Anna Charles. Martin's mother Annie Cook is living with Martin and family in 1860 in Eliza Township. She is 76 years old and born North Carolina, thus supporting the descendancy.

Martin A. Cook married Mary Ann Carr, daughter of William and Agnes Carr, 3/2/1848 in Mercer County. Mary Ann was living with her parents in 1850, so Martin probably returned briefly to Indiana. In the 1860 census Martin & Mary Ann have children Alice, age 8, Clarinda, age 6, and Agnes, age 3, all born Illinois. Agnes was named for Mary Ann's mother, Agnes Carr. Martin is shown as a farmer, age 45, born Indiana. They are found in Aledo in the 1860 Census: Martin Cook, 55, retired farmer, born In; Mary Ann, 45, born England; Clarinda, 14; Agnes, 12; Levi, 8; Frank, 7; Ed, 5. Daughter Alice married Charles Barry [Berry?] on 10/10/1869 and they are not found in Mercer County in 1870.

If Martin Cook is the father of Eli Cook then there must have been an earlier marriage in Indiana. We find a Martin Cook marriage to Eleanor Heaton on 12/31/1835 in Marion County, Indiana. This would fit with the 1837 birthdate of Eli in Indiana. Marion County was next to Hendricks County, home of many Quaker families. When time permits we will see if we can find mention of Martin Cook marrying out of unity (out of the Quaker faith) among the Quaker records.

Eli Cook served in the Civil War. The Adjutant General's Report shows him serving as Corporal, enlisted August 14, 1862 at Eliza, mustered in September 2, 1862, and discharged January 13, 1863, as disabled. From the history of the 102nd in the report it seems unlikely he saw any action, as they were in winter quarters at Gallatin until May 1863. His disability thus likely stemmed from illness.

Raising Horses

Both Martin and Eli Cook raised blooded horses. At the Fourth Annual Fair of the Mercer County Agricultural Society held September 29 to October 1, 1857, Martin Cook was Superintendent for the Department of Horses. At the 6th Annual Fair on 11/1/1859 Martin Cook took second best for a span of geldings, and best for a suckling horse colt. Eli Cook took best for a suckling mare colt. (See the Agricultural Fair section of the Social Life Social Life pages for information.) Martin Cook was one of the directors of the Eliza Association for the Detection of [Horse] Thieves, founded in 1864.

Some articles from the Aledo Weekly Record tell more of the horses of Martin and Eli Cook.

Aledo Weekly Record, April 16, 1873 Colt Show The undersigned invites all persons desiring to exhibit their colts to bring them to New Boston on Saturday, June 7 at 2:00 P.M. Robin Hood will be represented there, and we invite all others having stock to show to be on hand. Gentlemen, all you that are trying to improve your stock don't fail to see these fine colts. I propose to show you colts that are large and perfect - as nigh as horse can be, with rangey, curbed necks with head and tail in the air and also with perfect limbs the most essential point in the horse. This colt show is gotten up by me for the farmers to ascertain who is doing the best by them, the $25 men or the $12 man. Eli Cook

To Stock Raisers Everybody's horse, Robin Hood, Jr., will be kept the present season at the residence of the undersigned, four miles north of New Boston on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; at Aledo on Thursday, Friday, Saturday each week. He will also be found at the residence of edward Griffith on the Aledo Road 6 miles east of New Boston on Wednesday and Saturday evenings this week.

Robin Hood, Jr. is so well known that it is not deemed necessary to give his pedigree here as he has stock all over the county. His stock is his pedigree. If you want to raise horses with size, style and action suitable for any horse market, patronize Robin Hood. When times were good I charged you $20 to insure, now I charge just $12. Other men that have imported horses charge you $25. Robin Hood is a "Grange" stallion who wishes to "live and let live."

Remember farmers that only such young Robin Hoods wore the blue ribbons at the County Fair and the sire never fails for agricultural purposes. Any one with mare planning on leaving the county forfeits the insurance. All accounts become due January 1874. Persons wanting the full pedigree can have the same by applying to me. Season begins April 1 and ends July 31st. Great care to prevent accidents, not responsible should they occur. M. A. Cook, owner, Eli Cook, groom March 26, 1873

Aledo Weekly Record, June 18, 1873 Colt Show New Boston, June 7, 1873 Our colt show today was as fine an exhibition as could be called together in any section of the country showing the advance in breeding from our selected horses. The colts that we observed were from the celebrated "Bobin Dood" (sic - misprint for Robin Hood) owned by our friend M. A. Cook. For style and size never seen the equal. Elisha Essley, Mich. Puffenbarger, Theodore Murray, Noah Larrance, Felty Borruf, W. F. Suiter, C. A. Ballard, John O'Donnell, C. W. Bras, Jonah Pratt.