Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 896-897
The credit for a large share of the enterprise which helps to make Harrison Township one of the most progressive of any in the county [Winnebago County, IL], is due to the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. He is full of push and energy, and is progressive and advanced in his ideas. Mr. COOK was born in Zora, Oxford County, Canada, 23 Nov 1844, and his father, James COOK, also a native of Canada, who was born in Niagara County, seven miles from the Falls, whose mighty roaring could easily be heard at that distance, on 27 Dec 1812. The grandfather, Daniel COOK, was a native of NY, and a farmer all his life, as was his father before him. The latter was a Revolutionary soldier, and was probably slain in action. Daniel went to Canada when a young man, married there, and raised a family of nine children, six daughters and three sons. He remained there until about 73 years of age, when he and his wife came to the States. Their eldest son, Joel COOK, came to Winnebago County, IL, from Canada, about 1850, and purchased a farm in this township [Harrison]. A few years later he was joined by his aged parents, and with them moved to Boscobel [Crawford County], WI, where they passed away within two months of each other, when about 84 years of age.
James COOK, the father of our subject, was the third son and the third child in order of birth of the nine children born to his parents. He married Sarah HILL, of Canada, daugher of Amos and Sarah (PHILLIPS) HILL, both natives of New Brunswick, where this daughter was born. Mr. and Mrs. COOK purchased a farm in Canada, and resided on this for about 10 years, five of their children being born there. Subsequently they sold this property and moved to Harrison, Winnebago County, IL, purchasing 135 acres on section 20, at $16 an acre [$2,160]. There were good improvements on this place for the times, and the stone house on it at that time is part of Mr. COOK's present dwelling. There was also a frame barn, 30x40 feet, on this farm. Mr. and Mrs. COOK brought with them five children: Samuel (our subject); Daniel, probably a resident of MN; Amos, an invalid for the last three years, resides in Durand [Winnebago County, IL]; Isaac, a farmer near the village of Harrison [Winnebago County, IL]; and Elizabeth, who died in Harrison on 14 Feb 1870, when 16 years of age. Mr. and Mrs. COOK have had two children since coming to IL: Hannah L., who married William S. KING, of Chicago; and Phoebe A., who died on 14 Feb 1878, at the same hour her sister, Elizabeth, passed away eight years before. The father of these children received his final summons on 29 Oct 1884, when nearly 72 years of age, and his wife survived him about six years, dying on the old home place on 17 Jun 1890, when nearly 70 years of age. This most exemplary and worthy couple started in life empty-handed, but they accumulated a comfortable fortune, and passed their last days in ease and plenty.
The subject of this sketch remained under the parental roof until after the death of his parents, and since then he has bought out the other heirs. He has no hobby as a farmer, except in raising mules, and of these he has raised from 6 to 12 each year since 1875. He has not raised as many mules as S. K. BLODGETT, but no man in this part of IL has made this business so much of a success as has Mr. COOK. He not only breeds and raises large, fine mules, but he matches and breaks them. He owns his own jacks, the same costing from $600-$1,500 each, and he has sold several teams for $400. He grows the cereals, corn, oats, wheat, and rye, and bales his hay, sometimes shipping it. All his land is fertile and productive, and near his house he has 20 acres of fine second-growth timber. Mr. COOK rebuilt an added to his barn in 1885, making it 40x57 feet, and other outbuildings, erected before and since, make the place look like a small village from a distance. He grinds his own and neighbors' feed with the [p 897] wind from his windmill which he put in in Jun 1891. His farm is well watered.
Mr. COOK has been a Republican, but has broken ranks, and is now a freeman, politically. His brother Daniel was the first to volunteer in the army, going out when 16 years of age, Aug 1862, in Company B, 22nd WI Infantry, from Beloit [Rock County], WI; next, Amos, at 17 years of age, volunteered from Harrison, Jun 1864, in Company E, 141st IL, and in Feb 1865, our subject went out in Company L, 11th IL Cavalry, under Captain Cole. Samuel was discharged in Jun 1865. His brother Daniel served until Apr 1863, when he was taken prisoner near Franklin, TN, and confined in Libby Prison 30 days. He was then paroled, and later discharged for disability. However, in 1864, he again entered the army for 100 days, and was discharged as Corporal at the end of that time. Amos was in the 100-day service and came home without a wound, although his present infirmity is no doubt the result of exposure and hardship during that time. The subject of this sketch is a member of Nevius Post, No. 1, G. A. R. He is still in the rank and file of single blessedness.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.