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Josie M. Cook

Oconto County Reporter 1940.
 Driving in the Oconto Historical Parade.

Oconto County Times-Herald
Date of this article is unknown:
Researched, transcribed and contributed by: Richard La Brosse

Oconto—One of the best known ladies in Oconto County is our genial county clerk, Josie M. Cook.  There are few people that can boast as many friends as this lady and we feel proud to feature her in this week’s issue of the Oconto County Times-Herald.  We interviewed Josie on St. Patrick’s Day and we learned with a minimum of coaxing that the middle initial stands for Murphy.  Naturally she was wearing appropriate colors for such an important event.  

Josie’s parents, the Wm. Murphys were pioneer famers that settled on a farm 4 miles west of the city of Oconto on what is now state highway 22.  This is in the vicinity of the Victory School.  At the time the woods ran right up to the pump on the farm.  The children used to be kept in line by telling them that “Old Injun Looie on the pump handle would get them” if they didn’t behave themselves.  A situation that stands out in her youth is the extreme mud in the spring of the year.  She also remembers that during election the polls were open so that voters could vote as early as six in the morning.  

Mrs. Cook who was married to Charles Cook has three children, Wm. Cook and Harlan Cook, Oconto; and Mrs. Mary Eileen Terp of Green Bay, Josie who taught school for 22 years had all three of the children graduate from the eighth grade under her teaching.  Schools where she taught were the Victory School, and schools in the towns of Chase, Breed and Stiles.  She was teaching in the Breed school when she was elected County Clerk in 1933.  

"Josie" or "Jo", as she is addressed by many, attended Oshkosh State Teachers College and Milwaukee State Teachers College when she was teaching.  She is very active in civis affairs and is a member of many organizatrions in Oconto including the Co. Historical Society of which she was secretary for 4 years.  Josie, who was defeated twice before she made it in 1933 for the county clerk’s post, has always been very interested in government affairs.  Even when she was very young she would read the county board proceedings and other reports of governmental bodies.  When Josie made a successful run in 1933 she was a Democrat but when Roosevelt had his troubles with the Supreme Court in 1937 she switched her allegiance to the Republican party and since that time has always been with the GOP.  In 1938 she ran on all three tickets and was a winner.  She has always been a top vote getter for the party.  You can always find her at any Republican rally in the county and she particularly likes to attend the party conventions.  She is a great advocate of getting 100 % of the vote out.  

Going back to her school teaching background Josie is very pleased with the progress made in education.  She feels sorry for the many who don’t avail themselves of the many opportunities that are afforded young people today.  Friendly and big-hearted, our county clerk is an institution in our court house.  She likes her job because she likes people.  She likes them to do their job well and she thinks everyone should be a good citizen.  But regardless of who you are, you can be sure of friendly treatment from her.  That is why everyone likes Oconto County’s Josie Cook!