Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site

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The following history of the COOK FAMILY is by Herman Cook born about 1875, written about 1920. It gives a history of this Cook family from before the revolution, then more than 100 years at Colchester. John Cook settled late 1770s, after being wounded 1778 at Battle of Monmouth NJ. I have found some stated facts to probably be in error *(see example below). Yet, there's a good bit of genealogy in it, and a sense of times past as told and re-told in this family. --Kaye Powell, January 23, 2004


This is the history of the Cook family as it was handed down through the years.

It is my firm belief that in the American family lies the security and preservation of our American way of life. Our government has many shortcomings but it is still the best one on Earth. There are those within it, many of them in high places who would, for personal power, or greed of gain, destroy it. As long as we can preserve the American family, and ways of straight thinking, the balance of power will be preserved for the benefit of future generations. --Herman A. Cook

5th Generation of this family in America

The verification of the military facts can be found in reference book N.Y. in the Revolution at the Rome library and in the records of the Sons of the American Revolution which I have in the iron box with deeds, etc. ---

John, Joseph and Robert Cook were born in Colchester, England about 1740. Together they enlisted in the Black Watch, a Scottish regiment, then being recruited to full strength for duty in America against the French in early colonial wars. The commander of the regiment was Col. Abercrombie and under him was Major Campbell. They sailed across the Atlantic and landed somewhere in Canada where the regt. joined others for the campaign against the French forts along Lake Champlain. The army followed the Richleau Valley to the waters of Lake Champlain and traveled by boat to the vicinity of Fort Ticonderoga, where they laid seige to this French fortress then under command of the French General Montealm. They tried to take the fort by assault, but Montealm had surrounded its walls by abatis made of sharpened tree tops so thick it was impossible to get to its walls for scaling. Many of the majors of the Scottish Kilts were killed and hung up on these obstructions, among which was Major Campbell (a monument to his memory now stands at Ticonderoga). The British army defeated and withdrew.

The Cook boys were fortunate in surviving and remained in the army until the close of the French and Indian War, when they went to live with some cousins who had proceeded them to America, and settled at Colchester, Conn. There they became interested in cutting pine trees growing along the Conn. River for ship masts and spars. This was done along all the New England rivers during the early days. They were then floated down the rivers to the ship-yards along the coast. The pine trees were getting scarce along the Conn. and many of them were marked by the British for use in the British Navy. So they organized a party of eight young men for an exploration trip into New York State and the valley of the Delaware River for fresh fields of endeavor. They crossed the Hudson River at Kingston on a Dutch ferry boat and went up the Esopus Valley over Pine Hill and down into the Delaware Valley. There they met a band of hostile Indians and were driven out. However, on the next trip, they descended into the Delaware Valley at an Indian village near were Deposit now stands. There was an Indian council field and an Indian village. Here they made friends with the red men and established a trading post and built the first house, which stood near the old wooden bridge. After many trips to Conn. for goods, this post became the headquarters for the Indians and settlers for miles around, and was called Cookosie, or the Indian pronounciation for Cook's house. Here they found the bank of the Delaware lined with many tall pine trees, a virgin forest. The Dutch called this section the "PinePack of the Mamakating". Each spring in the early freshets, they floated rafts of masts and spars down the river to the Philadelphia ship-yards, where there was a good market for these fine masts. They built many small cabins, or block houses, as a refuge from the Indian raids, which frequently occurred in those days. One of them was built on Dreamer's Island, at the mouth of Callicoon Creek. Here they could stand off attackers from the bands of rovering Indians coming down from the North, Canada and Unadilla. This was on the main Indian trail from Canada, down to the settlement on the Neversink, and the Wyoming in Pennsylvania. On the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Robert Cook joined Washington's Army as a lieutenant, and was in the Battle of Long Island. On the long retreat from the ill-fated battle, the army crossed into New Jersey and entered the long campaign in that state against the British Army. In the spring of 1777 John Cook and John Knight floated their raft of masts down to Philadelphia and on the return trip, which was made mostly on foot, they visited Washington's Army and Lieut. Robert Cook somewhere in New Jersey. There they met General Washington, and General Lafayette lately arrived from France with a shipload of goods for the Continental Army.

Both Cook and Knight were over six feet tall, and having had military experience were presuaded by General Lafayette to join the new regiment, being formed by Baron VonSteuben, and to be called Washington's Guard, the first regt. of the Continental line. He gave them both new uniforms of buff and blue, with checkered facings on the coat. There were 120 men enlisted for this regiment and the colonel was Goose VanShaik of Albany, New York. Every man was over six feet tall and sworn to protect the commander-in-chief at all hazards. The special reason for this guard was the hostility against Washington by a group of officers under Colonel Conway and called in history the "Conway Cabal". This small group of officers tried to wrest the command away from Washington and they thought at one time there was a plot to assassinate him.

That summer they fought the British through New Jersey, the greatest battle being fought at Brandywine. Then the Continental Army began its retreat northward through New Jersey, towards winter quarters, which had been selected at Valley Forge. They fought rear guard actions all the way north at Whilmarsh, Paola, and other places.

When near Philadelphia the British Army veered off and went into winter quarters in that city. The Continental Army continued on and on bleak Nov. day reached Valley Forge. It was a valley along a creek where the hills arose high above the little stream. Here was a small iron works from which it took its name. They built huts and dug in for the terrible winter of 1777-78. Food was scarse and John Cook and Lieut. Robert Cook went up the Delaware on the ice to their homes to return in the spring. They returned in April and were drilled in the use of the bayonet by VonSteuben. The bayonets were hammered out of old scythe backs down in the old forge by the creek.

In June, they were ready to take the field again, as the British were on the march.

They marched out of Valley Forge in June a newly assembled and well drilled army. VonSteuben said to Gen. Washington as they crossed the bridge over the creek at the foot of the hill "Gen. you now have an army". They met the British at Monmouth and a battle ensued which was a draw, neither side winning. During the battle Gen. Lee, who was in command of the front line, ordered a retreat. (This was not Light Horse Harry Lee) but an officer suspected of being pro-British. The troops were streaming back in disorder when Washington rode out on the field and met them at a crossroad. He upbraided Lee and it was said swore at him something hitherto unknown. A Hessian regt. was following up the retreating Americans, Washington sent an aide for his guard regt. and they came out of the woods on the run. The Hessian regt. fired one volley, turned, and ran. John Cook and John Knight were both wounded by this volley. They lay on the field all night and in the early morning a young girl and her father came out with water and took Cook and Knight with several others to their large stone house near the battlefield. They proved to be a French Huguenot family who had been driven out of France in the early wars and had settled in New Jersey. The young woman had seen service as a nurse with ???? army and her name was Dolla Parker. She nursed John Cook back to health and afterward married him and came back with him to his house on the Delaware River at Deposit. They then moved up the east branch of the Delaware to where the Indians had cleared a corn field. They with two families named Gee built log cabins and surrounded them with a stockade as protection against the Indian raiders. These cabins were burned twice by Indian raiding parties from the north. The families both times fleeing over land 70 miles to the strong fort at Kingston. The men going into the militia regts. until the alarm was over. Each summer the settlers kept a scout between the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers to warn them of any parties of Indians on their way south and gave them time to reach the fort at Kingston.

In 1789, Delaware County was formed from a part of Ulster County and the Cook family was instrumental in naming the township in which they lived, Colchester, after the English town from which they came. In the 1780s they removed from Pepacton to another Indian clearing or corn field on the Beaverkill River about 15 miles from its junction with the Delaware, now called Cooks Falls. The country was densely forested with heavy stands of hemlock and hardwood trees. The forest full of game and the streams teaming with fish, here they continued their business of lumbering and floating rafts down the river. They built several sawmills, the remains of which are still plain to be seen in the waters of the Beaverkill. There is still to be seen some of the burnt stone from the chimney of their first log house embedded in the roots of a large elm tree growing where the house stood. In removing from Pepacton, John Cook and his wife floated down the east branch of the Delaware in an Indian canoe and poled up the Beaverkill to the site of the new home while the two sons drove the cattle and horses over the mountains. Here came Lieut. Robert Cook with a large family and settled nearby, and in later years there were 13 families of Cooks living at Cook's Falls. Lieut. Robert Cook was drowned while the river was at flood from an overturned canoe. His marker is in the Cook's Falls Cemetary.

In 1812, Joseph Cook took the place of his brother Daniel Cook in the army. Daniel having a large family of children and spent one year at Sackett's Harbor. This army came up the Hudson River and up the Mohawk River in boats to Rome, then over the old Oswego Road, to Oswego. The captain of their company being Putnam Farrington of Delta, New York. Here he became a friend of Stephen Fisher of Chaumont who joined their company at Sackett's Harbor and at the close of the war, they returned to New York City where they were mustered out. Fisher went home with Joseph Cook, became acquainted with a sister of Cook's and married her. They purchased a horse and sleigh and drove to Chaumont where they resided for many years, some of their familiy moving to Wisconsin.

John Cook died in 1833 while on a visit to his daughter near Durnsville and is buried there, although his Revolutionary War marker is in the old cemetary at Cook's Falls. On the death of Joseph Cook his son Halsey Cook inherited the old farm and on his death Amasa Parker Cook inherited the property and lived there until 1928. At the time of his death, he was leading man of the community, and served as justice of the peace for thirty years, an adviser for the people of the community. He made 14 trips to Philadelphia with rafts of lumber on the spring freshets and employed a number of men in his lumbering operations. He was a great reader and his library contained most of the books of that day. Files of the New York Tribune for many years back were stored in the old farm house. Four sons were left to carry out the family, Herman, George, Edmond, and Walter. The wife and mother was Rebecca Davidson, daughter of a Scotch family who came to America with others including a family of Campbells from the north of Scotland.

The first grandmother, Dolla Parker Cook, was for many years the only doctor in all the vicinity. She rode a saddle horse over the rough mountain trails to attend the sick and injured of many early settlers. Her brother Amasa J. Parker became a noted lawyer and judge of the Supreme Court. The last Amasa J. Parker died in Albany one year ago, a lawyer and a National Guard officer. On one of her trips over the rough mountain trail to Kingston for supplies, she was riding a young horse and tied him beside her campfire. Wolves came and frightened the horse, so he broke loose, and the next morning she found where they had pulled him down and eaten him. She spent the remainder of the night in a tree sitting on her saddle, walking into Kingston the next day. The double log house built by John Cook was an inn as were most of the houses in the early days, and it was called the Beaverkill House. It contained a large fireplace and the back log was drawn in by a horse and the fire built against it. The cooking was done there. Cranes for iron kettles and a Dutch oven were the utensils most used. Here many early hunters and fishermen were entertained before the railroads were built. The O&W Ry or Midland was built in 1846 by Irishmen with dump carts and mules for grading. This village was 120 miles from New York City and after the railroad was built it became a summer vacation spot for many New York and Brooklyn families. The Beaverkill House was of course rebuilt and modernized and some of these families came each summer for 25 or 30 years. The old house was burned in the 1920s and was never rebuilt.

Many famous people visited the old house through the early years. John and Robert Cook signed the Articles of Confederation, the forerunner of the Constitution.

As near as I can tell Joseph Cook, one of the three brothers, went back to Connecticut and descendants of his family are now residing there. Some of them came up the Mohawk Valley to Canajoharie and some of the Cook names on the Oriskany Monument came from this branch of the family. Sometime after the Revolutionary War John Cook and his wife visited the Connecticut relatives and taught them the dances they learned from the French officers in the Revolutionary army.

Rebecca Davidson Cook, wife of Amasa P. Cook, was the daughter of William Davidson, whose father came to America from Northern Scotland in the early 1800s. With several families of Campbells they settled on Campbell Mtn. with a family of seven sons and one daughter. Two sons Harvey and Henry became lawyers. Harvey being district attorney of Delaware County for a number of years. William Davidson married Emily VanDerBogar, daughter of a Hudson River Dutch family. There were five children, all now dead. Rebecca Davidson Cook died in 1898, at the age of 45. William Davidson remained a farmer all his life and was a great hunter and expert rifle shot. He said they would not let him shoot at the turkey shoot, then popular in the country, because of his expertness. He died at the age of 86, just one month after the death of his wife Emily. There are several cousins still residing in that section of the country.

Amasa Parker Cook, my father, was a namesake and cousin of the distinguished judge and lawyer, Amasa J. Parker. The last one of this name died in Albany about 3 years ago (a National Guard officer and lawyer). Of my mother's uncles, there were two lawyers, Henry Davidson of Rockland, New York, and Harvey Davidson of Delta, New York, who served Delaware County as district attorney for several years. He lived in a large white, colonial house on the main street of Delta [Delhi?]. I remember visiting him with my aunt and sliding off the hair cloth furniture in the old fashioned parlor. Uncle Harvey was very dignified and wore the traditional high ???? hat and Prince Albert coat of the period.

Herman A. Cook, born at Cook's Falls, New York, December 22, 1876, son of Amasa Parker Cook and Rebecca Davidson Cook, on a farm which had been in the family home for 150 years. Great-grandson of John Cook, who was a member of Washington's personal life guards, fought in the battles of Germantown and Brandywine, spent the winter at Valley Forge, and in the next spring was wounded in the Battle of Monmouth, New York. Herman A. Cook was graduated at Walton High School in 1895 and at Eastman Business College, Poughkeepsie, New York in 1898. Spent twelve years as a telegraph operator with the Nye Ry Co., was stationed in Rome, New York for 7 years. For 5 years he conducted a store in the ????? block in Rome.

In 1912, he ran for mayor on the Progressive ticket, not with the hope of being elected, but in support of Theodore Roosevelt, who did so much to make the citizens of this country realize their responsibilities. In 1907, he married Jeani Thalman and has two sons, Lawrence ?. Cook of Rome and Robert H. Cook of New York City. He served as commander of the Rome Commandery No.45/?? in 1907 and was recorded of the Masonic body for 20 years. He also served as Secretary of Rome Fish and Game ???? Assn. for 23 years. In later years he conducted the Thalman Apts. at 420 North Washington Street.

*Example: Marriage of Sarah "Sally" Cook to Stephen Fisher - the history states they met and married well after the War of 1812-14. From what I've researched they actually married 1799 probably at Colchester; eldest child born 1800. By 1810 census they were already settled with a young family at Jefferson County NY. It also indicates that John Cook's wife Dorothy "Dolly" Parker is sister to the elder Amasa Parker, but I don't think so unless he's a much younger half-sibling. --Kaye Powell, January 23, 2004

Additional Notes from Russ Cook at
My name is Russell Thalman Cook. I am the grandson to Lawrence T. Cook, son of Herman A. Cook and great great grandson to John Cook who is mentioned in Kaye Powell's article on the Cook Family. Some of the information in her article comes from a letter written by Herman A. Cook (which my brother Korey Cook may have the original).

Lawrence Thalman Cook was married to Lillian Steele Cook. They lived in Rome, New York. Lawrence was an attorney in Rome until his death. He had three children, Frank Steele Cook (my father), Jonathan Kent Cook and Lacey Cook Deane.

My father, Frank Steele Cook still resides in Rome and is also an attorney. He and my grandfather practised together until my grandfather's retirement. My father ran for Family Court Judge for Oneida County and is still serving on the bench in a limited role. My father married Sally L. Donahue of Ilian, NY. They have three children, Russell Thalman Cook, Scott Clifford Cook and Korey Steele Cook. Both of my brothers currently reside in Rome, NY. I, however, moved to Nashville, Tennessee after law school and am currently practicing in my own firm. My brother Scott married Joann LoVoglio and has four children, Katelyn, Natalle, Emily and Abigail. My brother, Korey, is not married and has no children.

I married Elizabeth Anne Tannehill of Scotsboro, Alabama and have two children, Dylan Steele Cook and Evonne Elizabeth Cook.

My grandfather, Lawrence, and my grandmother, Lillian, are deceased. I am not sure of the dates of death.

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