Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918
CHARLES HIRAM COOK. Prominent among the men who have long been identified with the oil industry in Kansas as producers and drillers is found Charles Hiram Cook, of Coffeyville. From the time he left school he has followed the oil and gas fields in various parts of the country, and with the great development of the Kansas fields became interested here and has since played a part in the growth and advancement of the industry. Mr. Cook was born at Springboro, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, January 31, 1863, and is a son of Francis Henry and Emily (Fisher) Cook.
The Cook family originating in England, was transferred to America during Colonial days, when the progenitor settled in Pennsylvania. In that state was born the great-grandfather of Charles Hiram Cook, who followed farming all his life and there passed away. He was the head of a large family, and among his children was George R. Cook, the grandfather of Charles H., born in 1809, at Springboro. He was reared as farmer and followed that vocation for a number of years, but also followed other lines of industry, his abilities and energies carrying him into railroad grading contracting and sawmilling. He was originally a whig and later a republican, and was a very active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. As agriculturist, business man and citizen he won and held the respect of those with whom he was associated, and in his death, which occurred in 1885, Springboro lost one of its best men. Mr Cook married Miss Maria Soper, who was born in 1813, in Pennsylvania and died at Springboro, July 4, 1876, and they were the parents of the following children: Francis Henry; Naomi, deceased, married J. B. Bradley, also deceased, came to Kansas in the spring of 1870 and located near Topeka, but after perhaps two years returned to Pennsylvania, having been discouraged by the grasshopper plague in 1871, Mr. Bradley then resuming his operations as a real estate dealer and oil producer; William R., deceased, who also came to Kansas in time to be here during the grasshopper year, then returning to the East and locating at Bolivar, New York, where he was cashier in a gas company's office and also an operator in oil, and where his death occurred; Aris, living at Springboro, Pennsylvania, the widow of the late William Sweeney, who was a carpenter and builder; Porter S., who came to Topeka, Kansas, in 1870, engaged in the livery and real estate business and served as sheriff of Shawnee County, and now a resident of Sulphur Springs, Arkansas; Hiram, whose death occurred in 1862, when overcome by gas from an oil well where he was working in Canada; Mary, deceased, who married Arthur Fisher, who came to Kansas in 1870 and were routed by the grasshoppers, then returning to the East. Mr. Fisher now being manager of a gas company at Cuba, New York; and George W., a Kansas pioneer of 1872, who is a farmer and has an undertaking establishment at Dover, Kansas.
Francis Henry Cook was born November 14, 1832, in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, and was there reared and educated. He was brought up on the farm, but in his father's other enterprise conceived a liking for business, and finally entered merchandising as the proprietor of his own establishment. Mr. Cook was married in his native county, and in 1870 removed to Venango, Pennsylvania, there also engaging in mercantile pursuits. Subsequently, for four years, he followed farming in Venango County, from whence he went, in 1881, to Bradford, Pennsylvania, and Bolivar, New York, at which points he had charge of oil property. In 1886 Mr. Cook took his family to Michigan, buying a farm in Victory Township, Mason County, just outside of the City of Ludington. This farm he cultivated until 1905, and in that year retired and moved to Puyallup, not far from Seattle, Washington, where he now lives in quiet and comfort, enjoying the pleasures which are his by right of his long years of faithful labor. As a man of honor and sterling traits of character, Mr. Cook is highly esteemed by those who have come into contact with him, and he has always been a good citizen. A republican in his political affiliation, while living in Pennsylvania and later in Michigan, he served as a justice of the peace. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and in his younger days took an active part in church work and for some years served as superintendent of the Sunday School. During the Civil war, at the time General Lee was threatening Philadelphia, Mr. Cook volunteered for the Union army and went to Harrisburg, but was not called upon for service. He married Miss Emily Fisher, who was born in 1843, at Silver Creek, New York, and they became the parents of the following children: Clara, who is deceased; Charles Hiram, of this notice; Hattie, who is deceased; Alice and Aris, who both died of diphtheria; and Mary, who married Mr. Tripp and now makes her home with her parents.
Charles H. Cook attended the public schools of Springboro and Shamburg, Pennsylvania, and Chamberlain Institute, at Rudolph, New York. When he graduated from that institution he at once became identified with the oil and gas business, and followed the fields in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, until 1912, on July 1 of which year he came to Coffeyville, Kansas. Here he has since carried on operations of an extensive character, both in the line of drilling and operating, and has become one of the well known figures in this field. He likewise has an interest in a lease at Wann, Oklahoma. In politics Mr. Cook is a republican. He resides at No. 101 West First Street, and has numerous friends in that locality, as he has also in business circles.
In 1887, at Lima, Ohio, Mr. Cook was married to Miss Maude I. Best daughter of Mr. and Mrs. P. W. Best, the latter of whom is deceased, while the former is a resident of Ridgeway, Pennsylvania. To them have been born the following children: Myrtle, a graduate of Lima High School, and a graduate nurse of the Beaver County General Hospital, Rochester, Pennsylvania, and residing at home with her parents; Raymond L., an oil well driller, who also lives with his parents; Jessie, who died at Coffeyville, at the age of twenty years; and Marie, a graduate of the Coffeyville High School, who attended the Kansas State Normal School at Emporia for two years and is now a teacher in the high school.
Transcribed from volume 4, page 2013 of A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; originally transcribed by students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, March, 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.
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