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Back row-from the left: Nannie M. Osborn Hogan, Nannie J. Osborn, and Surgeon General George W. Tower. Front row-from the left: Eleanor Cook, Ed Cook, Maria Cook Tower.

Ed. T. Cook, early pioneer rancher

Mr.Cook was from Chillicothe, Ohio. He enlisted during the Civil War and served in the 89th Infantry, Ohio Volunteers in Company D. The date of enlistment was 08-13-1826. He was taken ill with Typhoid fever and was discharged 10-03-1863 as a Corp.

He moved to Nebraska thinking that his health would improve. His pension papers state that he left Ohio for Nebraska in March of 1867. It is not known just where he settled first. However a niece in a letter of 02-08-1960 states the following: "When he first went out to Nebraska, there were many Indians and his ranch was not far from an Indian Agency. One day, a cowboy working for him came rushing to tell him that the Indians had suddenly appeared in force and had driven off some of his horses. He called for volunteers to go with him to get the horses back, but no one offered to go with him, except a negro named "Amos", whom he had brought out with him from Ohio. They went to the Agency, and found that the soldiers ordinarily stationed there had just been sent away and the new contingent had not yet arrived. The Agent was alone and much worried, as the Indians were on a rampage. He opened the heavy gate to the stockade and the two men entered."

Eleanor Towar McCallum continued the story by saying "The building had long, very narrow windows on the ground floor. They were just wide enough to push the end of a gun through in firing at possible attackers, but not nearly wide enough so that an Indian could crawl through. Through these windows they watched the Indians who soon began to assemble in large numbers... They lit fires and danced around them, brandishing tomahawks and singing. They had gotten whiskey some where."

"The Agent and my uncle, Mr. Ed Cook, watched them all night and it was not until daybreak that the last Indian succumbed to the whiskey and pitched over on the ground. The Agent than opened the gate and Uncle Ed and Amos stepped carefully over the bodies of the sleeping Indians near the gate, and threaded their way to the river nearby. Here were a lot of horses and Uncle Ed identified his by the brand and drove them home."

Nannie Hogan said that Mr. Cook came in 1877 and squatted on a claim. The cattle were owned by a syndicate, but Mr. Cook was the manager of the ranch. The winter of 1880-81 was very severe and Cook, had about 3,000 head of Texas cattle. He sold about 1,000 or 1,500, but there were only 800 left in the spring. Mrs. Hogan said the Cook ranch had a high pole at the ranch where a lantern was pulled up every night by a rope to show travelers the way. She also mentions that "Amos" was one of the Cook cowboys. Ed T. Cook was born 04-29-1845 in Ross County, Ohio. He was named after his grandfather Edward Tiffin who came from Virginia to the Ohio country before 1800 with the party who founded Chillicothe, which became the first capitol of Ohio in 1803. Edward Tiffin was the first governor. Mr. Cook's sister, Maria Web Cook, was named for an aunt, the mother of Lucy Webb, who married Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States. Maria Cook was married to George Towar.

The Western News of Jan. 25, 1884 reports that "Ed T. Cook, hale, hearty and blooming, is back to his first love, Ainsworth. He reports Elba, the new town on the boom." The Cook ad in the 05-02-1884 issue of this same newspaper carries an ad which states that Ed T. Cook's stock ranch was on the Calamus.

During the summer of 1885 two sisters of Ed T. Cook were visiting in Ainsworth and stayed with Mrs. Nannie Osborne. They were Misses Theo and Lucy Cook, from Chillicothe, Ohio.

It appears that Mr. Cook moved west to the Chadron and Rushville areas in 1885. The Ainsworth Journal in he issue of 04-01-1886 mentions the following: "Ed T. Cook has donated to the Congregational church in Hay Springs the first choice of lots in his new addition to that town." Other items indicate he moved to Chadron and seemed to follow the railroad as it went west.

In August of 1886 "Amos, the colored cowboy, passed through Ainsworth. See the story on Amos listed elsewhere on this main Brown county page.

In March of 1889 it was reported that Ed T. Cook was up from his Loup farm and visited among his many friends. Then in Jan. 1894 he was reported doing business in Ainsworth.

Mr. Cook's pension papers state he returned to Ohio in the spring of 1897. A widowed sister was living in the Chillicothe area at that time. He died there 11-17-1910. He never married.

The Cook and Tower ranch was located west of Ainsworth on Bone Creek. Ed Cook was also a brand inspector, appointed 08-09-1883. One of the backers in the Cook-Tower ranch may have been Dr. George Towar. He was married to Maria Webb Cook on November 6,1878 at Chillicothe, Ohio. Dr. Towar was stationed at Fort Hartsuff when he met Ed T.Cook at his ranch, not to far away. According to Mrs. McCallum, Buffalo Bill at this time was a scout for Dr. Towar's regiment and both her father and Uncle Ed were good friends of Buffalo Bill. The 1880 Nebraska census for Valley County, Calamus Precinct for the Military Post of Ft. Hartsuff, under the date of June 30th, lists George W. Towar, age 44, a Surgeon U.S. Army and his wife Maria C. age 27, and a daughter Eleanor and a sister in law, Eleanor F. Cook. He was assigned to duty on 07-22-1879 and remained on duty until Fort Hartsuff was abandoned on 04-23-1881 when he moved to Detroit, Michigan where he died, 5-31-1913.

This story was compiled and written by Brown County Historian, Marilyn A. Calver and is posted here on the Brown County website with her permission.