Biographies


Transcribed by G McCall from:

A HISTORY OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA

By Luther B. Hill, A. B., With the Assistance of Local Authorities, Volume II, Illustrated, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago / New York, 1909, Page 317-319, Illustration

Hon. Charles Alston Cook, now the senior member of the law firm of Cook & deGraffenried of Muskogee, Okla., removed from Warrenton, North Carolina, his native town, on the 4th day of July, 1903, and arrived in Muskogee on the 8th day of July, accompanied by his wife and five children and is still living in Muskogee. He was born in Warrenton, North Carolina, October 7, 1848, the only surviving son of Rev. Charles Marshall Cook and Havana Lenoir (Alston) Book. There were only two children; and Alfred Lenoir Cook died when about three or four years old, leaving Charles Alston the only child. Each and every one of his ancestors on this side of the Atlantic Ocean is buried in Southeastern Virginia or in the northeastern part of North Carolina within one hundred miles of Warrenton, his birthplace. Among his ancestors, who began to settle on this continent during the latter part of 1600 and early in 1700, are the Alstons, Macons, Joneses, Marshalls, Hawkins, Norwoods, Lenoirs, Branches, Athertons, Sugans, Edwards and Dawsons. He followed the example of his ancestors by adhering close to the place of his and their nativity until he reached the age of fifty-four years when he moved west of the Mississippi to the Indian Territory where he now resides. He and his father were born in the same room in the town of Warrenton. Judge Cook is the only one of the Cook name of his family upon this side of the Atlantic to perpetuate the name of his Cook ancestors. His grandfather, Benjamin E. Cook, was born upon the Appomatox River near Petersburg, Virginia, and attended school in the old Blanford church. He was the only son of his father, Benjamin, who was also an only son, and who settled upon the Appomatox river in Virginia early in 1700. He was an Englishman and so far as is known was accompanied by no other member of his family of that name to this country.

Judge Cook of this sketch was prepared for college in Warren, his native county, by Prof. John Graham and entered the University of North Carolina in July, 1866. There he remained two years passing through the freshman and sophomore classes. In September, 1868, he went to Princeton University and there entered the junior class and remained two years, graduating in the class of 1870 with the degree of A. B.; and afterwards the degree of A. M. was conferred upon him by his alma mater and also by the University of North Carolina. After returning home he studied law in his native town under his kinsman, Hon. William Eaton. On October 11, 1871, Judge Cook married Miss Marina Williams Jones of the same county in which he was born and raised. On January 2, 1872, he was licensed to practice law by the supreme court of North Carolina and in 1878, was elected solicitor of the county court and served in that capacity two years. In 1884 he was nominated to the office of attorney-general of North Carolina by the Republican party, but was defeated with his party. He was elected state senator from the counties of Warren and Vance in 1886 and served in that capacity for two years and in 1889 was appointed United States district attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina by President Harrison and served his term of four years going out with Mr. Harrison’s administration. In 1894 being again elected to the state senate from the counties of Warren and Vance, Judge Cook served in that capacity for two years and in 1896 was elected to the House of Representatives and there served two years. During his term of service as member of the Senate and House of Representatives he was the chairman of the judiciary committee in the Senate and afterwards the chairman of the judiciary committee in the House of Representatives, chairman of the committee on privilege and elections, chairman of the committee on railroad leases, etc. He was, in 1889, elected trustee of the University of North Carolina and was continuously re-elected by the legislature until 1901, at which time he resigned, having been appointed justice of the supreme court.

Besides the positions above referred to he was also appointed by Governor Russell, special counsel for the state to argue cases in the United States supreme court; was a director on behalf of the state of the North Carolina Railroad Co., and at one time attorney for said North Carolina Railroad Co. On the 7th day of January, 1901, he was appointed associate justice of the supreme court of North Carolina by Governor Daniel L. Russell and served until the expiration of his term, the first day of January, 1903. His record as a jurist is found in the 128th, 129th, 130th and 131st volumes of the North Carolina Supreme Court Reports and of which he is justly proud. Judge Cook took considerable interest in military affairs and assisted, while in the senate in 1889 in organizing the State Guard of North Carolina. Soon after its organization he joined the same as a private and served as such four years. While in camp on dress parade in the front fours of his company and at “attention to orders” he heard read by the regimental officer, Order No. -- “Charles Alston Cook, Private, Company F, First Regiment is appointed inspector of Small Arms Practice with the rank of captain of the First Regiment.” As such he served a year or two and was afterward appointed by Governor Russell inspector of Small Arms Practice of the entire State Guard with the rank of colonel. Upon his promotion to the supreme court bench, at his request, he was placed upon the list of retired officers, with the rank of colonel, and afterwards his rank was raised by the legislature of North Carolina to that of brigadier general.

He has, ever since he moved to Muskogee in July, 1903, devoted his attention exclusively to his profession. But during the summer of 1908, he consented to accept the nomination of his, the Republican party, for the office of electoral representative in the House of Representatives of Oklahoma from the counties of Muskogee and Haskell upon the representation that the Democratic majority against him was seven hundred and fifty, and that it would be impossible for him to be elected. With this assurance he undertook the candidacy and entered the race and canvassed every precinct in the largely Democratic county of Haskell and many of the precincts in his own county of Muskogee. However, the result was that he was elected over his Democratic opponent by a majority of more than eight hundred, running ahead of all the Republican candidates. He is now serving his first session in the Legislature of Oklahoma with entire satisfaction to his constituents. Among the most important and artistically prepared bills introduced and passed by that Legislature was House Bill No. 19, drawn by and introduced by him in the House on January 11, 1909, to create a Code Commission to codify the laws of the state. However, as he was a Republican and in the minority party, it was not permitted by the Democratic majority to be passed under his name. But, a Democratic Senator by the name of Graham, without the knowledge or consent of Judge Cook copied and introduced it as “Senate Bill No. 261, by Graham” on the 5th day of February. Thus it was passed in the Senate and afterwards in the House under the name of “Graham” who neither composed it nor asked the consent of the author for its use. Judge Cook is now being pretty generally urged by his party friends to allow his name to be used as a candidate for governor of the state at the next general election. But he is adverse to re-entering politics and to holding offices and therefore refuses his consent.

By his marriage there were born eleven children in the order named, as follows: Gideon Branch Alston Cook (who died with pneumonia when about five months old); Lenoir Alston Cook, who married George E. McLaurine; and they have two children and live in Muskogee; Bignall Speed Cook, who married Pearl Stewart and has four children and resides in Glen Hazel, Pennsylvania; Josephine Henry Cook, who resides with her parents; Barker Pettway Cook (who died when about seventeen years old in 1896); Charles Alston Cook, Jr., a pharmacist residing in Muskogee, who completed his service of three years in United States Army and returned from the Philippines last November; Marshall Edwards Cook, now the assistant postmaster of Muskogee; William Jones Cook, who resigned as book-keeper of the First National Bank of Muskogee last summer and returned to the University of North Carolina where he is now a student; Marina Williams Cook (who died when about three years old in 1891); Benjamin Edwards Cook who is now a student at the University of North Carolina; Mary Speed Mercer Cook, the baby, who is now attending the public schools in the city of Muskogee. The wife of Judge Cook, Marina Williams Jones Cook, is the daughter of Joseph Speed Jones and Lucy Barker Pettway of Warren county, North Carolina. She is related to her husband through the Joneses and Alstons, and is a descendant of the Speeds, Pettways, Barkers, Williams, Bignalls, Dukes, etc. She and he have lived happily together since the day of their marriage and are now hale, hearty and healthy. They are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. He is a Master Mason, a past high priest of the Royal Arch Masons and is a member of the Order of the High Priesthood.

The parents of Judge and Mrs. Cook were large slave owners who resided upon their respective plantations in Warren county, North Carolina. Judge and Mrs. Cook were raised upon the plantations and well remember the habits, customs and mode of life of the plantation negroes, and express wonder and surprise at the misconception of the Negro race and character by the non-slave owners and the rising generation. They enjoy talking about the “good old times of peace, happiness and plenty” in slavery times upon the plantations in the Old North state.



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