Coming of good English parentage on both sides of the house, John Cook, formerly a member of the board of supervisors of Crawford county, has shown in his life something of the characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon race, also being closely identified with successful and progressive citizenship.
He is a native of Jackson county, Iowa, born March 8, 1854, and is a son of William and Elizabeth (Cox) Cook, both of whom were natives of Somersetshire, England. The father was reared in the old country but came to America and was one of the early settlers of Jackson county, Iowa. He worked on the steamboats on the Mississippi river and also chopped cord wood, at one time having fifteen hundred cords chopped. This took fire and burned up, but he was not a man to yield to discouragement and he turned his attention to burning lime and farming. He preempted one hundred and twenty acres of land in Iowa township, Jackson county, which he improved and later disposed of.
In 1879 he came to Crawford county and located upon a farm in Jackson township, where he continued until his death, which occurred in 1891, at the age of seventy years. He was one of the highly successful farmers of his locality, owning four hundred acres, and was also one of the successful stock feeders in the township. His wife still survives him but for six years past has been an invalid. She is a member of the Methodist church, as was also her husband. The maternal grandfather of our subject was William Cox, a native of England, who by trade was a shoemaker.
There were six children in the family of Mr. and Mrs. William Cook, namely: Elizabeth, who married Thomas Taplin and is now deceased; Sarah, who became the wife of Thomas Bartlett and is also deceased; John, the subject of this review; Mary, the wife of John Nelson, of Dundurn, Canada; Matthew, deceased; and Ellen, the wife of S. F. Squires, of Kansas City, Missouri.
John Cook was reared on his father's farm and received his early education in the district schools, which knowledge he has greatly broadened by study and reading. He began farming on a tract of land owned by his father in Crawford county and later the father gave him eighty acres, which he cultivated to good advantage for many years, also acquiring other farms. In January, 1899. he sold his original homestead and has since been an extensive buyer of land. He now owns four hundred and eighty acres in this county and also a beautiful home in Denison, and his son William owns one hundred and sixty acres in Milford township, which he has greatly improved.
Mr. Cook is recognized as a man of sound business judgment whose integrity is above question. Politically he adheres to the democracy, firmly believing that the principles of his party are essential to the perpetuity of free institutions. He has at various times taken an active part in politics and served for six years as a member of the county board of supervisors, in the course of which he instituted many measures of great practical value to the county and demonstrated an ability in the management of large affairs that was highly gratifying to the people. Socially he is identified with the Masonic order and belongs to Sylvan Lodge, No. 507, A. F. & A. M., and Ark Chapter, No. 89, R. A. M. His name is widely known in this section of the state, where he has spent the principal part of his life, and on account of his genial and generous qualities his friends and wellwishers are numbered by the legion.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.