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Below is a family biography included in the book, The History of Knox County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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W. F. Cook, ex-county judge, and a well-to-do farmer of Knox County, is a native of the same, and was born January 27, 1843, and is the fifth of a family of twelve children born to Richard V. and Margaret A. (Waugh) Cook, natives of Maryland and Virginia, respectively, who were reared in their native States, and married in Washington City. Soon after they immigrated to Missouri, and settled within the limits of what is now Lewis County. At the expiration of three years they removed to the present site of Edina, where the father cleared a small tract of land, and raised corn upon the spot where the courthouse now stands. After the town began to be built he moved one mile and a half west, purchasing a tract of 160 acres, where he lived until the spring of 1849, when he moved to Adair County. There he lived upon a farm for five years, but in the fall of 1854 returned to Knox County, and purchased and located upon a farm five miles north west of Edina, where he spent most of his time until his death May 5, 1884; the mother died July 15, 1881. The father was an active and industrious man, and although he had lost considerable property by becoming security for his friends, at the time of his death owned a farm of 320 acres. He was a remarkably honest man, and was never engaged in a law suit. Being an early settler of this vicinity, he naturally was identified with the early history of Knox County, and assisted in building the first log schoolhouse, and the first log church of the county; his death was mourned by a large circle of friends and neighbors. Our subject was principally educated in Knox County, attending school at Edina, and at the age of nineteen was well fitted for the profession of teaching. He remained with his parents until he was twenty-three years of age, and then taught in Knox and Adair Counties until thirty-three years old. In the spring of 1862 he enlisted in Company E, Twenty-first Missouri Infantry, at Edina, and immediately proceeded to St. Louis, where the troops were quartered at Benton Barracks. After a week’s time the regiment was ordered to Cairo, Ill., but after a short time proceeded to Clinton, Ky., and from there to Memphis, Tenn., where they were stationed about three months, during which time they were on garrison duty. They then went to Vicksburg, Miss. After a day or two they started on a raid to Meridian, but before reaching that place were engaged in several skirmishes; they then returned to Vicksburg and there joined Bank’s army. They then went to Nashville and participated in the battle at that place; at its close they pursued Hood for about fourteen days, and finally arrived at Eastport, from where they returned to Cairo, where our subject received an honorable discharge in the spring of 1865. The winter of 1862-63 was principally spent at Clinton, where they also did garrison duty. After our subject was discharged, he returned home, and resumed the occupation of teaching. When thirty-three years old he married, and settled upon a farm seven miles north of Edina, where he remained a year, and also taught school one term. He then moved to an adjoining farm which he had purchased, where he remained until the spring of 1883, previously teaching his last term of school. He then purchased a farm in Section 23, Township 62 north, Range 12 west, upon which he moved, and has since engaged in farming. Mary A., daughter of Jonathan and Frances (Wood) Hinchcliffe, was born in South Kingston, R. I., in 1851, and came to Missouri with her parents, when a child, where she was united in marriage, in Edina, to our subject, March 4, 1873. Five children have blessed this union: Bessie, John, Richard and Maggie (twins), and Charles. Mr. Cook now owns a farm of 100 acres of land, well improved, and under a, high state of cultivation. He has been an able instructor and good disciplinarian, and now that he is engaged in agricultural pursuits is meeting with moderate success, and is considered an excellent citizen. As an acknowledgement of the respect with which he is regarded by the community, in 1881 he was appointed county judge, to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Judge Robert Smith, and in 1882 was elected to fill the same position, which he did satisfactorily, until the close of a second term. He is a stanch Democrat, but is not an aspirant for political office. He and his family are united with the Roman Catholic Church.

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This family biography is one of 204 biographies included in the Knox County, Missouri portion of the book,  The History of Lewis, Clark, Knox and Scotland Counties, Missouri published in 1887.  For the complete description, click here: Knox County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Knox County, Missouri family biographies here: Knox County, Missouri Biographies

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