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Below is a family biography included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  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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Perry Ellis Cook, contractor, is a citizen of Topeka, who has watched his city develop from almost a village into a beautiful and well-regulated capital city. He was born in Indiana and is a son of Oscar and Charity (Wiley) Cook, residents of Brownsburg, Indiana.

The ancestors of Mr. Cook date back to the early settlers around Seneca, New York, from which section his grandfather migrated to Boone County, Indiana, when that locality was one vast forest. He was accompanied by his son Oscar, who was born at Seneca, in March, 1823, and now resides with a daughter within six miles of where his father settled in his boyhood. For generations back the family have followed agricultural pursuits. Mr. Cook’s mother came from an old and distinguished Kentucky family, all of whom were land-owners. Of the immediate family, four brothers and one sister still survive. They are scattered, living in Indianapolis, Central Iowa, Chicago, Jefferson County, Iowa, and Brownsburg, Indiana.

Perry Ellis Cook was reared on his father’s farm and attended the public schools of his native county. At the age of 17 years he left home and went to Iowa, having previously learned the carpenter’s trade, which he has followed more or less ever since. After his marriage, which took place in Iowa, he returned home for a visit and remained a year, but in 1884 he decided to locate permanently in the West, and accompanied by his wife, came to Topeka. Here he found a fine opening in his trade and he continued to follow it until 1900, when he entered contracting and now has a well-established business in that line. He has not only witnessed the erection of all of the important buildings here, but he has put up many of them himself, notably the Commercial Hotel and the annex to the Keith-Rhodes Hospital and Sanitarium. The greater bulk of his work has been, however, the erection of fine residences, his own being a good example,—a very attractive home situated in East Hill Addition.

Mr. Cook married, when a resident of Iowa, a young lady named Randa Conger, who was born in Illinois, but whose home had been in Marshall County, Iowa, since she was a year and a half old. A family of four children have been added to the happy family circle, namely: Wilbur, aged 19 years; Blanche, aged 16; Perry Ellis, Jr., aged 13; and Herbert, aged 11.

Mr. Cook is a man of social nature and enjoys membership in several fraternal organizations, among which are the Odd Fellows, the Eagles and the Modern Woodmen of America. He is a self-made man and has met with the greater part of his business success since coming to Kansas. He reached Topeka, which was then unpaved and even wanted sewerage, with a capital of $25. This has been turned over many times and that he is now in the enjoyment of ample means is but the natural result of his industry and enterprise.

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This family biography is one of 206 biographies included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  For the complete description, click here: Shawnee County, Kansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Shawnee County, Kansas family biographies here: Shawnee County, Kansas

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