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Below is a family biography included in The History of Lawrence County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  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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Leonard Cook was born in Bedford County, Tenn., in 1822, and is the son of Stephen and Susan (Sibley) Cook, natives of North Carolina, where they grew to maturity, married, and afterward moved to Tennessee (1805 or 1806). Grandfather Sibley entered a large tract of land, which he gave to his children, and on which his son, Stephen Cook, lived and carried on the cotton-growing business. The latter died in 1827 or 1828, and his wife followed him to the grave in 1852. They were the parents of nine children—six sons and three daughters —all supposed to be dead but Leonard, who remained at home with his mother until twenty years of age. He then came to Southwest Missouri, and located in Polk County in 1842, but soon after removed to a place near Arcola, Dade County. He remained here but a short time, when he returned to Polk County, where he entered land and where he remained until 1883, at which date he moved to his present property in Lawrence County. He was a stock trader before the breaking out of the late war, and during that time served in the State Militia eight months, after which he resumed his stock trading. In 1847, previous to the war, he married Miss Melvinia Thompson, a native of Tennessee, but who was reared in Polk County, Mo. Nine children were the result of this union: William T., now living in Oregon, engaged in merchandising, and was a delegate to the Democratic Convention that met in Chicago in 1884 to nominate Cleveland; John C., now in Illinois; Charles Peter at home; Elizabeth J., wife of Joseph Buffington; M. Temima, at home; Julia A., wife of Walter Holder, in Polk County, Mo.; George A., at home ; Shelton L. and Joseph L. The mother of above named children died in 1887. Mr. Cook is owner of 430 acres of land in Lawrence and Dade Counties, with about 230 under cultivation. Their son, Charles Peter, was born in Polk County, Mo., in 1852, and there grew to manhood and received a fair education in the common district schools. He remained with his parents until he was twenty-four years of age, when he went to Illinois with his brother, and engaged in stock farming until 1884, when he returned to the home place in Missouri and commenced farming with his brother. He was married to Miss M. Ellen Atterberry, who was born in Illinois in 1864, and to this union were born three children: Mamie, Bertha and Bessie. Mr. Cook is a member of the Farmers’ Alliance, and a Democrat in politics, in which he takes an active part.

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This family biography is one of 272 biographies included in The History of Lawrence County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Lawrence County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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