Cook, Burton C.

Born: 1819-05-11 Monroe County, New York

Died: 1894-08-18 Evanston, Illinois

Born in Pittsford, New York, Burton C. Cook was an attorney, state's attorney, state representative, and congressman. He graduated from the Collegiate Institute in Rochester, New York, then studied law. He relocated to Illinois in 1835, living in Hennepin for a time before settling in Ottawa, where he began practicing law in 1840. In 1846, he was elected state's attorney for the Ninth Judicial District, a position he held until 1852. He won election to the Illinois Senate in 1852, where he served until 1860. His personal wealth increased substantially over time in tandem with his professional success. In 1850, he owned $3,000 in real estate, but by 1860, he owned real estate valued at $30,000 as well as a personal estate valued at $15,000. By 1850, he was also married and had one child. Considered a founding member of the Republican Party, he was a delegate to the Bloomington Convention of 1856 that effectively established the Illinois Republican Party, served as one of Illinois' peace commissioners at the February 1861 Peace Convention held in Washington, DC in a final effort to prevent war, and was a delegate to the party's national conventions in both 1860 and 1864. His political career accelerated after this work. He was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 1864, and was reelected several times after the Civil War.

Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Carroll County, ed. by Charles L. Hostetter (Chicago: Munsell, 1913), 1:119; Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 856-57; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Ottawa, LaSalle County, IL, 188; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ottawa, LaSalle County, IL, 550; Victor B. Howard, “The Illinois Republican Party: Part II the Party Becomes Conservative, 1855-1856,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 64 (Autumn 1971), 304; Samuel Eliot Morison, “The Peace Convention of February, 1861,” Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 73 (1961), 58.