Cook, John C.

Born: 1825-06-12 Belleville, Illinois

Died: 1910-10-12 Ransom, Michigan

John C. Cook was the son of Daniel P. Cook, an early Illinois congressman, and Julia Edwards Cook, the daughter of Ninian Edwards. Orphaned as a child, Cook was raised in Edwards's home. In the early 1840s, he attended Illinois College in Jacksonville and Kemper College in Saint Louis, Missouri, but failed to obtain a degree due to poor vision and temporary blindness. He was a clerk in a commission house in Saint Louis for three years before forming a dry goods business partnership with his uncle, Ninian W. Edwards and Eliphalet B. Hawley in Springfield, Illinois. He married Susan Lamb on October 20, 1847, in Springfield, Illinois, and the couple had seven children. In 1850, he was a soap and candle maker and he owned real property valued at $15,000. He served as mayor of Springfield in 1855, and in 1856, he won election as sheriff of Sangamon County. Cook subsequently became quartermaster general of Illinois and, in 1858, organized the Springfield Zouaves. The company mobilized after President Abraham Lincoln's 1861 call for 75,000 troops and became part of the First Illinois Regiment. Cook was promoted to command of a brigade in February 1862 under Charles F. Smith and participated in the Fort Donelson campaign, which earned him promotion to brigadier general. He was transferred to the eastern theater and was relieved, by his own request, after the failed Peninsula and Second Manassas campaigns. Cook requested a transfer to John Pope's Department of the Northwest, where he helped put down the Dakota Rebellion. In October 1864, Cook was placed in command of the military district of Illinois.

Gravetone, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL; John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 436; Obituary, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 3 (January 1911): 133-34; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Sangamon County, IL, 107.