Charles R. Cook. Soldier, teacher, pioneer Kansas farmer and lawyer–these words indicate the successive phases in the career of Charles R. Cook before he came to Oklahoma, where he was again a pioneer in the opening of the southwestern portion of the state to settlement, and since 1902 has had his home at Snyder. Mr. Cook is especially well known all over Western Oklahoma as a Masonic lecturer, and is regarded as an authority on the ritual of the several branches of that ancient order.
His birth occurred near the historic City of Trenton, New Jersey, February 19, 1845. The Cook family has lived in America since the time of the Mayflower, when his ancestor Clarence Cook came over from England to Massachusetts. His father, Azariah R. Cook, was born near Trenton, New Jersey, in 1810, and died in that city in 1907. He spent all his life in the vicinity of Trenton with the exception of three years in Michigan, was a blacksmith up to about middle age and afterwards a carpenter and builder. He was a member of the Presbyterian church, and in politics a republican. Azariah R. Cook married Elizabeth Chidester, who was also born near Trenton in 1811 and died there in 1900. Their oldest child, Mary M., is now deceased, and Wesley lives in Trenton. The two youngest, Charles R. and Noah, are both residents of Oklahoma, the latter being a resident of Oklahoma City.
Charles R. Cook after attending the public schools near Trenton entered the Lawrenceville Classical and Commercial College and remained a student in its halls until a short time before graduation. In 1862 he left college to enlist in the Twenty-first Regiment of New Jersey Volunteer Infantry, and was in active service for nine months, when discharged on account of disability. He lost his voice while in the army, and that affliction troubled him for a number of years afterwards. Following his return from the war he taught school for three terms in New Jersey, and then moved out to Bushnell, Illinois, and finally in 1873 went to Kansas and took up a claim south of Kingman, becoming one of the pioneer settlers in that region. Not long afterward he sold his claim and moved into Kingman, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1883. For a number of years he served as justice of the peace at Kingman, and enjoyed a substantial practice as a lawyer.
Judge Cook came to Oklahoma in 1901, spending the first year at Hobart, and since 1902 has lived in Snyder, where he owns a furniture store. Since moving to Snyder he has also performed regularly his duties as a Masonic lecturer and has officiated in that capacity among the various Masonic bodies throughout Western Oklahoma.
His local Masonic affiliations are as a member of Snyder Lodge No. 216, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, in which he is past master; as member of Snyder Chapter No. 76, Royal Arch Masons, of which he is now high priest; and he is also an eighteenth degree Scottish Rite Mason in the Guthrie Consistory, and was formerly a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Judge Cook in politics is a republican and is a member of the United Brethren Church.
He was married in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 1882, to Miss Emma Lacy. Her father was Robert Lacy, a carpenter and builder. Mrs. Cook died in Colorado in June, 1907, leaving two children: Edward W., who is manager of a store at Rapid City, South Dakota; and Robert A., a bookkeeper at Ray, Arizona.