Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901

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Jeremiah B. Cook

JEREMIAH B. COOK, who has been a prominent resident of Labette county, Kansas, since 1871, is extensively engaged in the real estate and loan business, and is operating in several counties. He is one of the substantial citizens of Chetopa, is a man of high character, and enjoys the esteem and friendship of all with whom he has been brought into contact. He was born at Pleasant Grove, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, June 22, 1834, and is a son of Allen and Rachel (Brown) Cook.

Allen Cook and his wife came of English Quaker families. He was a farmer by occupation, and died in Pennsylvania. She lies buried in Labette county, Kansas. They reared seven children, namely: Edward, who died in California; Jeremiah B., the subject of this sketch; Anna Mary (Slaughter), living near Altamont, Kansas; William, of Oswego; Charles A., of Parker, Kansas; Henry C., who died and was buried at Oswego; and Julia, who who died in Pennsylvania.

Jeremiah B. Cook attended the common schools of Pennsylvania, and then left home at the age of fifteen years. He traveled through the South and West, and visited New Orleans, Memphis, and many other Southern cities. He returned home when eighteen years old, where he remained one year, and then went to California, and engaged in mining and herding cattle. He was a miner in Santa Clara county until 1856. He witnessed the stirring times that called into action the great vigilance committee at San Francisco, and saw the beam on which the leading criminals were hung. He returned to Pennsylvania in 1856, and in the spring of 1857 located at Kansas City, Missouri, where he remained until March, 1860, and, invested in property there. In 1860, he went to Illinois to visit some relatives near Delavan, Tazewell county, who had come west from Pennsylvania. He located upon some unimproved land which he had purchased near Delavan, and lived there until the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1861, he enlisted as a private in Company H, 4th Reg., Ill. Vol. Cav. In this regiment he served as private, corporal, sergeant and second lieutenant, until October 1, 1863, when he was made major of the 3d Reg., U. S. Colored Cavalry, and afterward lieutenant-colonel of the same regiment, which he commanded for over a year. When the war closed, he commanded a cavalry brigade of 2,300 men, composed of the 3d U. S., 4th Illinois and 2d Wisconsin regiments. In 1866, he cultivated 800 acres of cotton in Arkansas, near Memphis, and then went to his old home near Delavan, Illinois, where he finished improving his farm. He came to Labette county, Kansas, in April, 1871, and improved a large farm, 10 miles west of Chetopa. He took as a claim the northeast quarter of section 25, township 34, range 19, in Elm Grove township, and some years later traded it for the Cook Building, which had been built by Stephen Marsh, at the corner of Fourth and Maple streets, Chetopa, and which Mr. Cook still owns. From 1874 to 1885, he was extensively engaged in the land and loan business, and sold during that period more than 100 farms and loaned over one million dollars, without the loss of a single dollar to the Eastern capitalists whom he represented. He advertised the country largely, in the East and North, by means of printed matter. In 1885 and 1886, he was a member of the Kansas legislature, and was mayor of Chetopa for seven consecutive years. During 1885 and 1886, he was one of the projectors of the Denver, Memphis & Atlantic Railroad, and was first vice-president at the time of its completion. It now forms a part of the Missouri Pacific system. Mr. Cook retired from business in 1885, and was succeeded by the Neosho Valley Investment Company. In 1886, he erected his fine home of veneered brick, which is one of the most attractive in the city. In 1895, he reopened a loan and real estate office in order to dispose of some of his holdings, and has since done a general loan, real estate, insurance and renting business, in his fine offices in the Cook Building.

Mr. Cook was first married at Decatur, Illinois, to Mrs. Hannah Prosser, nee Pitts, a native of Salem, Indiana, who died in 1892. He formed a second union by marrying Rose Dorland, of Bartlett, Kansas, and they have two children: Harry D., and J. B., Jr. In politics, he has always been a Republican, and is a very strong Prohibitionist. Fraternally, he is a member of Chetopa Post, G. A. R.; the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Knights of Pythias, of Chetopa. Religiously, he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.