|Picture publish date 1906.|
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COL. J. B. COOK, loan and real estate agent, was born in Lancaster County, Pa., June 22, 1834; lived in his native State until he was fifteen years of age, and then left home to make a living for himself. After spending three years in various Southern and Western States, he went to California and was engaged in mining and various other pursuits for three years. Returning to Pennsylvania he spent one winter there and then came to Kansas City, where he was engaged in real estate operations for three years. He then went to Delavan, Tazewell Co., Ill., and enlisted in Company H. Fourth Illinois Cavalry, serving one year as a private, one year as Second Lieutenant, and then promoted to Major of the Third United States Colored Cavalry.
A year later he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and served in that position until he was mustered out of the service January 26, 1866, having command of the regiment most of the time, besides having command at the close of the war, and prior to that date of the Third Brigade of the Cavalry Division of West Tennessee. He participated in several of the principal battles of the war, Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, siege of Corinth, and many others. Col. Cook deserves great credit for his capture of Holmes' Battery of Scott's Brigade by saber charge at Woodville, Miss., October 5, 1864, and for the burning of the Black River, Miss., Central Railroad bridge. During his entire service he displayed bravery and strategy superior to many of the commanding officers who had been educated in the art of war.
After leaving the army he was engaged for one season in raising cotton in Arkansas. In March, 1867, he returned to Delavan, Ill., and was in the United States Internal Revenue service, and engaged in farming until he came to Kansas to reside in April, 1871, locating in Hackberry Township, Labette County, his farm being situated on the northwestern quarter of Section 30, in that township and northeast quarter of Section 25, Elm Grove Township. In November, 1873, Col. Cook removed to Chetopa and actively engaged in business which he now carries on.
He had to some extent negotiated loans and dealt in real estate while on his farm; but since coming to Chetopa he has given his entire attention to the business, representing large eastern capitalists principally of Lancaster, Westchester and Philadelphia, Pa. During 1882 his loans amounted to over $200,000, and were made in the counties of Labette, Cherokee, Crawford and Neosho counties in southeastern Kansas.
He owns several fine farms in the vicinity of Chetopa and some valuable city property. He is a member of the A. O. U. W., K. of P. and the G. A. R. The Colonel was married at Decatur, Ill., November 21, 1871, to Hannah Prosser, a native of Salem, Ind. Col. Cook is pre-eminently a leader and one of the most enterprising and public-spirited citizens of Kansas. Through his influence about 200 families have been induced to locate in the State, nearly all of them in Labette County. He has been Alderman and is now serving his second term as Mayor of the city.
J. B. Cook was born at Pleasant Grove, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, June 22, 1834. He spent some years before the Civil war in California and on the frontier. On September 20, 1861, he enlisted in Company H, Fourth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Cavalry. On September 1, 1862, he was promoted from Sergeant to Second Lieutenant in Company P, First Illinois Cavalry. On October 1, 1863, he was made a Major in the Third United States Colored Cavalry, and on November 27th, 1864-, Lieutenant Colonel. He commanded the Third Brigade of the Memphis Cavalry Division at the close of the war, being- senior officer of the brigade in active service, and was mustered out with his regiment, January 26, 1865. He went to Labette county, Kansas, in 1874, where he farmed a short time, since which he has been engaged in the real estate and loan business at Chetopa, Kansas. He has served one term in the Kansas legislature and is serving- his fifth term as mayor of Chetopa.