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None of the inhabitants of Benton township, Atchison county, are more highly respected than is this worthy pioneer, who has spent his entire mature life in Kansas, actively associated with her upbuilding and development. He is a sterling representative of one of the prominent old New England families and exemplifies in his own life many of the notable characteristics of his sturdy forefathers.

His great-grandfather, Joseph Cook, Sr., was born February 3, 1735; and was married November 18, 1756, to Lucretia, a daughter of Benjamin Post. She was the granddaughter of the poet, Wordsworth, and was related to the Longfellows, of the United States. To the union of Joseph Cook and wife nine children were born, of whom the eldest, Joseph Cook, Jr., was born in Connecticut, December 18, 1762. The death of Joseph Cook, Sr., occurred May 9, 1821. Upon arriving at maturity, Joseph Cook, Jr., who had passed his youth in his native state, chose for his wife Mercy Gillett, who was of English descent.

One of the children of this worthy couple was Norman, whose birth occurred October 2, 1792. During the war of 1812 he fought as a trooper in the American army. His wife, whose maiden name was Permelia Francis, was born in 1799. Five children were born to them, namely: Mrs. Julia A. Harris, of Windsor, Vermont; J. W., who died in 1870, at Wathena, Kansas; James Martin and George, deceased, and Charles Edwin, of this sketch. The parents both died at their old home in Harrington, Connecticut, the father on December 17, 1862, and the mother in December, 1843. In his early life Norman Cook learned the trade of a blacksmith, but his chief occupation was agriculture, in which he was very successful.

Charles Edwin Cook was born at Harrington, Connecticut, February 22, 1835, and until he arrived at his majority he continued to dwell with or near his parents. In the public schools of his native town he had acquired an excellent education and early formed the desire to come to the great and promising west. In 1857 he located in Wathena, Doniphan county, Kansas, where he resided until the spring of 1878, when he came to Benton township, Atchison county. Here he purchased two hundred and forty acres of fine land, to the improvement of which he has devoted himself ever since. He now has the place under a high state of cultivation, resides in a pleasant modern house and has erected large barns for the accommodation of his crops and live stock. Not the least attractive feature of his farm is the splendid groves of trees, in which he takes just pride.

In 1865 Mr. Cook married Miss Eliza Stevans, a native of Ohio and daughter of Curtis and Sarah Stevans. Mrs. Cook died in the fall of 1874, leaving one son, George W., now a civil engineer in New York city. On the 8th of June, 1876, the marriage of Mr. Cook and Miss Rusha A. Very, a successful teacher, was solemnized. She was born in Floyd county, Indiana, a daughter of Martin and Eliza (Graham) Very, the former a native of Brattleboro, Vermont, and the latter of Floyd county, Indiana. They were married near Albany, Floyd county, Indiana, and became the parents of nine children, namely: John K., M. C., William Girard, Martin Luther, Ruby E., Mary L., Rush A., Florence A. and Martha A. After the death of his first wife Martin Very married again, Julia Graham, and had seven children: Emily P., Charles F., Lida A., Nathaniel L., William Guest, Frank F. and Edward N. By occupation the father was a miller and for many years carried on a mill and farm in Floyd county. In his political faith he was a Republican. At the time of his death, which event took place in 1870, he was in his sixty-fourth year. To the union of Charles E. Cook and wife five children were born. Their only daughter died in infancy and their sons, all of whom reside at home, are named respectively: Edwin M., Norman W., James M. and Lewis G.

In his political affiliations Mr. Cook is a Republican, but has never been an aspirant to public office. With the other members of his family he attends the Methodist Episcopal church and is identified with the membership. He contributes liberally to the cause of religion and education and is prominent in the local affairs of his community.