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The Cook Family of Wyoming County
By ROY LEE HARMON
Poet-Laureate of West Virginia:
March 11, 1937-November 1, 1943
Read at a Cook Reunion
Probably Written late 1930's or early 1940's


God must have smiled long, long ago and called this valley good,
This land of scenic splendor where the oaks and poplars stood,
Oh I can picture long gone days when Redmen came this way
To hunt and fish and pitch their tents near where we stand today.

And I can picture bear and deer here in Wyoming hills,
The silence of the wilderness among the rocks and rills.
And here was wealth the Redskin braves had never dreamed about
And here were sites for homes of men whose hearts were good and stout.

No white man save a roving stray called Milam then had seen
This land of fertile valleys and of hillsides lush and green.
But John Cook, Prince of Pioneers, his rifle on his arm,
Came forth to build a cabin and clear out a little farm.

Now John Cook left the quiet life and took a long, long chance
To settle in Wyoming, land of promise and romance.
He didn’t walk a well-chopped trail some other man had made,
He was a Cook, remember, so he led the big parade.

It took a lot of doing to get settled in the hills,
It took a lot of chopping, building homes and water mills.
It took a lot of nerve and grit and courage and hard work,
But Cooks have never been the kind who chose to loaf or shirk.

John built a home - made empire where the mountain skies looked down,
Where men wore buckskin breeches – and there wasn’t any town.
But he lived on and prospered and his children prospered, too,
Where God smiled on Wyoming – and the skies were mighty blue.

And Cooks were up the creek and down the creek and everywhere
And they were good Americans, the kind who do and dare,
American as ham and eggs, as dauntless as could be,
The kind of mountaineers, my friends, who always shall be free.

The dim gray years went sliding by, the country growing up,
This family quaffed the bitter or the sweet within life’s cup.
Yes, quaffed it well and asked no odds from this strange thing called fate
And never dealt in evil ways, dishonestly or hate.

They helped to build the churches and they furnished preachers, too,
A Cook could always grub or hoe or plow or preach or hew.
They built the schools and highways, yes they kept the modern pace,
And I’m proud to visit with them any time or any place.

In olden times when wars came on the Cooks were right and ready,
Their eyes were clear, their hearts were true, their hands were always steady.
Oh, when duty’s trumpet sounded no one ever had to look
The second time to locate anyone whose name was Cook.

The Cooks are running stores or farms or sawmills or they’re teaching,
Or dabbling some in politics or real estate, or preaching.
John Cook is dead – his spirit lives and is an inspiration
For brawny men like modern Cooks who helped to build this nation.

And now we face the future which is just a mystic haze,
When our Uncle Sam is threatened with some very trying days.
But we’d be calm and happy, we would wear no worried looks
If the whole United States was just about filled up with Cooks.

No, we’d just relax and say, just that fellow Hitler rave,
No American will ever be a foolish Nazi slave
For the Cooks will fight injustice and we know that they will win,
If oppressors want a battle let them simply buckle in.

Cooks are honest friends and neighbors, they’re the kind I like to praise,
They’re Americans. . . who’ll figure in the news in future days.
If I wrote down all their virtues I would fill a dozen books,
May God bless this noble family – the old Wyoming Cooks.

 

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