Every once in a while I get lucky and stumble upon something that has a ton of information about my ancestors and those related to them. This happened a few weeks ago when I was sick and spent my time on the computer searching for my ancestors and their siblings.
I started with my great, great, great grandmother Lucinda Bates Cook (1808-1897). I googled her and found a mention of her in a “Frontier Times” article written by her grandson Joseph T. McKinney (1848-1958), my first cousin four times removed, written in 1924. This magazine is the property of Old Ventures Frontier Time Archive. They have the copyright on all the issues that ran from October, 1923 through October, 1954.
I downloaded the June 1926 issue for a cost of $7.95 and definitely got my money’s worth. Joe wrote about his early childhood in Uvalde,Texas and told stories about many of his relatives. I spent the next few days researching some of the people he mentioned.
One such person was his cousin, Thalis T. Cook (1858 – 1919), who he said later became a Texas Ranger.
This piqued my curiosity on a few levels. One Thalis’ father was David Thalis Cook (1812 – 1910, who is my third great grand uncle. Up to this time I had no information about him. David was married to Elizabeth Jane McKinney (1829-1880). I am discovering that there was a lot of intermarrying between the Cook, Bates and McKinney families. Though our line does not have a direct connection to the McKinneys, obviously there was a close bond with this family.
Secondly, the mention of a Texas Ranger in the family really set off my imagination. Growing up there were lots of movies and TV shows that were inspired by or showcased the exploits of this law enforcement group. And of course there are numerous books on the Rangers.
So I had to find out more about Thalis T. Cook. At first I did not have his birth and death information and could not find him anywhere. So I went back to Joe McKinney’s article and was able to estimate a birth date for Thalis. From there I was able to connect with some family trees on ancestry and also found him in the 1860, 1870 and 1900 census records. And then I googled him and found him listed in the “Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters” on pages 72-73. Also found him in “Historical Dictionary of Law Enforcement” on pages 75-76. Plus there were numerous other links to information about him.
But one of the best decriptions on Thalis’ exploits was in “Triggernometry” by Eugene Cunningham. Over four pages he describes a gun battle with the members of Captain Hughes party who were out to serve a warrant on the some bad guys out in the Alpine country and word was they were going to rob a train. This was in 1896 and Thalis was a member of this party. In the end he is credited with killing the infamous Friar Brothers.
Anyway it was exciting reading about Thalis. He later became deputy sheriff of Brewster County Texas. Google his name and see what you find.