Madness Monday


Today is Madness Monday and I have been pulling my hair over why Joseph E. Cook, my great grandfather, took his family to Oklahoma in 1895 and to return to Texarkana Arkansas by 1900.

When I was visiting my uncle, he mentioned that the furniture in the room I was sleeping in belonged to the Cook Family and had been dismantled and went by train to Oklahoma.


This story was reconfirmed when I read W. H. Arnold’s “The Arnold Family.”  The author, William Hendrick Arnold was Joseph E. Cook’s law partner prior to my great grandfather’s departure to Oklahoma. In addition he was married to Jessie Cook, Joseph’s sister and the person whom my grandmother was named after. Their firm was called Arnold and Cook. On page 77 of the memoir, My Arnold says that the partnership dissolved when Mr. Cook moved to Oklahoma in 1895.  That left me wondering why my great grandfather would leave a successful law practice, that was reported to be the next to the largest in Texarkana, and take his wife and six children to Oklahoma. What confuses the issue even more is that Great Aunt Margaret was born on 26 August, 1895 in Arkansas and Great Uncle Phillip was born on 24 December, 1897 in Arkansas, as confirmed by the 1900 and 1910 censuses.

I looked up what was happening in 1895 in Oklahoma. For one, there was the last Oklahoma land run on May 23, 1895. Did he go out and claim some land then bring his family afterwards?  Did he go to Oklahoma to help in settling land claims? He was primarily known as a criminal attorney so this seems unlikely.  Anyway I am left with a lot of questions about this trip and my curiosity is definitely been aroused. I plan to visit the national Archives in Atlanta next month so maybe I can find some more information there.

Finding “The Arnold Family” did put a little meat on both Joseph and his father John Cook, a prosecuting attorney. Of John he says, “He was a very forceful character and a vigorous and aggressive prosecutor.”

Of Joseph, he says, “Joe Cook was a man of very impressive character and great influence; he was also very aggressive, and had the principal criminal business of this locality until he died.”

Back to work, mk



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