Happy Thanksgiving



Our rural ancestors, with little blest,
Patient of labour when the end was rest,
Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,
With feasts, and off’rings, and a thankful strain.
~Alexander Pope


Frontier Friday

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.

Texas_Ranger_1846 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.



Military Monday

I have been having fun with genealogy the past week or so. There have been days I have been glued to the computer because I have tripped upon some great information and it just kept coming. Part of this is because I have begun to concentrate on finding out more about the aunts and uncles, the great aunts and great uncles in my ancestry.

The  person I want to profile today is my great uncle Gilbert Richard Cook (1889-1963). He was my grandmother’s, Jessie Cook Sain, brother. He graduated from West Point in 1912 and moved up through the ranks in a thirty six year career in the U.S. Army. He served in World War II as a Major General. His complete military career is outlined at this fabulous link: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/grcook.htm

I met him in 1961, when my sister, Nancy, brother, John, grandmother, Jessie and I stayed at his home in La Jolla, California during the summer. The economy had gone bad in Texarkana, where we had moved when my father got out of the Navy, and my parents decided to move to California. First my father went and found a job; then my mother followed. She took a Greyhound bus and I remember us packing her up. As school was on we were left behind in the charge of my grandmother, Jessie Cook Sain. When school was out we left with my grandmother on a road trip in her Ford. Here is a picture of my sister and I on that trip. I think that is the Ford in the background. I am on the right.

Nacny & Mk on way to California 1961

We are dressed up because it must have been a Sunday, as my grandmother insisted we go to church wherever we were.

When we got to California, we stayed at Uncle Gib’s while my parents found a suitable home for us all. I liked that summer a lot. He lived a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean. So we went to the beach alot and we also walked all over La Jolla. My sister ended up with a broken leg. We were at the beach and a big log washed ashore and landed on her ankle.

We all hung out in the garage which had been converted to living quarters and were not allowed to run in and out of the house.  And we had to be respectful of Uncle Gib. He suffered from gout and walked with a cane. He was kind to us and seemed amused by our company.  On weekends the place was livened up with the arrival of cousin, Carla Jane Cook. She was older and had a busy social life and her comings and goings added excitement to the place.

I guess this turned out to be more of a reminiscent  of that time in my life than a profile of Uncle Gib. I know he was a friend of President Eisenhower and knew his way around Washington D.C. But to me he was someone who helped my family get settled in California.