Rev. Henry Benson Cook
(1831 - 1907)
Margaret "Mag" "Sack" Whitmire
(12 Aug 1834 - 21 June 1917)
Rev. Henry Benson Cook, the 3rd child of Hence Marvin Cook was born 1831 in part of Haywood Co. which later became Jackson Co., NC. He married Margaret "Mag" "Sack" Whitmire (b. Aug 12, 1834 - d. June 21, 1917) of Transylvania Co., NC on Nov 25, 1854. Benson served in Company G of the 62nd NC Infantry along side his brothers during the Civil War. After the war, he returned to Jackson Co. and became a preacher of the Gospel and a farmer. Since most of the good land had already been claimed in Jackson Co., they had left by 1870 and moved 60 miles west on to Sugar Fork of Hazel Creek in what today is called Swain Co.
They had the following children: William, James Robert, Ellen, Sarah Jane, Hoke Matt, George, Samuel and Henry Benson Jr.
The following is excerpts of a letter from F. Duane Oliver dated Sept 30, 1991. Duane's family had also lived in the Hazel Creek area of Swain Co., NC that Rev. Henry Benson Cook and family would move to.
Moses Proctor was the first settler (1830) on Hazel Creek, and other settlers followed throughout the 19th century. It is a very long and beautiful creek, starting high in the Smokies and flowing for 20 plus miles SW down to the Little Tennessee River. Of all the creeks on the North Shore it had the most and best farm land which, of course, is what the settlers needed. The first post office established on the creek was called Proctor, and the first cementery started (1864) was the Proctor family burying ground near what would be the town of Proctor, all of which is near the mouth of the creek. About 10 miles up the creek Bone Valley Creek flows into it from the north. Bone Valley is a handsome valley which attracted settlers in the 1880's after the lower and more accessible valleys had been settled. It was during this period when Rev. Benson and Mag Whitmire Cook arrived from Jackson County which lies 60 or so miles to the east. By the 1880's all the good farm land in Jackson Co. had been claimed, so Rev. Benson Cook and a number of other families settled Bone Valley and the other valley sections of the upper part of Hazel Creek. There were other creek valleys on up the Little TN river toward Bryson City (Swain County's seat) but they had already been claimed by earlier settlers.
Rev. H. Benson Cook settled on Sugar Fork which is a creek that flows into Hazel Creek near the mouth of Bone Valley, and some of the Cooks later lived in Bone Valley which, along with Sugar Fork, etc. formed a community served by a postoffice called Medlin at a hamlet at the mouth of Sugar Fork. Hazel Creek is defined, on the south, by Welch Ridge and across it was where some of the families into which the Cooks married lived. Graham Co. is/was across the river from Hazel Creek and that's where [Duane Oliver's] grandfather John Sherrill Farley and his sister Harriet who married "Bent" Cook, lived before coming to Hazel Creek where John married Sadie Welch [Duane's grandmother], granddaughter of Moses Proctor, first settler on the creek.
Hazel Creek is now in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park of Swain County, NC. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) took the Hazel Creek and other areas along the Little Tennessee River in 1942 -44 when the large TVA dam, Fontana, was being built a few miles below the mouth of Hazel Creek. Although the lake covered only a small part of the land it covered the only road that served the communities/creeks along the river. As a result, all of the land was bought by the TVA and given to the National Park which extended its boundaries to the south. The creeks, with their numerous cemeteries, can now be reached only by hiking through the mountains or crossing Lake Fontana by boat and then hiking up the creeks. The area along the lake that the Park claimed has come to be called the North Shore since it is on the north shore of the lake. The TVA-Park promised Swain Co. that, when WW II was over, a replacement road down the north shore would be built for the economic good of the county. Part of the road was built (the Road to Nowhere for it stops in the middle of nowhere) and there has since then been an on-going battle to get the road completed, but it is doubtful if it ever will be.
|Time Line of Rev. Henry Benson Cook and Margaret "Mag" "Sack" Whitmire|
|1805||June 27||Henry Benson Cook's father Hence Marvin Cook is born.|
|1810||Henry's mother Eleanor "Nella" McCall is born.|
|1831||Henry Benson Cook is born in Haywood Co. NC, the third child of Hence Marvin Cook and Eleanor McCall.|
|1834||Aug 12||Margaret Whitmire is born in Transylvania Co., NC, the daughter of Christopher Columbus Whitmire and Elizabeth Galloway.|
|1854||Nov. 25||Henry Benson Cook and Margaret Whitmire marry.|
|1856||Benson and Magaret's first son William C. Cook is born in Jackson Co., NC.|
|June 17||H. B. Cook donated land for a school in Jackson Co., NC.|
|1858||Feb.||2nd son, James Robert "Bob" Cook is born in Jackson Co., NC.|
|1861||Ellen Cook is born and probably died as a baby.|
|1862||H. Benson enlists in the 62nd Reg of the NC Infantry along side his brothers.|
|1865||Forth child, Sarah Jane Cook is born.|
|1867||Fifth child, Hoke Matthew "Matt" Cook is born.|
|Between 1865 and 1870, Rev. Benson had moved his family to the Sugar Fork of Hazel Creek in what is today Swain Co. looking for farm land.|
|1869||George W. Cook is born.|
|1872||Their seventh child, Samuel Cook is born.|
|1876||Their last child, Henry Benson Cook, Jr. is born.|
|1880||Henry and Margaret's first grand child, Margaret is born to their son Robert and Sally. They would have a total of about 30 grandchldren, with two-thirds of them born during Henry's life time.|
|1907||Rev. Henry Benson Cook died.|
|1917||June 21||Rev. Henry Benson Cook's widow, Margaret died.|
We will continually update our website as information is made available. Anyone wishing to add to or correct information on our website can contact John M. Cook, Jr at [email protected] or write to:Cook Family History