HOUSE, 29th and 30th General Assemblies, 1851-55; representing McMinn County; Whig. Born near Greenville, Greenville County, South Carolina, April 1, 1819; son of William Henry and Mary (Cantrell) Cooke. Moved with parents, 1820, to McMinn County; attended schools of that county; graduated, 1843, from East Tennessee University, later University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Knox County; studied law and admitted to bar February 6, 1845. Married January 30, 1850, to Penelope McDermott, daughter of P.H. McDermott; children -- Thomas Henderson, Mary, Robert Burch, Penelope, and William Cooke. Began practice of law at Athens, McMinn County, 1845. Appointed attorney-general for 3rd Judicial Circuit, 1848-49; at undetermined date after legislative terms but before outbreak of Civil War removed to Chattanooga, Hamilton County; later he moved to Huntsville, Alabama, where he remained a short time; in 1867, moved back to Chattanooga nad continued law practice. Appointed, 1879, to state's Arbitration Court where he continued until court was abolished; named special judge on Tennessee Supreme Court during illness of Justice Robert McFarland, 1883; at death of Justice McFarland, was named to the vacancy thus created in the court, serving to 1886; unsuccessful candidate to succeed self. In Confederate army; enrolled for duty at Firestones, McMinn County, November 23, 1861, as captain in Captain James B. Cooke's Company, later to become Company A, 59th Tennessee Mounted Infantry; elected colonel of regiment, August 16, 1862; resigned March 19, 1863, "on account of the feeble and declining condition of my health." Member Baptist Church; Free and Accepted Masons. Died at Chattanooga April 18, 1899; buried in Old Citizens and Confederate Cemetery. Son of William Henry Cooke; father of Robert Burch Cooke; nephew of Richard Fielding Cooke; sometime members Tennessee General Assembly.
|Sources: Chattanooga Times, April 19, 1899; Who's Who in Tennessee, 53; Christie, The Cantrill-Cantrell Genealogy, 97-102; Hamer, Tennessee, A History, IV, 448; Green, Lives of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Tennesse 202; Tennessee Reports, Vol. 176, p. 185; Miller, Official Manual, 190, 195; microcopy, Tennessee Confederate Service Records, roll 333.|
Transcribed from scanned images of unknown book, page 161-162, provided by Lori Williams, by Dean McGee on July 10, 2005