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Thomas Munsey Cook was the son of William Cooke (1784-1853) and Catherine Stewart Cooke (1790-1888).  His grandfather, John Cooke (1752-1832), of London, England, Revolutionary War soldier, member of Eighth Virginia Continentals, fought at Stony Point and Monmouth and was at Valley Forge, first settler of Wyoming County, (c.1799), Captain Ralph Stewart (1752-1835) was the second (c.1800).  (Most of the Cook family dropped the "e" from Cooke after the Civil War.)  Catherine Stewart was the daughter of Captain Ralph Stewart and Mary Clay Stewart (c.1771-?).   Catherine's grandparents were Mitchell Clay and Phoebe Belcher Clay, first settlers in Mercer County.

Thomas Munsey Cook married twice.  His first wife was Rebecca Sizemore, the daughter of Edward B. Sizemore and Annie B. Baldwin Sizemore.  They lived in Wyoming County until her death (c.1861).  At that time he moved to Mercer County and married Nancy McComas.

The children of his first marriage were Sgt. EDWARD H., Union soldier, I Co., 7th Regt W.Va. Volunteer Cavalry, died in Andersonville Confederate Prison August 26, 1864; JOHN N., Union soldier, I Co. 7th Regt. W.Va. Volunteer Cavalry, later with Sherman's army, moved to Mercer County; GEORGE P., Union soldier, I Co., 7th Regt. W.Va. Volunteer Cavalry, died March 14, 1906; CALVIN, moved to Mercer County, married Rebecca Bailey, daughter of Jamison Bailey; THOMAS BOYD, Baptist minister, moved to Mercer County in 1876, married Louisa Thompson, the daughter of Gordon Thompson; NELLIE married Melvin Jewell; WILLIAM H. H., state senator, Baptist minister, soldier, married Mary Jane Cooper, well documented in Wyoming County; MARY MARINDA (Minnie) married seven times; ANNIE, married Gus Bailey; JANE married B.F. Cooper and REBECCA died young.

The children of the second marriage of Thomas Munsey Cook and Nancy McComas were MARTHA (Polly), who married William Harless; JOSEPH OHLEY, who married Ollie McGraw; RICHARD MADISON; and JAMES MCCOMAS. Many of Thomas Munsey Cook's descendants still reside in Mercer County.


John N. Cook, son of Thomas Munsey Cook and Rebecca Sizemore Cook was born in Wyoming County November 5, 1844.  His wife, Margaret Stewart was born October 21, 1847.  Her parents were George Pearis and Margaret Stewart.  They moved to Mercer County after the Civil War.  The family home was established on Widemouth Creek in 1874.  A large log cabin was erected on the headwaters where he cleared a large farm and reared his family.

John N. Cook was a Union soldier and the hardships he endured permanently impaired his health.  His active career was farming. A Baptist deacon for twenty years, he served as a member of the school board and was influential in community affairs.   He, his brothers Calvin and Reverend Thomas Boyd Cook, and the Bailey family formed the Giatto Baptist Church.

John N. and Margaret had nine children.  They were SHERMAN, married Manerva Lambert, children: Vida, Vernila, B. R. (Rouse), W. R. (Pete), and Mable; R. SCOTT, married Betty Huffman, children: Ernest, Ott, Leslie, Lida, and Grace; E. HAMILTON, Baptist minister, wife unknown, sons: Andy and Bernard; HENRY INGRAHAM (H. I.) Baptist minister, married Amanda Jane Meadows, their children Walter, D. West, Roy Leon and Neva Eleanor; HARRISON, married Ella Blankenship, children: Harry E., Stella, Aileen and Ova; the daughters, LAURA B. married R. W. (Rufus) Laxton; ORA DELL married Barnett Laxton; COZETTA married Riley Akers; and MAY married Jake Akers.  (Harrison Cook was murdered while performing his duty as justice of the peace at Matoaka in 1918.  The trial of Cleveland Boyd in 1925 for the crime was one of the most bizarre in West Virginia history.)

John N. Cook died January 8, 1898.  His wife, Margaret, died February 20, 1911. Both are buried near Dott, W.Va.


Henry Ingraham (H. I.) Cook, Baptist minister was the son of John N. and Margaret Stewart Cook.  He was born on Widemouth Creek, near Dott, February 10, 1875.   He received his early education in the schools of Rock District and at twenty became a teacher in the rural schools, where he taught for two years.  The next eight years were spent in farming.  For the next seven years he was called away from the farm by his zealous services as a minister of the Missionary Baptist Church, joining in 1892 and becoming an ordained minister at twenty one.  At varying intervals he pastored all Missionary Baptist churches in most of Mercer County having served at Rock, Giatto, Spanishburg, Helen, Mountain Creek, Camp Creek, Rich Creek, Wenonah, Matoaka, Sophia, Crane Creek, Goodwill and Flat Top, to name a few.  He was a charter member of the Matoaka Baptist Church established in 1925 and was pastor.  He and his wife, Amanda, donated the land where Cook’s Chapel, formerly the Pinoak Baptist Church, now stands.  Much of his pastoral service was without compensation.  At the time of his death he was the pastor at Amigo.

Although he led a busy life as a preacher of the Gospel, he found time to take part in civic affairs.  He ran for the House of Delegates on the Prohibition ticket (c.1915) knowing defeat was destined.  In 1918 he moved to Matoaka and was elected justice of the peace to fill the unexpired term of his brother, Harrison, murdered in the line of duty.  He was reelected in 1920.  In 1921 he was elected mayor of Matoaka.  On July 5, 1921, Mayor Cook was attacked by a man he had fined in his capacity of justice of the peace.  The man shot Mr. Cook four times, another bullet holed his coat.  This did not deter Mr. Cook from serving two more terms as mayor and continuing his Christian work.  (While truly a remarkable escape from death, one of the bullets still in his body caused an infection resulting in his death in 1934.)

H. I. Cook married Amanda Jane Meadows, born February 3, 1876 in Wyoming County, the daughter of William T. and Martha E. Rinehart Meadows.  They had four children.  Walter and D. West died in childhood. Roy L. and Neva E. Quillin, the two survivors spent much of their lives in Mercer County and raised their families there.

Reverend H. I. Cook died November 18, 1934.  The funeral was held in the Matoaka High School auditorium and was attended by the largest crowd ever assembled for a funeral in that community.  The services were unique in that they let many of his friends of long acquaintance pay their last tributes of respect at this service.    Practically everyone in the crowded auditorium paid a final tribute by raising their hand in acknowledgment that "Brother" Cook had influenced their lives through his loyal and faithful service to the community.

A recognized leader of the Republican party in Mercer County, he was affiliated with the Knights of Khorassan, Knights of Pythias, and the Masons.

His wife Amanda Jane Cook followed him in death February 7, 1968. Both are buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.


Roy L. Cook, the son of Rev. H. I. and Amanda J. Cook was born November 21, 1901 at Springton, W.Va.  He was educated in the public schools of Rock District, Staunton Military Academy, where he played in the marching band, and the National Business College, Roanoke, Va.

During the late 1920's he worked as bookkeeper and store manager at Covel, W.Va. and Springton, W.Va., was Chief of Police at Matoaka for several years during the 1930's, during World War II he was clerk of the local draft board in the Memorial Building in Princeton and was later a state auditor for the Selective Service System.  He later found employment as an agent of the Internal Revenue Service.  Upon retirement, he owned and operated Cook's Tax Service, Marlinton, W.Va., where he served as an accountant and tax consultant for several years.  He retired to Kegley, W.Va. in 1974, residing there until his death in 1979.

He married Goldie Beatrice Wilkinson, the daughter of Thomas and Etta Quick Wilkinson of Roanoke, Va. June 26, 1924.  They had five children, Lt. Col. Henry Thomas Cook, United States Marine Corps (Ret.), of Norfolk, Va.; Mrs. B. J. (Phyllis) Martin of Princeton, W.Va.; Ms. Joan Elizabeth Byrd of Princeton, W.Va.; Clifton Lee Cook of Richmond, Va. and Roy Leon Cook, Jr. who died in infancy.

He believed a strong defense of the United States is the greatest safeguard to world peace and was on the National Advisory Board of the American Security Council to which he devoted much of his time.  He was a Thirty-second degree Mason and a member of Beni Kedem Shrine Temple.  A ham radio operator (WA8GGI), he was cited for his actions in relaying messages over many hours during the Alaskan earthquake in 1964.

He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.


Henry Thomas Cook was born January 31, 1927 at Roanoke, Va., the son of Roy L. and Goldie B. Cook.  He was educated in the Mercer County Schools, Wesleyan University, Princeton University, Concord College, the University of Michigan, where he received an MBA, the Marine Corps Command & Staff College at Quantico, Va. and Old Dominion University.

A veteran of WWII, the Korean War and Viet Nam, he retired from the United States Marine Corps as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1970.  He taught school in Norfolk for several years and was the comptroller for a local development company before fully retiring.

He married Margaret Ann Allen of Matoaka, W.Va. October 12, 1948.  She is the daughter of the late George L. and Elsie M. Allen.  They have three daughters, Miss Minta Jill Cook, graduate of Old Dominion University, retired from the City of Norfolk; Marla Carol Mooney, graduate of the University of Virginia, with a masters from the Medical College of Virginia and presently employed by Bell Atlantic in Norfolk; and Lori Leigh Diaz, graduate of William & Mary and is now a housewife, caring for her three children after working for General Foods for ten years.

He is a member of the Marine Corps Association, the Retired Officer’s Association, the American Legion, the Military Order of World Wars, the National Rifle Association, a founder of the Norfolk Tea Party, an anti-property tax group, and for several years Chairman of the Republican Party, House of Delegates District 90.

He and his wife are members of the First Baptist Church of Norfolk and reside in Virginia Beach.

 Lt. Col. Henry T. Cook, USMC (Ret.)
Great-great grandson of Thomas Munsey Cook