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John Cook, Pioneer settler of Illinois, One of the 
Founders of the Town of Collinsville 

John Cook, subject of this sketch, was born in Hesse-Hom- 
berg, Germany, January 1st, 1769. He came to America dur- 
ing the Eevolutionary War and with his parents settled at 
Little York, Pennsylvania. They afterward removed to 
Shepherdstown, Virginia, (now West Virginia), where they 
resided until he reached the age of manhood. 

He left his father's home one Sunday morning to spend the 
day with friends near Sharpsburg, Maryland. He mounted 
his pony and with two companions crossed over the Potomac 
Eiver to Sharpsburg. On reaching Sharpsburg they learned 
of a company that was then being formed to go west. They 
proceeded no farther, joined the company and without return- 
ing home, journeyed westward with them. They finally 
reached St. Louis, a western town which was at that time 
coming into prominence, he (Mr. Cook) riding his pony all 
the way. Leaving St. Louis, he came to Illinois. In the year 
1810 he located on the present site of Collinsville and built 
the first cabin there. He married Catharine Cox, daughter of 
Anthony Cox, who lived at the foot of the bluffs west of Col- 
linsville, and for some years they lived in this first home. They 
afterwards removed three and a half miles east of Collins- 
ville and settled on the farm where they spent the remainder 
of their lives. 

Six children were born to them, four sons and two daugh- 
ters, namely : Wesley, born 1813 ; Mary, 1815 ; William, 1818 ; 
Harrison, 1820; John and Catharine (twins) 1824. The two 
older children were born in the first home. 

March 27th, 1844, John Cook died, aged seventy-five years. 
His wife, Catharine Cox Cook, who was twenty-one years his 


junior, being born April 3rd, 1790, survived until November, 
1863, when she died, aged nearly seventy-four years. They 
were both laid to rest in the cemetery on the farm where they 
spent the most of their married life. The monuments erected 
to their memory are still standing. John Cook and wife were 
Baptists, members of Bethel Church. 

John Cook, though not a large land owner, was possessed 
of considerable property, which he bequeathed to his wife and 
children; Jacob Cox, his wife's brother, and Robert Lemen, 
a neighbor, witnessing his will. 

Several of Mr. Cook's descendants reside in Madison Coun- 
ty. Three, a grandson and two granddaughters, children of 
William Cook, reside in the vicinity of CoUinsville. They are 
I. W. Cook of Troy, Anna C. Maurer and Matilda Cook, who 
reside east of CoUinsville, near the old homestead. 

Mr. Cook never returned to his old home in Virginia, nor 
did he again see his father or mother, but some of his brothers 
visited him in his western home, one brother locating in Mis- 
souri and one or two in Illinois. 

The following additional statement as to the subject of our 
sketch was copied for us by J. B. Lemen of 'Fallon, Illinois, 
from the historical and biographical writings of his father, 
the late Rev. James Lemen of Ridge Prairie, St. Clair County, 
Illinois, who kept a journal containing brief sketches of the 
pioneer Illinois families, and State and church matters and 
events generally, and we will just insert the full sketch which 
bears the date of June 10th, 1865, and is as follows: ''John 
Cook, of German extraction, removed from Virginia and 
settled in Illinois at an early date on the present site of Col- 
linsville, being the first settler there. Like the pioneer Lem- 
en 's and Ogle's, he was anti-slavery in sentiment, and like 
them, politically, a friend and follower of Thomas Jefferson. 
He married Miss Catharine Cox and presently they moved 
some three miles east of CoUinsville where they secured, a 
farm, made them a comfortable home and reared their family. 
He was a successful farmer. In their views both Mr. Cook 
and wife were Baptists and members of Bethel Church, living 
and dying in that faith. He died at a ripe old age, greatly 


esteemed by all who knew him. His wife, a most excellent 
Christian lady, twenty years his junior, died recently. She 
was a sister of the genial and widely known Jacob B. Cox. In 
early times the Cox ancestors came from England to America 
and settled in Virginia. The parents of Catharine and Jacob 
(Virginians) settled in Illinois at an early day near Col- 

Thus closes the biography of John Cook, a pioneer resident 
of Illinois and first settler of CoUinsville, as gleaned from 
the records handed down to his descendants, and which has 
not been published in full in any history of our country or