Information on Escambia's Cooks
By By LYDIA GRIMES – Features Writer
I have had a couple of people contact me over the past couple of weeks wanting me to put something in this column about their families. As I told them, I would be glad to do so if I had the material. However, I do not have anything on the Bailey family, the Lambert family or the Lambeth family. If anyone out there does have something on these families, if you will share it with me, I will put it in my column and maybe get something going on them with other readers.
Another thing I wanted to mention concerns what happened in the old Coon Hill Cemetery a couple of weeks ago. If you haven't heard, some vandals went into this historic cemetery located in Santa Rosa County and did over $2,500 worth of damage to tombstones. To me this is one of the most despicable forms of vandalism. It is a complete lack of respect to those who have gone before to destroy their final resting places. In many cases there may be no one left who can replace those ancient tombstones as many have been there for several decades. It may be that someone thought it would be a way to have a good time, but it is a thoughtless form of entertainment. Maybe those responsible will be apprehended. One can only hope so.
I thought that I would tell you about the Cook family this week. The story of how this family came to be in this area is related in a couple of ways. One story goes that the original Cook was a stowaway on a ship coming to America. He was discovered and put to work in the galley helping the cook. He took the name of Cook when he arrived in America. Another version of the story tells that he was on a wagon train and happened to get separated from his family. He was put to work with a family as their cook and took the name of Cook because of it.
However he got the name of Cook, it is told that his name was George and he married an Overstreet. They settled in the Damascus-Douglas Chapel area of eastern Escambia County and they were the parents of two children; George Cook Jr. and Robert James Cook.
George Cook Jr. (3 May 1855-26 Feb. 1947) married Emma McGowin (5 Dec. 1866-23 April 1950). They were the parents of at least one son, Walter L. Cook (17 Sept. 1882-13 Aug. 1969). He married Mattie Evans (22 July 1892). Among their children was William W. Cook who married Julia Kate Fuqua. William Cook served as a county commissioner for several years beginning in 1964. He now lives in the Damascus community and he is the father of Billy Earl Cook and Gary Cook.
Next week I will continue with this family. I have some information on the family of Robert James Cook.
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