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Joshua Flood Cook
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Birth: Jan. 14, 1834
Shelby County
Kentucky, USA
Death: May, 1912
La Grange
Lewis County
Missouri, USA

Joshua Flood Cook (1834-1912) was born near Bagdad, KY (some 40 miles east of Louisville) on Jan 14, 1834. He died in LaGrange, Missouri in May, 1912. Joshua was the son of Lucy Flood (1802-1865) and William Fredrick ("Billy Dick") Cook (1802-b/f 1855). William and Lucy Cook's other children were Joseph, Alexander, Mary and Abraham. At age 13, Joshua thought he would become a blacksmith and undertook a three-year apprenticeship (1847-50).
In 1850 young Joshua moved to Missouri and lived for four years with his uncle, the well known Baptist preacher, Noah Flood [. . . ] In Missouri Joshua went to Fayette High School in Howard County. [. . .] In 1854, Joshua returned to Kentucky and became a student at Georgetown College, where he graduated in 1858. [. . .]

On Nov. 4, 1858, Joshua married Susan Goode Farmer (1838-1890). Sue Farmer was born August 8, 1838 in Kentucky and died in Missouri on May 10, 1890. She was the namesake of her grandmother, Susan Goode (1783-1864) who had been born in the Skinquarter section of Chesterfield County, Virginia, the daughter of a locally well known dissenting Baptist preacher, John Goode (1739-1792). Sue's mother, Katherine Spencer Hawkins Farmer (1814-1851) died when Sue was thirteen. [. . .] Susan attended Georgetown KY Seminary, a kind of finishing school for young women. Joshua Cook and Susan Farmer no doubt courted while both of them attended school in Georgetown. They may have known each other as children, growing up in Shelby County KY. [. . .]

In 1858, Joshua Cook, the newly married, newly minted college graduate and preacher became chaplain of New Liberty Female College (now defunct), New Liberty, KY. In 1859, at age twenty-five, Joshua was made president of this institution and held that post until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. [. . .]

Susan and Joshua had four children: John Ernest (1860-1926), Lula (1862-1943), William Flood (1868-1947) and Cecil Virgil (1871-1948). The Rev. John Ernest Cook was born in Kentucky, July 17, 1860; Lula was born in Corinth, Mississippi August 27, 1862, William Flood, in LaGrange, Missouri, Feb 2, 1868; Cecil Virgil (1871-1948) was also born in LaGrange, Dec. 10, 1871.

In 1861, J.F. Cook left New Liberty College and moved his family to Summit, Mississippi, where he became a school teacher and chaplain to Confederate Army troops. [. . .]
On Sept. 7, 1866, Joshua Cook once again was chosen to be president of a college, this being a co-educational school then known as the LaGrange Male and Female Seminary. The college was located in LaGrange, MO, a small town on the banks of the Mississippi River about 110 miles north of St. Louis. Joshua was thirty-two. In 1868, Joshua was awarded an honorary doctorate (LL.D.) from Baylor University, Waco, TX. He was ever after referred to as Dr. J.F. Cook.

In 1879, the name of the seminary was changed to LaGrange College. Joshua held the presidency of LaGrange College for thirty years. In the twentieth century, after Joshua had passed from the scene, the college relocated to nearby Hannibal, MO and became Hannibal-LaGrange College. [. . .]

Joshua Cook's 30-year tenure (1866-96) at LaGrange College was generally viewed as a success by contemporaries. He was said to have assumed charge and then saved the school, when it had but a single dilapidated building, no money in the bank and a debt burden of $10,000, a sum equivalent to many times that amount by the standards of today. Reflecting on his tenure in a letter to son Cecil, J.F. Cook recalled in 1912 how hard the task was. "The thirty years here [LaGrange] were too much. No living soul knows what I went through those years. Wonder I am living and that I have any mind." [. . .]

Soon after moving to LaGrange, Joshua and Sue Cook built a 14-room brick mansion at the edge of the college campus. They moved into it in 1868. Their residence "on the hill" was the focal point of fund raising and social activities for the college. At graduation, an elaborate reception, a "levee," would be conducted at the President's home. J.F. Cook also organized an alumni association and encouraged alumni to support the school.

During all of the years at LaGrange, Sue Cook was helpfully at Joshua's side. The mother of four children, she nevertheless fulfilled the social requirements that fell to the spouse of a college president. Sue Farmer Cook also continued to look after her Farmer siblings in Kentucky, whom she had helped care for after their mother had died young. Following her move to Missouri, Sue influenced her brothers to join her and Joshua there. [. . .] Ellery Farmer, the Farmer family genealogist, concluded that Sue influenced virtually all of her siblings to move from Kentucky to Missouri. [. . .] During the 1880's, college enrollment exceeded the University of Missouri and the college was widely acknowledged for its co-educational focus. One may surmise that Sue Cook was a stimulus and advocate for the education of women. Daughter Lula attended and graduated from LaGrange College.

While in charge of the college, J.F. Cook exercised his calling as a Baptist minister. For at least fourteen years he was pastor of Dover Baptist church in Pike County, Missouri. The church building, constructed in 1862, still stands: Route D, Calumet Township. In May, 1890, a delegation from this congregation attended the funeral of Susan Cook, who had died on LaGrange College commencement day. [. . .]

Sue Cook's death was a severe blow to the morale of her husband. President Joshua Flood Cook, the public man, acknowledged this. In August, 1890, two short months after Sue Cook's death, J.F. Cook, was observed to be "somewhat depressed" when he attended the Wyaconda Baptist Association's annual meeting; he mentioned that he might resign from the school. But the Association, as partners with him through the trustees of the college, offered Joshua a lifetime contract and over-pledged funds for needed improvements. He returned home, it was reported, "inspired, and determined to make renewal efforts and think no more of surrendering this charge until relieved by physical infirmity." [. . .]

J.F. Cook continued at LaGrange College for a full thirty years, resigning in 1896. He then promptly assumed the presidency of Webb City College, Webb City, MO, and continued there until his final retirement in 1900. In that year Joshua returned to LaGrange and lived there until his death in 1912.

Joshua was married three times: his first wife, as stated, was Susan Goode Farmer (1838-1890); they wed on Nov. 4, 1858. In May 1891, a year after Sue's death, Joshua married Bessie Hughes of Saline County, Missouri. They had no children. Bessie died of tuberculosis on May 8, 1894, almost four years to the day after the death of Joshua's first wife. In 1895, Joshua married Drucilla Hirons (1869-Nov 12, 1962). They became the parents, in 1905, of Howard Elliott Cook (1905-1956); Joshua was then seventy-one years old. Howard Cook, a librarian on Wake Island in December 1941, was captured and spent more than three years as a Japanese prisoner of war, held in Shanghai. Suffering from lingering traumatic stress after the war, Howard required care the rest of his days. Both Howard and Drucilla (known in the family as "Aunt Drucy") are buried beside J. F. Cook, in LaGrange. [. . .]

Knowing he was dying, Joshua, in 1912, wrote a loving, last letter to his youngest son, Cecil ("My precious Boy"), then 41 years old. Fortunate to have such an affectionate, affirmative statement from our ancestor, we give Joshua Flood Cook the last word.

"As a grandfather if possible I grow more affectionate. I love all my children as my own soul and D__ [wife, Drucilla] as a part of myself body and soul. I believe man and wife are one and in everything & praying for you and yours - Blanche & Dorland as one body. I think I pray for you one hundred times or more a week. Some nights I hear the clock strike every hour and 1/2 hour for ten hours. I just lie and try to sleep but fail. I always remember you at times you preach - earnestly every Sunday. . .

I have lain down & rested & I want to close this with every expression of love. I do love you and thank you for your constant love and goodness to me. God bless you and yours always. My prayers to my dying hour will be for you and should I get to heaven and if it is possible I will be praying for you there. Dear little Howard and I have a prayer service every night. - he prays sweetly "for all our dear ones" often by name - "for forgiveness of sins - to be kept from sin and that in the ‘sweet by and by' we may meet on the beautiful shore" - I am doing my best to direct him heavenward - sometimes, often he closes – ‘may we light in that beautiful world at last.'

Good bye
Bushels of love to all,

The biography of Joshua Flood Cook is excerpted from ALL OF THE ABOVE II, a history of the Cook family and related family lines. For details, see the information page for contributor, Richard Baldwin Cook, #47181028.
Family links: 
  Susan Goode Farmer Cook (1838 - 1890)
  Bessie H Cook (1861 - 1894)
  Drusilla Margaret Hirons Cook (1869 - 1962)
  Cecil Virgil Cook (1871 - 1948)*
  Howard Elliott Cook (1905 - 1956)*
*Calculated relationship
Note: Same stone with Sue G. & Bessie H.
Riverview Cemetery
La Grange
Lewis County
Missouri, USA
Maintained by: Richard Baldwin Cook
Originally Created by: Lillie Riney
Record added: Sep 25, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 7905496
Joshua Flood Cook
Added by: John Stoutimore
Joshua Flood Cook
Added by: Carolyn Wickens
Joshua Flood Cook
Cemetery Photo
Added by: WildGeese15
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Lillie Riney
 Added: Sep. 19, 2009

- Jeannette Zsemba
 Added: Sep. 18, 2009

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