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 • Allegan County
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James Cook
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Birth: 1813
Death: Nov. 26, 1892

Dr. James Burnett Cook, son of Amos and Sarah, was born in Seneca County, New York in 1813. His middle name was the maiden name of his paternal great grandmother. As a child, he went to Parsippany Academy where his grandparents lived. This was a very good education for that day. The Parsippany Academy may have been owned by Silas Condit, a Revolutionary War veteran and was in existence until 1928. The Tivoli Garden Apartments, located behind the Morris Hills Shopping Center on Route 46, is on the original site of the Academy.

When he was 16, he ran away from home. He walked from New York City to Buffalo, worked in a grist mill and earned enough money to take a boat from Buffalo to Detroit. During that trip, he helped take six corpses off the ship, victims of cholera.

At some time, he returned home to Seneca County, New York where he met or reconnected with Catherine Beadle, his future wife, who lived in the area. At the age of 24, he married her. John and Catherine had seven children but one child passed away in 1854 at the age of a year and half. His only daughter passed away in 1856 at two months old. All were born in Michigan, except for Asa Owen, who was born while Catherine was staying with her parents in New York.

After they married, John and Catherine moved to Ionia County, Michigan where he enrolled in the University of Michigan to become of doctor of medicine. We have not been able to substantiate that he obtained a degree from the university. In the 1850 Census, he listed himself as student.

He paid for his education by skidding lumber. He also had an opportunity to live with a doctor and assisted him with his practice. During this time, their marriage was in trouble. In a letter written by his wife on November 5, 1855, she indicated that her husband was working day and night and not home more than one night a week. After twenty years of marriage, he left his wife and five children on November 19, 1858, and the next year, married Mary Finch. He had an additional four children with Mary.

Dr. Cook continued to practice medicine for many years in Ionia and Evart, Osceola County, Michigan. After the divorce, Mary and he moved to Saugatuck, Michigan located on Lake Michigan, south of Holland.

In 1862 in Saugatuck , Dr. Cook began practicing with Dr. Stimson, who had just started up there. It is possible that he knew Dr. Stimson while in medical school. As a doctor, Dr. Cook would ride horseback with his medicine in his saddle bags, busy calling on his patients. He and his second wife lived on Culver Street in what was later known as the J.H. Pear house.

Two of his sons fought and died in the Civil War. Amos, James and Catherine's oldest child, died on his way home from disease on November 17, 1862. His second child, Asa Owen Cook, was killed in action at the battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, while carrying the colors on June 3, 1864. He was a corporal in Company D, Eighth Michigan Infantry.

To aid in the war effort, President Lincoln approved the Revenue Act of 1862 and the Internal Revenue Service was formed. On October 31, 1862, James Cook paid $10 in income taxes for being a physician and surgeon. For some reason, he paid a $1 penalty in 1864, along with most of the area residents. He paid another $10 in 1865.

At some point, it appeared that Dr. Cook turned to religion to salve his conscience for leaving his wife for another woman and perhaps for his two sons dying the war. After his death on November 26, 1892, he was remembered as one who could quote Scripture from cover to cover. He was buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Saugatuck.
Riverside Cemetery
Allegan County
Michigan, USA
Created by: Nelson Huseby
Record added: Nov 30, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31842207
James Cook
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Paula Berry Nelson
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- For John Kemp
 Added: Apr. 26, 2016

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