|Birth: ||Aug. 17, 1835|
|Death: ||Aug. 7, 1916|
LITTLE ROCK'S FIRST FULL TIME UNDERTAKER
James Cook was born August 17, 1835 in Alabama. He settled in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1860. He courted and married Miss Mary S. Cowgill, a member of a prominent Little Rock pioneer family.
When the Civil War broke out, he joined Woodruff's Battery being formed in Little Rock by Gazette editor William E. Woodruff. Cook saw action in all of the important battles west of the Mississippi River. He later joined Blocker's Battery and advanced to the rank of Second lieutenant.
After the war he returned to Little Rock and became junior partner in 1869 with Francis J. Ditter who operated a combination carpenter's amd undertakers' shop at 216 East Markham. When Mr. Ditter died on September 13, 1870, he was buried in Mount Holly Cemetery. Mr. Cook purchased full control of the business, renaming it: James Cook, Undertaker. He kept the same store front location at 216 E. Markham and closed out the cabinet making and carpentry side of the business so he could devote full time to the undertaking business.
He and his wife had a cottage built at 605 East 6th Street (in the present day Quapaw District in downtown Little Rock), and moved into it in April, 1873. In 1896, their only son, Frank, joined the business and it was called James Cook & Son, Undertakers & Embalmers. In 1910, they added ambulance service to their line of business.
On March 24, 1915, Frank died at age 47 and was buried in the new Cook Family plot on Jassamine Street in Mount Holly. Besides his heartbroken parents, Frank was survived by his wife, Allie Watson Cook, and a daughter, Glynne Cook.
The elder Mr. Cook continued the successful business until he died August 7, 1916 at his home. The funeral was held in his home with burial at Mt. Holly, next to his beloved son. Mrs. Cook died October 18, 1924, and was buried on the other side of their son so that his grave in between theirs -- together forever.
The funeral home was bought by R.F. Drummond, a Newport undertaker who moved to Little Rock to operate the firm. The firm continues today as Roller/Drummond Southwest as a part of the Roller group of Little Rock.
After Mrs. Cook's death, her granddaughter, Mrs. Glynne Cook Dickinson, and her husband, John Allen (Sonny) Dickinson, a well known Little Rock business leader and sportsman, resided in the home. He died at age 42 on April 22, 1934 at a doctor's office, and was buried on the Cook plot at Mount Holly. Frank's wife, Allie, died July 9, 1959 and was buried on the Cook plot also. Mrs. Dickinson remarried to Mike Meyer of Van Buren and moved from the longtime Cook home. She died July 29, 1969 amd was buried at Mount Holly Cemetery by John Healey of Health & Roth Funeral Home. The home on 6th Street was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Louis Rhein.
Information by Dr. Jim Moshinskie, February 16, 2008
This article was printed in the Quapaw Quarter Quarterly in 1977, and also in Early Arkansas Undertakers, a book written in 1977 by Dr. Moshinskie on pioneer undertakers in the state.
Mary Susan Cowgill Cook (1845 - 1924)*
Frank Joseph Cook (1867 - 1915)*
Mount Holly Cemetery
Created by: Jim (Dr. Mo) Moshinskie,...
Record added: Feb 16, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 24680187