Emory B. & Mary Jane (Benson) Cook and their children Morgan, Ranford, Edward, & Susan and their families. Taken on February 2, 1899 on Emory’s 70th birthday on the front porch of his house. Emory is wearing the fur coat they gave him. (Luella is in the white hat behind him sticking her tongue out)

When through the faculty of memory, I first began to recall my associations with my Grandparents, my father’s family is the one that assumed primary importance. This was no doubt brought about, in part at least, by the fact that we lived in the same neighborhood with them. We had moved back to Coffins Grove in 1894 or early 1895 and were settled on the tenant farm belonging to Irve McGee. The house and buildings for located East of the “Brick School.” The buildings have long since been torn down, but a series of corn bins marked the site the last time I drove past the place.

As I have mentioned, the “Brick School” was located West of us almost at the Crossroads. If one went straight ahead at the crossroad, he came to the “Baker Cemetery” where I early learned that “Aunt Ella” was buried. My father and his sisters had attended the “Brick School.” If one turned out South at the crossroad, he came to the home of my Grandparents, the only house on that stretch of road between crossroads.

My first memories of my Grandparents’ home were of an old weather-beaten house with no paint, it stood much further South than the house on the farm today. There was an upright part of the house which was a story and a half and an “L” with a porch across the front. I do not particularly recall anything about the kitchen except that it usually smelled of cookie baking. I recall that there were quantities of house plants in the kitchen windows. My Grandmother liked flowers. But I do recall the “front room” very plainly. There was too much furniture in it; there were pillows, fancy ones, on all the chairs and on the sofa. They were too fancy for the other furniture; “tidies” decorated all their chair backs. Some work crocheted; somewhere handwork, intricate knotting of threads (akin to today’s macramé), others were needlework. On the walls were framed pictures of relatives in really lovely frames — these were the kin from “back East,” as they were described to us. These frames lacked the extra trim of the Victorian era.

On the North side of the “front room were 2 doors — one lead up to the steep, narrow stairs to the low half story rooms where my father had slept as a young man before his marriage and the small bedroom used by my Aunt Susie. I recall the wide floorboards and the sloping ceilings and the plastered, unpainted wall in the main room. I seem to recall that Suzie’s walls were paper. The left-hand door on the North led into the bedroom shared by my Grandparents. The big double bed with the high headboard took up most of the room. I recall that there was a dresser, but one could hardly see the top of it for it was covered with a little of everything. My Grandmother and Aunt often read about something to make from a jar or a bottle and did a surprisingly good task of following directions, but once they accumulated a “pretty,” they were loath to dispose of it. It seems that my Aunt Ella was very different and insisted on a “place for everything and everything in its place.” If there was no place for a thing, Ella disposed of it.

My early memories of my Grandmother who died in 1901, are of seeing her often and that bed. She had always been susceptible to migraines. After my Aunt Ella’s death, Susie came home from the rural school, which she was teaching, with diphtheria. My Grandmother took the disease. My mother and Grandpa Cook nursed to them through the disease. Evidently, Grandfather was immune. Mother had had a recent bout with it. Grandfather felt that had he gone over to take care of my father that Ella need not have died. I know that it must seem that I place too much emphasis on my Aunt’s death. But if you grow up in a home where your mother reminds you often that you must be an honor to the name you have and tells you about her 5 or 6 years of companionship with her father’s sister, and how she loved her, and how she wished that Ella could know that she (Mary) had kept the promise she had once said to Ella that if she ever had a little girl with blue eyes and light her she would name her Ella. If about once a month as you grew up older your father would forget the passing years and look at you and say “Ella”, and then with a sad face say “sorry, daughter, I forgot… but you are so like her; I confuse the 2 of you” — when your Grandfather calls you “Ella” half the time, and tells you stories of your Aunt, and expresses the wish that you be like her — it becomes a part of you. Then, too, the neighbors were always mentioning her.

After that round with diphtheria, my Grandmother had worse health than ever. Her bedside table was covered with medicines, mostly unapproved by any doctor. Her mother Susan Benson had had a wide knowledge of herbs and plants and had passed on the knowledge to my grandmother. She was proud of her knowledge. How well I recall that bitter tasting tea that she gave me to cure my canker sores. Its taste was unspeakable, but it seemed to help — maybe it was kill or cure.

By the time I have definite recollections of my grandparents, Anna, Malcolm’s oldest child, had come to make her home with our grandparents and to “take Ella’s place,” and “help out.” Anna was only 10 years old and must have been unspeakably lonely. What is more, Anna and I did not get on with “Aunt Susie.” So began a family feud which lasted for 8 years and which colored my memories of my father’s family.

Susie, my father’s youngest sister, was the family families cross. She was talented, bright, unusually pretty, but spoiled, and she wrapped “Pa” around her little finger. She used Anna as a sort of waiting-maid. Anna got along well with Grandmother. When Susie was gone, Grandmother would get out of bed and show Anna how the work should be done and helped her to do it. She introduced Anna to her school books and encouraged her to go to school as much as she could. But when Susie came home weekends, Grandmother often took her to “chair” or bed to escape the uproar of Suzie’s demands.

Suzie had ideas as to what she intended to do with some of Grandmother’s treasured quilts and coverlets. Grandma couldn’t stop her, so I asked Anna to have Ed come in the house the next time he was over there and told him that she did not want Susie to give away her things. “Ed,” said Grandma, “I would rather burn them.” Ed took her at her word, and he had Anna bring down the coverlet’s, and he buried them. Susie was very angry and, of course, blamed Anna. Ed told his father what he had done. I wanted it understood”, he said, “that there was someone in the family to stand up for “Mary Jane.” Grandfather Cook was very fond of his son, so he refused to allow Susie to punish Anna. Susie really never forgave Ed, and as time went on, they pulled farther and farther apart.

Was Susie as bad as she was painted? Who can say? She was not like the rest of the family. Susie fancied herself the favorite of several young men in the neighborhood. One, a Matt Van Alystine, seems to have been her “hero” for years. He was not the marrying kind; he finally died – a bachelor. Susie was an inspired teacher. She taught all the older Satterley’s and they “loved her.” They felt they owed her everything. She read widely and attended educational meetings and County Institutes” and was often 20 years ahead of her times and educational practices. Her school patrons were often confused. For instance, in a day when the old bucket and dipper where the school water supply, she caused considerable uproar by insisting that each pupil have his own drinking cup, and that the school water pale be covered from the flies, and that the dipper be used only to pour water from the bucket into the children’s drinking cups. The parents considered she had “the big head” and was crazy to think that water could have anything to do with making people ill.

She could think up ways to intrigue a child into wanting to study — she taught almost individually, usually using games, but getting results. She was an accomplished seamstress if the outside was the criteria of her success. She scandalized her mother, as well as mine, by not finishing a seem. She would ride her bicycle to Manchester in the morning, buy some material, come home, cut it out, sew it up, use pins for fasteners, if necessary, and wear the dress that night.

She, of all her living children, called her parents “Pa” and “Ma.” “Pa” could seldom refuse her anything. He believed all the stories she told him about Anna — that she was lazy and did not mind. About that time Anna’s older brother Ben came to live there too. This made more trouble. Ben was all boy and was out of one scrape into another. About this time Susie decided to teach the “home school.” She was Anna’s and Ben’s daily critic. She seemed to have a regular vendetta with Ben in school. I have heard him tell that he wore 2 jackets so her switching would not be felt as much. Ed told his father that Susie was too strict with Ben in school and blamed him for every bit of mischief. She punished Anna, too. Anna did what she had done all her life when she was at her grandfathers. She told Uncle Ed and Aunt Mary. Ed spoke to his father. Susie was angry; Grandma became ill; Anna had to stay out of school period she studied at home to keep up. Once more Grandma and Ed had a session, and he told her she could depend on him if she needed anyone to help “stand up to Susie.”

Meantime as I grew old enough to walk and talk, it was understood that I was my Grandfathers “girl.” He was almost equally as fond of Anna. The strange thing was that Susie never seem to feel that I was to be blamed. She was always fond of small children. She made clothes for my doll; she told me stories. So I grew up torn 2 ways. I liked Susie, even though she and my parents were usually agreed to disagree.

My mother, Mary Josephine, was really fond of my Grandfather, and he of her. She tried to be a good daughter to my Grandmother Mary Jane Cook, but she felt that Mary Jane was to “easy” and let the family-run over her. But Aunt Susie was especially fun of my brother Howard who arrived October 21, 1895. He was a very attractive small boy and appealed to both Susie and my Grandmother.

Howard arrived in the world with less drama, but far more comfort to the family than I did. Our father was unaware that he had a son until he heard it in Manchester. He had gone to operate a threshing machine, and with my mother’s history of uncertain birth dates, dad had Mrs. Latimer and my mother’s sister Belle on hand; Jim Nelson was now like one of the family. We were only 3 miles from town; it was fall not winter so we could get the doctor in a hurry. Father was exceedingly pleased that he had a son. Howard was walking at 8 months and was running away when he was 18 months old.

About this time my Grandparents received a letter from their relatives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is not clear to me if these were cousins through my Grandfathers mother Susan Kenyon or his father’s sister. These people were always eluded to as Rose and Theodore Barber and were cousins of my Grandfather — they had 3 children — Mary, Peter, and Eulillia. (Peter had been Ella’s fiancé and still grieved for her. Eulillia, the youngest, graduated in kindergarten from a State Normal in Michigan. She wanted to come to Manchester to start a kindergarten. Grampa and Grandma wanted to be hospitable. They talked to doctor H.A. Dittmer, and he promised to send his daughter Margaret and to talk to his friends. Eulillia hired a bright sunny room, bought little kindergarten chairs, and tables and established herself. I recall visiting it once and wishing I could attend. (Susie, although untrained, insisted that she be hired as Eulillia’s assistant. She rather resented taking directions from Eulillia. All the young men were anxious to meet Eulilla and to take her out. Among these was Matt Van Alstyne. Suzie had a tantrum and decided to get rid of you Eulillia. She got Grandfather to say that Eulillia could not come to their house for weekends anymore. Before they could push Eulillia into going back to Michigan, Ed heard of it; he had loved Ella and felt that he owed Peter’s sister a fair deal. Asking Mary for her permission, he told you Eulillia she was welcome in our house if she could put up with the crowd.

So you Eulillia came to live with Ed and Mary, and her part in their lives left a life-long impression. It seems strange that a young woman could touch so many lives. What was she like? She was unusually pretty, had a good figure and as my mother said: “she could cook, sew, teach school, charm a party, and sing a song.” She lived with us 2 years; we cried when she married and moved away. Most of all she touched my life. She read to me; she told me stories. She gave me “Black Beauty” and “Beautiful Joe,” and she showed me how to make dresses for my paper dolls. She seemed to realize that here was a lonely child with 4 beautiful girl cousins — my mother’s nieces. I was the youngest and had no idea of how to cope with them. This straight-haired blonde child of the Cooks had to compete with “Delia,” a dashing auburn-haired brunette, Alta and Cora, curly headed and fine-featured and the beautiful brunette, Bessie. I could not understand why my hair would not curl. Then you Eulillia decided to “give me curls.” She took the time night after night to wind my hair on rag so that I had long curls. It works surprisingly well. Soon Luella was so used to curls that she could not recall when her hair was straight. After a day at school, before she went out with a young man, Eulillia did my hair — day after day. No one will ever know how her care kept me from falling into an inferiority complex period before matters had gone beyond repair, I began to feel equality.

Then, too, the people who lived with us made much of me. Jim Nelson had been with us when I was born. He spent all his extra money on toys for me. My uncle Peter, mother’s half-brother had run away from home as all the Ellis family did, except Ella. They always came to our house as dad made them welcome. Peter was good to me. Then there was Peter Vlake, a German refugee who bought me a small child’s piano and tried to teach me to play it. He taught me some German, too. Later in college, I recognized the high German words he used. He sold fruit trees but lived with us winters. Later he told us his story, but not for 5 years.

We lived on the McGee place for 5 years. During that time Ed struggled to pay his debts. with a growing family, he listened to you Eulillia tell him that he should educate us, that every child needed to go to school period

Meantime you Eulillia taught the school in the “Grove” across from Barclays. She always came home weekends. She had several suitors. Finally, Charles Hathaway, a country school teacher, won her affection, and she promised to marry him. Ed and Mary told her she could be married from their home. I recall the large number of guests. How we missed her when she was gone. She went to Washington and lived in Snohomish, went to New Mexico and lived in Santa Fe and finally settled in Sarasota, Florida where she died.

Now Ed was ready to branch out. He rented the Bailey place where he had lived with his parents for 10 years as a young man. He was only troubled by the fact that the Evans school was closed and there would be no place to send Luella until she was older. They held a family council and decided that as Anna was in school at the “Brick,” they would start Luella during the spring term after she was 5. So Luella was given a dinner pail by Grandma, but as it was handed to her by Grandpa, she always thought he gave it to her. One morning, dinner pail in hand curls neat and shining, Grandpa took Luella by the hand and lead her to the school. He turned her over to Anna, very proud that he could be the person to take her to her first day of school.

Ed plowed some of the land on the Bailey place but never moved there.

Grandfather Ellis found out he had too much money in the bank so was told to invest it. He decided that the Bailey place was not right for Ed and Mary. He wanted some place where he could give Mary a home and buildings and loan Ed the money to buy more land. So he told Ed to look around. We learned that the Trumblee place was for sale. It had 250 acres. Some of it lay across the railroad track South, but it was good pasture. Grandpa Cook was glad that we would be near him. So, Grandpa Ellis gave Mary 120 acres outright with the buildings and loaned Dad the money to buy the other 130 acres. So, we moved, and in the moving might, ties with my Grandfather Cook were strengthened. In 1898 we bought the place and moved there and 1899. The place was rundown; the buildings needed repair, but we had a home and Grandfather Ellis, and Grandfather Cook was interested in seeing everything work out.

Meantime Grandfather cook decided to build him a house. He had long had the site in mind. He built a square house. The ceilings were high; the rooms were very large. Downstairs were a kitchen, bedroom, sitting room, and parlor and bedroom; upstairs a hall and 4 bedrooms. The house was painted white; it had a pleasant South porch. I think it was in 1900 that the house was finished and all my uncles and Aunts and their Grandchildren and the Coates of Delaware came to celebrate Grandpas 70th birthday — it must have been 1899. Grandfather was so proud of the fur coat his family bought him as a birthday gift. We had a picture taken on the porch of the new house. I recall that everybody thought “Howard was so cute.” I’m not sure if I was jealous or put out but, in the picture, I made a face at the photographer. Whew! Even Grandfather was put out when they finish the picture and saw me — among all the other smiling children with my tongue out. But I recall before I went home that Grandpa took time to give me his attention.

My Grandmother did not live long after moving to the “new house.” She died in 1901 when I was 8 years old. She was never a real person to me until my father made her so in his stories with her early life. Anna was still with my Grandparents. She was almost 18 and had said that she was leaving my Grandparents when she was of age. She would have come to us years before, but we had no right to interfere. So, at 18 Anna came to live with us — and we were so happy. She was “our sister” for 4 long, happy years.

Aunt Suzie had decided to marry — this came about when I was 10. She had a big wedding. She and uncle Walter were to live with Grandfather; Ben left. Lucy Satterley and I had dresses alike for the wedding. We really enjoyed it. Not long afterward we found that Grandfather was unhappy living with Susie. He decided to sell his farm, to divide the money among his children and let them pay him interest. He wanted to live with us. I recall my mother saying that she would not mind living with Grandfather Cook nearly as much as she would with her own father. The one difficulty was the Grandfather was deaf, and he had a vocabulary like a canal driver. When he asked mother if he could come, she said: “yes, if you don’t swear in front of the children.” So Grandfather and his trunk and his featherbed came to live with us. He was with us 5 years. During that time, we (he and I) were boon companions. He talked of his youth, his early marriage and his life in general. We sorted out over 100 letters in his trunk and burned them. How I wish I recalled more of the contents.

Wanting to make his Father comfortable, Ed put in our first furnace. Grandfather sat in his Morris chair which we gave him and enjoyed the chance to read. He always sat in the dining room. He insisted on helping my mother with all the work. It was surprising, what we found to do. He wanted hotcakes for breakfast, so he got up and baked them after mother stirred them up. We used silver forks, knives and spoons and he kept a black handled set and insisted on using them. He ate with his knife, insisted he was taught to do it properly. He helped with the garden; he helped mow the lawn; he turned the washing machine. He wanted to assist in the fields, but Ed put a stop to that. He bought Mary a gasoline engine to run the washer. We called it Susan Puffer. Grampa started it and sat with it until the washing was done. He helped pick berries. He helped prepare vegetables for canning — and he told stories as we work.

Most amusing of all was his way of preventing his swearing in front of the “children.” Instead of profanity, he substituted “Sam Hill”: for his former hotline language. It was funny to see him hammer his thumb, jump up and down yelling “Sam Hill; Sam Hill; Sam Hill.”

On Sundays, we borrowed the pony and the car and took off across country to my uncle, Walter Hilliers. These trips were always enlivened by Grandpa’s stories. I will try and give a sketch of those I recall in the ensuing pages.

“I lived in Chautauqua County, York State most of my early life,” Grandfather said. I was the only boy in a family of girls. There was Maria, Cordelia, Margaret, Martha, and Helen who lived. Besides these, there were 3 girls who died within one year of their birth. I was the third child and was born February 17th, 1829. We moved around from Ellington to Maysville, to Westfield in the county. My father was a farmer and a Carpenter.

I always wanted to go to school. I went to the schools in the winter, but I soon learned that if I wanted to really learn, I must go to the seminary during a winter term. So, I saved my money. So did my sister. We were to have 2 rooms where we could do our own cooking. Then just before school began my father fell out of a loft and broke a leg. I had to go to work to support the family and had to use my school money to pay the doctor. As a result, I lost all my courage to save toward going to school. I decided that I had better learn a trade as soon as I could for that was the only way that I could learn and still support myself at the same time.

I recall that my father and I helped split rails and fence in the first Chautauqua with grounds which were built for permanent use. I was very interested in learning about the speakers and the entertainers who were expected to use the grounds. I never expected that “The Chautauqua” craze would spread across the middle West to Iowa and that people would spend a whole week in midsummer attending afternoon and evening programs in a big tent.

As soon as a winter came when I could be spared, I went to Buffalo, New York and apprenticed myself to a Cooper and Joiner to learn to make barrels and to go to do Carpenter work. There were many boats on the Lake and many barrels were needed for packing fish and other goods to ship to other countries. I learned to make good barrels; I had to learn to put hoops around the barrels, but I was always glad that the man to whom I was apprenticed was critical. Then after a while, I became a journeyman, and then I was able to draw some pay. I worked for several winters at this straight. I did not go home too often because it was hard to travel in the winter. In the summer I went back by way of the lake to help my father on the farms he rented.

My sister Maria married Richard Bennett, and they moved to New London, Ohio. This was my older sister. I had a younger sister, Martha, who was 14 younger years younger than I, who went out to Ohio and married a man whose name was Leroy Thompson. The GAR Army post in New London was named for him because of his service in the war between the states. They never had any children. Maria had 2 children, Mary, and Edgar. Mary married a Mr. McClelland.

About this time, I met Mary Jane Benson. She was about 16 when I first met her. She had a sister Angeline who was about 18 months older. The 2 sisters looked so much alike that they could change partners on the dance floor and their partners could not tell the difference. I knew that Mary Jane’s parents were different, very different. Her mother was very religious and expected the family to go to church on Sunday. Her father had a sawmill and quite a lot of land, and he had been to sea before he married. He had a brother who operated a silk mill in Newark, New Jersey. He used to go to see him every now and then. I always wondered if these trips were ways to escape from the severe religious rules his wife, Susan, set up for the family. They had 16 children; 2 died, and they adopted 2 others to replace them, so the story goes. By the time I met Mary Jane the older children were married. Two had already gone to Iowa with their husbands and families — one was Susan Coates, the other Mercy Dennison.

Finally, I asked Mary Jane to marry me. She did not want to live too far away from her family, so we rented land from her father and were married. We had 3 sons, and then we lost a baby. We buried it on the Benson lot where Mary Jane had a baby brother buried and a brother who had died when she was, he was a young man. She grieved a great deal over the loss of the baby. I wanted to go to Iowa, but she just could not see leaving her mother.

One vacation when I was a young man I had gone over into Ohio to the home of some relatives. One young cousin was about my age, a very pretty girl too. We were haying in the field, and she came out with lunch period she was wearing one of those dresses that looked as if they would slip off the girls shoulder anytime. I happened to mow over a nest of field mice. I threw 3 of the baby mice down the front of her dress. She yelled and screamed, and I thought she would go crazy. (I — Luella — said “What did you do Grampa” — and Grandfather, old as he was, blushed — “I had to take the damn things out).”

On one occasion, I asked Emory (my grandfather) how it happened that he did not drink — when he grew up in an age of drinking. He was a little bitter about his explanation. His father, Benjamin, had told him that liquor was the downfall of the family fortunes. Grandfather said that the family had owned a lot of land and had been well to do. (This seems to have been in the period of Benjamin Cook 1757 – 1818, Emory’s Great Grandfather.) Anyhow the family who had been Quakers seems to have lost their rectitude. They drank and signed away or gambled away their inheritances. Grandfather was not clear about the dates. However, the family Bible has no record of Steven Cook’s family such as the record kept in the preceding century for the descendants of Ebenezer born 1722 to 1807. As Grandpa could remember it, there was his Grandfather Steven, his brother Morgan and 2 other brothers. After the family fortunes were ruined, these 2 other brothers went South. They bought slaves, and in the war between the states, they fought for the South. The families ceased to communicate. (Edward Cook often spoke of Uncle Morg (short for Morgan and really a great uncle) who came out to Iowa and went from Iowa to Missouri, but eventually returned to New York for he is buried near Steven in the Cemetery at Clear Creek. (this is a Cemetery out in the country in Chautauqua County.) Grandfather said he would never squander any money on liquor except an occasional glass or mug.

 Grandfather told me about his sister Helen who was born in 1842 and who married Daniel Pierce in Westfield, New York. She died in 1875. Her youngest child was 4 years old. His name was Frank. He was adopted by a family in Westfield called Colbourne. He came down to the cemetery to see me — Luella — when I was there for the first time. He and he and my father resembled one another a great deal which is not surprising considering that they were first cousins. Helen’s other children were Ernie, Lily, and Cora. Cora died in December 1875 after her mother died in April of that year. She was 16. That probably helps to explain why the children were given away. Ernie was sent to Iowa to Grandfather and Grandmother Cook. He died young and is buried in the Baker Cemetery on the lot with and Ella. The other child Lily was adopted by Grandfather’s sister Cordelia who never married. She continued to make her home in Westfield. Emory went to see her every 2 years. She outlived him by 2 years, dying in 1921. She frequently wrote him for money. Grandfather frequently said “Del” looked after his father and mother until they died. Whether Grandfather went back to New York to his father’s funeral, I do not know.

Grandfather wanted to help do everything that the men were doing. Father had several stallions that he used to sire Percheron or Belgian Colts, and there were barns for each of these animals as well as separate yards for them to exercise in. These yards were made of boards set up right and nailed securely to 2 2X4’s or to trees sawed into crosspieces to nail the boards on. Father warned Grandfather to stay out, but he insisted on sneaking out to carry water to the horses. Somehow he was knocked down, and the skin across the top of his skull was laid back in a 4-inch area or more. Bloody and stubborn, he refused a doctor, but Ed called one anyway. Mary took one look and retreated. The doctor said someone will have to hold this lamp while I sew up his head. So Luella at 12 got her first taste of “helping out when someone was sick.”

2 years before while alone on his own farm (rented then by Walter Hillier) Grandfather attempted to hew a post to a point. The ax, very sharp, glanced off and cut a vein and Grandfathers wrist. He said he almost decided then and there to lie down and just let things end. However, as a fighter, he couldn’t let it pass without a try. He found the place in his wrist where he could partially stop the bleeding and walked to the place where Herbert Prideg now lives, and the blood dripped all the way. Mrs. J. Smith, who lived there then, bandaged the wrist while her husband hitched up a horse, and then they telephoned ahead to the doctor. The trip was a bloody one. When they reach the doctor’s office, Emory, much to his humiliation, found his legs folding as he tried to go up the steps. Old Doctor Bradley was the blunt stitcher of many a scalp, and setter of many a broken leg. He said “damn it, you’ve really done it this time. Here drink this”, and he gave him a drink of whiskey straight and then went in and found the ends of the vein and sew them together.

Meanwhile, Mary Josephine and Suzie had returned to the farm, found the blood, tracked Grandfather and were calling Ed and then Mrs. Smith called, and they found out that Grandad was at the Doctor’s. But he came home and refuse to go to bed. He always said his health was better afterward that he got rid of a lot of bad blood.

At first, automobiles were an insult to Grandfather for he could not control a horse when he met one. The horse insisted on running in opposition to the auto or else it wanted to go over the fence. Twice the horses ran away, and Grandad was hurt. He said when he came to that he heard one woman say, “He surely can swear, can’t he?” As time went on his natural enmity for cars waned and he began to enjoy the speed with which he traveled. In fact, the Winthrop cousins tell that when he was living with them that he frequently growled:, “You won’t let him pass you, will you?”

 Grandfather tore off the old woodshed that we had which was more of a lean-too and built the woodhouse at the farm. He had a platform in the front so that Susan Puffer could operate out there, and the back end of the building was for the wood which Grandfather would split if no one stopped him. He built a wood box for the kitchen. It was a huge affair and with a shelf across the top for the water pails. There was a nail on each side for the dippers. Howard and Luella disliked that wood box for grandpa thought it should be filled. As long as Howard helped, he didn’t, but when the well I had it to do alone, Grandfather was right there doing his share.

In 1912 when Luella graduated from high school, Grandfather was very proud of her scholastic record. He bought her a sugar bowl, creamer and spoon holder for a graduation gift. He told her he wanted her to have something she could use in her own house.

Because he was very deaf, Grandfather often misunderstood what people said. A favorite story deals with the day when they slaughtered a hog which had killed many of mother’s ducks. Mother remarked as they were removing the entrails, “Well that hog won’t kill any more ducks” — and Grandfather replied to the comment which he heard incorrectly “Yes, bring a pan to put in the guts.”

He went to a circus once after he had received $200 in interest money. Someone picked his pocket. He was very angry, but he would not allow anyone to give him any extra money. Said, “If I am such a Sam Hill fool as to allow someone to make a Sam Hill fool out of me, I will just have to learn.”

We got a lawn mower more about that time, the kind that you push. Grandfather, mother, Howard and I used to take turns until we got the lawn mowed. We were so proud; we were the first farmers in our neighborhood to try to keep a nice front lawn. Without Grandfather we would have lost our courage.

Every Memorial Day Grandfather and I used to go to the Bakers Cemetery. Grandfather took a scythe, and as he whetted it, he often told me stories of his early years in Iowa. He said that he would have moved my Grandmother to Manchester, but that he couldn’t get permission to move Ella. He always mowed the lot where my great Grandmother Prudence Walton was buried with my cousin Elmer for, he wanted to “do that for Mary.” Then he would tell me of the way the cemetery was cleaned up, fenced and made respectable. Of course, I recalled those days for I was about 4 to 7 when some of the children of pioneers had supper’s and festivals to collect money to use for the cemetery. We always decorated the graves, a bouquet for each one. Grandfather used to want me to promise that when he was gone, he would depend on me to decorate the Cook Lot. For many years either my mother or I went to the cemetery — now I can’t, I hope Grandfather forgives me.

Every time Aunt Sue found out that Grandfather had money, she borrowed it. You could always tell when that happened; Grandfather was so downcast. Ed tried to persuade him to stand up to her, but he just couldn’t. Finally, dad told him that if he was going to give Susie everything, he had better live with her so she could repay some of it. Grandpa hated to leave us, but he moved to Susie’s. After her death, he moved to uncle Ranford’s where he lived until 1919.

He was quite a man, was Emory; some part was good; some was bad, but he was his own man, and I loved him dearly.

He was almost 91 when he died. It was an awful storm, and the hearse could not get through, So uncle Ranford started out with the coffin and the bobsled after the funeral; father had driven across country but arrived too late for the funeral. They telephoned mother to send someone to the cemetery to help lower the casket. She sent Howard, Avery Satterley, and the hired man and told Uncle Ranford to come to the house for a hot meal, but he thought it safer to start for home while he could still get through.

I recall his (Emory) telling me that I would never be as pretty as my mother was when she married dad. He added that she was like a daughter to him.

In the fall of 1908, Ed was taken ill; was not expected to live. It was an appendicitis attack. When dad was able, he was taken to Chicago for surgery. As soon as doctor Dittmer came home, he telephoned mother to get to Chicago on the double as dad was homesick. Grandfather sort of took over. Our Greeley Aunts took turns doing the work. One Aunt gave Howard and me a very hard time the first week. She did a lot of work but was very critical. Had it not been for Grandfather I do not think we could have taken her scolding’s. Then the other Aunt came — the one we love. She could not do as much work, but we did not mind doing the work; she made us feel proud to do it. She did not tell us how to treat Grandfather; she let us treat him as we wanted to and of course as we loved him. We were friendly toward him; it was the Aunt who changed all the relationships we had with Grandfather that was the cause of Grandfathers often patting us on the shoulder and telling us that Ed and Mary would soon be home.

One man and his commonplace life — but all of us remembered him with respect. Even Anna who left his home loved him. And we did not take kindly to relatives who said that because he was not rich that he was not on a level with their side of the house. He was honest; he worked hard. I love him.

Written by Luella Ellis Cook

2 May 1974

Leave a Comment