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Franklin Co. Biographies

COOK, John Henry

Author: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1923, Vol. III pg.269-70

COOK, JOHN HENRY has not only gained precedence as one of the leading
representatives of the real estate, abstract and insurance business in the
City of Apalachicola, which has been his home since childhood, but is known
also as one of the most vigorous and progressive exploiters and “boosters” of
the attractions and advantages of Franklin County and its judicial center.
Mr. COOK was born in the City of Bremen, Germany, December 8, 1874,
and is a son of ALBERT and ANNA LANGE, the father having died in that city in
the following year. Within a short time after the death of her husband the
widowed mother came with her infant son to Apalachicola to make her home with
her brother, JOHN COOK, who had here established his residence in 1852 and who
developed a large and prosperous cotton lighterage business on the
Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola rivers, Apalachicola having been in that
period an important cotton-export city. The subject of this sketch was
formally adopted by this uncle, JOHN COOK, and thus has not since borne his
father’s surname. His mother continued to reside at Apalachicola until her
death in 1909.
The pubic schools of Apalachicola afforded Mr. COOK his early
education, which was supplemented by three years of attendance in the
University of the South. Thereafter he was for fifteen years actively
associated with the lumber industry, first as timekeeper and later as office
manager at Apalachicola for the Cypress Lumber Company of Boston,
Massachusetts, which at that time operated the largest lumber mills in this
section of Florida. He continued his connection with this corporation until
1913, when he established his present real estate, abstract and insurance
business, in which his success has been on a parity with his progressive
policies and careful and honorable dealings.
While the business of Mr. COOK has placed exigent demands upon his
time and attention, he has not permitted his private enterprise to curb in the
least his civic loyalty and public spirit. He has given characteristically
effective service as a member of the City Council, was for two years chairman
of the Board of Education of Franklin County, and to his credit is a specially
progressive administration during two terms of service as mayor of
Apalachicola, 1918-22. In 1915 he represented Franklin County in the State
Legislature, where he made a record of constructive service and was author of
the special bill by which the commission form of municipal government was
secured for Apalachicola. On the 16th of January, 1914, Mr. COOK became one
of the incorporators and the first secretary of the Apalachicola Chamber of
Commerce, of which vital organization he is president at the time of this
writing, in 1922. In the World war period he was chairman of the committee in
charge of the Franklin County campaigns, in support of the Government war
loans, besides being active and influential in the furtherance of other local
patriotic service. On January 27, 1922, he was appointed county judge of
Franklin County.
In the Masonic fraternity Mr. COOK is a past master of Apalachicola
Lodge No. 76, A. F. and A. M., besides being affiliated with Florida Chapter,
R. A. M., in his home city; St. Omer Commandery, Knights Templars, at
Tallahassee; and Morocco Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Jacksonville. He
finds his chief recreation in hunting and fishing expeditions.
Mr. COOK and his wife are earnest communicants of Trinity Church,
Protestant Episcopal, and he is serving as a member of its vestry. Mrs. COOK
is specially interested and active in the work of the Parent-Teachers’
Association, in her home city, as well as in cultural, charitable and
benevolent affairs. She is a popular figure in the representative social life
of the city. And is affiliated with the Daughters of the Confederacy.
The year 1909 recorded the marriage of Mr. COOK and Miss MARIETTA
PORTER, who was born in South Norwalk, Connecticut, a daughter of the late
FRANK T. PORTER, who represented Florida as a gallant young soldier of the
Confederacy in the Civil war, and who later was associated with G. W. SAXON in
founding the Apalachicola State Bank, of which he served many years as
president. His father, RICHARD GIBBS PORTER, born in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, came to Apalachicola in 1838 and here became prominently
identified with the cotton business. Mr. and Mrs. COOK have three children:
JOHN FRANCIS, MARGARET PORTER and IDA JANET.






Transcribed by Nancy Rayburn

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This page presented August 19, 2010