Research Thoughts

A Face to a Name

I grew up hearing about the Cook Tragedy. The day  that the Lady Elgin sank, and my 3rd times great-grandmother Jane McGarvy/McGarvey Cook, drowned in Lake Michigan with $12,000 in gold pieces sewn into the hem of her dress. Her daughter perished with her, but her son miraculously survived. 

This tragedy almost ruined the Cook family, as Jane was returning to Wisconsin from Canada with the money that they had planned to use to pay for the six farms that they had secured. 

For most of my life, this is all that I knew about Jane. Other than what was included in a 1910 newspaper article by Lieut. Col. J. A. Watrous, which states: “…The father was utterly crushed. The great heart, strong intellect, the master mind, the loving, successful planner and leader, the pilot of the interesting family was no more; her going meant final disaster to the father, irreparable loss to nine surviving boys and girls…” 1 

That is until this summer when I happened upon an image of Jane on ancestry.com. In contacting the owner of the tree, I was put in touch with a cousin in Canada, the owner of the image. The image is also on familysearch.org at this link: https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/memories/L7J1-RG9 

Finally I was able to put a face to the name Jane McGarvy/McGarvey Cook. Jane was born 15 Dec 1810 2 3 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She married William Palmer Cook on 28 Mar 1832 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 4 They would have twelve children, including two sets of twins. I can only imagine!

This image of Jane is in the family archives of her 2nd great-granddaughter, through Jane’s daughter Loretta. Loretta and her twin, Watson Henry, were the 4th born to William and Jane. Well, to be truthful, the 4th and 5th born. It is believed that at the time that the family moved to Wisconsin in 1856, Loretta was stayed in Canada with her aunt, Jane’s sister, Elizabeth, and her husband, John Elliott. 

In conversation with Loretta’s grand-daughter, we believe that this image of Jane was taken in 1860, during her last visit home. Jane and Elizabeth’s mother, Elizabeth Eaken McGarvy was still alive, and I can sympathize with her as a mother of children living miles away, how important it would be to have an image of her daughter. In fact there is also an image of Jane and Elizabeth that appears to have been taken at the same time. 

There are many stories published in print, and on the web, about the Lady Elgin disaster, and also the Cook story. In another post I will add my view of what happened to the mix. But it all starts with looking Jane in the face. This woman who is said to have had a great heart, a strong intellect, was the master mind, the loving, successful planner and leader, and the pilot of the Cook family.

 

NOTES:

  1. “Historical Sketch of the Cook Family,” The Marshfield News, 14 Apr 1910, Thursday, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 12 Jan 2018).
  2. Frederick Douglas Hamilton Cook and Kathryn Ellen May (Somerville) Cook, Echoes from Andrew and Anna: A Historical/Genealogical Story of Andrew & Anna Christina (Palmer) Cook – The Gentle Cook Embrace, 2 volumes (Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada: The Andrew Cook Genealogical Society, 1992), II: 958. NOTE: This source lists her birth year as being 1809. See Footnote #3 for further information.
  3. Frederick Douglas Hamilton Cook and Kathryn Ellen May (Somerville) Cook, Echoes from Andrew and Anna: A Historical/Genealogical Story of Andrew & Anna Christina (Palmer) Cook – The Gentle Cook Embrace, 2 volumes (Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada: The Andrew Cook Genealogical Society, 1992), II: 958. NOTE: This source lists her birth year as being 1809. See Footnote #3 for further information.
  4. Ontario Archives of Ontario, Toronto, marriage certificate reel 2, vol 10, page 67 (1832), William Cook-Jane Mc Garvey; digital image,  “District Marriage Registers, 1801-1858,”Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 Oct 2010).
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *