Blog

Still Troubles Him

I am a compulsive searcher when it comes to newspapers, I just love them. The fact that new pages are continually added, and best of all, pages are re-scanned which sometimes will produce a better image, I can’t get enough. A recent search for “Jacob Cook” in the Appleton, Outagamie County, Wisconsin newspapers told, in his own words, how he was injured during the Civil War while fighting in the Battle of Cold Harbor. For this post, I am including the story of his Civil War years that I published in my book A Snapshot: Jacob Harrison Cook,[1] along with links to actual images from the battlefield, and then adding another layer to the story by including his words published 28 Sep 1899, in the Appleton Weekly Post.[2]

“…Just seven months after the Lady Elgin disaster, April 12, 1861, Civil War broke out between the states. On April 27, 1861, Jacob headed to Taycheedah, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin to enlist for a term of three years into Company I, 5th Wisconsin Infantry. He was mustered in as a Sergeant July 12, 1861, at Camp Randall, in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin.[3]

Jacob may have mustered in as a Sergeant, but he did not remain a sergeant for long. In November 1861 he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, and then on December 24, 1861, while in the field of Virginia, he was commissioned to 1st Lieutenant…”[4]

“…Jacob continued to prove himself a brave and capable soldier as on May 12, 1863, he was commissioned Captain of Co. I, 5th Wisconsin Infantry, mustering out as Captain J. H. Cook on September 26, 1864, from Annapolis Maryland.”

“His biography included in the Soldiers’ and Citizens’ Album of Biographical Record, tells the tale best in the flowery voice of 1888: ‘Mr. Cook’s first engagement was at Williamsburg and he was one of the detail that made the famous bayonet charge on Fort Magruder, the first in the war. The capture of the battle flag of the 5th North Carolina by the 5th Wisconsin in that action, was one of the first instance in the war when a regimental flag was taken.’ ‘Mr. Cook was in all actions known to history as the Seven Days Battles, being constantly on duty throughout, with the exception of a few hours on Friday, June 27th. He continued unhurt until the last terrific action. At White Oak Swamp, June 30, he was severely injured in his back and sustained a rupture on the left side. [In the act of changing the regiments position ‘on Double quick,’ Jacob ‘sliped on the Root of a Tree and Fell a cross a hedge Hurting his Back and Left Groin.’[5]] [https://civilwarphotos.net/files/images/779.jpg] He was under treatment at Washington Naval Hospital two months and through the winter following he served on court martial duty; he rejoined his regiment near Alexandria in time to participate in the movements at Fredericksburg, where the Wisconsin 5th was deployed to act as reserve. Early in 1863, the ‘Light Division’ was formed, and the regiment incorporated therein, having a well established reputation for reliability in action and emergencies, and the regiments composing that body were, from that day placed where danger was most certain. May 3rd [1863], Mr. Cook participated in the charge on Marye’s Heights, regarded as a hopeless attempt, but which the spirit of the soldiers made successful, and he was again in reserve at Gettysburg. [https://civilwarphotos.net/files/images/381.jpg] In July the regiment was sent to New York to aid in the enforcement of the draft and was stationed on Governor’s Island several months, where the command had artillery drill which served them well in their subsequent experience in action. At Rappahanock Station [Virginia, November 7, 1863] the 5th led the advance and suffered terrific loss. The fight at Spottsylvania [sic] was commenced May 10, 1864, and, on that day Mr. Cook received a blow in the right eye from some unknown missile, which caused great suffering at the time and has resulted in the almost total loss of vision in that eye. He did not leave his post of duty and, two days after, with four others, during the daring movement made by General Hancock re-took and operated a gun which the squad had discovered to be abandoned. They sighted the gun and, afterwards learned that their first fire swept away 42 men in the line of battle. They fired their first six-pounder until all shot in the caisson were exhausted, and three of their number had joined the ‘great majority,’ Captain Cook and Adelbert Norton only remained to relate the incident. In the battle of Cold Harbor in June [1st, 1864], [https://civilwarphotos.net/files/images/329.jpg] Captain Cook was severely wounded, a bullet passing through his right thigh, which still ‘holds fort.’ He passed three days in an army wagon before arriving at White House Landing, and three days after at Alexandria, VA., he first received medical care, six days after being shot. He was in hospital two months, and went home to furlough, returning to Annapolis to be discharged [September 27, 1864].’[6]

The wound that Jacob received in the battle of Cold Harbor took a long time to heal. His hospital record dated July 7, 1864[7] states that there is still much inflammation in the limb, and he was still experiencing fever; he was given a leave of absence of 30 days. As stated above, he ‘went home to furlough.’ On August 2, 1864, his physician in Fond du Lac, Dr. Edmund Delany wrote a letter certifying that Capt. J. H. Cook had been under his ‘care and attendance since July 12, 1864 – that he is still entirely unable for duty; and that he is not yet able to travel without serious inconvenience, and probable injury.’ Dr. Delany did not think it was ‘proper’ for him to travel for at least another 30 days.[8] On August 30, 1864, he was in Madison at Camp Randall for a checkup with Dr. C. B. Pierson, surgeon for the 28th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Dr. Pierson found that he was ‘still entirely unfit for duty, and also, in my judgement, he is at present unable to travel without serious inconvenience, and probable injury,’[9] he recommended that his leave to be extended an additional 20 days. As previously noted, Jacob never did return to active duty, but traveled to Annapolis to the army hospital to be examined, and on September 27th he was discharged from duty.

During the two months that Jacob was in Wisconsin on furlough, he rekindled his friendship and romance with Anna Eliza Halsted, and on August 26, 1864, they were wed by Justice of the Peace, W. C. Kellogg, in the Town of Friendship, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. They were wed in the home, and in the presence of Conner and Kate Healy, brother-in-law and sister of Jacob.

Notice the bandage on his right leg, all the way down to his foot.

Following his discharge from Co. I, 5th Wisconsin Infantry, Jacob returned to Wisconsin settling in Stockbridge, Calumet County, Wisconsin. Shortly after returning home he filed for an invalid pension, filling out the Declaration for an Invalid Pension form on November 12, 1864, he was just 23 years old. His sisters, Kate Healy and Sarah J. Drake witnessed the document, attesting to the fact that his sole occupation since returning home had been ‘taking care of his leg…”[10][11]

Many years later in September 1899, now 58 years old, Jacob was an elected justice of the peace in Appleton, Outagamie County, Wisconsin, and the Appleton Weekly Post wrote a piece about him, and the bullet that was never removed from his leg, which now “occasionally confines him to the house for several days at a time” due to rheumatism. 

Jacob H. Cook August 1906, Neenah, Wisconsin

“…In response to questions as to how he was wounded, the Captain said that his company, which was supporting a battery, was ordered down a slope about forty rods in front of the guns, who were in hiding in the words. The men were in a kneeling position and had been in that position only a few minutes when the Captain fell forwards on his face. Upon regaining his balance he looked at the men on either side and they in turn looked at him, all realizing that some one had been hit, as they had heard the ‘spat’ of a bullet. It was not until the Captain endeavored to regain his feet that he realized he had been wounded. He felt no pain at the time, and did not for several minutes. The bullet struck his limb about half way between the knee and thigh, and passed at an angle from one side nearly through to the other. He was placed in an army wagon with three others, and on account of being surrounded by rebels was three days in reaching Whitehouse Landing where he was placed on a boat that required three days to reach Alexandria. Here he was placed in a hospital where he received his first medical attention. During the six days his limb had swollen to such an extent that the physicians found it very difficult to remove his clothing. An effort was made to remove the bullet but did not prove successful.”

“Ever since he was wounded he has been compelled to carry a cane, and expects to as long as he lives.”[12]


[1] Fassbender, Susan C., A Snapshot: Jacob Harrison Cook (Appleton, Wisconsin, Self-published, 2006), 4-6.

[2] “Still Troubles Him,” The Appleton Weekly Post, 28 Sep 1899, Thursday, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, Newspapers.com(www.newspapers.com : accessed 11 Oct 2019).

[3] Company Muster-in Roll Card, Jacob H. Cook, Book mark: 9334-D-86. Veteran Record of Jacob H. Cook, National Archives and Records Administration, Veteran Records, Washington DC.

[4] Fassbender, A Snapshot: Jacob Harrison Cook, 4.

[5] General Affidavit for Any Purpose, State of Wisconsin. Jacob H. Cook, Invalid Pension, Sworn testimony of William Billings, Wild Rose, Waushara County, Wisconsin, 9 Mar 1886.

[6] Grand Army Publishing Company, Soldiers’ And Citizens’ Album of Biographical Record, (Chicago, Illinois. Grand Army Publishing Company, 1888), 288-289.

[7] Hospital Patient Record Number 6493, 7 Jul 1864. Veteran Record of Jacob H. Cook, National Archives and Records Administration, Veteran Records, Washington DC.

[8] Edmund Delany, Physician & Surgeon to Whom it may concern, 2 Aug 1864. Veteran Record of Jacob H. Cook, National Archives and Records Administration, Veteran Records, Washington DC.

[9] C. B. Pierson, Surgeon, 38th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, 30 Aug 1864. Veteran Record of Jacob H. Cook, National Archives and Records Administration, Veteran Records, Washington DC.

[10] Fassbender, A Snapshot: Jacob Harrison Cook, 5-6.

[11] Declaration for Invalid Pension, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington DC, 12 Nov 1864. Invalid Pension Record for Jacob H. Cook, National Archives and Records Administration, Invalid Pension Records, Washington DC, Application no. 55279, certificate no: 37916, 19 Nov 1864.

[12] “Still Troubles Him.”

Swallow-Tail Coat and A Plug Hat

June 16, 1927 was the date that twenty-six-year old Gretje Sophia Tapper, daughter of Anton and Louise Tapper, and forty-two-year old Albert Juiius Warber, DDS chose as their wedding date. 

Trinity Lutheran church in Hammond, Lake Co, Indiana was filled with 250 guests as she was escorted down the aisle by her father to Lohengrin’s Wedding March. Her brother’s Anton Jr., and Roland served as ushers, and her sister, Alice, served as her maid of honor. 

The Lake County Times account of the wedding was filled with the usual language of the time as it described the wedding. The “attractive bridesmaids in yellow taffeta frocks made with bouffant skirts and trimmed with dainty rosebuds of taffeta.” They each wore a “large picture hat of horsehair braid, trimmed with yellow and orchid velvet ribbons and carried a vari-colored bouquet of spring flowers.” Fourteen-year-old Alice serving as maid of honor, wore “a bouffant frock of orchid taffeta with rosebud trimmings. Her becoming hat was trimmed with lovely flowers. Miss Tapper also carried a pretty maid of honor bouquet.”

The report continues: “The bride was lovely as she entered the church on the arm of her father in a wedding gown of white satin trimmed with brides lace and prettily beaded. Her cap-shaped headdress fell in soft folds of tulle to the hem of her gown and was touched with delicate flowers about her face. To complete her costume Miss Tapper carried a lovely bridal bouquet of lilies and roses en shower.” 

Immediately following the 4:30 ceremony an enjoyable dinner was served at the Hammond Woman’s Club.[1]

The above article filled with vivid descriptions of what the bride and her bridesmaids wore was typical of the time. Every wedding was beautifully appointed and filled with “pretty” bridesmaids, and “lovely” brides. But it was a small item printed on the front page of The Lake County Times under the headline: “Did You Hear That” that really brought to life for me how big and “fancy” this Tapper wedding was. 

The item reads: “This is a big afternoon for Tony Tapper. Aside from the marriage of his daughter, it’s his first appearance in a swallow-tail coat and a plug hat.”

A swallow-tail coat and a plug hat? Not knowing I turned to Google to see what I could learn. A tailcoat, for special occasions – think white tie, the coat has silk lapels and covered buttons with a single vent, with or without pleating at the back. The center vent rises up to the waistline and divide’s the coat’s skirt into two “tails,” thus inspiring the nickname swallow-tail coat, or claw-hammer tailcoat. These “tails” extend down to the bend of the knee in a straight line, with a curve the bottom. 

As for the hat. Merriam-Webster defines a plug hat as a stiff hat, such as a top hat. 

The out of copyright image to the left shows a man in a top hat at tails. AAHH I always think of Fred Astaire when I think of top hats and tails…

I wish that we had pictures of this wedding, but I do believe that this was not the first time that Anton appeared in formal evening dress. He was very well dressed at his own wedding twenty-seven years before his daughters. 

But what I really love about these two articles is that together they provide a true look at how very formal this wedding was. The fact that it was a white tie affair is not reflected in the charming description of the bride and her bridesmaids. 

Now if we only had a glimpse into what they served for the enjoyable dinner…


Anton & Louisa Normann Tapper, 15 Jul 1900

[1] “Miss Tapper and Dr. Warber Wed,” The Lake County Times, 16 Jun 1927, Thursday, p. 10, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 16 Oct 2017).  

1909 ~ 1929 ~ 2019

Nines were pivotal years for Roland John Tapper, Sr. On August 1, 1909 he was born in Hammond, Lake County, Indiana, USA to Anton Herman Tapper Sr., and Louisa L. Normann. Today marks the 110th anniversary of his birth. 

On June 5, 1929, he proudly graduated from Culver Military Academy, which is located in Culver, Marshall County, Indiana. He and his older brother, Anton, attended Culver from 1926-1929, both graduating on that June day in 1929. Grandpa loved his days at Culver, and was proud to have been a part of their Black Horse Troop, serving as Second Lieutenant of the troop for the school year, 1928-1929. 

Shortly after graduation he, his father, and his brother Anton, and sister Alice, left for a trip to Europe. They left July 6, 1929, returning to the United States, September 17th. They visited Germany, Switzerland, and possibly other countries (more research to be done), and the trip deserves its own blog post. 

Sadly, not long after they returned from this amazing European adventure, his mother fell ill, and she passed away of an embolism on November 29th. She had entered St. Margaret’s hospital for an appendicitis operation, after which a blood clot had formed. The Times reported on November 30th that “…Last night members of the family visited with her in her hospital room until 9 o’clock and plans were merrily discussed for removing her within a day or two. Less than two hours later she was dead. It is believed that an unabsorbed portion of the blood clot was carried to her brain.

   Mrs. Tapper was 50 years old and is survived by the husband, three sons, Norman, Anton and Rowland, [sic]and a daughter, Alice. She also leaves three grandchildren…”1

Fast forward to today, August 1, 2019, and as I am working to unpack our household from the move to Rhode Island, I came across a tube, which had marked upon it: “RJT Culver Certificates.” Thinking I knew what the tube contained, and curious at the same time, I opened it. Inside were my grandfather’s graduation certificates looking as perfect as they did that June day, 90 years ago. 

So with unboxing still to be done, I felt I just had to take a moment and write this quick post about Roland John Tapper, and the 110 years spanning from 1909 to 2019.

Happy Birthday Grandpa. Miss you.

  1.  “Mrs. Tapper Dies From Embolism,” (Hammond) The Times, 30 Nov 1929, Saturday, p. 1, col. 6. 

September 8, 1860

The sinking of the Lady Elgin changed the Cook family forever.  Both family-wise with the loss of Jane and her daughter, Elizabeth Ann, and financially. The long awaited money from the sale of property in Canada was lost. There are many versions to be found both in print and online of what happened that night. So for this post I am going to let Jacob tell the story in his own words. As the anniversary approached in 1892, the Milwaukee Sentinel interviewed some of the remaining survivors, and sent an artist to capture their likeness to be published along with their memories. The article was published 4 Sep 1892.

Jacob was 51 years old the day he was interviewed on September 2nd, his story titled “An Appleton Man’s Escape. His Mother and Sister Were Both Lost–The Former’s Body Never Recovered.” reads:

“During the summer of 1860, while returning from an Eastern trip, my mother, my sister Libbie and I, together with twelve others, took passage on a propeller from Collingwood, Ont., to Milwaukee. We arrived near Milwaukee in the night, and it was so cloudy and dark that the captain thought it would not be safe to attempt to land so we continued on to Chicago, where we transferred to the first boat leaving for Milwaukee. That was the fated Lady Elgin, just about to return with more than 400 Milwaukee excursionists. Of the fifteen transferred only two reached Milwaukee. There was music and dancing on the boat, and it was about 1 o’clock in the morning when our party exchanged ‘good night’ and prepared to retire. Before I reached my room, the schooner and steamer collided with such force as to throw me off my feet. The schooner was bound for Chicago with a heavy cargo of lumber from further north, and it is the cause for much wonder among those acquainted with the circumstance, why it did not try to save the passengers of the Lady Elgin by at least throwing over some of the lumber. As it was, however, as soon as they could clear away from the wreck, they pushed on, with all possible speed, to Chicago, thinking, as the captain said they themselves had sustained serious injury. Be that as it may, my first impression, when the crash came, and we could see the bright lights and heavy jib-boom of the schooner looming up over us, was that the boat must have been struck by lightening.

We soon heard calls to throw down bedding and mattresses to stop the leak but it was found that they could do no good. The boat filled with water and settled rapidly. Heavy waves stuck us with terrific force, smashing the lamps, leaving us in total darkness. Calls for life-preservers were heard on all sides, and the few wooden ones that were thrown in were seized by many frantic hands. Mother and sister were each provided with one. Furniture tumbled about, people fell over and trampled upon each other, some prayed, some cried; some crazed with agony, called for their friends on shore to help them, while others, in despair, moaned that we were all lost. The creaking and grating of broken timers, the solemn sound of the bell calling for help, the sound of distress from the whistle, which continued as long as there was enough steam to make a noise; all added to the horror of the situation. Above this noise and confusion, was heard the voice of Capt. Wilson, telling us to get the women up on the hurricane deck. The deck was soon crowded. A few moments later a monster wave struck the boat, breaking the iron rods that sustained one of the heavy smoke stacks. A flash of lightning followed, lighting the scene for an instant, and we saw the smoke stack fall across the deck, crushing, and burying several women beneath it.

While mother and sister were sitting on the edge of the hurricane deck, strapped in their wooden preservers and waiting for the end, mother said that probably the boat was so near shore that it might not sink below the surface. Those were the last words I ever heard her speak for at that instant the boat went down, taking me with it. When I came up my hands touched something, which proved to be apiece of plank about eighteen inches wide by six feet in length. It was about 2 o’clock in the night when the boat went down and about 5 the next afternoon I drifted in near enough to the shore to reach the end of a pole held out to me by a man suspended by a rope in the hands of several others from the top of that high clay bank south of Racine. The sixth day after the Lady Elgin went down we found, but could not identify by a scar only, the body of my sister, but my mother we never saw again.”

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).

The Love of the Irish

In May of 2012 I started a blog that I titled: The Aroma of Bread. A Place for our family to gather and share memories of Marie’s kitchen. It began with scanning recipes from the cookbooks that we found in the utility room cupboards. Cookbooks falling apart, but many pages where we found handwritten notes about whether a recipe was “good” or where she was going when she made the dish. It didn’t really take off, so I stopped after a while. Now I would like to delete that blog, but will archive the posts. 

Archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” first published 22 Mar 2015.

Assorted Shamrocks. Old and New

Marie Campbell Fassbender loved her Irish  heritage. She was proud to be Irish, and she loved St. Patrick’s day. 

As the day would near, she would gather a collection of shamrock pins, and she would keep them handy. If you dared attempt to leave the house, or to walk into the house without wearing green, she would hand you a pin, and expect you to wear it. 

It would have been so much fun to sit down with a big map of Ireland, and map out the counties where her immigrant ancestors came from. I think she would have been surprised at the number!

County Cork, County Donegal, County Down, County Louth, County Monaghan, and County Tyron