The oldest maps, August 1884 and September 1887, do not include the block that the home which was reportedly built in 1875,  was built upon, but I find it in 1891, 1895, 1900, 1906, and 1913. The Key  tells me that it is a Dwelling, Frame construction, two stories, with a shingle roof. There is a “stable” on the property, although it is not very large in relation to the house. The 1906 and 1913 map tell us that the stable is approximately 30’ from the Fox River. Residing with S. A. and his family in the 1900 Federal Census  is John Pahlman, a servant, age 26, occupation: care of yard and barn. By the 1905 Wisconsin State Census , Enoy Chenett, age 24, had taken John’s place as the “coachman.” In 1910  Enoy had moved on, and John Demandt, age 22, occupation: servant, industry: private home, was residing with the family. So we now know there was a “stable” on the property. S.A. was an early adopter of the automobile, owning one by the August 1906 family reunion, as it was reported by his nephew, L. H. Cook, editor of the Marathon County Register that “Saturday morning S.A. Cook with his touring car and three other like machines that he had chartered left Neenah with the party for a trip around Lake Winnebago.” 
Taking a look at the change between the 1900 map and the 1906 map, you can see where they closed in part of the original open porch. Moving to the second image of the home from the Neenah Public Library, I have marked in red this part of the home that was enclosed sometime between 1900 and 1906.
I am very curious as to what the plain small (as shown in the photograph) one story building (as indicated by the number 1 on the maps) at the back of the much more ornate 2 story section, was actually used for – could this have been the kitchen?
Oh to actually see interior images of this home, plus more detailed exterior shots. For now we have the Sanborn maps combined with the few images we have. I guess I should count myself lucky.
Neenah Citizen, News Item, Neenah Citizen (Neenah, Wisconsin), 1998 Calendar produced by the Neenah Citizen, “Lost Neenah ~ Neenah’s architectural heritage, lost but not forgotten.” Cit. Date: 10 Nov 2005.
1900 U.S. census, Winnebago County, Wisconsin, population schedule, City of Neenah, 3rd Ward, enumeration district (ED) 127, sheet 1, p. 141A, dwelling 12, family 13, S. A. Cook household; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 Apr 2001); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 1824.
1905 State Census, Winnebago County, Wisconsin, population schedule, Neenah, 3rd Ward, p. 10, family 1, line 1-6, S. A. Cook household; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2007).
1910 U.S. census, Winnebago County, Wisconsin, population schedule, Town of Neenah, City of Neenah, Third Ward, enumeration district (ED) 126, sheet 5, p. 279A, dwelling 52, family 53, Samuel A Cook household; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 Aug 2004); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 1744.
“From The Chilton Times,” (Unity)Marathon County Register, 17 Aug 1906, Friday, p. 2, col. 3. Cit. Date: 18 Nov 2003.
Last month I had the pleasure to connect with a Cook cousin. She had recently returned from a road trip that included a stop in Alexandria, Madison Co., Indiana, and a search for information about Samuel A. Cook, and the Alexandria Paper Company. She discovered that the information they had on file about the company, had been submitted by my mother. Not encouraging. As Alexandria is approximately a seven hour drive from my home, I set out to see what I could learn in my favorite way, in my chair. As this search will be chair driven, and not visit driven information, it is not a complete history, but an overview, and an enticement for more information. And another rabbit hole. The Cook family may not be top of mind for the city of Alexandria today in 2016, but in those early decades of the 20th Century they played a vital role in the development of this community, and had a lasting impact on their lives.
I have decided that I would like to tell this story in a series of vignettes, and as we are now just nine days from celebrating Flag Day here in the United States, I would like to share this story.
The United States officially entered World War I on April 6, 1917, and communities across the country held flag raising ceremonies to “show their patriotism and allegiance to the stars and stripes.”  A flag raising was held at the Children’s Home in Alexandria on April 16, 1917, and is documented here, along with an image of the event.
Samuel A. Cook, owner and president of the Alexandria Paper Company, Civil War veteran, 1915 State Commander of the G. A. R. for Wisconsin, ex-congressman; was born in 1849 in Ontario, Canada, and became a citizen of his chosen country January 10, 1891. His love of county was great, and in the wake of the unrest surrounding the United States entry into World War I, he decided to hold a Flag Raising ceremony at the factory. The date was set for April 17th at 3:00 p.m. The program was carefully planned, and the Alexandria Business Men’s Association requested that all downtown businesses close from 2:30 till 4:00 p.m., so that as many as possible would be able to attend the ceremony. The program prepared for the event would include and address by S. A. Cook. 
The next day dawned “a faultless Indiana spring day, with a sun that shed his refulgent beams unstintingly and graciously over the land and a balmy breeze blowing.” Over 3000 people gathered to join in a “jubilee of patriotism” for “one country, one government, one president, ONE FLAG.” All of Alexandria’s schools had been dismissed for the afternoon so that the students could attend, and the mood was patriotic and cheerful, a local band set the tone as the crowds gathered.
To start the ceremony, an eloquent invocation was given by Rev. Dunn, a man whose “stentorian voice penetrated the most remote edges of the assemblage so that all could hear.” The invocation was followed by the crowd joining in singing “America” which “helped stir the emotions” and set the stage for S. A., who is reported to have been “in an amiable frame of mind,” entering “heartily into the spirit of the occasion.” His voice was “strong enough to be heard by all and he received the closest attention, even the young boys and girls…were still while the speaker appealed to them in the name of our great country to remember its traditions.”
“Mr. Cook’s address was not a set speech, but every word of it was the silver and gold of pure patriotism.” S. A. was a great orator, a great lover of words, and who had an eloquent command of the english language. His goal this day was to inspire the community to stand united with the United States, reminding them that “we cannot be citizens of two countries at one and the same time. We cannot serve two national masters. You must say, ‘this is my country, my flag, and none other will I recognize.’ Divided allegiance would bring ruin to the strongest government on earth and no country could long exist as an independent nation whose people were not united under one flag.”
At the conclusion of his address, which included “humorous allusions,” and “witty remarks,” the crowd accompanied by the band, joined in singing the “Star Spangled Banner.” As the crowd sang, the flag was “hoisted” by the chief engineer of the plant, and as it was raised, a thirteen gun salute was fired. The closing benediction was delivered by Rev. Roadarmel, in a “clear resonant voice.” The mayor then led the crowd in three cheers for the flag now waving proudly over the paper mill, and the ceremony was over. 
To commemorate the event, a “moving picture ‘shootist’ snapped every detail of the patriotic meeting. Mr. Cook is shown in the picture delivering a patriotic address at the mill.” The movie was then shared with the people of Alexandria at the New Gossard theatre, on April 24, 1917.  Oh to find this piece of film. That would be amazing.
The April 18, 1917 Times-Tribune article begins with what they state is the “climax and peroration: of S. A.’s address, a tribute to our flag, and it is with this tribute, I will end my post.
“Old Glory is the emblem of peace and purity, protecting all our citizens in their religious beliefs, political affiliations and legitimate industries. Men and women, guard it in the fulness of meaning. It is not a painted rug, it is the constitution, it is the government. Forget not what it means and be true to our country’s Flag. Let us twine each thread of our country about our heart strings and catch the spirit that breathes upon us from the battlements of our fathers. Let us resolve, come weal or woe, that we will in life, now and forever, stand by the Stars and Stripes. They have been unfurled from the snows of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, in the halls of Congress and in the solitude of every sea as the symbol of resistless power. It has led the wave to victory and glory. It has floated over our cradles. Let it be our prayer and our struggle that it may float over our graves. May God bless you all and your every earnest effort.”
“Old Glory Will Float Tomorrow,” The Times=Tribune, 19 May 1917, p. front page, col. 7; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 18 May 2016).
“Flag Raising at the Paper Mill,” The Times=Tribune, 16 Apr 1917, p. front page, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 18 May 2016).
“Raising of Flag is a Success,” The Times=Tribune, 18 Apr 1917, p. front page, col. 1-2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 5 Jun 2016).
“Head of Paper Co. Seen in the Movies,” The Times=Tribune, 24 Apr 1917, p. frontage, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 May 2016).
We have attended two funerals this month, both for men gone too soon. Reading through the obituary at the end is the usual statement: “A memorial has been established in his name.” We all want our loved ones to be remembered. As a genealogist, remembering is what I do, and I am working to write about the lives of these family members gone, but not forgotten.
When my father, Robert (Bob) Sternitzky, passed away in 2005, my mother wanted to do something in his memory. “A memorial has been established in his name.” The memorial. I realized that as part of my Library of Artifacts page, I should include these memorials. I will start with my dad.
As I have stated before, Samuel Andrew Cook was the Cook that fascinated my father. He spent years researching him, and documenting his story. One of my father’s “pet” projects was to support Cook Park, a park on Doty Island, located near where S. A.’s home once stood. William E. Dunwiddle wrote about how Cook Park came to be a park, in his book:The Parks of Neenah: An Historical Interpretation.
In 1997 it was determined that Cook Park needed to update its playground equipment. The park became one of four parks participating in the “Buy a Brick. Build a Dream” program sponsored by the Kimberly-Clark Community Playground Project. Each brick cost $30.00, and was engraved with your name, or the name of someone you wanted to honor. My father took on, as his mission, the task of filling Cook Park with the names of Cook relatives. He brought the program to the Cook Reunion that year, and worked to spread the word. At the end of the campaign, Cook Park had new playground equipment, and 161 engraved bricks were set in place. 61 of these bricks honored Cook family members. Dad commemorated this accomplishment by photographing the bricks while standing on a ladder overlooking the bricks; and the park, from the open window of a friend’s Cessna 172, flying at 1300 feet and 75 mph.
In 1996, the year before the brick project, a planter had been created in Cook Park, and the front of the box facing the street was formed by the giant “S. A. Cook” concrete piece that once graced the top peak of the S. A. Cook Armory. The armory had been torn down in the late 1980s, and thankfully this piece had been saved, and is now preserved in the park named for him.
When my dad passed away in 2005, mom wanted to create a memorial that would be placed in Cook Park to honor both my dad and his great granduncle, Samuel Andrew Cook. She worked closely with the Neenah Parks and Recreation department to decide how best to do this, one idea was to place a bench in the park with a plaque bearing dad’s name. One thing that was missing from this park, was information telling the visitor WHO S. A. Cook was, and why would a park be named for him. And in that question came the answer.
A large rock was placed in the garden bed, and attached to this rock is a brass plaque telling the story of S. A., and a smaller plaque honoring my father. My mother wrote the history with input by me, and edited by my brother.
This story is fully commemorated in my dad’s “Report” created for the Cook family members who supported the brick project. It was privately published in December 2005 as “The Bricks of Cook Park. A Modern History.” The introduction written by my father reads:
“This is not the story of S. A. Cook who was a U. S. postmaster, a mayor, a state assemblyman, a U. S. congressman, a successful businessman. This is the story of the park named for him and the combined efforts of family and friends to fund a patio of bricks engraved with the names of his grandfather, his parents, his siblings, his two wives, his three children and his grandson–plus people I call mother, uncle, aunt, child, grandchild and cousin–many cousins!”
Last week while doing some research on an old home, I turned to the 1884-5 Appleton city directory, which is online at Ancestry.com. As I was formatting the source for the entry that I had found, I turned to the title page and introductory pages. I expected to learn a little about the city in these early years, I did not expect to find that this city directory for Appleton, also included a city directory for Neenah! “We have pleasure in presenting to the citizens of Appleton our initial Directory of their City, including a City Directory of Neenah, which will be found in the rear portion of the work.”  Writes the publisher, Wright & Hogg of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I would love to understand the reason they included Neenah in the Appleton directory. They are in two different counties, Appleton in Outagamie, and Neenah in Winnebago, although (according to Google Maps) they are only about 6 1/2 miles
apart, Neenah is usually associated with Oshkosh, which is the county seat.
Knowing that S. A. Cook was living in Neenah in 1884, I quickly looked in the back of the book. And added to my research to-do list. According to other sources that I have come across over the years, S. A. had moved to Neenah in 1881, and at that time purchased home on Commercial Street. But the directory lists him residing on the “n. e. cor. 1st and Forest av.” which is a block away from Commercial. Guess it is time to add a trip to the courthouse land records to my list.
One other mystery resides between the covers of this directory. Listed as living with the Cook’s is “Cook, Christie Miss.” My best guess at this moment is that this entry is for Margaret Christie, the sister-in-law of S. A. Margaret (Maggie) was living with S. A. and his family when the 1880 census was enumerated,  and her obituary states that she “came to Neenah with Mr. and Mrs. Cook and lived with them for many years.”  I am wondering if it was stated, when asked if there were other adults living in the home, “Yes, Miss Christie.” And so it was written down as Miss Christie Cook.
S. A. has popped into my research a lot lately, it is almost as if he is prodding me – Hey! Pay attention! The time has come to finish your dad’s project!
Wright & Hogg, Appleton City Directory 1884-5, preface; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 Dec 2015).
1880 U.S. census, Marathon County, Wisconsin, population schedule, Town of Brighton, JH Cook Enumerator, enumeration district (ED) 83, p. 6 (penned), 302 (stamped), dwelling 15, family 16-17, Samuel A. Cook household; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 Sep 2001); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1433.
“Resident of Neenah for Many Years Dies at Hotel in Florida,” (Oshkosh) Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 28 Feb 1938, p. 9. Cit. Date: 12 Aug 2004.
As I continue to document my ancestors lives, I am amazed at how many were ready and willing to get involved in politics, and how many were appointed Postmasters.
This short post is about the Cooks, as they are the most recent discovery. Samuel Andrew Cook, or S. A. as he was known, was the first of the Cook family to move to Unity, Wisconsin, choosing to live in Brighton Township, Marathon County. From all accounts, it appears as though he moved some time in 1873. Settled in Unity, he set up shop as a Merchant of general goods and merchandise. A newspaper description of Unity published in June 1874 states: “Mr. S. A. Cook, formerly of Fond du Lac, has a large Grocery & Dry Good Store, and gets a good trade from settlers who are flocking here very fast…” 
At the time that S. A. moved to Unity, the post office was located on the Clark County side of the village of Unity. Amazingly this small village of 633 acres, is located in both Clark County and Marathon County. The decision to move the office to the Marathon County side (where it remains to this day) was made sometime in 1874, and the move coincided with twenty-five-year-old S. A. being appointed Postmaster, on April 20, 1874. S. A. was Postmaster until September 27, 1881, when his brother Jacob took over the position, and S. A. moved with his family to Neenah, Winnebago Co., Wisconsin. Jacob was forty-years-old when he was appointed postmaster, and he remained in the position until May 21, 1883, when he moved his family to Appleton, Outagamie Co., Wisconsin. Jacob was not the last Cook to be Postmaster for this small community, as his younger brother, Alfred, who was then thirty-eight, was appointed April 22, 1889, and held the post until September 12, 1892. 
My great-grandfather, Lewis Herman/Louis Herman Cook, the son of Alfred, was very involved in village politics, serving as County Supervisor. and he was editor and publisher of the village newspaper the Marathon County Register, but he was never appointed Postmaster for Unity. In 1910, Lewis moved his family to Wausau, Marathon County, Wisconsin, where he was the Supervisor of Assessments, Marathon County Clerk, a real estate agent, and finally appointed as Postmaster of Wausau. He served Wausau as postmaster from June 30, 1923, until his death on September 4, 1934.
Four men of the Cook family were appointed by presidents, approved by the senate, and served their communities as postmaster. Pretty incredible.
“‘Up the Line:’ A Few Brief Sketches from Our Reporter’s Note Book,” The Stevens Point Journal, 27 Jun 1874, col. 3; digital images, NewspaperARCHIVE (www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 30 Jul 2006).
“U.S., Appointments of U.S. Postmasters, 1832-1971,” database and images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 Dec 2015); Marathon County, Wis., Unity, vol 57, p. 778-779; NARA microfilm publication, M841, Records of the Post Office Department Record Group Number 28. Washington, D.C.: National Archives.
This weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, we find ourselves giving thanks for family and friends. Thinking of being thankful brought this story to mind.
In the spring of 1906, Samuel Andrew Cook starting planning a reunion. A reunion to bring his brothers and sisters together for the first time in 50 years. There had been trips made by many members up to Canada over the years, but they had not all been together in one place, and especially not at the old homestead in Stockbridge. This excerpt is taken from A Snapshot: Jacob Harrison Cook: 
“He [S.A. Cook] set the weekend of August 2-4th as the date weekend for the festivities. Coming from all over the North American continent, the whole family gathered at his home in Neenah.
Present in birth order were: Kate Healy, and her husband, Conner Healy, Unity, Wisconsin; Watson H. Cook, Washington, DC; Loretta Elliott, Toronto, Canada; Jacob H. Cook, and his wife, Anna Cook, Appleton, Wisconsin; Sarah Drake and her husband, Isaac P. Drake, Stanley, Barron County, Wisconsin; James M. Cook and his wife, Helen Cook, Baker City, Baker County, Oregon; S. A. Cook, Host, Neenah, Wisconsin; Alfred Cook and his wife, Amanda Cook, Unity Wisconsin; and Albert Cook, Lewiston, Nez Perce County, Idaho.
This was the first time that they would all be together since the early years when the family first settled in Stockbridge, and the last time. Loretta had not been back to Wisconsin for over fifty years, and as Louis Cook, son of Alfred, remarks in his paper the Marathon County Register, the Calumet County of 1906, ‘will present a striking contrast to the wilderness to which they removed from Canada over fifty years ago.’ 
Saturday, August 4th, ‘S. A. Cook with his touring car and three other like machines that he had chartered left Neenah with the party for a trip around Lake Winnebago, arriving at their old home in the town of Stockbridge during the afternoon where they received warm welcome from many old neighbors and friends. Dinner was served at the Stockbridge Hotel, and the party was regaled [sic] with good things furnished by Mr. and Mrs. P. F. Gillespie. The trip was enjoyed by all and they were greatly impressed with the wonderful transformation in the old home they loved so well during their younger days. — Chilton Times.’  It must have been quite a sight to see these three cars, each carrying five people, heading around Lake Winnebago and into Stockbridge.
Such a large group could not all stay with S. A. at his home on Commercial Street, although some of them may have stayed with him.
Alfred and Amanda stayed at the Kasson Hotel in Downtown Neenah, and a letter written to Louis Cook by his father, gives a wonderful first-hand view of the boisterous time that they were having.
Alfred writes from the Kasson Hotel:
Neenah, Wis. Aug 6th, 1906 Louis Cook Unity Wis
My Dear Son will Drop you a few lines this is Monday morning and we are all a live and that is saying a good Deal after them acting as they have. We have all had a good time
We will Be home to morrow noon, the most of them will not go to Unity for a nother week. Tell Mabel and the Rest of them that their Mother has acted offel and if she Continues to Eat as much after getting home it is going to cost us a good dealt to keep her and they must be shure to have some Potatoes Corn-Meal and sawdust on the table when we get home. Your Father A. Cook. 
From other newspaper accounts, we know that the family extended their time together beyond this fun weekend in Neenah and Stockbridge. They traveled first to visit the Drakes’s in Stanley, and then back to Unity to visit with the rest of the family before returning to their homes. A good time was had by all!
Susan C. Fassbender, A Snapshot: Jacob Harrison Cook, (Appleton: Self Published, 2006): 14-15.
‘Family Reunion,’ Marathon County Register, (Unity, WI), August 3, 1906, front page.
‘From the Chilton Times,’ Marathon County Register, (Unity, WI), August 17, 1906.
Alfred Cook to Louis Cook, August 6, 1906, Neenah, Wisconsin. Original letter, transcribed as written. Robert D. Sternitzky Family Archives.