W. F. COOK. In looking over a comparative statement of the institutions of a financial character doing business in Willow Springs, we find them, in comparison with the same class of organizations elsewhere, solvent, prosperous and useful in the highest degree. The Willow Springs Bank adds no little to this, and is one of the best and most substantial of its kind in the county. Mr. W. F. Cook, its well-known cashier, was born in Lewis County, Missouri, February 2, 1868.
Son of Dr. J. F. Cook, who is president of La Grange College, at La Grange, a position he has held many years. He is the oldest educator in the State of Missouri, and has held his present position twenty-eight years. The elder Cook is a native of Christiansburg, Kentucky, born in the year 1834, and a son of Joseph Cook, who was a pioneer farmer of Shelby County, Kentucky The Cook family came from Virginia to Kentucky, and the grandfather of our subject was a soldier in the early Indian wars. Still farther back his people were Revolutionary soldiers. W. F. Cook’s grandmother was a Flood, another of the early families. The father of our subject passed his early life in his native State, and secured a good education in Georgetown College. When still quite young he branched out as a teacher, and followed this in Kentucky until 1866, when he came to Missouri and took charge of the college he now controls. The building had been used as a hospital during the war, but he soon had things in order, and his college became noted throughout the State. He is a minister in the Baptist Church, and was chaplain in a Mississippi regiment during the war. In politics he is a Democrat, and he is probably one of the best known educators in the State. Mr. Cook was married in Kentucky to Miss Sue G. Farmer, a native of the Blue Grass State, and the daughter of John G. Farmer, a merchant and pioneer settler of Christiansburg, Kentucky The mother of our subject died in Missouri in 1889. She was a worthy member of the Baptist Church. Mr. and Mrs. Cook became the parents of four children, all living: Ernest, pastor of the Watertown Baptist Church in St. Louis, is a graduate of La Grange College and the Baptist Theological Seminary at Louisville, Kentucky, he is married; Lula is the wife of Rev. W. H. Stone, a professor in the La Grange College; William F. (subject); Cecil, who is attending the Baptist Theological Seminary at Louisville, Kentucky, will follow the ministry.
The youthful days of our subject were passed in La Grange College, from which he graduated when nineteen years of age, and he then attended the law school at Washington University, St. Louis, taking the junior year. After leaving school he was appointed under Gov. Francis as one of the clerks in the Missouri Legislature. In 1889 he located at Willow Springs and established this bank, after he had traveled over a large scope of country to find a suitable location. He has taken a deep interest in the affairs of the city and has held many offices. He has been a member of the town board, is at present a member of the school board, and assisted in building the fine schoolhouse in Willow Springs. In politics he is a Democrat, and has represented the county in the State conventions. He is an active business man and a leader in all enterprises for the good of the county. Mr. Cool was married in December, 1889, to Miss Lulu Sturgeon, of St. Louis, and they have one daughter, Gladys. He and wife own a fine residence on Fourth and Harris Streets in Willow Springs. Mr. Cook is interested in the Willow Springs Lumber Company, and is treasurer and secretary of the same. He also owns a fruit farm ten miles east of Willow Springs, and has real estate in the city. Mr. Cook is one of the most successful business men in the city, and owns considerable stock in the bank.