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Benjamin Franklin, third son and sixth child of Henry and Sarah (Hillman) Cook, was born in Bristol, England, October 18, 1852. At the age of four years he left his native land and arrived in this country, November 20, 1856, after a voyage of six weeks. His boyhood and youth were spent in attending the public schools and acquiring proficiency in farming and gardening. In 1880 he engaged in market gardening on North street, Geneva, as a member of the firm of Munson & Cook, and upon the retirement of his partner in 1888, on account of failing health, he became sole proprietor of the business, which he carried on in his own name some four years. In 1893 he entered mercantile pursuits, opening a grocery store at the corner of Hallenbeck and Andes avenues, and he is still engaged in that business, having built up a large and profitable trade. He takes a lively interest in all movements relative to the growth and prosperity of the city, and his well-known integrity and other excellent qualities have won the respect and good will of all who know (1910) him. In politics he is a Republican. He attends St. Peter’s Protestant Episcopal church.
Mr. Cook was married in Auburn, New York, December 26, 1877, to Lucy A. Howell, born in Phelps, New York, July 26, 1857, of English parentage. Children: 1. Willemina, born September 7, 1878, married William J. Buchholz, of Geneva, June 6, 1900: children : Ethel May, born December 5, 1904; Edward Franklin, born April 5, 1906. 2. Mary Elizabeth, born October 10, 1881, unmarried, resides in Aurora, Illinois. 3. Effie Eva, born March 25, 1884, employed in her father’s store. 4. Leon Henry, born in Geneva, August 1, 1886, is now (1910) employed by the New York Central Railroad Company at Syracuse. 5. Benjamin Franklin, born in Geneva, May 15, 1889, is now (1910) a merchant tailor. 6. Hazel Fern, born September 14. 1891, living at home. 7. Ruth Agnes, born January 22, 1895. was attending the Geneva high school at the time of her death, March 1, 1911. 8. William Rankine, born October 5. 1896, was the last child baptized by the late Rev. Dr. Rankine, and is now (1910) a talented musician.
Mrs. Lucy A. (Howell) Cook is a daughter of William Howell, who was born near Kent, England, in 1826, died in Phelps, New York, April 1, 1893. Her grandfather, Thomas Atkins, was born in 1808, and died in North Bourne, England, October 16, 1892. Her grandmother, Lucy (Stafford) Atkins, died in England, in 1841. When a young lad William Howell ran away to sea, visiting as a sailor nearly all of the important ports of the world, and survived a shipwreck on the southern coast of Africa. In 1855 he joined his parents in Phelps, New York, where his father was engaged in market-gardening, and he succeeded to the business. In politics he favored the Democratic party. His religious affiliations were with the Presbyterians. He was married at Oaks Corners. Ontario county, November 20, 18J5, to Lucy Atkins, born near Deal, England, August 31, 1837, died February 3, 1906. Children: 1. Lucy A., now (1910) the wife of Benjamin F. Cook. 2. William T., born December 8. 1858, married Mary E. Neifie, of Phelps; nine children: Ina, married C. Peck, of Lyons, New York; Mary Etta; Charles; Jessie: Nellie; Carrie, died aged one and one-half years; a child who died at birth: Marjory and Cora. 3. John Milton, born in Phelps. in 1860, married (first) Emma Dillman, who died and he married (second) Grace Eighmey, of Clifton Springs. New York, now (1910) living in Richland. state of Washington. 4. Mary Elizabeth, born in 1862, married Burt Auston. an Englishman; children: Willis, Lucy and Mabel. 5. George Henry. born September 7, 1868, married Frances Boak; children: Edna and Foster.