Hon. Anson S. Cooke. A resident of Kansas during a period of forty-five years, a pioneer of the prairies of Mitchell County, and for twelve years a member of the State Senate, Hon. Anson S. Cooke is well and favorably known in various parts of the commonwealth, and particularly so at Topeka where he now is living in retirement. During his long and useful career he has risen from poverty to affluence and from obscurity to prominence, and while engaged steadfastly and successfully in the promotion of his personal interests has also contributed to the welfare of the state which has so long been his home.
Senator Cooke was born August 13, 1849, in Lake County, Illinois, a son of Daniel G. Cooke. The family is of Quaker stock, with all the sterling characteristics of that creed, and originated in this country in New England, from whence came David Cooke, the grandfather of Anson S. David Cooke was an early settler of Oneida County, New York, arriving there at a time when the country was still new and wild game abundant, the bears being so numerous that it was almost impossible to raise livestock with any degree of success. Senator Cooke says that he has frequently heard his grandfather tell of driving them out of his hog pen. Daniel G. Cooke, father of the senator, was born in 1822, in Oneida County, New York, and was married in 1845 to Miss Mary Lavina Simonds, a daughter of D. J. Simonds. Mr. Simonds was for some years a well-known farmer of Lake County, Illinois, but later moved to Wisconsin, after having been the original owner of the land on which now stands the City of Zion City, Illinois. In 1860 Daniel G. Cooke moved to Eastern Iowa, where he lived during the Civil war period, and in 1865 took his family to near Maitland, Holt County, Missouri, where he passed the remaining years of his life and died in 1875. He and his wife were the parents of five children, namely: Anson S.; Albert, who is farming near Beloit, Mitchell County, Kansas; Franklin, who is living at Shelley, Idaho; Walter, who is also a farmer in Mitchell County, Kansas; Edwin John, who is in the mercantile business at Palo Alto, California; and Mary, who is Mrs. William Hunter, of Maitland, Missouri.
Anson S. Cooke received his education in the schools of Lake County, Illinois, in Eastern Iowa, and in Holt County, Missouri, and was reared as a farmer. He came to Kansas in 1872 and settled near Beloit, Mitchell County, locating a homestead on the southeast quarter of section 25, township 8 south, range 8 west, in Center Township, and there experienced the many vicissitudes that are part of the life of the pioneer, but through hard work and perseverance accumulated 600 acres of land and in doing so always maintained a reputation as an honorable citizen and straightforward man of business. He retired from farming in 1910 and moved to Topeka, where he bought a handsome and modern home at 1912 Lincoln Street. The people of Jewell and Mitchell counties recognized his worth and general qualifications, as well as his sterling integrity, and after sending him to fill many minor offices, clected him a member of the State Senate, in which he served for twelve years, there being an intermission of four years in his service in that body. Senator Cooke was known as one of the hard-working members of the Upper House, did much for his constituents as well as his counties and the state during the time he belonged to the Legislature, and for many years had the friendship and respect of many of the leading public men of Kansas. He still takes a keen interest in public affairs and is a helpful factor in the promotion of public-spirited movements. He was elected to the Legislature as a populist but at the present time is a democrat. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was one of the very early and active prohibitionists of the state.
Mr. Cooke was married to Miss Catherine E. McMillan, a daughter of Michael McMillan, who brought his family to Mitchell County, Kansas, in pioneer days from Pennsylvania. Michael McMillan was of Scotch-Irish antecedents and became a well known and respected farmer and esteemed citizen in Mitchell County. Mr. and Mrs. Cooke became the parents of five children, namely: Clarence, whose death occurred in 1906; Louis, who is engaged in merchandising; Wilbur W., who is engaged in farming in Center Township, Mitchell County; Edgar R., who is connected with the Western Electric Company, at Chicago; and Esther Maria, who married Nelson Logan.