Consists of fifteen journals written by Reverend Thomas Cook, a Methodist preacher, who wrote about his experience growing
up during the Western Expansion, Civil War, and life as Reverend preaching across the mining towns of Colorado.
Reverend Thomas R. Cook was born on May 18, 1848 in Middletown, Pennsylvania, to William Cook, a saddlemaker and later a farmer,
and Mary Katherine Rice Cook. As a young child Cook’s family journeyed from Ohio to Iowa in 1853 to begin a life of farming.
At the time, Iowa was largely unsettled and had only received statehood seven years prior. In 1858, Cook’s mother died of
consumption and soon after his father remarried. During the Civil War, Cook’s father and two uncles joined the 35th Regiment
of Company K, a Muscatine located Union volunteer infantry, leaving Cook to take on the responsibilities of the farm and family.
In 1870, Cook graduated from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. The college was founded in 1853 by Methodist minister
from North Carolina, one of the many colleges stemming from the Third Great Awakening. Cook initially took up teaching but
by 1875 had become a Methodist preacher himself and moved to Colorado. Cook would preach among the small mining towns and,
as his journals indicates, tutor a Chinese immigrant. His adult life was filled with descriptions of the Western Expansion
experience with community conflicts during the Civil War, Native Americans (aftermath of the Meeker Massacre), and mining
town life. By 1879, Cook had married a family friend by the name of Mary and settled in Fairplay, Colorado. They had a daughter,
Leonara and a son, who died as infant. At the age of eighty-nine Cook died in Sierra Nevada, California.
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