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Jack Coleman Cook – Part 2

Jack Coleman Cook, continued…

Jack’s mother, Mary Ellen Cagle?

In 1920, Mary Ellen was 17 years old and still living at home with her parents, Carson and Ada Cagle, and brother, Willis (18), on their farm in Holmes County, Mississippi.

Jack was born on October 18, 1925.

In 1926, Mary Ellen was not married to Jack’s father, William Prince Cook, Sr. She was still Mary Ellen Cagle and lived at 1772 Madison Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, and was a stenographer for Columbian Mutual Life Insurance Company. In 1928, she lived at 194 Hawthorne, Apt 9, Memphis, and still was a stenographer for Columbian Mutual Life Insurance Company.

In 1930 and 1931, Mary Ellen was a renter at 1814 Poplar Avenue (or Blvd), Apartment 23 in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee. She paid $65 a month in rent. Three other families were listed at the same address:  Raymond and Dorothy Gill and their daughter Dorothy; Eugene and Maxine Lerner and their daughter Lyma; and Irvin and Charlyn Norton. Mary Ellen was a secretary for the Columbian Mutual Life Insurance Company. She was single and was 27 years old. On August 26, 1931, Mary Ellen arrived in the port of New Orleans aboard the Cefalu. She had departed Cristobal in the Canal Zone on August 22. Her address is listed as Memphis, Tennessee and she may have been traveling with a group of women from Memphis.

In 1932 and 1933, she lived at 1435 Madison Avenue, Memphis. The last Memphis city directory listing I see for Mary Ellen Cagle is 1933.

I believe Mary Ellen quit her job and married William Prince Cook, Sr. in 1933 or early 1934 and Prince Jr. and Princella are her children. William Prince Cook, Jr., was born December 3, 1934 in Tennessee. Younger sister, Mary Princella Cook, was born March 8, 1936 in Memphis, Tennessee. I do not believe Jack Coleman Cook is her son. He must be her step-son, provided William Prince Cook, Sr. is his father.

Past the 1933 Memphis City Directory listing, I do not see any more records of Mary Ellen until the 1940 census showing her as Mary Ellen Cook. Also listed are husband William P., Jack, Prince Jr. and Princella at their home in Hot Springs, Garland County, Arkansas. Past that are only Social Security death records.

Jack’s father, William Prince Cook, Sr.?

William Prince Cook, Sr.’s parents were father Ripley Cook and mother Annie Orne Cook. Annie Orne was born in June 1866 in Mississippi. In 1870, she lived in Tupelo, Mississippi, and in 1880, she lived in District 14, Shelby County, Tennessee. Memphis is in Shelby County. William Prince Cook was Ripley and Annie’s son, born in March 1894, and was named after Annie’s father, William Prince Orne, who was born in 1827 in Mississippi, and died in 1883 in Shelby County, Tennessee. Also listed in the 1900 census were their other children Walter Gibbs (born September 1888, no explanation of different last name given), Benn Cook (born February 1898), and Elvin Cook (born March 1900). So even though William Prince Cook, Sr. was born in Arkansas, he must have had relatives in the Memphis area.

On June 5 of 1917, when William Prince Cook, Sr. registered for WWI, he lived in Shelby County, Tennessee. Records of William Prince Cook, Sr. are even more scarce than records of Mary Ellen Cagle. I don’t find him on a census except for 1900 and 1940.

I don’t see any indication that William Prince Cook, Sr. was married before he married Mary Ellen Cagle. So Jack may have been his child from a previous marriage, or Jack may have been a relative that William adopted. I have no way to know.

To make this search even more difficult, I find that in 1940 there were two Jack C. Cook’s living on Garland Avenue in Hot Springs Arkansas. Jack Coleman Cook lived at 909 Garland Avenue and Jack Calvin Cook lived at 607 Garland Avenue. Jack Calvin Cook was 15 or 16 years old and born in Colorado. His parents were Cecil and Ruth Cook and he had a younger sister named Gertrude. Like William Prince Cook, Sr., Cecil was born in Arkansas. The two Cook families could have been related, although I don’t know for sure.

Jack Coleman Cook remains a mystery to me. The next lead I will follow will be through the family of his wife, Lucille Hutzell, but I will save that search for another day. Even if I don’t find any family that remembers Jack Cook, I will always remember him and his sacrifice in WWII.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2016

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