Biography of William A. Cook
Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties, MN Biographies

Those who succeed usually look at life from an optimistic viewpoint, finding this attitude more conducive to success. Understanding this, William A. Cook, of Windom, Cottonwood county, who holds the responsible position of state road overseer, never permits the little things of daily life to unduly annoy him.

Mr. Cook was born at Ripon, Wisconsin, July 19, 1861, and is a son of W. B. and Jane E. Cook, both natives of the state of New York. The father spent his boyhood in that state and attended school, finally moving with his parents to Ohio, where he was married. He took up the wagon maker's trade, also that of wheelwright, continuing to follow these all his life, becoming quite expert. He removed with his family to Ripon, Wisconsin, about 1854, working at his trades there until 1873, when he came to Cottonwood county, Minnesota, taking up a homestead of eighty acres, one half mile northeast of Windom, where he farmed and followed his trades for about fifteen years, then moved: to Windom and retired from active life. He had increased his holdings to one hundred and sixty acres. His death occurred on April 4, 1909. His wife preceded him to the grave in 1906. They were parents of five children, namely: Eva, who married C. P. Lyman; Frances, who married B. F. Clement; William, the subject of this sketch; Alice, who married Leonard McClintock, and Josie, who married C. W. Lowrey.

William A. Cook spent his boyhood on the farm, and he received his education in the schools of Windom. He started out in life as a brakeman on the Omaha railroad, later was promoted to freight conductor. He followed railroading for a period of sixteen years, during which he was regarded as a very faithful and trustworthy employee. In 1897 he located at Windom, buying a livery barn, which he conducted for two years, then sold out and rented his father's farm, which he operated with success until 1910, when he went to South Dakota and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres, remaining there two years, then returning to Windom. In 1913 he was appointed state road overseer, which position he has held ever since, and has discharged his duties in a manner that has reflected much credit on himself and to the satisfaction of all concerned. He has done much to encourage better roads all over the commonwealth.

Mr. Cook was married in 1886, to Minnie Espey, a daughter of S. M. Espey and wife, and to this union four children have been born, namely: Gertrude, Esby, Richard, and Frank. They all survive and are all single. They have been well educated.

Politically, Mr. Cook is a Republican. Fraternally, he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Modern Woodmen of America, Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Rebekahs. He is a member of the Presbyterian church.

History of Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties
Their People, Industries and Institutions
John A. Brown, Editor in Chief
B. F. Bowen and Company, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana

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Also see Railway Officials in America 1906