History of Lenawee County, Michigan - Book 2, Page 49

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Walter E. Cook, who has risen to a high place among the business men of Adrian, was born in that city on Jan. 1, 1860, a son of Walter G. and Rosmond (Ross) Cook. The father was born in Rochester, N. Y., and rendered valorous service in an Ohio regiment during the Civil war. The paternal grandfather was killed in a railroad accident near Toledo some years ago, and the paternal great-grandmother lived to the remarkable age of one hundred and fourteen years. The mother is a native of Vermont, and was married in Toledo, Ohio, where she and her husband now reside. Of the thirteen children born to the parents, eight survive, five daughters and three sons. One son, S. C., Cook, is superintendent of the factory now owned by his brother in Adrian, and another son, William Cook; is a resident of Oshkosh, Wis. Mr. Cook received his educational advantages in the Toledo and Adrian schools, and for fourteen years after he had completed his scholastic training was employed as a sash, door and blind maker and a general woodworker. When he severed that association it was to enter the employ of the Gilliland Electric Company, with which firm he remained for a period of nine years. In July, 1goo, he began his connection with Kells' foundry, becoming a partner with Amos M. bells and O. Air. Davis in the manufacture of brick and tile machines, clay crushers and brick and tile yard supplies. It is the manufacture of these machines that has gained for the company a reputation from coast to coast. The company also manufactures iron, brass and aluminum castings, does a general jobbing business and makes a specialty of repair work. It is also the agent for the Duro Babbitt metal and for the Nagel Engine and Boiler Works, of Erie, Pa. The history of the Kells' foundry is one of the interesting features of the development of the city of Adrian. In the late sixties the late Philip H. Kells began the manufacture of a brick and tile machine, for which he took out patents in the United States and Canada. Some years later, in 1882, .he erected a machine shop and foundry which subsequently became part of the present plant, and admitted into partnership his three sons, Abraham, Jacob and Philip, Jr_, as equal partners. Upon the father's death, a few years later, the three sons were left to carry on' the business, which they did most successfully until an accident befell Jacob Kells, which resulted in his death. Upon the settlement of the estate the plant became the property of Jacob Kells' widow and.her two sons, Amos M. and Alonzo. Under their management the business continued to prosper for a year, and then another change of ownership was affected, Mrs. Kells and her son, Alonzo, disposing of their interests to O. W. Davis and Walter E. Cook. Two years later Mr. Davis disposed of his interest to the other two partners, and in 19o6 the controlling interest of the whole concern passed into Mr. Cook's hands. He still retains the original name of Kells Foundry & Machine Company, whose products are well and favorably known- in every state and territory of the United States, as well as in many European countries, from the fact that Kells' brick and tile machines have been shipped to very nearly every civilized country in the world. Since the time the patents were first taken out nothing has been brought into use which can in any way effectively equal the Kells' machines. They have received the highest awards at many of the different state fairs, namely, the Michigan, Indiana Tri-State, the Illinois and the Wisconsin fairs, and at different times have been awarded diplomas at the great Provincial fair at Toronto; Canada, and the Great Western Fair, at London, Ontario. Mr. Cook has also secured the patents and the right to build the Coryell Cement Block machine, used for the manufacture of hollow cement wall blocks, which have no equal because of the fact that the blocks made by the machine are absolutely frost proof. Because of his thorough knowledge of every detail of the industry of which he is the owner much of the credit for the firm's rapid and wholesome growth within the past few years must be credited to Mr. Cook's careful guidance and direction, combined with a keen business acumen and his scrupulous honesty. Beside his interest in Kells' foundry, the offices of which are at Nos. 82 and 84 North Main street, Mr. Cook is president of the Sch'warze Electric Company, with offices at 58 and 6o North Main street. In his political views he is allied with the Republican party, and although he takes great interest in the' elections and campaigns, he has little leisure, because of the pressure of his gigantic business affairs, to devote to politics. In fact, to his lack of time can be attributed his defeat in Igo4, when he was nominated by his party, despite his desire to have some other man named, as mayor of Adrian. He is prominent and popular in a social and fraternal way, being a Knight Templar, of the Masonic order, and a Noble of the Mystic Shrine of Moslem Tent of Detroit.; a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Knights of Pythias, the Modern Woodmen of America, and the Knights and Ladies of Security. On June 9, r88i,'Mr. Cook was happily married in the German Lutheran church of Adrian, to Miss Anna B. Gippert, a daughter of Fred Gippert, of Adrian. Mrs. Cook passed away on Dec. 20, 1906, leaving, beside her husband, two children, Arthur F. and Pearl. Arthur was married on June 28, r9o6, to Miss Edith Knowles, a daughter of Cullen Knowles, of Adrian, and they have one son, Everett, born Aug. 18, 1907. Arthur is a machinist in his father's shop and Pearl is a stenographer in her father's office. Obert B. Clark, now serving his fourth year as supervisor from the Fourth ward of Adrian, was born on a farm in Palmyra township on Sept. 7, 1874. He is the son of Owen and Caroline (Keeber) Clark, the former born in Ireland in 1837, and the latter in New York.

The father came to the United States when nine years of age with his parents, and with them he proceeded directly to Lenawee county. Until he was forty years of age he was engaged in railroad work. on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern line, and then after his marriage purchased forty acres of land in Palmyra township. Later he disposed of this property' by sale and purchased eighty acres elsewhere in the township, where he lived until his death, which occurred in March, 1896. The mother still lives and makes her ]ionic on the old farm. Four sons and three daughters were born to the parents, and their names in the order of birth follow: Ella is Mrs. Eugene Dawson of Palmyra township; Kate became the wife of Bert Kennedy, and died in 1895 ; Obert B. is the subject of this memoir; James is a student at the Detroit Medical College; Fred is managing the home farm; Bert is the agent for the National Express Company at Muskegon, Mich.; and Edna is the wife of William Martin', of Palmyra township. After completing the courses afforded by the district schools in the vicinity of his boyhood home, Obert 11. Clark entered the employ of the Page Woven Wire Fence Company, devoting his time to -weaving and repairing looms. He remained in the employ of that firm for ten continuous years, with the exception of the time he served in a Michigan regiment during the Spanish-American war. When he left the employ of the Page Company he purchased a milk route in Adrian and was very successful in its conduct until he sold it a short time since, realizing a good profit. In the matter of politics Mr. Clark has always been a staunch adherent to the tenets of the Democratic party, and his two successive elections as supervisor from the Fourth ward have been as the candidate of that party. Fraternally he is prominently identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. On Jan. I:, i9ao, Mr. Clark was happily married to Miss Jennie Rickerson, a daughter of Leslie C. and Rhoda (Kirkendall) Rickerson, of Clinton, Lenawee county. Mrs. Clark's father is a carpenter by vocation and is now serving as janitor of the county courthouse. Mrs. Clark was born in Clinton, and is the second in order of birth of four daughters born to her parents. Two children have been the issue of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Clark, namely: Louella Fern, born Feb. 1g, 1904, .and James Edward, born June 27, 1907. The Clark home is at 38 South Center street. Frank P. Clarkson, a representative of one of the honored pioneer families of Lenawee county, which has been his home from the time of his birth, is numbered among the successful exponents of the great basic art of agriculture in this section of the state, though he has maintained his residence in the village of Tecumseh for the past several years. He was born in Macon township, this county, March 9, 1853, a son of John J. and Mary Ann (Miller) Clarkson, both natives of Livingston county, New York, where the former was born in 1824 and the latter in 1826. The paternal grandfather, Daniel Clarkson, was a native of New Jersey, and his wife, whose maiden name was Deborah Cadmus, was born in the state of New York, where their marriage was solemnized.

They came to Lenawee county, Michigan, in the early '30s, prior to the admission of the state to the Union, and settled in Macon township, where Daniel Clarkson reclaimed a-farm from the virgin forest, and where both he and his wife passed the remainder of their lives. Further data concerning the family genealogy is to be found in the sketches of James and Richard Clarkson, appearing on other pages of this volume. The maternal grandparents of the subject of this review were Stephen V. and Harriet (Van Vleet) Miller, both natives of the state of New York, whence they came.as pioneers to Lenawee county, Michigan. They settled in Macon township, and there passed the residue of their lives. John J. Clarkson was a boy at the time of his parents' emigration from the old Empire state to the wilds of Michigan, and he was reared to manhood on the pioneer homestead in Macon township, in whose district and subscription schools he secured his early educational training, which was limited, owing to the exigencies of time and place. He eventually became one of the representative farmers and influential citizens of Macon township, where he accumulated a landed estate of 320' acres, a considerable portion of which he reclaimed from the virgin forest. In politics he gave his allegiance to the Democratic party, and both he and his wife held membership in the Reformed church. Mrs. Clarkson passed to the life eternal in Ig00, and his death occurred in 19o2. Their names are most consistently given place on the roster of the honored pioneers of Lenawee county, where to them was ever accorded the fullest measure of popular confidence and regard. They became the parents of three children: Sidney \\T., the youngest of the three, is cashier of the First National Bank of Ann Arbor, Mich.; Eugene S., graduated in the law department of the University of Michigan, is now engaged in the practice of his profession in the city of Detroit, and is associated with his brother Sidney in the ownership of the old family homestead in Macon township. Frank P., subject of this sketch, is indebted to the public schools of Macon township for his early educational discipline, and he was reared under the sturdy and beneficent influences of the home farm, with the various details of whose operation he early became familiar. He has ever continued appreciative of the dignity and independence of the life of the progressive farmer and has been identified with agricultural pursuits throughout his entire business career. He is now the owner of a finely improved farm of 120 acres in Macon township, and recently sold another farm of ninety-three acres in`Ithe same township. Since 1903 he has resided in the village of Tecumseh, where he has an attractive home, but he still gives a general supervision to his farming interests. Though never an aspirant for public office of any order he is a staunch supporter of the cause of the Democratic party and takes a loyal interest in local affairs, as a progressive and public-spirited citizen. He attends and his wife holds membership in the Presbyterian church in Tecumseh. On June 12, 1884, Mr. Clarkson was united in marriage to Miss Nellie Clark, who was born in Monroe county, Michigan, Jan. 14, 1855, a daughter of Eliphalet and Susan C. (B•arnaby) Clark, both natives of the state of New York, but became residents of Monroe county, Michigan, in the pioneer days.

There their marriage was solemnized and there they continued to reside until 1864, when they came -to Lenawee county and located in Ridgeway township, where Mr. Clark became a successful farmer and where his death occurred in 1872. He was a Republican in politics and he and his wife, whose death occurred in 1905, were both devout members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Of their six children two are now living. The paternal grandparents of Mrs. Clarkson were Eliphalet and Elizabeth (Eldridge) Clark, who were early settlers of Monroe county, Michigan, where they resided until their death. The maternal grandparents, Ambrose and Salome (Taylor) Barnaby, were natives of the state of New York and they likewise became pioneer settlers of Monroe county, Michigan, in 1839, and there they passed the residue of their lives. Their only surviving child is Henry I. Barnaby, of Toledo, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Clarkson have one son, John Dwight, born Sept. 14, 1889. He was graduated in the Tecumseh High School in 19o8, and is now a member of the class of 1912 in the literary department of the University of Michigan.

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History of Lenawee County
published by The Western Historical Society in 1909. Book 1
Book 2

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