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Cook, Lewis Bionson

MILITARY SERVICE

Age: 24, credited to Vermont
Unit(s): 13th MI INF
Service: enl, Pvt, Co. B, 13th MI INF, 1/17/62, pr SGT 12/22/62, m/o 1/7/63, Bowling Green, KY

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations

VITALS

Birth: abt 1838, Copley, OH
Death: 02/11/1909

Burial: Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Heidi McColgan
Findagrave Memorial #: 157910804

MORE INFORMATION

Alias?: None Noted
Pension?: Unknown
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: Unknown

DESCENDANTS

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BURIAL:

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Tombstone

Tombstone

Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, VT

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Biography

Lewis Bionson Cook was not a native Vermonter. He didn't serve in a Vermont regiment during the Civil War. It wasn't until after he was married and had started a family that he decided to make the Green Mountain state his home. That part of his story sounds like many of us today - transplanted want-to-be Vermonters. He chose to be buried here in his adopted state when he died rather than going back to his native state of Michigan. That said something about the man and his priorities.

Lewis B. Cook was born in Southfield, Michigan.[1] Some sources claimed he was born in Copley, Ohio. His parents were Edmund Cook (1798-1869) born in New Hartford, Connecticut and Amanda Aurilla Brunson (1805-1849). Amanda was born in Vermont. Edmund and Amanda spent many years living in Michigan and Ohio.[2] He bounced from job to job, being a "cooper" (one who makes and repairs casks and barrels) in 1850, then working as a farmer in 1860.[3] He died on September 16, 1869 in Newburg, Michigan as a widow. Amanda died at an early age (thirty-four) in Copley, Ohio. She had given birth to Miles Cook in 1848. Her death came in November of 1849 from "erysipelas" - a contagious skin disease due to Streptococci with vesicular and bulbous lesions.[4] Nothing in the public records indicated any connection between her recent pregnancy and delivery and her skin disease. Once she contracted erysipelas, she did not suffer long with it. The doctor who filled out her death certificate wrote that her illness lasted only sixteen days.[5]

Lewis had nine siblings altogether. He was the middle child of the bunch. He had five older brothers and sisters: Lucy M. (1825-1892); Evaline (1829-?); Reuben B. (1831-?); Sophronia (1832-?); and Melvin Darwin (1835-1916). After Lucy was born, there came four more siblings: Wellington (1840-?); Gurdon Edmund (1842-1907); Mary (1846-?); and finally, Miles (1848-?). The first seven children, including Lewis, were born in Michigan. The last two were born in Ohio.[6]

In 1860, twenty-three year old Lewis was in love. He had moved back to Michigan from Ohio, or maybe had never left when his mother and father pulled up roots in Michigan to go to Ohio, and found himself a bride. Her name was Susan F. Halstead (1836-1899). Both the bride and the groom were living in Sturgis, St. Joseph County, State of Michigan at the time. Susan was also twenty-three. They married on November 24, 1860 at the minister's (E.J.Fish) home in Sherman, Michigan. Witnesses to the ceremony where Pluma Fish and Franklin G. Halstead of Sturgis.[7] Franklin (1838-1896) was Susan's brother. Her father was David Halstead and her mother was Lydia Andrews (1809-1887) Susan's full name was Susan Farnsworth Halstead Cook. She was born on October 25, 1836 and died in Benson, Vermont on November 13, 1899.[8] Before his marriage to Susan, Lewis had been living with his widowed father and some of his brothers and a sister. Edmund, sixty-one, was farming, so he could have used all the help Lewis could give him to do the necessary amount of work required to operate a farm. Wellington, nineteen, and Miles, twelve also lived with their father and did what they could to assist the operation. The only female who lived in the household was Evelene Warren. She was Edmund's daughter who had apparently married a Warren sometime prior to 1860[9]

Lewis did not have much time to set up housekeeping with his new bride. Fort Sumter trumped any plans the young man might have had about home, hearth and family. Eleven months after being married, Lewis was signing up for a hitch in the Union Army. He enlisted October 6, 1861 into Company B of the Thirteenth Michigan Infantry for three years.[10]

The Thirteenth Michigan Infantry was organized at Kalamazoo, Michigan and placed under the command of Colonel Charles Edward Stuart on January 17, 1862 with an enrollment of 935 officers and men. The Regiment left the state on February 12 and marched to Pittsburgh Landing to reinforce General Grant at the Battle of Shiloh on April 7, 1862. After participating in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi April 29 through May 30, the Thirteenth marched along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad to repair it. The Regiment arrived at Stevenson, Alabama on July 18, where it helped to build strong fortifications as that place was a depot of supplies and contained vast stores for the Army. The Regiment remained at Stevenson until August 31 guarding the railroad and supplies. It then took part in the pursuit of Confederated General Bragg August 31-October 16, 1862. At the Battle of Perryville on October 8, it was held in reserve. In December, the Regiment, now at Nashville, Tennessee, joined General Rosecrans' army to advance on Murfreesboro. It was engaged at Stone River on the 30th and 31st of December, 1862. In the January, 1863 action, the Thirteenth distinguished itself by its desperate valor when it heroically checked the assault of the Confederate forces. The Regiment was sent to the extreme right of the Union line and formed in the immediate front of the Confederates. A violent conflict ensued. The Union forces were steadily pressed back. But the Thirteenth held their position until nearly surrounded. It fell back, always with its face to the enemy, a short distance and reformed. Orders came to fix bayonets. With a terrific yell, the Thirteenth charged forward driving the astonished Confederates from the field. The Regiment lost nearly a third of its numbers in killed and wounded in the action.

The Thirteenth commenced its advance toward Chattanooga in August, 1863. It marched over the Cumberland Mountains, crossed the Tennessee River at Shell Mound and was one of the first regiments to march into Chattanooga on the morning of the 13th of September. It proceeded almost at once to Chickamauga, where it was engaged the 19th and 20th of September confronting Confederate forces at Lee and Gordon's Mills where it lost 107 killed, wounded and missing out of a total of 217 officers and men carried into action. Following Chickamauga, the Thirteenth found itself in the trenches about Chattanooga, also taking part in the movements at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. The Regiment was then stationed in Chattanooga until February 17, 1864 doing picket duty and cutting timber for warehouses. It was assigned to additional engineering duties at Lookout Mountain building military hospitals until September 24, 1864. After a brief excursion in northern Alabama chasing Nathaniel Bedford Forrest, the Regiment joined Sherman on his March to the Sea, November 15 to December 10. When Savannah, Georgia surrendered, the Thirteenth was engaged in marching through North and South Carolina, fighting a pitched battle with General Johnston's forces at Bentonvilled, North Carolina on March 19-21, 1865. After General Johnston's surrender, the Thirteenth marched to Washington, D.C. via Richmond, Virginia April 29-May 19. It took part in the Grand Review on May 24, 1865. On the 9th of June, the Thirteenth proceeded to Louisville, Kentucky where it was mustered out on July 25. The Regiment then traveled to Jackson, Michigan where it was paid off and disbanded on July 27, 1865. The Thirteenth lost a total of 388 men during its term of service: four officers and sixty-eight enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, two officers and three hundred fourteen men died of disease.[11]

Lewis was enlisted as a Corporal in the Thirteenth probably because of his age (twenty-four). He was quickly promoted to Sergeant of Company B by the end of 1862. Sgt. Cook was then discharged much earlier than the Regiment's July 27, 1865 date. He was dismissed from the service on January 7, 1863.[12] Since his service records were not available, it can't be said with complete certainty, but it looked like he was given an early discharge based on a medical disability. This was supported by his pension records which were available. Lewis began drawing a disability pension on December 14, 1863. His official pension payment cards said he suffered from chronic diarrhea and piles.[13] The 1890 Veterans Schedules for Lewis B. Cook were a little more detailed in describing Lewis' ailments: ...contracted phithisis (discharged for _?_) also heart trouble - Has chronic diarrhea & piles..."[14] So, a year after leaving active duty with the Thirteenth Michigan, Lewis was drawing an invalid pension for the rest of his life.

His disabilities, however, were not so severe as to hamper his ability to become a father. His first born was a daughter, Cora Belle, born in Indiana on September 30, 1865. His next child was a boy, Charles G. born September 9, 1867 in Benson, Vermont.[15] This means that after Lewis' discharge from the service, he went to Indiana with his wife, Susan. He left there for Vermont before the birth of his son in 1867. By 1870, he and his family were established residents of Benson, Vermont. He was thirty-one, worth about $3,000 and had a four year old daughter and a one year old son (actually more like five and three). He must have been working with or for Franklin Halstead, Susan's brother. They both lived right next door to each other and both were employed in making spokes for wagon wheels.[16] It was not clear if one came to Vermont before the other or if they both came to the state at the same time. Either way, these two middle aged men with families were doing the exact opposite of many young people in Vermont who were moving West for new opportunities. Ten years after they had their first, and only son, Lewis and Susan brought their last child into the world. She was named Evaline and was born October 16, 1877 in Benson.[17]

When the next Federal Census was taken in 1880, Franklin and Lewis were no longer neighbors nor partners in the spoke manufacturing business. Lewis still made them. Susan was busy keeping the house in order. Cora Belle was "at home". Charles attended school when it was in session. And little Eva was busy keeping the women of the house busy. Since Franklin was no longer around to help in the business of manufacturing spokes, Lewis had hired help in the form of Joseph Siro, fifteen, to work in the factory with him.[18] The 1890 Federal Census was mostly destroyed in a vault fire. But in that year there was a special count taken. It involved only veterans of the military, primarily the Civil War. That special schedule placed Lewis in Benson, Vermont in 1890. More importantly, it gave a glimpse into the state of his health at the time. It stated that he suffered from chronic "phthisis" or tuberculosis, heart trouble, chronic diarrhea and acute piles.[19]

At the turn of the century, 1900, Lewis who was now a widower, continued to live in Benson. Susan had died November 13, 1899.[20] Shortly before her death, on February 3, 1899, she had made out her Last Will And Testament. She stipulated that her debts and funeral expenses were to be paid first. The remainder of her estate was to go to her husband, Lewis, whom she also appointed as Executrix. When he died, any remaining portion of her assets were to go to ".Eva A. Branch, one of my daughter...."[21] Susan never mentioned a word about her oldest daughter, Cora Belle. Susan passed away on November 13, 1899 of typhoid pneumonia in Benson.[22] Eva and her husband, George Branch, lived with Lewis after his wife's death. He also enjoyed the company of two grandchildren: Emma L., three and Gladys I., one. Lewis was still making wagon wheel spokes at sixty-two. George, his son-in-law, did help in the shop. Lewis owned his home, but carried a mortgage on it.[23] Apparently, Lewis worked at his trade almost to the day he died. His illnesses that got him an early discharge from the service finally caught up with him on February 11, 1909. At seventy-one, Lewis passed away in Benson of " aortic insufficiency and hypostalic pneumonia".[24] Hypostalic pneumonia results from an infection of lung tissue which causes a build-up of fluid in the lungs which, in turn, inhibits breathing. It occurs mainly in older people who have become bed-ridden for long periods of time.[25] With fluid in the lungs making it hard to breathe and, most likely, a build-up of fluid around his ailing heart as well, Lewis could not withstand the stress and died.

NOTES
1. Ancestry.com, Merrill, J_2009-07-24 Family Tree for Lewis Bronson Cook; www.findagrave.com, Memorial #157910804 for Lewis B. Cook.
2. Ibid., Merrill, J_2009-07-24 Family Tree; Ancestry.com, Adair Family Tree for Edmund Cook; Ibid., U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 for Amanda Cook.
3. Ibid., 1850 & 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Edmund (Edman) Cook.
4. www. usgennet.org/usa/ar/county/greene/olddiseases/htm.
5. Ancestry.com, U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 for Amanda Clark.
6. Ibid., Adair Family Tree for Edmund Cook.
7. Ibid., Michigan, County Marriage Records, 1822-1940 for Lewis B. Cook.
8. www.findagrave.com, Memorial #157910834 for Susan Farnsworth Halstead Cook.
9. Ancestry.com, 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Lewis Cook.
10. Ibid., 1890 Veterans Schedules for Lewis B. Cook.
11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/13th_Michigan_Volunteer_Infantry_Regiment; www.migenweb.org/michiganinthecivilwar/infantry/13th inf.htm.
12. Vermont in the Civil War/Cemeteries/Vermont/Orwell/Mountain View Cemetery/Cook, Lewis B./Military Service.
13. www.fold3.com, Pension Files for Cook, Lewis B., image 23737447; www.familysearch.org, Pension Files, 1861-1934 for Cook, Lewis B. and Payment Cards, 1907-1933 for Cook, Lewis B.
14. Ancestry.com, 1890 Veterans Schedules for Lewis B. Cook.
15. Ibid., Merrill, J_2009-07-24; Ibid., 1870 U.S. Federal Census for Lewis B. Cook.
16. Ibid., 1870 U.S. Federal Census for Lewis B. Cook.
17. Ibid., Merrill, J_2009-07-24 Family Tree for Lewis B. Cook.
18. Ibid., 1880 U.S. Federal Census for L.B. Cook.
19. Ibid., 1890 Veterans Schedules for Lewis B. Cook.
20. www.findagrave.com Memorial #157910834 for Susan F. Halstead Cook.
21. Ancestry.com, Vermont, Will and Probate Records, 1749-1999 for Susan F. Cook.
22. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908, Death, for Susan F. Cook.
23. Ibid., 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Lewis B. Cook.
24. Ibid., Vermont, Death Records, 1909-2008 for Lewis Bionson Cook.
25. https://thefreedictionary.com/hypostastic pneumonia.

Courtesy of Bernie Noble.

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