In the autumn of 1799, John Cooke brought his wife, four sons and a daughter-in-law to the cabin on Laurel and Clear Forks. He had come a long way from the day in 1772 when he and a girl named Nellie Goodal (or Pemberton) had been shanghaied aboard a vessel on the Thames in London port (Cooke was born in London twenty years before) and started on his adventures in the New World. Apprenticed to a planter in the Valley of Virginia upon his arrival in some American port, Cooke was a victim of that system of slavery-with-a-time-limit that was used to provide England's colonies with white labourers. The girl he had invited to dinner aboard the ship of a supposed friend was also apprenticed. Cooke served out his apprenticeship, and then helped the girl serve out hers, feeling obligated, no doubt, because he was responsible for her misfortune. Misfortune, it must surely have seemed at first, but the opportunities of the frontier world soon became obvious to Cooke and Miss Goodal (Pemberton). As soon as their term an bonded servants ended, John and Nellie were married and established their home in Shenandoah County, Virginia, where their five children were born. His daughter married in Virginia. Indian uprisings in the western part of Virginia and along the Ohio River called John Cooke to military duty in 1774. A member of Captain Buford's Bedford County Riflemen, he marched with General Andrew Lewis to meet the forces of Cornstalk, Chief of the Northern Confederacy, at Point Pleasant. Before the actual fighting began in this battle, however, John, and others were dispatched to Fort Clendenin for supplies; nevertheless, he is listed on the Point Pleasant Monument as a soldier in that battle. In January, 1777, John Cooke enlisted as a private in the American Revolutionary Army, serving under Captains Jonathan Landon, Abraham Hite, and George Waite in Colonel James Wood's regiment, the Eighth Virginia Continentals. Cooke was in the battle of Monmouth, New Jersey, and was later with "Mad Anthony" Wayne in the storming of Stony Point on the Hudson. He was discharged from the army on December 29, 1779. At the close of the Revolution, seeking greater opportunity and freedom, Cooke moved his family to the Narrows of New River. While there, he and his sons served with the Rangers, an organization for protecting the frontier against Indian attacks. On May 27, 1793, John and his son Thomas, a boy, from Montgomery County, Virginia, were with Captain Hugh Caperton's Company of Rangers at Fort Lee on the Elk and Kanawha Rivers, guarding the Kanawha Valley settlements. "Mad Anthony" Wayne's victory over the Indians in 1794 ended the Indian menace of the Ohio, and permitted white settlement to move westward almost unmolested. The rich hunting grounds of the wilderness called to Cooke, who found life at the Narrows too tame after his military service. In 1799, he resisted the call no more, but with his small family moved into the region his children later named Wyoming County, after the Wyoming tribe of Indians.
Oceana and the Cook Family
Number 6 - Folk Studies
WORK PROJECTS ADMINISTRATION IN WEST VIRGINIA