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Collection Number: 03928

Collection Title: Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 (bulk 1860s-1870s)

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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Size 1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 900 items)
Abstract Charles Alston Cook of Warrenton, N.C., and Muscogee, Okla., was a lawyer; planter; active Republican; associate justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, 1901-1903; and member of the Oklahoma state legislature, 1909-1910. The collection includes letters from Cook, principally to his wife Marina Jones Cook, occasionally mentioning political events in Oklahoma, but making little reference to political or judicial affairs in North Carolina; considerable correspondence with and about John Graham (born circa 1847), founder of the Warrenton High School, Warrenton, N.C., and his family, chiefly on education topics; scattered letters from Daniel Lindsay Russell (1845-1908), Republican governor of North Carolina; other personal and family correspondence of Marina Jones Cook and of the Cooks' children at school in North Carolina and Tennessee; a letterpress copybook used by Cook in his legal work, 1877-1880, and by lawyer E. H. Plumer, 1868-1869; legal papers of Cook; newspaper clippings about family members; and family photographs.
Creator Cook, Charles Alston, 1848-1916.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Charles Alston Cook Papers, #3928, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Benjamin E. Cook, Josephine H. Cook, and William Jones Cook, September 1971.
Additional Descriptive Resources
A copy of the original finding aid for this collection is filed in folder 1a.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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Charles Alston Cook (1848-1916) was a lawyer; planter; state legislator; associate justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, 1901-1903; and member of the Oklahoma state legislature, 1909-1910. Cook was educated by John Graham and later attended the University of North Carolina, 1866-1868, and graduated from Princeton University in 1870. He studied law in the office of William Eaton and became a practicing attorney in Warrenton, N.C. He later served as attorney for the North Carolina Corporations Commission; solicitor of the North Carolina circuit criminal court, 1878-1880; member of the North Carolina House, 1896-1898, and Senate, 1887 and 1897; and was active in the Republican party.

His wife was Marina William Jones Cook; their children were Bignall, Lenoir, Josephine (called Josie or Doc), Charles, Marshall, William Jones, Benjamin Edward, and Mary Speed. Lenoir was a student at Peabody College, Nashville, Tenn., 1893-1896, and taught in Elm City, N.C., the following year. In 1900 she married George E. McLaurine of Nashville; they had three children: Charlie, Lenoir, and Margaret. Charles Cook worked in a drug store in Littleton, N.C., in 1901 and enrolled in Vanderbilt School of Pharmacy in 1902. Marshall, William Jones, Benjamin, and Mary Speed attended Warrenton High School; Marshall also attended the University of North Carolina, 1901-1903, as did Benjamin, 1908-1910.

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The collection includes personal and family correspondence of Charles Alston Cook, his wife Marina William Jones Cook, and their children Bignall, Lenoir, Josephine, Charles, Marshall, William Jones, Benjamin Edward, and Mary Speed. Other correspondents include Mary and W. S. Mercer of Elm City, N.C.; William and Estelle Jones of Montgomery, Tex.; and John Graham, his wife Frances, their son William Archibald, and their daugther Maria.

The earliest items, prior to 1861, are bills and personal correspondence of Charles M. Cook, father of Charles Alston Cook. The papers of Charles Alston Cook begin in 1861 with a letter to his mother and continue with business and personal correspondence with his Uncle Alston (Cook?), 1881-1889, and scattered personal letters and receipts, 1890-1892.

After 1893 the collection consists primarily of letters between Charles Alston Cook and his wife and children. Most of the correspondence focuses on family relationships, farm management, and activities of the younger Cooks. There are scattered letters dealing with Alston, Jones, and Macon genealogy and much correspondence, 1897-1899, about suits filed by Western Union and several railroads against the state Corporations Commission for which Cook was attorney. There is little mention in the papers of his public and political career.

Cook was an advisor and close friend of Daniel Lindsay Russell; there are scattered letters from Russell and his niece-secretary Frances Sawyer beginning in 1901. In 1901 Cook was appointed an associate justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court but his correspondence seldom touched on his judicial career. There are several letters, 1901 and 1902, pertaining to Cook's work in the North Carolina and American Bar Associations.

In 1900 Cook determined to move his family to another state as soon as practicable, and the collection includes his letters in 1900 while on an inspection trip to Tennessee and Oklahoma, and letters between the Cook family and friends in North Carolina after their move to Oklahoma in 1903. Three of the Cook children--William Jones, Benjamin, and Mary Speed--returned to North Carolina to attend schools and there are letters between them and their parents as well as letters from and about the senior Cooks during their visits to North Carolina. Charles A. Cook's letters occasionally mention Oklahoma politics and elections, including his own successful race for and service in the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1908-1910.

The slight material after 1914 consists of personal letters and correspondence between Charles Alston Cook, Edward Kidder Graham, and William A. Graham about a proposed honorary degree from the University of North Carolina for John Graham.

Other papers include undated letters and business papers and an article on North Carolina history; legal papers, 1898-1900, related to the suit filed by Mrs. L. M. Hendon against the North Carolina Railroad Company; correspondence from Joseph A. Groves regarding Alston and related genealogy; scattered personal clippings and near-print material; and family photographs. There is also a business lettercopy book used by lawyers E. H. Plummer, 1868-1869, and Charles Alston Cook, 1877-1880.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 1a

Folder 1

1813-1879 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1880-1889 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

1890-1892 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

1893-1894 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

1895-1896 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 5

Folder 6

January-June 1897 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 6

Folder 7

July 1897 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 7

Folder 8

August-December 1897 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 8

Folder 9

1898 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 9

Folder 10

January-July 1899 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 10

Folder 11

18 July 1899 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 11

Folder 12

19 July-31 August 1899 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 12

Folder 13

September-December 1899 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 13

Folder 14

January-June 1900 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 14

Folder 15

July-December 1900 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 15

Folder 16

January-March 1901 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 16

Folder 17

April-June 1901 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 17

Folder 18

July-October 1901 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 18

Folder 19

November-December 1901 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 19

Folder 20

January-February 1902 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 20

Folder 21

March-April 1902 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 21

Folder 22

May-August 1902 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 22

Folder 23

September 1902 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 23

Folder 24

October 1902 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 24

Folder 25

November-December 1902 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 25

Folder 26

January-June 1903 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 26

Folder 27

July-December 1903 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 27

Folder 28

1904 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 28

Folder 29

1905-1906 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 29

Folder 30

1907 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 30

Folder 31

1908-1910 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 31

Folder 32

1911-1912 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 32

Folder 33

1913 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 33

Folder 34

1914-1926 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 34

Folder 35

Undated #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 35

Folder 36

L. M. Hendon vs. North Carolina Railroad Company, 1898-1900 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 36

Legal papers related to a suit filed by Mrs. L. M. Hendon against the North Carolina Railroad Company for which Charles Alston Cook was attorney. Includes correspondence with Manning and Foushee, Mrs. Hendon's attorneys; C. A. Cook's bills rendered to the railroad; arguments and depositions filed in Durham County, N.C., Superior Court, 1898, and North Carolina Supreme Court, 1899-1900.

Folder 37a

Genealogical materials, 1897-1899 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 37a

Includes letters, 1897-1915, from Joseph A. Groves of Orrville, Ala., regarding Alston and related lines and other items related to Alston genealogy.

Folder 37b

Genealogical materials, 1900-1915 #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 37b

Includes letters, 1897-1915, from Joseph A. Groves of Orrville, Ala., regarding Alston and related lines and other items related to Alston genealogy.

Folder 37c

Genealogical materials, 1969 and undated #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 37c

Folder 38

Clippings, printed materials, miscellaneous volumes #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 38

Image Folder PF-3928/1

Photographs #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." PF-3928/1

Photograph of Governor Daniel Lindsay Russell and his staff, including Charles Alston Cook, taken in 1897 and negative of same. Also miscellaneous unidentified snapshots.

Folder 39

Volume 1: Letterpress copybook, 1868-1869 and 1877-1880. #03928, Series: "Charles Alston Cook Papers, 1813-1926 and undated." Folder 39

Copies of business and financial correspondence of lawyer E.H. Plummer and lawyer-planter C.A. Cook, both of Warrenton, N.C.

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Photographs (PF-3928/1)

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, October 2009

Finding aid updated for digitization by Kathryn Michaelis, March 2010

This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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