Essex County, Vermont resident Wheatley Bigelow Cook takes center stage in today's profile, and sadly very little could be found online in regards to his life history and political service. Although details on his life have proven difficult to come by, a rare portrait of this man was found in a Vermont legislative souvenir that I ordered off of Amazon a few days ago, and this very useful book is also worth mention!
As stated in this site's introduction in July of last year, numerous books have come to my rescue in regards to finding information on "so and so" that has a profile here. One type of book that I've found to be especially helpful is called a "legislative souvenir", and contained in these books are short biographies and portraits of every legislator from a particular state. The portrait of Wheatley B. Cook shown above was discovered via the 1905 work entitled Vermont, Its Government that highlighted all of the elected officials serving within the Vermont government for the years 1904-1905. Although this book yielded the rare photo of Cook shown above, it did not yield very much in the way of a biography (quite literally in fact--his "biography" amounted to just five skimpy lines!) In addition to Cook, a number of other oddly named political figures were found in this book, all of which will eventually have profiles here on the site at some point!
Wheatley Bigelow Cook was born on May 8, 1854 in Lancaster, New Hampshire and attended the "common schools" in the Lancaster area. He is listed as marrying in December 1877 to Ms. Minerva Electa Chamberlain and this marriage lasted over 25 years until her death on July 23, 1903 at age 48. Wheatley and his wife are recorded as having one son, Leslie Bigelow (born 1877) who later became a resident of Rumney, New Hampshire. Cook is recorded as having been involved in the lumber industry for a good majority of his life and won election to the Vermont State House of Representatives in November 1903.
During his brief legislative service (1904-1906) Cook represented the town of Canaan in the county of Essex and held a seat on the House committee on Land Taxes. A roster from that particular legislative session is posted below, and one should also note that Cook's fellow representative from Essex County also had a strange name.....Orange L. Mansur! Mansur (1849-1921) will have a profile posted here at some point and also has a portrait featured in Vermont, Its Government, 1904-05.
In the years following his service in the legislature Wheatley B. Cook served as the Vice President of the William F. Allen Co., an electrical lighting company. Little else could found on him, with the exception being his death, which occurred on November 4, 1917 in his native town of Canaan. He was subsequently buried alongside his wife Minerva in the Alice Hunt Cemetery in Canaan, Vermont.
Vermont, Its Government: 1904-1905.