Cook, Alonzo Laker, 1882-1963, Cook, Ann Eliza, 1823-1896, Cook, Melvin A., Cook, Phineas Wolcott, 1819-1900
The Autobiography of Melvin A. Cook. Volume 1 : Reflections on Ancestry and Early Life
Salt Lake City
Melvin A. Cook Foundation
For abstract of Phineas Wolcott Cook diary (p. 283-295), see Newel Cook McMillan's 1980 publication of this complete diary. From Ann Eliza's diary: May 1, 1894 to April 30, 1895. Many of Cooks entries focus on visits, visitors, family news, and local goings-on. Topics include a rash of local polygamy arrests, her youngest sons mission call, preparing names of deceased family members for temple work, and local celebrations of the Enabling Act, which permitted Utah to hold a referendum on statehood. Cook also reflects on the pains of aging, pioneer life, and her desire to beautify her home by finishing the interior. Late in the diary, she expresses much concern for Will, who has brain damage from a prior accident. Cook recounts a talk by Francis M. Lyman, in which he opposes kissing outside of marriage, and stresses the importance of caring for the dead both spiritually and temporally. In response to his talk, Cook and her family visit the local cemetery and spend several days tidying up the graves and repairing markers. From William Alonzo's diary: February 1, 1916 to October 30, 1935. Cook writes about his life working his farm and attending church. He runs over one son while plowing, expressing surprise and gratitude that the boy survives. Later, another son is caught behind Cooks wagon and nearly dies. A third son succumbs to blood poisoning, causing Cook to write of his grief and faith. Financially insecure, he sells his home and buys a farm. It is unsuccessful and he frequently mentions his problems with creditors. Constant fluctuation in grain prices adds to his troubles. Cooks secures loans, but has difficulty repaying them. He becomes $20,000 in debt, straining his marriage. Cook rallies his family and they pool their labor and credit to keep the farm. As he ages, the diary increasingly focuses on genealogy and temple work. Cook is ordained a Seventy and goes on a six-month mission. He writes about his sons missions, and visits family on the East Coast, gathering genealogical data. Throughout the diary, he writes about the causes of the Great Depression, his support for Prohibition, his faith in Franklin Roosevelt, and the Second Coming, which Cook believes will occur very soon, possibly in 1936.