JUDGE MARION C. COOK. The many friends of Judge Marion C. Cook, of Perry county, are united in ascribing his remarkable success in his profession not so much to his knowledge of the law, though in this respect he is undoubtedly well qualified, as to the charm of his manner and the sincerity and honesty of his character, which wins him friends wherever he goes. Had it not been for an accident he might never have taken up the study of law, and Perry county would have lost one of the best lawyers and most efficient judges she has ever had.
Marion C. Cook was born at Saint John, Illinois, on the 7th of March, 1877, and received his education there and in the public schools at DuQuoin. His father is Benjamin O. Cook, of DuQuoin, who is well known throughout all that section as a barrel maker. He was born in Franklin county, Illinois, on June 16, 1849, the son of Moses Cook. The latter was one of the early pioneers from Kentucky, who followed the occupation of a farmer through his whole life.
Benjamin O. Cook was brought up on the farm and trained for the agricultural industry, but he chose a different course from the one his father had mapped out for him and entered the trades. He chose the coopershop as the scene of his labors, and his choice has been justified by the success that he has had. He came into Perry county in 1874 and has lived here ever since. His wife was Nancy J. Phillips, a daughter of Jesse Phillips who came from Alabama into lllinois and settled in Franklin county. He joined the Union army at the outbreak of the Civil war and was killed in the second day's fighting at the bloody battle of Shiloh. Mrs. Cook died on the 26th of March, 1911, leaving a large family of children to mourn her death. Of these John H. lives in Elkville, Illinois; Edward lives in Herrin, Illinois; Philip H. makes his home in DuQuoin; Judge Marion C.; Gertrude, who is the wife of W. H. Greenwood, of DuQuoin; Benjamin O., Jr., also lives in this city; Celeste who married Edward Flynn, of DuQuoin; and Everett, Jessie and May, who live with their father in the old home.
After the school days of Judge Cook were over he took up the cooper's trade under the guidance of his father. Eight children of this family followed their father's choice of a profession. After pursuing this vocation for a time he became interested in mining and began to work as a coal miner. It was during this time that he lost his right arm, when he became entangled in the machinery of the coal plant at Hallidaysboro. This day, the 18th of January, 1892, will always stand out in the memory of Judge Cook. But the accident which seemed at the time to have ruined his whole life in reality served as a blessing in
disguise, for being no longer able to pursue a trade he turned his attention towards a profession and selected the law.
He entered the office of Isaac R. Spillman, of DuQuoin, and bent all his energies to mastering the intricacies of the law, as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. He was admitted to the bar on the 7th of October, 1908, but before this the city and county had united in showering honors upon him. His first public service was as city attorney of DuQuoin, which position he filled for eight years, and during this time the public improvements that have made DuQuoin a modern and up-to-date city were initiated and a beginning was made upon them. The result of this movement was the installation of sewers, water works and an electric light system, all of which saw completion during the regime of his successor, but for which he was directly responsible. While still a law student he was nominated by the Democratic party for county judge, and although the county is normally Republican he defeated their party candidate, who was then the occupant of the office, and was elected by a hundred and eighty-six votes. Judge R. W. S. Wheatley was his predecessor in the office, and in 1910, four years later, he had proven his ability to such an extent that he was re-elected by three hundred and ninety-four majority over his Republican opponent, a very good proof that it is men not party creeds that count now.
Judge Cook was married in Freeburg, Illinois, on the 12th of February, 1902, to Miss Lula M. Parker, a daughter of Ira G. Parker, a farmer of Perry county. Mr. and Mrs. Cook having no children of their own have adopted into their family a daughter of one of his brother's, Celeste Newell Cook. The Judge finds a relaxation and many interests in the various fraternal orders with which he is associated. He is a member of the Odd Fellows and his association with the Red Men of Illinois has been active and has brought him into considerable prominence throughout the state. He is a past sachem of the DuQuoin Wigwam and was chairman of the board of appeals, comprising three members, and he was also a member of the committee to draft the laws of the order for this state. He is a Modern Woodman of the World and is a member of the Court of Honor. In his religious affiliations he is a member of the First Missionary Baptist church.
The courage with which Judge Cook faced the changed conditions of his life, after the loss of his arm, epitomized the courage with which he was afterwards to do his duty in his judicial positions. He has never faltered one instant from the straight path of duty, and has won the trust of the whole county, who feel perfectly safe in leaving their affairs in his hands. Although upholding the dignity of the law when acting in his official capacity, when he is among his friends no one could be more gracious and genial; consequently he has the high respect of those who know him only as a lawyer, and the affection of all who are fortunate enough to count him as a friend.