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Page Index of Forest to Field Volume One
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This is the farm home of Andrew and Elizabeth Cook built in 1905. The barn in the far background was built in 1895. The barn in the foreground has been moved and is still used as a machine shed. This is the present home of Russell and Ann Cook.
When Andrew was fourteen years of age, he was apprenticed to a shoemaker, following which he worked at that trade for several years, at the same time attending night school, thereby adding much to his education. The family then moved to a heavily wooded farm near Hillsdale, in Simcoe County.
In 1876, Andrew Cook and Elizabeth Rowat were married and farmed nearby for about three years. Then in 1879 the young couple, with his father and mother, felt the lure of the west and moved to Manitoba, coming from Winnipeg to Minnedosa or Tanner's Crossing, as it was then known, by ox wagon and pony cart, the younger woman driving an Indian pony over the rough trails.
Both father and son took up homesteads here in what is now the Clan william district. The father homesteaded the S.W. 14-16-18W, while Andrew was on the S.W. 13- 16-18W. A little later they both secured pre-emptions which made their farms 320 acres each. This was for them a wonderful opportunity, for although the land was bushy and took a lot of hard work to get it under cultivation, still the soil was very rich. The worst drawback was that frost usually came so early that the grain did not have time to mature. The younger couple were strong and full of hope and courage and endured the hardships and disappointments of pioneer life bravely and well, and in time made a good home and a real success of their venture.
The grandfather (which he now was), was a capable tradesman and of a cheerful disposition but owing to being crippled badly with rheumatism, was unable to help much with the farm work; however, he did do some carpenter work and made the desks for the first Lakelet school. He also served as a councillor of Minto in 1905. The grandmother was a very active woman and worked hard to help out and keep things going. The story goes that one day Grand-dad and Granny Cook had company. Granny looked to the west where black clouds were rolling in, so, Granny in her Scottish accent was heard to say "If I was at your hoose like you're at my hoose, I'd gang awa' hame but you can stay if you like." She was known to the early settlers as "Granny", and was best known for her most capable help in times of sickness. They both lived to a good old age, he being 91, and she to almost 84.
COOK, ANDREW AND ELIZABETH
by Russell Cook
Andrew and Elizabeth (Rowat) were an active couple in community affairs, he being assessor in 1884 as well as Reeve of the Clanwilliam Municipality for 15 years. They both worked hard for their church and helped to build the first Presbyterian Church as well as later churches. He also served on the school board of Lakelet school, meanwhile being instrumental in helping to have the Grey school district formed and a school built in Clanwilliam.
Probably one of the stories which was passed down from one generation to another, gives us a small insight into some of their pioneer intuitions. One day when the oldest child was still very small, the mother returned to the house only to find two Indian women holding the baby. They started to leave with the baby so the mother very calmly asked them if they would look after her in the house for a short time before they took her. When the two women agreed to this she left the house and hurriedly ran a white flag up on a high pole which was a sign for her husband to come at once. When her husband Andrew entered the house, the two Indian women agreed to leave and not take the baby with them.
Andrew and Elizabeth Cook had nine children, five boys and four girls, eight of whom reached manhood and womanhood. Andrew Jr. died in infancy. Their eldest daughter, Christine, married Charles Bertram and lived all of her life close to home. They had eight boys and one girl. Most of the family have lived near this area for at least part of their lives. They have carried on their parents' tradition of working not only for themselves, but their community as well.
Mabel, was married to Matt Greenlaw, son of another pioneer family. They also farmed for a number of years before moving to Clanwilliam. This couple were both very active members of the Presbyterian Church until the formation of the United Church where they participated faithfully as choir members and conducting Sunday School.
Marshall and Alice, neither of whom were married, lived and farmed the family farm for many years. Marshall kept a herd of purebred shorthorn cattle which his father had started over fifty years before. It was always a great treat for the nieces and nephews to be able to stay with them for a few days as "Aunt Alice" was such a fine person, very patient and kind, and "Uncle Marshall" always full of fun. They retired to Clanwilliam where they spent their latter years. They too as the rest of the family were very devout church members, lending many a helping hand.
The eldest son John married Regina Kaufman in 1915.
They farmed near Clanwilliam until 1943 when they sold their farm and bought another farm at Eden. However, he was never to know how well he had chosen as he passed away only three months later. His wife followed him six months later. They had a family of three boys and four girls. Irene Burton is the only one of the family living in this area.
Allan, the second son, married Viola McPherson in 1921 and made their home on the farm homesteaded by his grandfather Cook. Nine children, five boys and four