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Virgil Y. Cook family papers

Virgil Y. Cook family papers

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Finding aid for the Virgil Y. Cook family papers


Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
100 Rock Street
Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201
(501) 320-5700

March 9, 2017

Repository: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Creator:Cook, Virgil Young, 1848-1922
Creator:Morrow, Jr., John Patterson, 1907-1978
Title: Virgil Y. Cook family papers
Dates: 1870-1975
Quantity: 1.25 Linear feet
Abstract:This collection contains documents, photographs, and drafts of an unpublished narrative of the life of Virgil Young Cook, believed to have been written by his grandson, John P. Morrow Jr.
Identification: BC.MSS.13.18
Language: English
Permanent URL:


This collection is arranged chronologically and topically.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains documents, photographs, and drafts of an unpublished narrative of the life of Virgil Young Cook. The narrative is believed to have been written by his grandson, John P. Morrow Jr. It also contains a political broadside written by J. F. Medearis concerning the candidacy of William K. Surridge for Commissioner of Mines, Manufactures and Agriculture of the State of Arkansas.

Biographical Information

Virgil Young (V. Y.) Cook was born on November 14, 1848, in Boydsville, Graves County, Kentucky. the son of William Ditterline Cook and Pernica Dodds. As a young teenager, he persuaded his father to allow him to enlist in the Confederate army. He served in Company E, 12th Kentucky Cavalry and Company H, 7th Kentucky Mounted Infantry, mustering out in May 1865, six months before his eighteenth birthday.

In 1866 Cook moved to the Grand Glaize area of Jackson County, Arkansas, where he worked in the mercantile store of Matthew Thomason. In 1874, Cook relocated to Olyphant, where he opened a mercantile store and a cotton gin. Over the coming years, he acquired 8,000 acres in Jackson, Independence, Clay, and Greene counties. He employed sharecroppers and tenant farmers to work the land for him. He eventually moved the center of his operations to an area in the Oil Trough Bottoms on the White River, later known as the town of Elmo.

On June 29, 1871, Cook married Mildred Ophelia Lamb. The couple had four daughters and two sons; one son died as an infant and the other at age seventeen. In 1898 Cook was commissioned a colonel and put in command of the Second Arkansas Volunteer Infantry in the Spanish-American War.

In 1908 Cook and his wife moved to the city of Batesville to be near their daughters. One daughter, Bertha May, married John P. Morrow Sr. Their son, John P. Morrow Jr., was an early supporter of and frequent author for the Independence County Historical Society and its publications. He is believed to be the author of the biographical narratives included in this collection.

Cook continued to manage his holdings and to be active in writing and in promotion of Confederate veterans organizations. Some of his writings are quoted in Morrow’s biographical narrative. Mildred Cook died in July 1916, and on April 28, 1920, Cook married Sarah B. Lanier of Forrest City, Ark. Cook died at his home in Batesville on March 12, 1922.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Arkansas -- Politics and government
Batesville (Ark.)
Business -- Records -- Arkansas
Cook, Virgil Young, 1848-1922
Elmo (Ark.)
Independence County (Ark.)
Medearis, James F., 1869-1932
Morrow, Jr., John Patterson, 1907-1978
Morrow, Sr., John Patterson, 1877-1965
Olyphant (Ark.)
Pelley, Asa Braxton, 1872-1953
Surridge, William K., 1868-1923
Swift, Albert Duane Jr., 1896-1987
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Veterans
United States. Army. Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 2nd.


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access

Restrictions on Use

Non-circulating, in-house use only

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Virgil Y. Cook family papers, MSS.13.18, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute.

Acquisition Information

Purchased, 2013

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