Biography of Dr. William E. Cook
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





WILLIAM EDWARD COOK, D. D. S. - The distinction of having assisted in framing the first dental laws of California belongs to Dr. Cook, who is not only a native son of the commonwealth, but also one of its pioneer dentists and a citizen whose identification with any movement has tended toward its betterment. He was born at Lake Tahoe, this state, January 10, 1862, and is a son of John Cook, a western pioneer who built the first sawmill in the Lake Tahoe region and was connected with other enterprises of the formative era of state history. When Dr. Cook was a mere lad the family moved to Sonoma county, where the father was engaged in freighting from Petaluma to the valley towns until the building of the Donohoe railroad, now the Northwestern Pacific. In this environment William E. Cook received a good education, in boyhood, and afterward continued his studies, in fact he left no effort unmade that would enlarge his fund of classical and professional knowledge. Finally he was graduated in dentistry, having enjoyed perhaps the best advantages for that profession to be had in the state. Then with ambition still unsatisfied, he went east to take post graduate courses in institutions famous for the thoroughness of their training and their adoption of modern methods of work in every branch of dentistry.

After years of successful dental practice in Sonoma county Dr. Cook came to Eureka in 1885 and has since become the Nestor of the profession in Humboldt county. Meanwhile he has been very active in local movements, has devoted a part of his time to the city and county and has taken a patriotic interest in politics. Indeed he has become almost as well known in civic affairs as in his profession and has directed his energies toward municipal advancement with a zeal that indicates the loyalty of his public spirit. A very difficult task came to him in his appointment as chairman of the committee that solicited the funds for the purchase of the site on which stands the Carnegie library. Although the enterprise involved many discouraging features, the results are eminently satisfactory to the people and he is fully repaid for his labors in the satisfaction. connected with the knowledge of fostering a great public enterprise. Harbor improvements also have received his cordial assistance and he was a member of the first committee for the improvement of Humboldt bar. Throughout this period of civic and professional progress he maintained his home and reared his children, Earl, now of Oakland, and Edith, now a school teacher in the Eureka schools. After the death of his first wife he married Miss Bertha Henderson in 1912 and they have a pleasant home in Eureka, surrounded by evidences of culture and refined tastes.

As might be expected of a man so alive to the needs of the hour, Dr. Cook is prominent in local educational progress and for eight years he has held office as president of the board of education. The standard of education has been advanced under his thoughtful oversight and efficiency has been made the slogan of the public school course. For years he has been very active in the Eureka Chamber of Commerce and he has the distinction of being the oldest living ex president of the organization. While he was president of the Chamber of Commerce that body made an effort to obtain terminal freight rates for Eureka, and it was largely through his efforts that these rates became effective. At the same time, with others, he interested the Santa Fe Railroad Company in acquiring the Eel river road between Eureka and San Francisco, and among other things he was also interested in promoting the street car system in Eureka. It was chiefly through his efforts that the new State Normal School was located in Humboldt county and he was also a factor in the bond issue for the building of the new high school in Eureka. Indeed, it would be difficult to mention any forward movement of the city or county that has lacked his intelligent cooperation. Fraternities that have received his allegiance are the Elks and the lodge and encampment of Odd Fellows, but it has not been practicable for him to identify himself widely with associations or clubs, as the demands of his profession and the desire to promote local progress have necessarily been first in his mind.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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