Those who succeed usually look at life from an optimistic viewpoint, finding this attitude more conducive to
success. Understanding this, William A. Cook, of Windom, Cottonwood county, who holds the responsible position
of state road overseer, never permits the little things of daily life to unduly annoy him.
Mr. Cook was born at Ripon, Wisconsin, July 19, 1861, and is a son of W. B. and Jane E. Cook, both natives of the
state of New York. The father spent his boyhood in that state and attended school, finally moving with his parents
to Ohio, where he was married. He took up the wagon maker's trade, also that of wheelwright, continuing to follow
these all his life, becoming quite expert. He removed with his family to Ripon, Wisconsin, about 1854, working
at his trades there until 1873, when he came to Cottonwood county, Minnesota, taking up a homestead of eighty acres,
one half mile northeast of Windom, where he farmed and followed his trades for about fifteen years, then moved:
to Windom and retired from active life. He had increased his holdings to one hundred and sixty acres. His death
occurred on April 4, 1909. His wife preceded him to the grave in 1906. They were parents of five children, namely:
Eva, who married C. P. Lyman; Frances, who married B. F. Clement; William, the subject of this sketch; Alice, who
married Leonard McClintock, and Josie, who married C. W. Lowrey.
William A. Cook spent his boyhood on the farm, and he received his education in the schools of Windom. He started
out in life as a brakeman on the Omaha railroad, later was promoted to freight conductor. He followed railroading
for a period of sixteen years, during which he was regarded as a very faithful and trustworthy employee. In 1897
he located at Windom, buying a livery barn, which he conducted for two years, then sold out and rented his father's
farm, which he operated with success until 1910, when he went to South Dakota and homesteaded one hundred and sixty
acres, remaining there two years, then returning to Windom. In 1913 he was appointed state road overseer, which
position he has held ever since, and has discharged his duties in a manner that has reflected much credit on himself
and to the satisfaction of all concerned. He has done much to encourage better roads all over the commonwealth.
Mr. Cook was married in 1886, to Minnie Espey, a daughter of S. M. Espey and wife, and to this union four children
have been born, namely: Gertrude, Esby, Richard, and Frank. They all survive and are all single. They have been
Politically, Mr. Cook is a Republican. Fraternally, he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Modern
Woodmen of America, Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Rebekahs. He is a member of the Presbyterian church.
History of Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties
Their People, Industries and Institutions
John A. Brown, Editor in Chief
B. F. Bowen and Company, Inc.
Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties, MN Biographies
Also see Railway Officials in America 1906