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Maj. Hyram W.
Dec. 25, 1817
Jan. 26, 1888
||Hiram William Cooke
||Section:Republic Hill, Section 1 (C1)
|Reason for Eligibility:
||Texas Ranger; Confederate Veteran
||December 25, 1817
||January 26, 1888
||Reinterred in 1890
|COOKE, HIRAM WILLIAM (1817~1888) Hiram William Cooke, Texas Ranger and Confederate veteran, was born December 25, 1817, in Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky to George W. Cooke and Jemima Waddey Lane. Sometime after his birth, the family moved to Hickman County, Kentucky, where George died in 1830. Soon after her husband’s death, Jemima moved her three sons, John, Wilds, and Hiram, to Henry County, Tennessee, where, on December 8, 1830, she was named their legal guardian by the Henry County Court.
By 1832, it appears that Jemima had passed away and her three sons were left to fend for themselves. John returned to Kentucky, while Hiram and Wilds moved to Dresden, Weakley County, Tennessee. Hiram worked as a clerk in a mercantile, while Wilds worked in a pharmacy.
In 1835, the United States was desperately trying to end the fighting with the Seminole Indians in Florida. To help end this struggle, Hiram and Wilds enlisted in Captain Bradford’s Company of the 1st Tennessee Mounted Militia and I. H. McMahon’s Company of the 1st Tennessee Mounted Volunteers on June 13, 1836. Both enlisted in Jacksonville for six months and were mustered into service on July 1, 1836, in Fayetteville.
Hiram and Wilds’ older brother, John, did not participate in the Indian Wars. As stated above, he returned to Kentucky and from 1833 to 1836, he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. He resigned before graduation to join Texas’ fight for independence.
With their regiment, Hiram and Wilds moved south, where Hiram, on August 1, 1836, was appointed Issuing Commissary to Emigrating Indians, at Montgomery, Alabama. It appears that his skills from working in a mercantile had qualified him for this position, though he only held it for five months. Both he and Wilds were discharged in New Orleans on January 17, 1837. In all, they served over seven months in the U. S. Army.
After returning to Weakley County, Hiram and Newton S. Julin, in 1837, organized a company of men to help in the movement of the Cherokee Indians from Northern Georgia. He reenlisted in the U. S. Army and served as a captain in the 3rd Battalion of the Tennessee Volunteers. He mustered into U. S. service, again, on May 20, 1838, at Fort Cass, Tennessee and served briefly under Julin and Henderson Yoakum. His military records show that he was paid from May 29 to June 24, 1838. He more than likely served at Fort Cass, which was being used as an army outpost in moving the Cherokee west. This removal is commonly referred to as the Trail of Tears.
After leaving the Army, Hiram returned to Weakley County, where he was working as a merchant and married Jane Candace Jenkins on October 11, 1838. Jane was the daughter of John Jenkins and Winnifred McAllister Allen, both of North Carolina. She was born on July 17, 1820, also in North Carolina.
Together, Hiram and Jane had one daughter, Jane Wilds, who was born around 1839. The 1850 Census reported that Hiram, 32 years old, was living in Dresden and was working as a merchant. His wife and daughter were listed as living with him. The last records showing Hiram living in Weakley County were in 1851, when he received a 50-acre land grant. He does not appear to have held onto the property for long, as he followed both of his brothers to Texas.
John, who left West Point to fight for Texas’ independence and changed his name to Louis, served in the Republic of Texas Army as a lieutenant colonel and also served in both the Republic of Texas Congress and State Legislature. Wilds, who moved to Texas around 1840, was a doctor and also served in both the Republic of Texas Congress and State Legislature.
Hiram moved his family to Texas sometime between 1851 and 1853. His brother John, while serving in the Republic of Texas Senate, wrote and passed the law that created the Preemption, or Homestead grants. Hiram received one of the grants and was given 320 acres of public land on Christmas Creek in Limestone County. In order to have the land patented in his name, he had to maintain and cultivate the property for three years. Unable to fulfill the stipulations, he sold or transferred his interests on July 31, 1855, and moved to Coryell County.
Settling in Gatesville, Hiram worked as a merchant, speculated in land, was a charter member of Masonic Lodge No. 197, and served on the Grand Jury. The 1860 Census shows that he was 42 years-old and was working as a clerk. He was also shown to be living with his wife and daughter, his son-in-law, Thomas Garrard, and two year old granddaughter, Elizabeth Jemima.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, the people of Coryell County requested permission from the Governor to elect officers and raise a company of rangers to protect the frontier and settlers from Indian depredations. On May 24, 1861, Hiram enlisted in the company and was elected captain. He served until 1863, when he joined the Texas State Troops.
In the State Troops, Hiram can be found on three different muster roles. On August 20, 1863, he joined with Captain W. S. Gouldy's Company K, First Regiment, Second Brigade, Texas State Troops, of Bosque and Coryell counties. On May 13, 1864, he was shown to be serving with Capt. G. W. Haley’s Company C, Second Frontier District, Texas State Troops, commanded by Major George B. Erath. He also appears to have served as a major with the 4th Cavalry Regiment of the Texas State Troops. Other than what was provided above, no other information is known about his experiences during the Civil War.
Shortly after returning home, Hiram’s wife, Jane, died on January 15, 1866, and was buried in the public cemetery in Gatesville. Soon after, he moved to Robertson County, where, on November 19, 1868, he married Mary Ann “Mollie” Ni[e]bling Collard, the widow of Edward Rusk Collard. Mary Ann was born on August 2, 1845, near Caldwell, Burleson County, Texas. She was the daughter of Frederick Ni[e]bling and Mary Ann Addison. After their marriage, Hiram and Mary Ann had one son, George Hiram, who was born around 1870.
While in Robertson County, Hiram continued to speculate in land and was patented 320 acres on February 16, 1871. From September 30 to October 16, 1878, he served as Postmaster of Bald Prairie.
After 1880, Hiram moved his family to Dripping Springs, Hays County, Texas, where he was working as a merchant when he died on January 26, 1888. He was buried in Dripping Springs the next day. Two years later, Mary had his remains moved to the Texas State Cemetery.
Hiram's wife, Mary, and her son, George, continued to live in Dripping Springs for a number of years, but eventually moved to Austin. In 1892, Mary successfully applied for Hiram's military pension from the U. S. Government and received it until her death on May 29, 1925. She was buried in Oakwood Cemetery two days later. George continued to live in Austin as well. He passed away in February, 1951, and was buried in Austin Memorial Park on February 19.
Information taken from: family members; Widows Application for Indian War Pension; Land records from the Texas General Land Office; Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum website at http://www.texasranger.org; Civil War Muster Roll Abstract Cards from the Texas State Library and Archives; “Texas in the Confederacy” by Harry McCorry Henderson; and obituary, “Austin Daily Statesman,” Saturday, January 28, 1888, page 4, column 1.