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RG5144.AM:  John Cook, 1849-1928

Diaries:  1872-1896

Manchester, Custer County, Neb.:  Farmer; Postmaster

Size:  9 volumes on 1 reel of microfilm


Born in Nottinghamshire, England, on April 17,1849, John Cook immigrated to America with his parents shortly after his birth, settling in Illinois. The family moved to North Fork Township, Delaware County, Iowa, around 1869. In 1873 Cook went on a scouting trip to Custer County, Nebraska. The following year he located a claim in Douglas Grove Township, and by 1875 he began to build a house on his land. His marriage to Susie Bennett on September 29, 1879, resulted in three children. Cook was appointed postmaster of Manchester Post Office in 1881 and was reappointed in 1886. The Cooks returned to Iowa in 1890, resettling in Manchester, North Fork Township, where he died on July 15, 1928.


This collection consists of one reel of microfilm containing nine diaries dating from 1872-1896. These diaries document the experiences of John Cook during his years in Nebraska. Included are descriptions of scouting expeditions that he made with his friend, Matt Colman, in 1873 and 1874 in order to locate a satisfactory land claim. Regular entries provide brief descriptions of hunting trips and successes, crop conditions, weather, wildlife, emigrants, local news, business associates, and post office work. Often year-end summaries of progress are included, as well as accounting records for years sometimes beyond the scope of the diary entries. Some of the diaries contain years that overlap.

Note:  Many of the diary entries are in pencil or are extremely light and, therefore, the microfilm may be difficult to read. Pages 209-236 of volume 5 [August 1881 – April 1882] were written in red ink, which did not show up on the film. Photocopies of these pages are available. The NSHS does not hold the original diaries. Only the microfilm copies are available. The photograph portion of the collection [RG5144.PH] contains two images, one of John and Susan Cook and one of John Cook and his son.


Reel 1


  1. 1872-1874

  2. 1872-1876, includes account records for 1869-1877

  3. 1874-1875

  4. 1875-1877

  5. 1877-1882

  6. 1877-1878

  7. 1878-1880

  8. 1883-1889

  9. 1889-1896


Volume 5, 1881-1882, photocopies of pages that did not film well



Cook, John, 1849-1928

Custer County (Neb.) — History

Frontier and pioneer life — Nebraska — Custer County

Homesteading — Nebraska — Custer County




AIF/kfk   05-10-1999

Revised KFK   2003

Encoded TMM   03-16-2010