COOK, JAMES (1797–?). James Cook, a partner with William B. DeWees as one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred families, was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 1797 and was probably in Texas by 1820. On August 3, 1824, he and DeWees received title to a sitio of land now in Colorado County. Cook was possibly the J. Cook who was elected third sergeant of the San Felipe militia on July 10, 1824, and also possibly the James Cook who voted in the alcalde election held at Rawson Alley's house in January 1825. In the census of 1826 he was listed as a single farmer and stock raiser aged between twenty-five and forty, the partner of James McNair.
By 1829 a James Cook was among the soldiers stationed at a small stockade built in 1828 to protect incoming colonists and located at the site of future Matagorda; in 1831 this Cook was awarded a Matagorda town lot for his work against the Indians. It was probably the Austin colonist James Cook, brother of Hamilton L. Cook, who married the widow Maria (sometimes given as Mariah) Cummins Ross. Mrs. Ross owned property known as Cedar Island on Bay Prairie, northeast of the site of present Bay City in Matagorda County. The couple had two children. By April 1836 Cook was serving as postmaster at Cedar Island, later known as Cook's Island, on the mail route between San Felipe and Matagorda. Though records of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas indicate that Austin colonist James Cook served in the army during the Texas Revolution, this may actually have been James R. Cooke, who did not arrive in Texas until 1834. A local history, citing probate records, indicates that both James and Maria Cook had died by the end of 1836, but Republic of Texas postal records suggest that Cook served as postmaster as late as 1839.
Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). James M. Day, comp., Post Office Papers of the Republic of Texas (2 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1966–67). Matagorda County Historical Commission, Historic Matagorda County (3 vols., Houston: Armstrong, 1986).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Rachel Jenkins, "COOK, JAMES," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fco47), accessed January 27, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.