Cook, Jesse Mercer (1830–1894)

By: Jennifer Eckel

Type: Biography

Published: April 30, 2008

Updated: November 19, 2014

Jesse Mercer Cook, judge and Texas legislator, was born in 1830 in Macon, Georgia, son of Asa Barrett and Elizabeth (Ivey) Cook. Asa Cook may have purchased land in Texas as early as 1830, but by 1837 Asa returned to Georgia and lived again with his wife and children. The couple, however, obtained a legal separation in 1845 with the help of an affidavit from oldest son Jesse M. Cook that supported his mother's claims that Asa Cook had engaged in abusive behavior. After serving in the Mexican War, Jesse M. traveled with his father to Texas, purchasing land on the border of Titus and Red River counties in 1849. Months later Asa Cook died, and Jesse M. became executor of his estate and settled in Titus County.

In 1852 Jesse Cook was appointed postmaster of the Oak Grove Post Office in Titus County. He was soon elected to the state legislature where he served one term from 1856 to 1857. In 1861 when the Civil War began, Jesse M. Cook was elected captain of the Daingerfield Grays, which eventually became Company I in Whitfield's Legion, a company that also included three of his brothers. Following the war Jesse returned to Titus County, and he remained there until 1872 when he moved to the newly organized railroad town of Denison in Grayson County. In Denison, Cook brokered real estate, held a municipal judgeship for many years, and according to one biographer, also served as mayor of the new town.

Jesse M. Cook married Fanny P. before 1860; the couple had eleven children, six of whom survived to adulthood. Jesse Mercer Cook died in 1894 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Denison.

Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Bob's Genealogy Filing Cabinet II (, accessed August 17, 2006.

  • Sixth Legislature (1855-1856)
  • House

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jennifer Eckel, “Cook, Jesse Mercer,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 30, 2008
November 19, 2014