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A Short Sketch of the Life of David Simpson Cook and Wife, Janet Hunter Cook


Agnes Hunter was born to James Hunter and Margaret Hunter on 22 April, 1815, in Devon, Clackmannan, Scotland. James Hunter and Margaret Hunter were first cousins, their father’s were brothers, which gave them the same great grandparents, which was John Hunter and Euphane Condie who were born in 1712 and 1716. On April 21,1835 Agnes married Robert Hunter, who was born 22 October, 1814 in Sauchie, Devon, Scotland, to Alexander Hunter and Janet Harrower. There was undoubtedly a relationship between Agnes and Robert, but it was back several generations. Robert’s father came through a long line of Robert Hunter’s. Robert was the fourth in a direct line, which was broken only by Alexander Hunter who was Robert’s father.

Robert and Agnes had 8 children born to them, but only 4 lived past childhood. Margaret, their oldest was born on the 21 Mar, 1835, in Clackmannan, Scotland. Their second child, a daughter, was Janet or Jennet, who was born on the 4 October, 1837. Elizabeth was born on the 17 April, 1839. Their first son was born in November 1840. He was named Alexander, but he died in less than 2 years, as did James, born in March, 1842, and another Alexander, born in October, 1843, who died at 6 years. On the 11 October, 1845, they had their fourth son born who was named James, again, and he lived to be nearly 70 years old. A last son Robert was born in 18149, but he lived less than a year. These children were all born in Clackmannan, Scotland.

Agnes and Robert had different religious views, Agnes being Methodist or belonging to what was called the Relief Church; Robert belonging to the Catholic Church. Agnes had two brothers who were Methodist Ministers. Two Mormon Ministers came to their area who were, William Gibson and John Sharp. After hearing them preach Agnes was converted. Her brothers said she would bring disgrace to their family, but Robert Hunter, her husband, went to hear them and was interested and was also converted. Agnes was baptized on the 24 October, 1847, and Robert was baptized on the 30 October, 1848 by John Sharp, who was a bishop in Scotland at that time and later emigrated to Utah. The three older girls were also baptized in 18148.

Agnes and Robert ran a store in Clackmannan and after their baptism they desired to emigrate to Utah with the Saints, but Robert could not sell the store so Agnes and the 4 children, Margaret, Janet, Elizabeth, and James, who was only 16 months old, started for America, leaving Robert to come later when he could sell his store.

They set sail from Liverpool, England, Wednesday, September 4, 1850, in the sailing vessel North Atlantic with 357 saints aboard under the Presidency of David Sudworth and Hamilton G. Park, Arriving at New Orleans on November 1, 1850, after being eight weeks on the water. After sailing up the Mississippi River by steamboat they landed at St. Louis

On November 8, 1850. They settled in a small mining town called the Gravies, seven miles from St. Louis.

One of the women who came over on the boat with Agnes and her children was the wife of David Love o He had come to America a year before to prepare a place for his wife and two children. While crossing the ocean Mrs. Love became very sick and Agnes had taken care of her two children. Mrs. Love died just as the boat landed at St. Louis and David was left with the care of the two small children. Not knowing what to do, David Love asked Mrs. Hunter if she would bring her family to live in his house, and care for his children, since his house was furnished. His disappointment was great when he went to meet the boat and found out she had just died at landing. Mrs. Hunter took her family to David Love’s house and cared for his family along with her family. On the 23 July, 1851, Agnes Hunter’s oldest daughter Margaret married David Love. Two months later the cholera broke out among the people there. Agnes came down with it and died on the 4 September, 1851, and was buried at Blue Ridge in St. Louis. After her Mother’s illness and death the care of the families was left to Margaret, who had previously married David Love, Later her Uncle, Adam Hunter, came from Scotland to help the children. He brought a letter from their father, Robert Hunter, who had stayed behind in Scotland to try to sell the family store, and told them of their father’s serious illness. Following is a copy of Robert Hunter’s letter:

27th of December, 1850 Clackmannan, Scotland

My dear wife and children,

I take this opportunity to write a few lines to let you know that I am well at present. Thank God, for it. Hoping this finds you the same. This has been a sorrowful time for me indeed. I never thought of this two years ago, but I think God has done it for my good. I may mention that I was surrounded with all those that were among a – – – – to meet – – – – then after that you went away. I did not know what to do, however, I got settled with our debt, then your sister Betsy and Janet told me that you said you paid 5 pounds to the bread man to account, but that it was not taken out of the account book. They say they never recorded it. I wish to know this when you write, if it is true or not.

I am capping my sock with ready money and am well at present, but your mother is very bad when this left me.

I am very much surprised that you did not write to me when Brother Snaden wrote to me. Have you forgotten me all together? It is very like it. I have not forgotten you. We had a heart chatting night when she came down to my house to read the letter and when I saw you were all well and in good health.

I hope to God you will write me and let me know what you are doing and what you are about for I intend to see you and my poor children before I die. I intend to see you at the first opportunity, if you will be so good as to let me know how much it will take to bring me to where you are.

My dear wife, Margaret, Janet, Betsy and James, my dear son, there’s a long distance between you and your father, but I hope that we will all meet again. This will be all for now. May the God of Heaven bless and keep you and guide you always.

Amen, your loving husband
Robert Hunter
This was written with many tears

Robert Hunter died before he was able to come to Utah. Therefore he was never able to be reunited with his family. He died on 1 June, 1853 in Clackmannan Scotland. Robert Hunter was cut off the church 15 April, l849. Was rebaptized 13 Mar, 1894.

The following spring the company camps started across the plains by ox team for Utah. This was in 1852. There were 50 wagons in the company. The company was later divided into five companies consisting of 10 wagons to a company. The company the Hunters and Loves were in was presided over by John S. Higby. The youngest sister Elizabeth, or Betsy as her father called her, and young brother James stayed with David Love and their sister Margaret who was David’s wife, and family and they were taken across the plains with them. Janet Hunter went with the Adam Hunter family who took up residence in the 11th ward in Salt Lake City. Adam’s wife, Elizabeth Hunter, died at the ripe old age of 92 at her home in Salt Lake City in 1914.

They all arrived in Salt Lake on August 13, 1852. After arriving in Utah, Janet made her home with the Adam Hunter family until she married David S. Cook who preceded her to Utah and whom she had met as a traveling elder in her native land. They were married in Salt Lake City on September 24, 1852. (Her history continues on Page 4.)

Elizabeth and Jimmie, as he was called, traveled with the David Love family. Jimmie was only about 3 years old then, so it was Elizabeth’s job to care for Jimmie and the cow. Elisabeth walked almost all the way without shoes. When they arrived in Utah, she and another girl went to work for a Mr. Nickleson. They were determined to get some shoes. They found 2 dead oxen and trimmed and skinned them to get the hides to turn into the shoe maker for shoes. Mrs. Nickleson saw them dragging the hides and informed them that since she was paying them $1.00 a week wages for their time the work they had done on the hides was for her, so she took the hides from them. Needless to say they shed bitter tears.

Another time they found some old discarded leather boots and they cut them up to turn them into shoes. Their employer charged them $16.00 for the time they had spent on the old boots and they had to pay it out of the wages he was supposed to be paying them. $1.00 a week. She at last had some leather to turn in for shoes which she took to the shoe maker. He required her to work for him for 4 months to pay for his labor, but when it was all done she finally had some wonderful shoes. In order to make them last she carried them through the stones and stubble.

She cut beets for molasses for 3 months, but when the man of the house wanted her to marry him she left because he already had 2 wives. She got word that her father had died in 1853. She was now 15 years old and went to work at the church pasture. The girls milked 34 cows night and morning.

On June 11, 1854 Elizabeth Hunter married Joseph Stacy Murdock. He already had a wife but he had no children. Elizabeth lived to be 96 years old, had 88 grandchildren, 102 great-grand children, and 27 great, great grandchildren. She lived in Heber City and American Fork.

I have nothing on James history after he grew up or on Margaret, but since Janet is my great grandmother we have her life history, which follows:


Janet Hunter was born in Clackmannan, Scotland, October 4, 1837. She was the daughter of Robert Hunter and Agnes Hunter. Janet came from a line of good religious people in Scotland who had been respected for generations back. (Since a history of her parents preceded this I will not go into her family history in detail. Please refer to that history for dates, etc.

Janet was baptized in 1848 in her native land, along, with the rest of her family. Her mother came to America, bringing her four children, and leaving their father in Scotland to sell the family store before following them. Her mother died of cholera in St. Louis and is buried there. Her father died in Scotland just as he was preparing to emigrate to America, so he never was able to be reunited with his family.

At the time of her mother’s death their mother and her sisters and brother were living in the home of David Love, who had been left with 2 little children when his wife died just as the boat docked in St. Louis. Later her older sister, Margaret, married David Love and her younger sister, Elizabeth and little brother James lived with them and later came with them across the plains. Janet came across the plains with her Uncle Adam Hunter and his wife Elizabeth and later stayed with them in Salt Lake City until she married David Simpson Cook who had preceded her to Utah and whom she had met as a traveling elder in her native land.

David Simpson Cook was born in Kingcardon, Pirthshire, Scotland, January 19, 1829. His parents were David Cook and Margaret Simpson, who were born in Dolar Parish in 1801, tracing back on a direct line of ancestors to the year 1690, when David S. Cook’s second great grand parents were born. They were John Cook born 1690 and his wife, Janet White, born November 5, 1692. They were good, honest people, rearing large families of which we have a record.

David Simpson Cook never belonged to any other church until he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in his native land of Scotland. He was baptized January 3, 1846 by William McMaster. Shortly after joining the church he was ordained to the office of teacher. This was in 1847; also to the office of elder in 1848 from which time he labored as a traveling elder until 1850 when he emigrated to the United States.

He set sail Saturday March 2, 1850 in the ship Hartly from Liverpool with 109 saints aboard of which he was president. They arrived at New Orleans on May 2, 1850, having spent exactly two months on the water. He stayed in St. Louis until 1851. While there he was chosen counselor to the President of the Gravies Branch of the church which office he held until he emigrated to Utah, arriving in Salt Lake City on August 1851.

Janet and David Simpson Cook were married in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 24, 1852.

Following their marriage in 1852, Janet says:

We resided in Salt Lake City for some time, my husband being employed on the public works. He helped quarry the rock for the temple and other buildings of interest in Salt Lake City. He helped quarry the corner stones for the temple which were laid April 6, 1853. We were present at the time and the spirit there will long be remembered. He was also one of the police force in the 10th ward, Salt Lake City, in 1854.

Our first child David, was born March 2, 1854, at West Jordan, Salt Lake City, Utah. This was the same year that the grasshoppers destroyed the crops in Utah. On Friday, June 16, 1854 the first work on the Salt Lake Temple was begun. On account of the plague the men on the Public Works had to be put on rations. The scarcity of food during this time made it almost impossible to live. Our second child Andrew B. Cook was born November 5, 1855, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Partly because of the hardship endured during the grasshopper plague, we decided to buy a farm which we did in South Weber, Davis County, Utah, where I still reside.

In the spring of 1858 we sold our property in Salt Lake City and moved to South Weber where we engaged in farming. We started with a yoke of oxen, a cow, a wagon and a few chickens. Our first house was built of logs cut from our own farm. We were so destitute for bread that I went to the field and gathered the ripest of the wheat and ground it in my coffee mill and made bread for my family. I also made molasses from squash and beets by boiling down the juice into syrup, and preserves out of carrots as fruit was very scarce in those days. We had no matches and the only way we could get a fire or a light was to fire off a flintlock gun. We would secure a light from the wad out of the gun. Much care had to be taken in order to preserve the fire when made. We had to bank it every night to keep it from going out. Whenever it did go out, as was often the case, the same process had to be gone through again in order to secure a light. Lights were also very scarce. Those who could get tallow for candles were very fortunate.

Our third child, William, was born July 21, 1857 in South Weber. Shortly after this my husband was called to assist in protecting the saints when Johnson’s army invaded Utah. Word had been received by President Young from the United States Government that soldiers were on their way to Utah to destroy the Mormon people. They had been falsely represented to the United States Government. President Brigham Young sent out orders for the saints to move south and prepare to destroy everything that was left in case the soldiers invaded their premises. So just as we had gotten a start we had to pack up and leave everything behind. Soon, however, the trouble was adjusted between the government and Utah and the saints were allowed to return to their homes to live in peace, while the soldiers were moved to Camp Floyd.

After moving back to South Weber we bought a few sheep which enabled us to get clothing to wear. I did all my own carding of wool, spinning it into yarn for weaving. I knitted all our stockings from the yarn. We were indeed truly pioneers. But although poor we prospered and lived happy as neighbors. We had good times with each other, helping all we could in times of need.

My husband belonged to the 25th Quorum of Seventies until 1856 when he was ordained a High Priest and set apart as first counselor to Bishop Kington, who was then Bishop of the South Weber Ward. My husband served in this capacity until 1862, when the ward was reorganized on account of Bishop Kington moving away and Richard Cook was set apart as Bishop. He was, however, no relation to my husband. My husband was again chosen to fill the office of first counselor to Richard Cook, which office he held until 1866 when Richard Cook lost his position as Bishop because of his Joining a religious sect called the Morrisites, led by one, Joseph Morris, coming into the ward and claiming to be a true prophet. He joined them believing Joseph Morris to be a prophet of God.

William Firth was then appointed President of the Ward and David S. Cook was again chosen counselor which office he held until 1870 when William Firth resigned his position and David Cook was appointed President of the ward June 9, 1870, which office he held until June 1877, when the ward was reorganized and David S. Cook was chosen and set apart by Apostle Franklin D. Richards as Bishop of the South Weber Ward of the Davis Stake of Zion. This office he held until his death May 5, 1890. He also held many other important offices in the Ward and Church. He held the office of Justice of the Peace from August 1866 until August 1874. He was also Water Master for several years and one of the select men of Davis County at the time of his death. He was honored and respected by all who knew him.

Our union was blessed with 18 children, 13 boys and 5 girls, 13 of whom lived to maturity.

I was the first Relief Society President of the South Weber Ward, chosen and set apart May 25, 1875 by Brothers Job Welling, Ezra T. Clark and Bishop David S. Cook with Elizabeth Jones and Lucy King as my counselors. I held this position until February 1893 when by some misunderstanding and in my absence a new Relief Society President was appointed. I have also done work in the temple for hundreds of my dead ancestors tracing back as far as the sixteenth century.

I have been blessed in many ways. I am blessed with plenty in my declining years and still live at the old home in South Weber at the age of 79 years.

Janet Hunter Cook died at the age of 91 on October 31, 1921 at her old home in South Weber Utah. She lived a long, useful and good life. She is honored and revered by many descendants.