Sources for William Thomas Cook Sr. & Rosella May Gilmore

This man went by his initials “WT”. Around the years 1909-1911, WT worked as a mule skinner on a route between North Texas and Oklahoma. Those in the know claim a good mule and a good mule skinner were hard to come by. Mules were sure-footed and sturdy and could haul loads through places that were otherwise inaccessible. The skill was in the interaction between animals and driver; a sort of mule-whisperer.

Texas Sources

WT’s death is recorded among the Texas Death Index, 1903-2000 found on He’s listed as W. T. Cook Sr. certificate #59525.

From his Death Certificate comes this information: WT was a resident of Whitesboro toward the end of his life. He was a farmer, married, and suffered from heart disease. The names of his parents and their birthplaces are named. Over his last three months, he suffered from manic-depression for which he was hospitalized. While there he broke his right femur. He died in 1944 at the State Hospital in Wichita Falls at the age of 67 years, 10 months and 23 days. Source: Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976,

WT’s burial place was found on-line by searching Sherman, Texas cemeteries. His burial place of Sherman was named in his death record. Michael Cross compiled the information from the cemetery. On the other hand, W.T. Cook is on record as being buried in Oak Wood Cemetery in Whitesboro, Grayson County, TX. It states his name and lifespan. See Findagrave #22380799.

WT enlisted for the First World War; his Draft Card can be viewed (barely) on the website. He was aged 41 that year.

The website has a marriage notation for Rosie May Gilmore marrying WT Cook on 30th September 1906 in Grayson County, Texas. The same site has digital records entitled, Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1935. Rosie M. Cook is listed as the mother of Emmett Leon Cook, born 1907.

In the 1910 US Census, Precinct 5, Collin, TX is a household headed by J.R. Cloninger and his wife Eliza. Also in the house are W.T. Cook, aged 34, wife Rosie Cook, aged 21, Leon aged 3 and 16 month-old Stella Cook. It states that the older couple are grandparents of the younger. It necessarily means they are Rosie’s maternal grandparents because there’s not enough age-difference between the Cloningers and W.T. to be a grandparent.

The 1930 US Census lists W. Tom Cook and Rozella. WT says his father was born in Alabama and his mother in Illinois. Tom is aged 53 that year. Rosella is 39 and three children are at home. E. Leon is 22, Carl W. is 15 and W. Tom is 13. They refer to Emmett, Carl and Tom Jr.

In another ten years, WT and Rosella are in Grayson County on the Road to McCullough and Thompson. They’ve aged the requisite ten years and still at home is “Case W. Cook”, aka Carl W. who’s aged 25. See 1940 US Census.

The Reno Evening Gazette for March 9th 1959, carries an article headed, “VFW Auxiliary Will Celebrate 25th Year”. It refers to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and on that date, into Post No. 407, “Mrs. Rosella Cook was accepted as a new member and given the obligation.” See, Newspapers, image 8/17.

According to Cook Researcher Kevin Cook (2009), Rosie went to Reno to take care of her daughter Colleen who was suffering from cancer. Because Nevada had good care for seniors, Rosie stayed. Kevin remembers visiting there with his parents. The story goes that Rosie was bowling when she suffered a stroke. A few days later she died. She was in her 95th year. (The arithmetic suggests 93).

In October 1959, the Nevada State Journal, Reno, NV, carried an obituary for Colleen Cook Lee, daughter of Rosella and W.T. Cook. See, Oct 11, 1959, p.24. From the obituary is learned that Rosella was a resident of Reno at the time; Colleen’s brother Leon was in Wichita Falls, TX; brother Carl was in The Dalles, OR; and William T. Jr. was in Hayward, CA.

The website carries lists of voters’ names and their allotted polling stations. Rosella and her son William T. Cook are listed in the Nevada State Journal, dated 25 Apr 1951, p.23, Ward 6; and in the same paper 28 Aug. 1952, p.24. By October 22, 1954, the Reno Evening Gazette lists Rosella, William T. Jr. and his wife Ada. Sixteen years later on 11 Sep 1970, Reno Evening Gazette, p.22, lists Rosella in Precinct 424, Silverada Manor.

The California Death Index 1940-1997, found on includes this item: Rose Ella Cook, SS #159383300, born 27 July 1890 in Missouri. She died 2nd September 1983 in Alameda County. Her father’s family name was Gilmore. The reference to Missouri as a birthplace should be Texas; it was her father who was born in Missouri.

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) lists Rosie—with slight differences: Her first name is Rosella, her birth date is 27 Jul 1888—two years difference from the other source; her last residence was Hayward, CA and her social security number is out by one digit. It may well be a typo; confusing the numbers 4 for 1. That the SSDI has Rosie’s last residence as Hayward, CA hints that she was living close to her son William T. Jr. and daughter-in-law Ada who lived in Hayward, CA. William T. and Ada are buried in the Glen Oaks Memorial Park Cemetery in Chico, but there’s no record that Rosie is buried there; nor was a death notice found for her in Reno or Wichita Falls, Texas.