Born on August 31, 1856 in Sangerfield, Oneida County, New York, Sarah Lewis married William Irving Cook (called Irving) probably after 1880 and before 1885. I have not yet found the marriage record.
Sarah and Irving had six children together, all surviving into adulthood. Sadly, Irving died at the age of 39, leaving his widow with children ranging in age from 2 - 13 and a farm to tend. The Brookfield, NY, Courier reported Irving's death on Wednesday, January 18, 1899:
"- Irving Cook, who resided about five miles north of this village, died yesterday morning after a very brief illness, the particulars of which we are unable to obtain. Mr. Cook was in town not more than a week ago and to all appearances was in usual health. It is said that he was out at work the day before his death, although he was complaining of a cold and bronchial trouble.
Deceased was about forty years of age and was a man of sterling integrity and well thought of by all who had dealings or acquaintance with him. His untimely death is a sad blow to the community in which he lived. Mr. Cook married a daughter of our esteemed friend, George C. Lewis. A wife and six children are thus suddenly bereft of husband and father. Funeral services will be held Friday, conducted by the Rev. C. A. Burdick."
I'm not sure what illness was traveling through this region at the time, but think of this: In 1899, Sarah's mother, Caroline Camp Lewis, died on January 13, Sarah's husband on January 18, and Sarah's father, George Cameron Lewis, on January 27. One Albany, New York, newspaper reported on an influenza epidemic which might have been the case here in Oneida County. But, whatever it was, Sarah Lewis Cook, had a mighty burden to bear in the winter of 1899.
So, in the summer of 1900, when the census enumerator came around, he found the widow, Sarah Cook, as head of household. She named her occupation as farmer. Her oldest child, and only son, Orlo C., was only 14. He attended school five months a year and most likely worked on the farm when he could. His five sisters attended school eight months that year. Dora, 13; Inez, 10; Ruth, 7; Mary, 5; ad Ethel G. (Grace), 3, completed the family.
By 1910, Sarah had hired Henry Wheeler, 60, as a hired hand, and all her children, but Dora, were still at home. Orlo, 24, was also listed as a farmer, along with his mother. Inez, 20, was teaching at a district school. Ruth, 17; Mary, 15; and Grace, 13 were going to school.
Where was Dora?
She was working as a seamstress at a bleachery in New Hartford, Oneida County, NY. At 22, she was boarding with John and Mary Crampton.
On August 1, 1912, Dora was married to Laurence Spooner, a hometown man.
Laurence was a farmer and the son of F. M. Spooner and Laura Huntington. At the time of her marriage, Dora was a teacher. The Courier carried news of the event on August 7, 1912:
"Spooner - Cook
Almost thirty dear relatives and friends assembled at the home of Mrs. Sarah Cook in Sangerfield, Thursday morning, August 1, to witness the marriage of her older daughter, Dora C., to Mr. Laurence H. Spooner of this village. The ceremony took place at 9 o'clock, being performed by Rev. W. L. Davis and the couple (witnessed?) by Mr. Malcolm Spooner and Miss Inez Cook.
Following congratulations, the couple sat down to a bounteous wedding breakfast which was interrupted by the necessary, but unannounced departure of the bride and groom who were to take the train at Waterville enroute to the Androndacks where they are making a stay of ten days or two weeks before returing to Brookfield.
The bride attended our high school for a number of years, graduating in 1907. After teaching two years, she spent two years at Alfred University. The past school year she filled the position of -?_ in the Leonardsville high school.
The groom has spent his life here with the exception of five years passed in Atica and his enterprise _?_ in the pursuit of farming is recognized in the community.
Both have many friends here and elsewhere who will wish them the greatest possible happiness at this time. Their plans for the future are not definitely determined, but the hope is expressed that they will continue residents of our town."
On November 9, 1914, H. Ruth E. Cook married John W. Davis, a 23 year old farmer from Unadilla Forks, NY. He was the son of John Davis and Carrie Rathbone. Ruth, 22, was also a teacher at the time of her marriage.
"The marriage of Miss Mary Packer Cook, daughter of Mrs. Sarah Cook, to William George Hansberger, of Rome, took place at the home of Rev. Jessup, the Baptist minister. Mr. Charles Spinner and Mrs. B. A. Jessup attended them. Mrs. Spinner gave them a reception afterward at her home on North Washington street. Mr. and Mrs. Hansberger will be at Rome for the present at 151 West Dominck street, Rome, NY."
At some point, Inez went off to school to study art at nearby Alfred University. She never married and taught art for many years.
Orlo also never married, but remained on the farm all his life.
On June 23, 1920, Grace Cook, 23, a teacher, married Howard Whitten, 24, a farmer. Howard was born in Blue Hill, Nebraska, to George and Mary Bullock Whitten.
During Christmas that year, 1920, most of the family gathered at the home of their mother, Sarah, to celebrate the holiday. The Courier reported on January 7, 1920:
"A house party was held during the holidays, at Wildwood, the home of Mrs. Sarah Cook. The guests were Miss Inez Cook of Rochester, Mr. and Mrs. William Hansberger and little son of Rome, Mrs. L. H. Spooner and four children, and on Christmas Day, Mr. Spooner, Mr. and Mrs. John Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Williams and Erla Beebe joined them, making 18 members of the Lewis family. After a chicken pie dinner and other good things had been disposed of, a Christmas tree for the little folks was stripped of its various fruits. Everybody had a good time and similar plans were made for another year. Mr. Hansberger and Miss Inez Cook returned to their work Monday, and Mrs. Spooner and children to their home. Mrs. Hansberger and little son were detained by sickness, but they are better at present."
So, from adversity, Sarah Lewis Cook raised six children on her own and kept the family close together. Sarah died on October 5, 1925 and is buried with her husband in the Brookfield Cemetery.