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Book of the Fortnight:
The Indomitable Francis H. Cook of Spokane: A Man of Vision

HistoryLink.org Essay 10732 • Printer-Friendly Format

By Doris J. Woodward
Edited by Tony and Suzanne Bamonte
Paperback, 130 pages
Photographs, source notes, index
Tornado Creek Publication, 2010
ISBN 978-0-9821529-1-1

The Indomitable Francis H. Cook of Spokane: A Man of Vision assembles biographical and genealogical information on Cook, a leading player in Spokane's development. Francis Cook founded the town's first newspaper, the Spokan Times, in 1879, two years after he founded the Tacoma Herald. Cook also served in the 1879 Washington Territorial Legislature.

When Cook and his bride, Laura McCarty Cook, moved to Spokane Falls in 1879, the town was tiny and geographically isolated. Laura Cook learned to set type and handle the Spokan Times's distribution. Many, perhaps most, of Washington's territorial-era newspapers were family efforts, and one of this volume's strengths is the light it sheds on this fact. As business leaders, Francis and Laura Cook also helped found Spokane's civic and spiritual communities. The Cooks were also crucial to the foundation of several Spokane parks and nature areas. 

The second and third portions of this book are primarily genealogical. They are quite thorough, and as such may serve as templates for other writers attempting to lift the public-private veil via family history. A brief history of each of Francis and Laura Cook's children is also included, bringing the family's story up to the present time.  

This book is recommended for anyone interested in Spokane's history, in the logistics of city founding, and in how one person's decisions can yield, eventually, a major city.

By Paula Becker, April 4, 2014

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The Indomitable Francis H. Cook of Spokane by Doris J. Woodward
Courtesy Tornado Creek Publications

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