Ohio Biographies

Hiram Cook

Hiram Cook, who died at his home in Columbus in the year 1921, was one of the gallant young men who represented Ohio as soldiers of the Union in the Civil war, and he had the further distinction of serving as member of the bodyguard of President Lincoln.

Mr. Cook was born in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, in the year 1836, and he was a lad of eleven years at the time of the family removal to Ohio, the home having been established at Adelphia, Ross County, whence removal later was made to Circleville, Pickaway County. At that place Hiram Cook was residing at the inception of the Civil war, and he responded to President Lincoln's first call for volunteers by enlisting in the Second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, one of the first Ohio commands to become active in warfare on Southern soil. He took part in the various engagements in which this regiment was involved up to the year 1863, and was then assigned to duty as a member of the Seventh Ohio Independent Cavalry, comprised of soldiers and officers from every county in Ohio, the command having been organized in consonance with a special request by Governor Tod. This regiment was assigned to duty at the national capital, as a special guard to President Lincoln, and Mr. Cook was bugler, now in the possession of Mr. Cook's son, Howard M., of Columbus, played an important part on the tragic day that marked the assassination of President Lincoln, and it is gratifying to be able to preserve in this publication the statements given by Mr. Cook himself in an interview that occurred several years prior to his death. Mr Cook said:

"I had just sounded taps at the barracks in Fifteenth Street and was sitting on my bunk, getting ready to turn in, when one of the guardsmen came running in, and said Secretary of State William H. Seward had been murdered. Without authority from superior officers, I sounded the call "boots and saddles." In seven minutes the entire company was mounted and off to the Seward residence. On the way we met another guardsman, who excitedly told us the President had been shot at the Ford Theater. Turning the horses, I led the company down Pennsylvania Avenue to the theater, in Tenth Street. We were greeted by a wild roar of helpless fury and despair from the thousands of men and women who crowded the entrance to the theater. The President was carried to a residence across the street, while we dispersed the crowd."

Thereafter Mr. Cook was attached to the cortege which carried the body of the martyred President from Washington to Springfield, Illinois, and in that capacity he was in Columbus, Ohio, while the remains of the President here lay in state at the capitol. At each place where services were held en route the historic bugle was used in blowing taps, including the final obsequies at Springfield, Illinois. From the Columbus Dispatch of June 17, 1923, are taken the following quotations:

"Battered and time stained, but still capable of service, the historical bugle which sounded taps over the grave of Abraham Lincoln has been located in Columbus and will be used in blowing the assembly call in the "Pageant of Memories" which will be given in honor of the state G. A. R. encampment June 26. The bugle is the property of H. M. Cook of Columbus, who inherited it from his father, Hiram Cook, who was a member of President Lincoln's bodyguard.

For a short period after the close of the Civil war Hiram Cook was engaged in the lumber-mill business at Columbus, and he then returned to Circleville, where he established a lumber mill and engaged also in contracting and building. Later, by reason of impaired health resulting from the hardships he endured while serving as a soldier in the Civil war, he disposed of these business interests and established at Circleville the bookstore which he thereafter conducted about forty years, he having been one of the honored and loved pioneer citizens of that place at the time of his death and having been long and appreciatively affiliated with the Grand Army of the Republic. Mr. Cook wedded Miss Delila Long, of Chillicothe, Ross County, and she preceded him to the life eternal.

Howard M. Cook, son of the honored subject of this memoir, was born and reared at Circleville, and he has been for several years a resident of Columbus, where he is associated with the real estate firm of Wollam & Schleckman. He married Miss Bess Rosemond Henderson, of Circleville, Ohio, and they have two children, Jane Barbara and Howard M., Jr.


From History of Ohio, vol. 3 [The American Historical Society, Inc., 1925]