FRANCE L. COOK, State Attorney of Ford County, who is now serving his twelfth year in that office, is one of the well-known and prominent citizens of Paxton. A native of the Empire State, he was born in Oneida County, August 3, 1842, and is a son of the Hon. Harry D. and Joanna (Hall) Cook, a sketch of whom appears on another page of this work.

Our subject came to Illinois with his parents, in 1850, while yet a child of eight years, and, after attending the public schools, entered Eureka College, and subsequently continued his studies in Knox College, where his literary education was completed. For four years, from 1862 to 1866, he was in the employ of the Illinois Central Railroad Company as agent at Kappa, this State, and, in the latter year, went to Washington, D. C., as assistant of his father, who was financial agent of Illinois in charge of collection of State claims against the general Government, growing out of the late war. During 1867-68, he was Clerk of the committee on foreign affairs, of which Gen. Banks, of the House of Representatives, was Chairman. Subsequently he was made Clerk of the committee on Territories, of which Senator Cullom, of Illinois, was Chairman. At the same time he was reading law, and was a student of the Columbian Law College of Washington, from which he was graduated in the Class of '71, and was admitted to the Bar the same year. In the autumn of that year, he returned to his home in Normal, Ill., and the following spring opened a law office in Paxton, where he has been in active and successful practice continuously since. He was alone in business until 1885, when the existing partnership was formed with W. S. Moffett, and the firm style of Cook & Moffett was assumed.

On November 8, 1870, Mr. Cook was joined in wedlock, in Normal, Ill., with Miss Kate Anderson, of that place, who was born in Ohio, and is a daughter of William Anderson, a pioneer of Bloomington, Ill. She came to this State in childhood, and was educated at the State Normal School at Normal, after spending her earlier years in Bloomington.

Since old enough to take an interest in politics, which was during the exciting days of the Civil War, Mr. Cook has always been an advocate of Republican principles. In 1880, he was elected State Attorney for Ford County, has been twice re-elected, and is now serving his twelfth year in that position. He is a Knight Templar Mason, holding membership with Paxton Lodge No. 416, A. F. & A. M.; Ford Chapter No. 113, R. A. M., and of Mt. Olivet Commandery No. 38, K. T., all of Paxton. He is also Vice-president of the First National Bank, and a member of the Board of Directors. We find in Mr. Cook a lawyer of acknowledged ability, who occupies a foremost position at the Ford County Bar. His life in Washington, during one of the most interesting periods of our country's history, afforded him an opportunity to observe, more or less intimately, the leading men in public life of that day, many of whom have become historic characters. A close observer of men and events, a good memory and a happy faculty for expressing his thoughts and views, make Mr. Cook an entertaining conversationalist and a most agreeable companion.

Extracted 14 Dec 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 216-217.

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