Faces from the Past #8: The St. Patrick's Day Edition
Cooke ancestor(s) circa 1910...maybe?
Allow me a bit of a self-indulgence here, well moreso than usual. First off, this isn't exactly a colour photo like others in the series (well, it's sepia) but it's been hanging on my wall for as long as I can remember, and I figured it would fit the bill. I first found the photo, taken in Boulder, Colorado, in a trunk in my parents' basement when I was a teen, and found it immediately fascinating. I was told that members of the Cooke family had drifted west after coming to the U.S. from Ireland in the 1820s to work on the Erie Canal in upstate New York. Some wound up in Ontario, and later Quebec, but others went looking for gold or just tried to eke out a living on the new frontier. My grandfather himself headed west in his late teens, reportedly winding up in San Francisco during the Great Earthquake and doing some mining work before heading to Chicago to become an osteopath in the years just before World War I.
So back to this photo. I honestly don't know which of these men are Cookes, but I have been told I am related to some of them (the clean shaven man in the rear on the right does bear a bit of a family resemblance), while the guy in the front left is the spitting image of Tom Waits, which is probably one of the key reasons why I love this photo so much. I wonder about these men and what their histories were. Did they wind up in the fields of France a few years later? Did they strike it rich in the mountains? Did they kill anyone with those firearms? I have no idea, and no clues, but it's a fascinating window nonetheless.