Ernest G. Cook (1873-1959)[edit | edit source]
Ernest Cook was born in The Town of Theresa on May 25,1873. In 1899 he started his long career as a journalist. He was to become well known not only in Jefferson County but all over Northern New York.
He first started writing for the Methodist Church Sunday School which he put out a quarterly magazine. In 1902 he was a correspondent from Theresa for the Watertown Daily Times. He was also at one time an associate editor for the Philadelphia Advance.
He wrote articles about Jefferson County early pioneers, some of the very first woodsmen to settle in Jefferson County and anyone he felt would be of interest to his many readers. He wrote about the Scotch settlements, the Quakers, early trappers like Robert Sixberry, and allusive characters as the Hermit of Red Lake.
Once when he was asked how he was able to become so knowledgeable about so many people he told the story of how he would interview someone and then ask them who they knew of that could tell him more. And always he was sent to someone who might be just down the road or a short distance away and he would travel there for another interview. At times he would spend hours or all day sitting on someone's front porch taking notes while they gave him information in great detail. For years he was the town historian for Theresa and served on the board of directors for the Theresa Free Library. He died on July 26, 1959.
His writings to this day are a joy to read. They are steeped full of the history of Jefferson County and mention many people and their families by name. These texts are enjoyed by genealogists searching for some mention of their ancestors. In 1996 The Jefferson County Genealogical Society and the Lyme Heritage Center with permission of John B. Johnson, the publisher of the Watertown Daily Times, reprinted several books compiled by Phyllis Putnam on hundreds of the articles Ernest Cook wrote.