The Kemp Sketch
COOKE, WILLIAM GORDON -- A son of Adam and Martha Riddle Cooke whose children in order of birth were Jane Oliver, James, Elisha, Anne, William G., Jane, Martha Rebecca and Mary Hamilton Cooke.
William G. Cooke was born March 26, 1808 in Fredericksburg, Virginia and was reared and educated there. He moved to New Orleans and was engaged in business there in 1835 when he volunteered his services to Texas in her struggle with Mexico.
Certain patriotic citizens of New Orleans raised by public subscription a fund to send volunteers to Texas. Fifty men went to Nacogdoches, Texas and sixty-five were sent by boat to Velasco in charge of Edward Hall. Mr. Hall stated that at the time of his departure from New Orleans a total of about $7,300 had been raised and that it was expected that probably twice that amount would be secured before the campaign ended. The money to be spent in arming and equipping about one hundred men and for furnishing provisions, saddles, bridles, etc., for sixty-five of that number, called the "Volunteer Greys," who had landed at Velasco. The fifty men sent to Nacogdoches were furnished with arms and equipment, trusting to the inhabitants of the country through which they might pass, for further necessary supplies. Upon leaving Brazoria for Bexar the "Greys" left with Mr. E. Andrews, subject to Mr. Hall's orders 75 barrels of navy bread, 2 barrels of beans and 2 barrels of pork.
The Telegraph and Texas Register of November 7, 1835 carried the following account of the arrival of the New Orleans volunteers at Velasco:
The Volunteer Greys from New Orleans, which arrived at Velasco on Sunday the 25th ultimo, under charge of Edware Hall, after being welcomed by the inhabitants with demonstrations of grateful acknowledgment for the services so gallantly tendered towards Texas, proceeded to organize, and elect their officers. The names of the officers are as follows:
Robert L. Morris, Captain
William G. Cooke, First Lieutenant
Charles B. Bannister, Second Lieutenant
Nathaniel R. Brister, 1st. Sgt.
H. S. Smith, 2nd. Sgt.
Edward Wrentmore, 3rd. Sgt.
Albert M. Levy, Surgeon
Mandred Wood, Comissary & Quarter Master
The volunteers reached Bexar November 8th and shortly afterwards Mr. Cooke was elected captain of the company. He participated in the siege and capture of Bexar and was a member of the party that stormed the Priest's House. On May 14, 1838 he was issued Donation Certificate No. 5 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the Storming and Capture of Bexar. On May 5, 1838 he was issued Bounty Certificate No. 3201 for 1280 acres of land for having served in the army from October 5, 1835 to October 5, 1836. On February 11, 1864 Bounty Certificate No. 10090 for 640 acres of land due him for having served in the army from January 31 to July 31, 1837.
Captain Cooke remained in the army and at San Jacinto. He was on the staff of General Houston as assistant inspector general, with he rank of major. In Comptroller's Military service record No. 5573 it is certified that he served in the army from October 24, 1835 to September 24, 1836 as lieutenant, captain and major. Later he was made quartermaster general and next inspector general of the army. The senate confirmed his appointment to the latter office May 22, 1837. On December 5, 1837, his appointment as Stock Commissioner was confirmed. In August, 1839 he was appointed Commissary of Subsistence by President Lamar, the senate confirming it October 25th. His reappointment to the same office was confirmed by the senate January 10, 1840.
Major Cooke participated in the "Council House Fight" with Indians at San Antonio, March 10, 1840. On August 18, 1840 President Lamar appointed him Colonel of the First Regiment of Infantry. In 1841 he was a member of the famous Santa Fe Expedition as one of the commissioners. With his companions he was made prisoner and marched to prison in Mexico City. He was released in 1842. On September 22, 1842 he was wounded while assisting in expelling General Adrian Woll from San Antonio after its capture by the Mexican forces in a surprise attack.
On March 31, 1845, Major Cooke was appointed Secretary of War and Marine of the Republic and on April 27, 1836 he became the first Adjutant General of the State by appointment from Governor James Pinckney Henderson.
General Cooke died December 21, 1847. The following notice of his death was published in the Texas Democrat, Austin, December 28, 1847:
"We learn with regret that Col. Wm. G. Cooke Adjutant General of the State of Texas, departed this life on Friday last, at the residence of his father-in-law, in Guadalupe County. A more extended notice may be expected in our next issue."
General Cooke was buried in Riverside Cemetery, Seguin. His remains were exhumed on March 2, 1937 reinterred in the State Cemetery, Austin, Adjutant General Carl Nesbitt being the principal speaker at a Military funeral.
General Cooke was married in 1844 to Miss Angela Maria de Jesus Navarro, daughter of Jose Luciana Navarro who married Teodora de Carvojal, born February 1, 1824 and niece of Juan Antonio Navarro, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
General and Mrs. Cooke had but one child, William Navarro Cooke who was married to Pauline Quintle.
Written by Louis W. Kemp, between 1930 and 1952. Please note that typographical and factual errors have not been corrected from the original sketches. The biographies have been scanned from the original typescripts, a process that sometimes allows for mistakes in the new text. Researchers should verify the accuracy of the texts' contents through other sources before quoting in publications. Additional information on the veteran may be available in the Herzstein Library.
- Died in Battle: No
- Rank: Major
- Company: Assistant Inspector General, Commander-in-Chief's Staff
- Date of Birth: 1808 Mar 26
- Birthplace: Virginia, Fredericksburg
- Origin: Louisiana
- Came to Texas: 1835 Oct 25
- Date of Death: 1847 Dec 21
- Burial Place: Texas State Cemetery, Austin, Texas
- Other Battles: Bexar
- Comments: Santa Fe Expedition; Somervell Expedition
- Bounty Certificate: 3201
- Wife: Angela Maria de Jesus Navarro Cooke Martin
- Children: William Navarro Cooke