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Roy Bird Cook (1886-1961), Collector, Papers

 Collection
Collection Number: A&M.1528

Scope and Contents

Includes genealogy and Civil War records collected by Roy Bird Cook of Lewis County, West Virginia.

Series 1 through 5 were compiled by Marcellus W. Zimmerman. They include correspondence, church records, academic records, genealogical records, research manuscripts, and clippings regarding primarily the genealogy and history of Lewisburg and Greenbrier County, and the life and career of Confederate Brigadier General Alexander W. Reynolds.

Series 6 through 8 were collected by Roy Bird Cook. They include military records and clippings regarding West Virginia units, the Confederate 31st Virginia Infantry, and other Confederate units from Virginia; there are also business and miscellaneous records, including ledgers, clippings, research notes, etc.

Series 9 includes oversized material from earlier series.

Specific topics of Series 1 through 5 include: correspondence regarding the genealogy of families in West Virginia and Virginia, with a special focus on Greenbrier County (1881-1943); Confederate Brigadier General Alexander W. Reynolds' life and military career before and during the Civil War, as well as his post-War service in the Army of the Viceroy (Khedive) of Egypt (1835-1875 and undated); correspondence of Thomas H. Dennis, editor of the Greenbrier Independent, regarding county affairs, politics, and local history (1899-1921); the Lewisburg Methodist Episcopal Church (1834-1843 and undated); the Old Lewisburg Academy, the Lewisburg Female Institute, and other area schools (1827-1879 and undated); biographical sketches of area persons and families, such as the Alexander, Anderson, Burnside, Beirne, Caldwell, Crawford, Creigh, Erskine, Feamster, Mathews, McElhenney, McLaughlin, Nickell, Reynolds, Smith, Thompson, Van Bibber, and Welch families (1830-1937); and the history of Greenbrier County (1867-1940 and undated), among others.

Specific topics of Series 6 through 8 include: the 31st Virginia Infantry and other Confederate and Union units (1855-1938 and undated [bulk 1861-1865]); financial accounts of general merchandise, subscriptions, hotel maintenance and repair, etc. (ca. 1853-1899); ephemera related to West Virginia (1848-1922); and clippings and handwritten notes regarding the history, appearance, and growing of various flowers (1899-1936 and undated), among others.

Specific topics of Series 9 include: students of the Old Lewisburg Academy, the Lewisburg Female Institute, etc. (1853-1927); Greenbrier death records (undated); the 31st Virginia Infantry and other Confederate units (1861-1864); and genealogical sketches on various families (ca. 1886, undated).

More information on the content of each series in this collection is available in the series-level records.

Dates

  • 1774, 1822-1943

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

No special access restriction applies.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please contact the West Virginia and Regional History Center.

Biographical / Historical

Marcellus William Zimmerman (ca. 1853-January 30, 1937), longtime resident of Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, West Virginia, was editor of the Greenbrier Independent for many years. His weekly "Notes" column in the local papers contained large quantities of information on local history, county residents, genealogy, and the Civil War in Greenbrier County. He also served as the County Clerk and County Historian for Greenbrier. Zimmerman married Sallie R. Chockley (ca. 1859-March 16, 1931) on April 8, 1883. They had a son, Frank (b. ca. 1894), and a daughter, Edith (b. February 23, 1901). Edith married James A. Lett on September 11, 1920. She also engaged in historical and genealogical pursuits.

Thomas and Nancy Reynolds were the parents of Alexander W. Reynolds, Sallie (Sally) Reynolds Patton, and possibly Eliza S. Mathews. Sallie married William Patton and had a son, also named William, who died in 1870. Alexander and his wife, Mary, had a daughter named Sally who died of scarlet fever in 1852. They also had a son, Frank, and a grandson called Aleck.

Roy Bird Cook (April 1, 1886 - November 21, 1961) was born in Lewis County, near Roanoke, WV. Cook was a pharmacist and prominent West Virginia historian. Cook wrote several books on the history of Lewis County and biographies of Stonewall Jackson and Alexander Scott Withers, and contributed historical articles to a wide variety of publications. He also collected Civil War and early West Virginia documents and memorabilia. More biographical information on Mr. Cook is available in the "Records of the 31st Virginia Infantry Regiment, C.S.A." (see link in Digital Material).

The 31st Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment was formed in the early weeks of the Civil War when Confederate General Robert E. Lee ordered the recruitment of troops to protect railroad lines running through western Virginia's northern counties. On May 4, Lee appointed Colonel George Porterfield to assume command of these forces, which were being raised primarily in Taylor, Marion, Harrison, Monongalia, and Barbour Counties. In the next few weeks, these new recruits found themselves in the war's first arena, a tactical struggle for control of the Confederacy's northwestern flank--the hills, rails, and rivers of what would soon become the nation's 35th state, West Virginia.

Composed of some of the war's earliest recruits, the 31st Virginia Infantry would see action under General Garnett, William L. "Mudwall" Jackson, Jones and Imboden, Stonewall Jackson, Jubal Early, and many more legendary Confederate commanders, at battles including Corrick's Ford, Cross Keys, Cold Harbor, Gettysburg, New Market, and others. Approximately 57 of the 850 men who joined the regiment in 1861 witnessed Lee's surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.

A detailed history of the 31st Virginia by James Dell Cooke is available online (see link in Digital Material). Researchers are also referred to John M. Ashcraft's '31st Virginia Infantry' (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1988).

Extent

5.5 Linear Feet (Summary: 5 ft. 6 in. (10 document cases, 5 in. each); (2 document cases, 2 1/2 in. each); (2 large flat storage boxes, 3 1/2 in. each); (1 large flat storage box, 3 in.); (3 oversize folders, 1 in.))

Overview

Includes genealogy and Civil War records collected by Roy Bird Cook of Lewis County, West Virginia. Series 1 through 5 were compiled by Marcellus W. Zimmerman. They include correspondence, church records, academic records, genealogical records, research manuscripts, and clippings regarding primarily the genealogy and history of Lewisburg and Greenbrier County, and the life and career of Confederate Brigadier General Alexander W. Reynolds. Series 6 through 8 were collected by Roy Bird Cook. They include military records and clippings regarding West Virginia units, the Confederate 31st Virginia Infantry, and other Confederate units from Virginia; there are also business and miscellaneous records, including ledgers, clippings, research notes, etc. Series 9 includes oversized material from earlier series.

Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL: https://wvrhc.lib.wvu.edu/

Related A&M Collections

81, 858, 895, 1309, 1379, 1528, 1561
Title
Roy Bird Cook (1886-1961), Collector, Papers, 1774, 1822-1943
Author
Staff of the West Virginia & Regional History Center
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

Contact:
1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US
304-293-3536