From MasonicGenealogy
Jump to: navigation, search

JOSEPH S. COOKE 1784-1841

Grand Master 1831, 1833-1835


From History of Freemasonry in Rhode Island, 1895, Page 300:

Nicholas Cooke, grandfather of the subject of this brief sketch, was a successful shipmaster and business man, who succeeded Joseph Wanton as Governor of Rhode Island, in 1775. His energy and abilities, united to a patriotic spirit, fitted him to render special and valuable services at a critical period in American history. He was the father of twelve children. His ninth child, Jesse, was the father of Joseph S. Cooke, who was born in Providence in 1784. He died October 14, 1841.

Joseph S. Cooke was a well informed man, interested in the public welfare, and disposed to discharge his full duty in any and every enterprise to which he applied himself. He was engaged in trade during most of the years of his adult life. In Freemasonry he was specially conspicuous and was a leader during the dark days when the institution was most pitilessly assailed. He was made a Mason in Mt. Vernon Lodge, Providence, the date of his acquiring membership being Feb. 11, 1813. He was Wor. Master of the Lodge during the years 1818-19. He made his presence and influence felt in the Grand Lodge and received official distinction at the hands of his brethren belonging to that body. He served as Junior Grand Warden in 1828; as Senior Grand Warden in 1829-30; was elected Grand Master in 1831, and again in 1833-34 and 35— thus serving in the highest office four years. It was a "thankless task," seemingly, to hold the office of Grand Master and administer Masonic affairs at such an epoch; but he accepted the trust and did the best that was possible under the adverse conditions.

While he was holding the office of Grand Master he responded to a summons of the Legislative Committee appointed to investigate charges brought against Freemasons and Freemasonry, and gave clear, straight-forward testimony in relation to the subjects brought to his notice. He declared, as many other members of the Fraternity had testified during the memorable hearing, that expulsion was the highest penalty which any Masonic body sought to inflict.

Joseph S. Cooke was married Sept. 21, 1807, to Mary Welch. Nine children were born to them, among whom were Rev. James W. Cooke, Joseph J. Cooke, George Lewis Cooke, Albert R. Cooke, and Dr. Nicholas Francis Cooke.

Rhode Island People