David Caleb Cook 


David Caleb Cook, who was born August 28, 1850, started work for his father Ezra as a "printer's devil" (an apprentice in his father's printery) as a boy. He later founded a large religious publishing company.

During his lifetime, David C. Cook repeatedly proved his skills as an entrepreneur and as a civic and religious leader.

On May 6, 1874, he married Marguerite Murat (born June 7, 1852), who prepared some of the publishing company's early Sunday School Quarterlies and a successful booklet titled "Our Sunday-school Gem" in April, 1875.

She was described as a woman who "came of pioneer stock which had demonstrated its ability to 'keep on keeping on' in the face of difficulties and privations." As the publishing enterprise grew, she remained as Secretary, and edited its Beginners, Primary, and Junior publications.

Memoirs: David C., Cook, The Friend of the Sunday School, chronicles Marguerite and David's marriage as a series of success stories in marketing sewing machine parts, providing Christian missionary service to young people in Chicago, publishing religious materials for the American Sunday School movement, fund-raising for a local church building (The First Methodist Church in Elgin), investing, and establishing a successful vineyard and ranch in California.

David C. Cook is primarily remembered as the founder of the David C. Cook Publishing Company, which grew out of a sewing machine apparatus business he started in his father's printery. After the Chicago fire destroyed his business, he started it again and then established the publishing company. Its first printing plant was on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago.

Press operations outgrew the original plant, and another was prepared in an old woolen mill in Elgin, which later became the town's YMCA building.

Again the building proved too small, and a modern factory was built about a mile north on on Elgin's South Grove Avenue.

David and Marguerite enjoyed somewhat flamboyant architectural styles, as seen in their home on Gifford Street in Elgin.

They gave birth to two sons, George Ezra (or possibly Evans) Cook, who was born February 18, 1875. The other was David Carl Cook, born June 20, 1880. (The earliest child, baby David Cook, died as an infant.)

Later in Mr. Cook's life he rested for medical reasons, but found himself going back to work and then founding a ranch operation he could sell before returning to Elgin. He died July 30, 1927 in Maximo (St. Petersburg), Florida. Marguerite died as a loving grandmother in 1941.