Born Jan. 19, 1812, in Bethlehem, Grafton Co., N.Y. Was converted and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church at the age of sixteen. Prepared for College at the Maine Wesleyan Seminary, Kents Hill, having as fellow students, Davis W. Clarke, Joseph Cummings, George Lakin, Timothy O. Howe and two of the Washburnes, who afterwars became so famous as Statesmen, and also Hannibal Hamlin, late Vice Pres. of the U.S. He graduated at Wesleyan University, Middleton, Con. in 1838. He joined New Jersey Conference in 1843, afterward transferring to New England Conference. He was engaged in teaching, and as principal of schools of high grade as well as in preaching.
In 1855,he was transferred to Wisconsin Conference and appointed President of Lawrence University. He became Pastor of Summerfield l859, remained two years. He then removed to New England, and was Principal of Wesleyan Academy, Wilbraham, Mass., for ten years. From 1874 to 1884. he was President of Claflin University, S. Carolina. He was a member of the General Conferences of 1856 &1860. He was one of the Regents of Normal Schools in Wisconsin. He was also a member of the school board in Boston, and in Cambridge, Mass., and one of the Board of examiners of Harvard College.
He received the Degree of S.T. D. from Harvard University, 1855 . He was married July 29th., l859 to Miss Mary Locke Emery of Kennebunk, ME.
Dr. Cooke writes: “I am now a supernumerary of the New England Conference, and am nearly seventy-six years of age. I want to look once more into the faces of the Summerfield congregation. My life has passed away as a dream, and I have accomplished but very little for my dear Master. But this one thing I can say, it has left the sweet memory of many precious saints whom I have loved on earth, and whom I expect to great in Heaven”!
– Biography by Ralph Lane Lawrence, 1952