July 3, 1837 – October 31, 1911
Henry Christopher McCook was a member of the “Fighting McCooks,” fifteen family members who served the Union during the American Civil War.
Henry Christopher McCook was born on July 3, 1837 in New Lisbon, Ohio. He was the third son of John James McCook and Catherine Sheldon McCook. McCook was educated locally, learning the printing trade as a youth. After teaching school for several years, McCook enrolled at Jefferson College, in Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1859. McCook then began studying for the ministry at the Western Theological Seminary in Alleghany, Pennsylvania.
In 1861, McCook was traveling in the West when the American Civil War began. He stopped at Clinton, Illinois and assisted with raising troops for the Union army. On August 7, 1861, McCook enlisted in the 41st Regiment Illinois Infantry as a first lieutenant. He served as the regimental chaplain for the next eighteen months, until he resigned on January 8, 1862.
After the Civil War, McCook became a Presbyterian minister in Clinton, Illinois, and later in St. Louis, Missouri and Steubenville, Ohio. In 1869, he became pastor of the Seventh Presbyterian church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he lived for the rest of his life.
McCook was a noted naturalist who served as an officer of the American Entomological Society and the American Academy of Natural Sciences, and he published numerous studies about ants and spiders. He also published several religious works and historical novels. In 1880, Lafayette College conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity upon McCook. In 1895, McCook designed the official flag of the city of Philadelphia. When the Spanish-American War (April 25-August 12, 1898) began, McCook enlisted as chaplain of the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment.
McCook died at Devon, Pennsylvania on October 31, 1911. He is buried at Woodlands Cemetery in Philadelphia.
McCook was a member of the “Fighting McCooks,” fifteen family members who served the Union during the Civil War. McCook's father and five sons who served in the war were known as the “Tribe of John.” His uncle and eight cousins who served in the war were known as the “Tribe of Dan.” More men from the McCook family served the Union during the Civil War than any other family in the nation.