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John James McCook (Lawyer)

May 25, 1845 – September 17, 1911

A member of the famed "Fighting McCooks," Captain John James McCook participated in the Battles of Perryville, Stones River, and Chickamauga, as well as the Tullahoma, Chattanooga, and Wilderness Campaigns during the Civil War.

John James McCook was born at Carrollton, Ohio, on May 25, 1845. He was the ninth and youngest son of Daniel McCook and Martha Latimer (McCook). In 1861, McCook graduated from the Kenyon Grammar School and enrolled at Kenyon College.

In June 1862, McCook left Kenyon College to serve with the Union Army in the American Civil War. He initially volunteered as an aide-de-camp to his brother Daniel, Jr., with the 52nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. On September 12, 1862, McCook was commissioned to second lieutenant in the 6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, serving on the staff of General Thomas. L. Crittenden, a corps commander with the Army of the Ohio. While serving in the West, McCook participated in the Battle of Perryville (October 8, 1862), the Battle of Stones River (December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863), the Tullahoma Campaign (June 24-July 3, 1863), the Battle of Chickamauga September 19-20, 1863, and the Chattanooga Campaign (October and November 1863).

In September 1863, McCook was promoted to captain and reassigned to the Army of the Potomac. The following spring, he participated in the Wilderness Campaign (May 4-June 24, 1864). During the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House (May 8-21, 1864), McCook was severely wounded at Shady Grove, Virginia. Although his wounds were not life-threatening, McCook was forced to resign from the military due to complications from gangrene and blood poisoning. Later, McCook was brevetted to the rank of major for his service at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. After the Civil War, McCook was again brevetted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and colonel in the volunteer army. Despite his lofty rank, when the Civil War ended, McCook was only twenty years old.

After the Civil War, McCook resumed his studies at Kenyon College, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1866 and a Master of Arts degree in 1869. Later that year, McCook graduated from the Harvard Law School. He then joined the law firm of Alexander & Green in New York City, where he eventually became a senior partner. In 1873, Princeton University awarded McCook an honorary Master of Arts degree, and in 1890, the University of Kansas awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. During the remainder of his life, McCook served on the boards of directors for several prominent insurance companies, railroads, financial institutions, and colleges and religious organizations. In addition to these activities, he developed personal friendships with prominent Republicans, including U.S Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

McCook died on September 17, 1911 at his summer home in Sea Bright, New Jersey, at the age of sixty-six years. He was buried at Princeton Cemetery in Mercer County, New Jersey.

McCook was a member of the “Fighting McCooks,” fifteen family members who served the Union during the Civil War. McCook’s father, Daniel McCook, and his eight sons who served in the war were known as the “Tribe of Dan.” McCook’s uncle, John McCook, and five of his sons who served in the war were known as the “Tribe of John.” Daniel McCook, along with four of his sons (Charles, Latimer, Daniel Jr., and Robert), died from wounds received during the Civil War.

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