from The Worcester Daily Spy, 11 Oct 1894,
| AFTER MANY YEARS - A Romantic Meeting of Father and Son. - The Story of a Family
A Missing Man Mourned as Dead for Twenty Years. - Comes Back to Worcester to Claim Property Divided Between His Son and Nephews.
Thirty-five years ago there lived on Austin street of this city David W. Cook and his wife and two sons, Geo. and Frank. Both sons were married, and upon the breaking out of the war, both enlisted in the 15th regiment, M. V. M. After the war closed both sons returned home. George remained in Worcester but a short time, however, as his wife died shortly after giving birth to a baby boy, who was named Frank. The young Frank was placed in charge of Grandma Cook, and his father, George, went away, where no one, not even his loving mother, knew. Months rolled by, and ripened into years, and still no tidings of the missing George were heard by his parents. Efforts were made to find him, but without avail. Twenty years or more rolled by, and he was given up for dead.
In the mean time, his brother Frank died and left two children, one of whom studied medicine, and is now practicing in one of the suburban towns of Boston. After the death of the brother Frank, his two children went to live with Grandpa and Grandma Cook, which was also the home of their cousin Frank, the son of George. They lived at what is now 57 Austin street, where they remained until they grew up. Then they branched out to shift for themselves; Frank went to Lynn, where he connected himself with the Thomson-Houston Electric Works.
Eight years ago David W. Cook, father of George, died, and his widow remained at the old homestead on Austin street. She spoke often of her son George and mourned him as dead. Indeed, she made application to the pension department at Washington for a pension on account of the son, whom she truly thought dead.
Last March the old lady went on a visit to friends in Springfield and while there sickened and died, at the age of 79 years. The remains were brought here and buried.
As both direct heirs to the Cook property were supposed to be dead, the property reverted to the grandsons, Frank, the son of George, and the two children of the deceased brother Frank. The usual legal proceedings were gone through with in the settlement of the estate and Maj. Frederick G. Stiles was appointed administrator. Matters were progressing smoothly and the estate was being settled by Maj. Stiles, seemingly to the entire satisfaction of all parties concerned, until Monday, when a surprise came, wholly unexpected by the Cook heirs. George Cook, the oldest son of David W., who was believed to have died years ago, appeared in Worcester hale and hearty and seemingly very much alive.
Monday afternoon a portly man, about 60 years of age, with a florid face and wearing a yachting cap, having very much the appearance of a man of travel, sauntered into Hubbard & Ham's electrical store on Austin street, and asked Mr. Hubbard if he could wait there for a while. He said his name was George Cook, and he had a son Frank in Lynn, whom he had not seen since he was a babe, and to whom he had sent a telegraph dispatch to meet him here. While he was waiting, he became communicative, and talked to Mr. Hubbard concerning his past life, which was eventful and interesting. He told how he had left Worcester many years ago and had traveled in many lands. He was full of interesting anecdotes of his wanderings through South Africa, the southern portion of South America and his subsequent life in San Francisco and other places on the Pacific coast. He had heard absolutely nothing of his friends and acquaintances in Worcester since his departure, and talked in a reminiscent fashion of the Worcester of years ago.
Finally a man stopped before the door and glanced inquiringly into the store. His gaze met that of the man Cook, and they instinctively advanced toward one another and clasped hands. It was some moments before the recognition between father and son was complete, but after a few moments conversation the relationship was established and the father, who was given up as dead, gazed for the first time in many years into the eyes of his son, whom he had not seen since babyhood. The meeting apparently was not mutually satisfactory, for as the conversation advanced it drifted into a discussion of the property which was left by Mrs. David W. Cook, who died last March. The elder Cook stoutly maintained that he was the only rightful heir to the property, and the younger Cook thought he was equally entitled to his share of the property, sincerely believing that his father had died years ago. The elder stuck to his point and would not consider any sort of a compromise by which the son should receive any part of the property. He allowed that he had retained counsel and should contest any and everything that had been done toward distributing the property among the grandchildren. Both men held their tempoer, however, during the conversation and talked in a straight, business manner, both being determined in their intention of getting possession of the property.
The property in question is an old-fashioned three-tenement house, recently remodeled, at 57 Austin street, assessed for $2000, and 3804 feet of land, assessed for $2100.
It seems that the work of settlement of the estate has reached very advanced stages as will appear from the following item clipped from and evening paper:
"Mrs. Abbey R. Parsons has purchased from the Cook heirs the estate on Austin street near Irving street. This new purchase includes a three-tenement house and a large area of land, and it is understood the price is in the neighborhood of $5000. It is likely that Mrs. Parsons intends in the spring the erection of another block."
This being the case the prodigal son and father will have quite a contract on hand to get possession of the property, which he claims rightfully belongs to him.
Previous to meeting his son in Hubbard & Ham's, Cook visited the old homestead on Austin street. He rang the bell, and a lady inmate of the house responded to the summons. He asked if Mrs. Cook was at home, referring to his mother, and on being informed that she had been dead some months, seemed very much shocked, as it was the first he knew of the fact. He was invited into the house, and the scene was most touching. He talked of his dead mother, whom he had deserted years ago, with a husky voice, and the tears streaming down his bronzed cheeks. He referred to his son Frank in Lynn, but gave no idea as to how he learned his whereabouts after all these years. He said that last Saturday he received an anonymous letter, written in a woman's hand, hinting that it would be to his interest to come immediately to Worcester and institute inquiries concerning the Cook property. This letter undoubtedly was written by some one who knew of the fact that the property was about to be sold. He came to Worcester Sundayfrom Meriden, Co9nn., and after making some inquiries, sent the message to his son, and placed a retainer in the hands of a local lawyer as his counsel.
The Cook family are among the older residents on Austin stree, who will marvel at the most unexpected return of the son who was believed dead so many years ago, and will watch with much interest the contention for the Austin street property between father and son.