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Edward Cook

Born on 10-11-1816. He was born in Baltimore, MD. He was accomplished in the area of Business. He later died on 5-3-1906.
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Edward Cook was born a free Black on October 11, 1816 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the son of Henry Cook, an African Ibo, held in slavery in Maryland. Henry escaped his master, joined an Indian tribe and married an Indian woman, Edward's mother. Dr. Bruce Lee, Edward's great grandson donated papers, to the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, that Edward carried in Maryland to verify his status as a free man of color. Edward came to Buffalo in 1837. He married Phoebe, a Mohawk woman on October 29, 1845.

A barber by trade, Cook was well known as proprietor of the Mansion House barber shop for over half a century. The Mansion House was one of Buffalo's oldest and most elegant hotels. It was located on Exchange Street, east of Main Street. Edward is reputed to have worked on all the most notable men of his time, including Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. According to his obituary, "Edward Cook was one of the best known African Americans in Buffalo. His shop was the meeting place for the elder Rumseys, Carys, Albergers, Dr. Lord and all the prominent men of the county of Erie and city of Buffalo. He was one of the oldest settlers and was an encyclopedia of information on the growth and development of Buffalo." Another newspaper article stated that Cook also knew President Grover Cleveland.

The obituary continues, "Mr. Cook was worth a snug little fortune at one time from which he built his home on Potter Street." Cook's home was located at 12 Potter Street near William Street. He lived there from the mid-1840s until his death on May 3, 1906 at the age of 89. His funeral was held from his home on March 6, 1906. Services were also held at the Vine Street Methodist Church. His obituary identified two daughters, Mrs. Emma Lee and Mrs. Elizabeth Shirley as his survivors.