Frederick Cook (politician)

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For other people named Frederick Cook, see Frederick Cook (disambiguation).

Frederick Cook (December 2, 1833, in Bad Wildbad, Kingdom of Württemberg – February 17, 1905, in Rochester, Monroe County, New York) was an American businessman and politician.


He came to the United States in 1848, and changed his German name Friedrich Kuch to Frederick Cook. He first lived in Buffalo, New York, and worked for his brother-in-law who was a shoemaker. Then he opened his own butcher shop at Batavia, New York. After that he became a brakeman on the Buffalo and Rochester Railroad, and later a conductor on the New York Central Railroad a position he held for twenty years during which he became wealthy. (There is a story about this: Asked by Cornelius Vanderbilt how he could buy vast pieces of real estate and live expensively on $75 a week, Cook is said to have answered "Oh, I makes (sic) my money trading horses with Jockey Mason," which became something of a proverb at the time.)

Political career[edit]

In 1872, he left the railroad, and entered politics. Governor John Thompson Hoffman appointed him Judge Advocate of the 7th Division of the National Guard. In 1874, he ran for Mayor of Rochester, New York but was defeated by George G. Clarkson while otherwise the whole Democratic ticket was elected. In 1875, Governor Samuel J. Tilden appointed him Assistant Adjutant General and Chief of Staff of the 7th Division of the National Guard. He was a delegate to the 1876 Democratic National Convention. He was Secretary of State of New York from 1886 to 1889, elected in 1885 and 1887.


In 1892, he sued the Silver Lake Ice Company, and tried to establish his claim to be the owner of the Silver Lake in Wyoming County, New York.

He was the President of the Rochester German Insurance Company, the German-American Bank of Rochester, the Rochester Driving Park Association, the Rochester Telephone Company, the Rochester Street Car Company, Vice President of the Bartholomay Brewing Company, and had interests in many other companies.

He was married twice and had one daughter. He died of apoplexy.


Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Bradford Carr
New York Secretary of State
1886 - 1889
Succeeded by
Frank Rice