Did You Know?

Did You Know?
By Raymond Powell

The history of DeSoto Parish is intimately connected to the men and women of the past years. Yes, they made DeSoto with their dedication and hard work. Several men and women have been written about in this column most of whom this writer knew and felt should be remembered. Of course, there have been hundreds of people who should be remembered but you understand all cannot be written about – only a representative group.

Today’s person is Lifford Hill Cook of Grand Cane. Born there in 1881 and went to school in the old frame school house located behind the present two story brick Central School building. Mr. Cook left Grand Cane in 1900 to work for the Texas and Pacific Railroad as a telegraph operator serving from New Orleans to El Paso. He stated that his return to the area happened when his daddy accidentally shot himself in his leg. Curtis Cook, another son coaching in Oakdale, was home at the time and saved his daddy’s life when he tied a string around the wounded leg to prevent bleeding. Lifford’s daddy asked him to return to Grand Cane to help out. The above was told to this writer in 1975 when Lifford was 94 years old.

Mr. Lifford Cook bought an interest in the Douglas Store in Grand Cane, which is now known as the Cook-Douglas Store. In addition to the store Lifford bought cotton and cross ties. He told about one deal in 1929 when the Depression hit. He paid 4 cents a pound for cotton and in one day he bought 175 bales of cotton. He then sold them to Anderson Clayton, a New Orleans cotton broker, and made $1.17 per bale. He said that was the most money that he ever made in one day!

Lifford built a nice home directly across the street in front of the Central High School in Grand Cane, La. The house had a porch almost completely around the exterior. Mr. and Mrs. Cook had one son that was a Navy aviator who was killed during WW II. Mrs. Sharp, Mr. Cook’s sister, lived with him after his wife died.

Mr. Cook told about George Peyton who had a large store in Grand Cane with 24 employees. In 1900 customers always had a store clerk to wait on them. He also remembered that Grand Cane had two cotton gins and two large cottonseed warehouses. The cotton scales were located just off the east side of the road almost in front of Mr. Smith’s bank. By the way, those scales were still there in the 1950’s.

Lifford Hill Cook was an intelligent man that had many friends. He loved to sit on the bread box (where the bread deliveryman left the bread before the store opened in the morning) and talk with the people passing by. Everyone went to the Post Office at 9:00 in the morning and stopped to talk with Mr. Cook - A good man in a good town with many good citizens.

(Thanks to the late Jerry Gamble and Bill Cook for additional insight about Lifford Cook)

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