In 1869 George A. Cooke was born in New Athens, Ohio. Sadly, when he was 11 both of his parents died, and Cooke moved to Mercer County Illinois. He attended Knox College, and graduated in 1892. He was then admitted to the Illinois bar in 1895. He set up his own practice in Aledo, Illinois and continued his practice until he was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court in 1909.
While he practiced law, however, Cooke was also a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. He was elected in 1902, representing the 33rd district, and served two terms in that capacity. He chose not to re-run for the legislature because the death of Justice Scott had opened up a position in the Supreme Court of Illinois, representing the 4th district. He was originally elected to fill the former Justice Scott’s unexpired term, and in 1912 he was re-elected to a full term. In all, Judge Cooke served on the Illinois Supreme Court from 1909-1918. During this time he served as Chief justice for two consecutive terms in 1913 and 1914.
Cooke chose to step down from his position on the Illinois Supreme Court in order to pursue law in the private sector. He was made chief counsel for the People’s Gas Light and Coke Company, and served in this capacity for the remainder of his life.
In 1932 Cooke’s wife, Sarah Blee, died. The couple had had four children. On December 6th, 1938 George A. Cooke died in his home at the age of 69.
Next: Alfred M. Craig
- “George A. Cooke, Ex-Chief Justice of Illinois, Dies.” Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963); December 6, 1938; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849-1986). Pg. 9
- “George A. Cooke.” Illinois Supreme Court Justice Archives. http://www.state.il.us/court/supremecourt/justicearchive/Bio_Cooke.asp