History of the Cook House


The Cook House, located at 502 East 4th Street, is now owned by the Laurel Historical Society.  It was donated to the Society by Haroldine Cook Shaner.  Mrs. Shaner has said that the house was owned by her grandfather, William Cook, before it was transferred to her parents, Harold L. and Thelma H. Cook.  The current title indicates it may have been owned by George W. Hearn and that the lot was a subdivision of property in 1906. 

The Cook Family

The Cook Family, William H. and Mollie C. Cook, moved to Laurel from

Easton, Maryland.  They were married in 1898 and in 1904 they had one son, Harold.  They purchased the house on East 4th Street in 1909.  Williams' parents were Thomas, born in 1828, and Emily J. Cook, born in 1848.  They were farmers in the Red Oak area of Easton, Maryland.  They had five children, Daniel, Thomas, Alfred, William, and Mary.  William was born in 1874. In 1900, William and his brother Daniel were both working as grocers in Easton.  William apparently kept his vocation when he moved to Laurel. He was listed as a grocer in the 1910 Census.  In 1920, William was listed as a cashier in a bank.  He died before 1930 and Mollie C. was listed as a widow.   To date, our research has been unable to determine the ancestors of Thomas Cook.  However, the Cook name appears in records on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the late 17th Century.

Research Note: Even though William and Mollie never moved after coming to Laurel, in each of the last three available census records they were listed as living on different streets.  In 1910, it was 5th Street, although it is thought that it was really 4th Street.  In 1920, the street was listed as East Market and in 1930 it was listed as Lindbergh Avenue. 

The Hearn Family 

The George W. Hearn identified in the deed is George Washington Hearn, whose lineage has been documented back to the 16th Century.  George W. Hearn was born on May 29, 1836, in Laurel and was the son of Jonathan Hearn and Polly Ellis. George Hearn married Mary Priscilla Cannon and they had five children, Edward Caldwell Hearn, Charles Sheppard Hearn, Elijah Roland Hearn, Mary Elizabeth Hearn, and George Cannon Hearn.  According to the William T. Hearn book, “George Washington Hearn was born in Laurel, Delaware and this has since been his home with the exception of five years (1869-1873) spent in Wilmington, Delaware.  He has owned and successfully operated a carriage and wagon manufacturing business and is one of the most highly esteemed citizens of the town.  He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church." 

In the 1891 Sanborn Map, the Hearn & Bro. Carriage M'f'y was located on Willow Street in the first large dwelling north of Hearn Lane (now East 4th Street).  This business was operated by George Hearn and probably his brother, Levin, who was born on February 25, 1829.  One could assume that since Levin was the older brother, he was the Hearn in the business title. The business apparently had no heat, no lights, and no fire apparatus.  The fuel was wood and waste, and power was steam. Next to the business were two businesses, a blacksmith and a wheelwright, on Hearn Lane, across the street from the current Cook House. Based on census data in 1900, several Hearns owned homes on “East Market” including: George W., Wheelwright; Isaac Hearn, Machinist; Napoleon Hearn, Wheelwright; and Thomas H. Hearn, Blacksmith.  One must note that on all Sanborn Maps, East Market or East Fourth is referred to as Hearn Avenue in the two blocks East and West of the Intersection with Willow Avenue.  Census data refers to the street as East Market in 1900 and Lindbergh in 1930.  The Hearns most likely owned most of this area.  It appears that the Hearn and Bro. building and the blacksmith shop may still be standing, but are not currently occupied. 

Edward Hearn died at age 24 with no known wife.  Charles Hearn graduated from medical school and became a successful doctor in Philadelphia.  He married Constance Norton and they had three children, Mary Constance, Aileen Ray, and Carolyn. Elijah Roland Hearn used his middle name, Roland, and became a successful dentist, also in Philadelphia.  In 1910, he was listed as 40 and unmarried.  Mary Elizabeth Hearn married Thomas Jackson Waller about 1891.  There were five children that came out of that marriage, Everett Lee Waller, Helen Jackson Waller, Charles Lynn Waller, and Thomas Jackson Waller.  Our research has not been able to find any further information on George Cannon Hearn.   George Washington Hearn died May 20, 1906, in Laurel.  The deed references the subdivision of the George W. Hearn property in 1906. 

Research Note: In all of the research, only the Hearn name, not the Hearne variation, is present in this Delaware line, except in some cemetery listings. 

Research References 


2. Tombstones of Sussex County Delaware Volume Two, Published by Downstate Delaware Genealogical Society 

3. 1900 Census 

4. Deed - Mary P. Hearn etal to Mollie C. Cook - 1910 

5. Social Security Death Index, Ancestry.com 

6. 1930 Census