Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

The Death of Capt. William H. Crook

Posted By on September 11, 2015


An obituary of William H. Crook, who was born in Clark’s Ferry, appeared in the Harrisburg Telegraph on 17 January 1914:


Taken Ill During Intense Heat of Gettysburg Encampment in July


Captain William H. Crook, well-known Republican, a prominent Civil War veteran and a former city official, died at 5:05 o’clock this morning at his home, 1403 North Third Street after an illness of five weeks.

Captain Crook had been a policeman for the past thirteen years at the State Capitol.  While on duty there five weeks ago Captain Crook became ill and had to be taken to his home.  He had been gradually sinking since that time. His illness really dated from last summer, when he attended the encampment at Gettysburg.  The heat weakened his formerly rigorous constitution.

The Captain was known to every Republican in the city.  For years he had marched at the head of the West End Republican Club in all political parades.  He was a member of the Harrisburg Republican Club as well.

Born at Clark’s Ferry

Captain Crook was born at Clark’s Ferry, 29 February 1844, being one of those whose birthday anniversaries come but once in four years. He came of old English stock, his grandfather having come from England to Cumberland County before the Revolution.

In 186 he enlisted in Company C, Seventy-Seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers [77th Pennsylvania Infantry] and fought throughout the war, re-enlisting in Company K, Two-Hundred and Third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers [203rd Pennsylvania Infantry].  He participated in some of the stiffest engagements of the war and was twice wounded.  He was discharged in August, 1865.

After the war, Mr. Crook became a contractor in this city and in this business helped to build the Phoenixville and West Chester Railroad, the Schuylkill Valley, and the Baltimore and Ohio through Delaware.  He then engaged in the sand business.

In 1889 he was elected supervisor for the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Wards, and served for nine years consecutively except for one year.

Prominent in G.A.R.

As a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, Captain Crook was active and prominent.  He was a member of Post 58 and was appointed to the staff of General Adams, Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1894.  This gave him the rank of Post Commander.  He was a delegate to the State Convention of the Grand Army of the Republic several times and went as a representative of this state to the national convention in 1895.

The Captain was one of the oldest members of the Mount Vernon Hook and Ladder Company and belonged to the Firemen’s Beneficial Association.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Mary Whippo Crook, to whom he was married in 1890; two brothers, Samuel A. Crook, of Rockaway, New Jersey; and J. Wesley Crook of this city; and two sisters, Mrs. Harry Shellenberger and Mrs. Clara Frantz, both of Milton.

The funeral arrangements have not been fully completed but it is probable the services will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock.  The Rev. B. H. Hart, pastor of the Fifth Street Methodist Episcopal Church, will officiate.  Burial will be made in the Harrisburg Cemetery.


Previously, Capt. Crook was profiled here in the blog post entitled The Crook Family of Clark’s Ferry.

A biographical sketch of Capt. Crook was also found in the Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County, page 317.

Captain William H. Crook was born at Clark’s Ferry, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, February 29, 1844. He is a son of Gabriel Crook and Catherine [Dale] Crook. His grandfather, William Crook, was born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and was one of the prominent farmers of that county. He was the son of James Crook, a native of England, who was the first of the family to settle in this country.

Gabriel Crook, Captain Crook’s father, was born in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, and came to Dauphin County in 1842. He located on the Pennsylvania Canal, in Reed Township, and was lock tender at Clark’s Ferry until the breaking out of the war. He enlisted in Company C, One Hundred and Thirty-sixth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers [136th Pennsylvania Infantry], for nine months; at the expiration of that term he re-enlisted in the Fourth regiment, United States Regulars. He lost an arm at North Anna River, immediately after the Battle of the Wilderness; this was the ground of his honorable discharge from the service. He had been a soldier in the Florida War and the Mexican War also, and died at Steelton, Pennsylvania, 29 December 1892. He was a member of the G. A. R., and of the United Brethren Church. His wife died in 1876. They had six children: William H. Crook, Samuel A. Crook, of Rockaway, New Jersey, served one year in company H, Thirty-third regiment, Pennsylvania volunteers [33rd Pennsylvania Infantry]; David R. Crook, deceased, enlisted in the Forty-seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers [47th Pennsylvania Infantry], was transferred to the Twenty-seventh Regiment [27th Pennsylvania Infantry], and was ordered on the staff of General Miles; Wesley Crook, of Harrisburg; Hannah Crook (Mrs. William Leply), of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and Margaret Ethel Crook.

Capt. William H. Crook was brought up in Reed Township, and educated in the township schools, and was also at school six months at Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.  On 27 August 1861, he enlisted in Company C, Seventy-Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers [77th Pennsylvania Infantry], as a private, and served three years. He was wounded at the battle of Camp Nevin, Kentucky. He re-enlisted in Company K, Two Hundred and Third Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers [203rd Pennsylvania Infantry], and was commissioned captain of his company. He was finally discharged, 29 August 1865. He participated in the battles at Mill Springs, Kentucky, Shiloh, Chickamauga, Deep Bottom, Virginia, Bentonville, North Carolina, and many other important engagements. He was wounded while on picket duty at the New Market Road, Virginia, and again at Folsom’s Station, Virginia.   He was confined in the David Island Hospital. After the war closed he engaged in contract work in Harrisburg. He helped to build the Phoenixville and West Chester Railroad, the Schuylkill Valley Railroad, and the Baltimore and Ohio railroad through Delaware. He has also been engaged in the sand business for a number of years.

He is a Republican, and was elected supervisor of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Wards in 1889, and has filled that position ever since, with the exception of one year. He was re-elected in 1896. He is a member of Post No. 58, G. A. R., and was appointed on the staff of General Adams, Commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1894, which gave him the rank of post commander. In 1895 he was delegate to the State Convention of the G. A. R., in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and was elected by the State convention a delegate to the National Convention, held in Louisville, Kentucky, September, 1895. Captain Crook is a member of the Mt. Vernon Hook and Ladder Company, and the Firemen’s Beneficial Association of Harrisburg. He was married, in 1890, to Miss Mary E. Whippo, daughter of Levi Whippo, of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. The family are members of the Bethel Lutheran Church.


The portrait of Capt. Crook at the top of this post is from the Harrisburg Telegraph obituary of 17 January 1914.  The obituary was obtained through Newspapers.com.



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