Cook Family

Gertrude Whiteside Cook

Gertrude Whiteside Cook

When Henry Thackeray Schwabe married Gertrude Cook on 5  July 1894 he thereby connected with a number of interesting families.

Gertrude’s father Harry Whiteside Cook  married Millicent Hamilton Johnson on 8 September 1868 at Chiselhurst, Kent.

Harry Cook was born about 1846 and was the son of Henry Cook.

Millicent’s father was Sir Henry Johnson and her mother was Charlotte Philipse (of the Philipse family of Yonkers, New York). Millicent’s grandmother was Rebecca Franks (the Franks family are detailed below the Johnson family).Millicent Johnson Cook book cover

The Johnson Family
Sir Henry Johnson first baronet (1748-1835), army officer, was born on 1 January 1748, the second son of Allen Johnson (d. 1747) of Kilternan, co. Dublin, and his wife, Olivia, the daughter of John Walsh of Ballykilcavan, Queen’s county. He entered the army in 1761, and rose through the several grades — Captain, 1763; Lieutenant-Colonel, 1778; Colonel, 1782; Major-General, 1793; General, 1808. He commanded a battalion of Irish light infantry in the American Revolutionary War, and was severely wounded; and while in command at Stony Point was surprised by General Wayne on the night of the 15th July 1779, and made prisoner with his whole force. In 1782 he married Rebecca Franks, and returned to England after the capture of Yorktown. During the Insurrection of 1798 he commanded a division of the army in the County of Wexford, and on 5th June defended New Ross. It was attacked early in the morning of that day by an overwhelming body of insurgents under Bagenal Harvey, who were at first successful, driving most of General Johnson’s troops out of the town, but not following up their success, and abandoning themselves to pillage and inebriety, were in the afternoon obliged to retreat to Slievecoiltia. Musgrave places the insurgent loss at 2,500, while Johnson’s casualties numbered altogether but 227. In the engagement General Johnson displayed signal bravery, and had two horses shot under him. Lord Cornwallis thus writes of him: “Johnson, although a wrong-headed blockhead, is adored for his defence at New Ross, and considered as the saviour of the south.” General Johnson received a baronetcy in 1818, and died 18th March 1835, at his house in Catharine Place, Bath, aged about 87, being succeeded in the baronetcy by his son, a distinguished Peninsular officer, who survived until 27th June 1860. Johnson and his wife had two sons: Henry Allen, who became aide-de-camp to the prince of Orange, and George Pigot, a captain in the 81st regiment, who was killed in Portugal in 1812. His surviving son inherited the baronetcy.

General Sir Henry Johnson

General Sir Henry Johnson

Obituary from The Gentleman’s Magazine: Gen. Sir H. Johnson, Bt. G.C.B. March 18. At his house in Catharine Place, Bath, aged 87, General Sir Henry Johnson, Bart. G.C.B. Colonel of the 5th foot, and Governor of Ross castle.

Sir Henry was born Jan. 1, 1748, the younger son of Allen Johnson, esq. of Dublin, by Olivia, daughter of John Walsh, esq. and was younger brother to Sir John Johnson, who was created a Baronet of Ireland in 1775, and took the name of Walsh in 1809, the father of the present Sir Edward Johnson-Walsh, of Ballykilcaven, Queen’s county, Bart.

This veteran officer was appointed to an Ensigncy in the 28th Foot in the first year of King George the Third, Feb. 1761. He served during the seven years’ war, and was appointed to a Company in the same regiment in 1763. He returned to England in 1767.

In 1775 he embarked at Cork for America, and soon after his arrival was appointed by Sir W. Howe to a battalion of light infantry, which be had the honour to command in several actions until severely wounded. He was appointed Lieut.-Colonel of the 17th foot in 1778, and remained in America until after the siege of York town and Virginia, where, commanding the 17th foot, he was taken prisoner, and, agreeably to the capitulation that followed, returned to England.

Millicent Johnson

Millicent Hamilton Johnson

He received the brevet of Colonel, Dec. 25, 1782; that of Major-General, Dec. 20, 1793 ; and was appointed Colonel of the 81st foot, June 18, 1798. In the last-named year he served on the staff of Ireland; and being ordered to the coast of Wexford, commanded at the battle of New Ross, where he bad two horses shot under him, and which victory was generally considered to have contributed essentially to the suppression of the rebellion. He received the rank of Lieut. General 1799, General 1808; and was removed from the Colonelcy of the 8lst to that of the 5th foot in 1819.

He was created a Baronet by patent dated Dec. 1, 1818; was nominated a K.C.B. in 1820, and a G.C.B. in 183-.

He married, Jan. 17, 1782, Rebecca, daughter of David Franks, esq. and sister to John Franks, esq. of Isleworth; and by her, who died in March 1823 had issue two sons: 1. his successor, Sir Henry Allen Johnson, K.W. who was Aid-de-camp to the Prince of Orange in the Peninsula; and 2. George-Pigot, a Captain in the 81st foot, who was killed in Portugal in 1812.

His grandson was: Sir Edwin Beaumont Johnson (1825-1893), army officer. He was the fourth son of Sir Henry Allen Johnson and Charlotte Elizabeth Philipse, daughter of Frederick Philipse of Philipsburg, New York. His father, a student of Christ Church, Oxford and a tutor there to the prince of Orange, and, having received a commission in the 81st regiment, accompanied him as aide-de-camp to the Peninsula, where he served under Wellington. For details of his life see the Dictionary of National Biography.  Another grandson was Lionel Piggot Johnson: This short biography of his is taken from an Introduction to his poems:

Lionel Johnson was the grandson of Sir Henry Allen Johnson of Bath, 4th baronet, and the son of Captain William Victor Johnson, second son of the baronet. An elder brother of Lionel fought at Atbara and Khartoum and was mentioned in despatches. Lionel Johnson’s Irish descent was through the 1st baronet. Sir Henry Johnson of Ballykilcaven, who was Governor of Ross Castle.

I have been asked to write a few words of introduction to the following selection from the poems of the late Lionel Johnson. I am impressed by the fact that this should have been done by one who knew him more intimately – by Mrs. Tynan Hinkson or by Mr. Selwyn, for example. My only claim to write is based upon a profound esteem tor Mr. Johnson’s literary work ; he was distinguished alike as a poet and a prose writer, and in both departments he must ultimately command a larger public than has hitherto been his. He was a true poet and a fine critic. Those who knew Lionel Johnson mourned him deeply when his life was cut short in 1902 at the early age of thirty-five. That slight boyish frame enclosed a brilliant intellect, remarkable intuitive power as to the best in literature, and an extraordinary fund of knowledge. With some people the capacity for assimilating books at an early age seems well nigh miraculous. When Dr. Johnson said that he knew more at seventeen than ” now,” speaking as an old man, he did but note the facility with which youth, in certain isolated cases, can acquire knowledge. In the same way, there was something incredible, passing wonderful, in the quantity of good books that Lionel Johnson had absorbed at the age of twenty-two, when I first made his acquaintance. He was at home with every phase of Church History, and able to expose with accurate learning the numerous errors in a certain “Biographical Dictionary of the Fathers” in many volumes that appeared some fifteen years back. He knew his Boswell’s “Johnson” well nigh by heart: that was a small matter; but he knew the period from a hundred other books with an equal familiarity. His knowledge of the 18th century was indeed profound, and he had the same keen knowledge of the 19th. His appreciation of Thomas Hardy’s genius led him to write a book on that subject, only less masterly than his appreciations of a hundred other authors of the Georgian or Victorian eras.

Born at Broadstairs in 1867, Lionel Johnson was educated at Winchester and at New College, Oxford, where in 1890 he came out in Class I. in the Final Classical School. It was then that he threw himself with enthusiasm into all questions concerning Ireland, although his relations with that country were originally of the slightest, and could not in the least have influenced the bend of his mind towards sympathy with Ireland’s aspirations. In fact his grandfather had been a Captain of Yeomanry at New Ross in 1798. It pleased Lionel Johnson, however, in those years in which I knew him, to consider himself an Irishman, and he threw himself with zeal into all movements affecting the ( welfare of that imaginative people; he loved the land, visited it frequently, assimilated its traditions, its aspirations. Those of us who knew him in the years of his London life between 1890 and 1902, found him in intimate friendship with the Irish colony in London and, indeed, essentially an Irishman fighting the battles of that country’s literature, sympathising heartily with all its efforts to preserve individuality and national character. Again and again in stirring lines he breathed the spirit of enthusiasm for Ireland’s great men past and present. Addressing the late John O’Leary, a dear friend who was destined to survive him but a few short years, he wrote in ” Ways of War”:

“A terrible and splendid trust
Heartens the host of Inisfail,
Their dream is of the swift sword-thrust,
A lightning glory of the Gael.”

We find the earliest poems by Lionel Johnson in the “Book of the Rhymers’ Club,” of which two series are on our shelves. After these he published, in 1895, a volume entitled “Poems,” and in 1897 one called “Ireland, with Other Poems.” Here, fairly complete, we have the poetical work of Johnson, but, as I have said, he was also a prose writer of distinction. We read his essays and reviews in the Academy, the Daily Chronicle, and in the now extinct Anti-Jacobin. I have often wished that the best of these essays might be collected by one of his friends – by Mrs. Hinkson, or by Mr. H. W. Nevinson for example. Let us hope that the publication of this little volume will give an impetus to the wider distribution of much other work from the same pen.

The Franks Family
This section is under construction and incomplete.

Moses Franks

Moses Franks

We begin here with Abraham Franks (confusingly known in Hebrew as Naphtali Hertz. He prospered in London and was the only Ashkenazi among the ‘Jew Brokers’ appointed in 1697 other than Benjamin Levy, and was a respected householder in the Parish of St. James’s, Duke’s Place, hard by the Synagogue. His wife was Abigail (Sarah Phila), a daughter of Rabbi David Bloch. She died on February 22nd, 1695, at the age of thirty-three and was buried in the Sephardi ground, that of the Ashkenazi community not yet having been purchased. Abraham Franks continued to play his part in congregational affairs until his death, advanced in years, in 1748. Among his sons were:

1. Jacob who married Abigail Levy His tastes were literary rather than mercantile although like many others before and since, he realized that the road to wealth was more rapid through the avenues of commerce than through the efforts of the pen. He was highly intellectual and master of many languages and learned in Jewish law. He had a degree of Doctor of Divinity and was known in the congregation by the title of Rabbi.

REBECCA FRANKS

The celebrated Miss Franks, so distinguished for intelligence and high accomplishment in Revolutionary times, could not properly be passed over in a series of notices of remarkable women of that period. In the brilliant position she occupied in fashionable society, she exerted, as may well be believed, no slight influence; for wit and beauty are potent champions in any cause for which they choose to arm themselves. That her talents were generally employed on the side of humanity and justice, – that the pointed shafts of her wit, which spared neither friend nor foe, were aimed to chastise presumption and folly – we may infer from the amiable disposition which it is recorded she possessed. Admired in fashionable circles, and courted for the charms of her conversation, she must have found many opportunities of exercising her feminine privilege of softening asperities and alleviating suffering – as well as of humbling the arrogance of those whom military success rendered regardless of the feelings of others. Though a decided loyalist, her satire did not spare those whose opinions she favored. It is related of her, that at a splendid ball given by the officers of the British army to the ladies of New York, she ventured one of those jests frequently uttered, which must have been severely felt in the faint prospect that existed of a successful termination to the war. During an interval of dancing, Sir Henry Clinton, previously engaged in conversation with Miss Franks, called out to the musicians, “Give us ‘Britons, strike home.'” “The commander-in-chief,” exclaimed she, “has made a mistake; he meant to say, ‘Britons, go home.'”

The keenness of her irony, and her readiness at repartee, were not less promptly shown in sharp tilting with the American officers. At the festival of the Mischianza, where even whig ladies were present, Miss Franks had appeared as one of the princesses. She remained in Philadelphia after its evacuation by the British troops. Lieutenant-Colonel Jack Steward of Maryland, dressed in a fine suit of scarlet, took an early occasion to pay his compliments; and gallantly said: “I have adopted your colors, my princess, the better to secure a courteous reception. Deign to smile on a true knight.” To this covert taunt Miss Franks made no reply: but turning to the company who surrounded her, exclaimed – “How the ass glories in the lion’s skin!” The same officer met with an other equally severe rebuff, while playing with the same weapons. The conversation of the company was interrupted by a loud clamor from the street, which caused them to hasten to the windows. High head-dresses were then the reigning fashion among the English belles. A female appeared in the street, surrounded by a crowd of idlers, ragged in her apparel, and barefoot; but adorned with a towering head-dress in the extreme of the mode. Miss Franks readily perceived the intent of this pageant; and on the lieutenant-colonel’s observing that the woman was equipped in the English fashion, replied, “Not altogether, colonel; for though the style of her head is British, her shoes and stockings are in the genuine continental fashion !”

Many anecdotes of her quick and brilliant wit are extant in the memory of individuals, and many sarcastic speeches attributed to her have been repeated. It is represented that her information was extensive, and that few were qualified to enter the lists with her. General Charles Lee in the humorous letter he addressed to her – a jeu d’esprit she is said to have received with serious anger – calls her “a lady who has had every human and divine advantage.”

Rebecca Franks was the daughter and youngest child of David Franks, a Jewish merchant, who emigrated to this country about a century since. He married an Englishwoman before coming to America, and had three sons and two daughters. The eldest daughter married Andrew Hamilton, brother to the well-known proprietor of “The Woodlands.” After the termination of the war, Rebecca married General Henry Johnson, a, British officer of great merit, and accompanied him to England. He distinguished himself by some act of gallantry in one of the outbreaks of rebellion in Ireland, and received the honor of knighthood. Their residence was at Bath, where their only surviving son still lives. The other son was killed at the battle of Waterloo.

The lady who furnished the above details, informed me that her brother was entertained, in 1810, at Lady Johnson’s house in Bath, where she was living in elegant style, and exercising with characteristic grace the duties of hospitality, and the virtues that adorn social life. He described her person as of the middle height, rather inclining to embonpoint; and her expression of countenance as very agreeable, with fine eyes. Her manners were frank and cheerful, and she appeared happy in contributing to the happiness of others. Sir Henry was at that time living.

It is said that Lady Johnson, not long after this period, expressed to a young American officer her penitence for her former toryism, and her pride and pleasure in the victories of her countrymen on the Niagara frontier, in the war of 1812. It has been remarked that favorable sentiments towards the Americans are general among loyalists residing in England; while, on the other hand, the political animosity of Revolutionary times is still extant in the British American Colonies. A loyal spinster of four-score residing in one of these, when on a visit to one of her friends, some two years since, saw on the walls, among several portraits of distinguished men, a print of “the traitor Washington.” She was so much troubled at the sight, that her friend, to appease her, ordered it to be taken down and put away during her visit. A story is told also of a gentleman high in office in the same colony, on whom an agent of the “New York Albion” called to deliver the portrait of Washington which the publisher that year presented to his subscribers. The gentleman, highly insulted, ordered the astonished agent to take “the thing” out of his sight, and to strike his name instantly from the list.

Miss Franks, it has been mentioned, was one of the princesses of the Mischianza. This Italian word, signifying a medley or mixture, was applied to an entertainment, or series of entertainments, given by the British officers in Philadelphia as a parting compliment to Sir William Howe, just before his relinquishment of command to Sir Henry Clinton, and departure to England. Some of his enemies called it his triumph on leaving America unconquered. A description of this singular f’te may be interesting to many readers; I therefore abridge one written, it is said, by Major Andrª for an English lady’s magazine.

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Prominent member of Philadelphia loyalist society during the Revolution; born in Philadelphia about 1760; died in Bath, England, March, 1823; daughter of David Franks. During the Revolutionary war her sympathies, like her father’s, were with the mother country, and during the British occupation of Philadelphia in 1778 she assisted in the “Meschianza,” the celebrated f’te given in honor of General Howe, and at which Major Andrª presided. “The Times, a Poem by Camilio Querno, Poet Laureate of the Congress,” a loyalist composition, has been attributed to her. Her literary ability, as well as her vivacity and wit, were well known; she carried on a correspondence with prominent men, and General Charles Lee, of the Continental army, addressed to her a letter which attracted much attention, being published in the magazines of the day. In 1782 she married, in New York, Lieutenant-Colonel, afterward General, Henry Johnson, G.C.B., and removed to England, residing in Bath until her death.

Bibliography: Max J. Kohler, Rebecca Franks, an American Jewish Belle of the Last Century, New York, 1894;
Hyman Polock Rosenbach, The Jews in Philadelphia Prior to 1800, Philadelphia, 1883;
Henry S. Morais, The Jews of Philadelphia;
Edward Langworthy, Memoirs of the Life of the Late Charles Lee, Esq., London, 1792;
Lossing’s American Historical Record, vol. ii.;
Mary E. Robins, in Jewish Exponent, Feb. 6,1903.A. A. S. W

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Wisdom of a different sort is to be seen in another family letter, that sent in 1781 by Miss Rebecca Franks to her sister Abigail, Mrs. Andrew Hamilton. At the time of writing she was in Flatbush, Long Island, from where she made frequent visits to New York. She was a loyal Philadelphian, however, and New York?s charm could not wean her from her love for the city on the Delaware. She said:

‘ . . . I will do our ladies, that is Philadelphians, the justice to say they have more cleverness in the turn of an eye than the N. Y. girls have in their whole composition. With what ease, have I seen a Chew, a Penn, Oswald, Allen and a thousand others, entertain a large circle of both sexes, and the conversation without the aid of cards not flag or seem the least bit strain?d or stupid, Here, or more properly speaking in N. Y. you enter the room with a formal set curtsey and after the how do’s, ?tis a fine, or a bad day, and those trifling nothings are finished all?s a dead calm till the cards are introduced, when you see pleasure dancing in the eyes of all the matrons and they seem to gain new life. The misses, if they have a favourite swain, frequently decline playing for the pleasure of making love ? for to all appearances ?tis the ladies and not the gentlemen that show a preference nowadays. ?Tis here, I fancy, always leap year. For my part that am used to quite another mode of behaviour, I cannot help shewing my surprise, perhaps they call it ignorance, when I see a lady single out her pet to lean almost in his arms at an Assembly or play-house, (which have too often seen both in married and in single), and to hear a lady confess a partiality for a man who perhaps she has not seen three times . . .

. . . I shall send a pattern of the newest bonnet, there is no crown, but guaze raised on wire, and quite pinched to a sugar loaf at top, ? the lighter the trimming the more fashionable . . .?

Probably the sprightly Miss Franks had commissions to execute for her Philadelphia friends. It would be difficult to find a post-bag that does not contain requests to buy something or a message from one who has tried more or less conscientiously to satisfy the friend who has made the request.

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April, 1848

REBECCA FRANKS

“THE celebrated Miss Franks” if not exactly a heroine, enjoyed so much distinction as a lady of intelligence and high accomplishment, in Revolutionary times, that she could not properly be passed over in a series of notices of remarkable women of that period. In the brilliant position she occupied in fashionable society, she exerted, as may well be believed, no slight influence; for wit and beauty are potent champions in any cause for which they choose to arm themselves. That her talents were generally employed on the side of humanity and justice,& that the pointed shafts of her wit, which spared neither friend nor foe, were aimed to chastise presumption and folly we may infer from the amability of disposition which it is recorded she possessed. I cannot learn that she took any active part in politics; but, admired in fashionable circles, and sought for the charms of her conversation, she must have found many opportunities of exercising her feminine privilege of softening asperities and alleviating suffering as well as of humbling the arrogance of those whom military success rendered regardless of the feelings of others. It is related of her, that, at a splendid ball given by the officers of the British army, to the ladies of New York, she ventured one of those jests frequently uttered, which must have been severely felt in the faint prospect that existed of a successful termination to the war. During an interval of dancing, Sir Henry Clinton, previously engaged in conversation with Miss Franks , called out to the musicians, “Give us ‘Britons, strike home.” “The commander-in-chief,” exclaimed the lady, “has made a mistake; he meant to say, ‘Britons go home.'”

The keenness of her irony, and her readiness at repartee, were no less promptly shown in sharp tilting with the American officers. At the festival of the Mischianza, given at Philadelphia to Sir William Howe, Miss Franks appeared as one of the princesses, in supporting whose claims to superior beauty and accomplishment, the assembled knights were to contend at a tournament. The evacuation of the city immediately followed; and Miss Franks remained behind. Lieutenant Colonel Jack Steward of Maryland, dressed in a fine suit of scarlet, took an early occasion to pay his compliments; and gallantly said” I have adopted your colors, my princess, the better to secure a courteous reception. Deign to smile on a true knight.” To this covert taunt, Miss Franks made no reply: but, turning to the company who surrounded her, exclaimed “How the ass glories in the lion’s skin!” The same Lieutenant Colonel met With another equally severe rebuff, while playing with the same weapons. The conversation of the company was interrupted by a loud clamor from the street, which caused them to hasten to the windows. High head-dresses were then the reigning fashion among the British belles. A female appeared in The street, surrounded by a crowd of idlers, ragged in her apparel, and barefoot; but adorned with a towering head-dress in the extreme of the mode. Miss Franks readily perceived the intent of this pageant; and on the Lieutenant Colonel’s observing that the lady was equipped altogether in the English fashion, replied, “Not altogether, Colonel; for though the style of her head is British, her shoes and stockings are in the genuine continental fashion!”

Many anecdotes of the quick and brilliant wit of this lady are extant in the memory of individuals, and many sarcastic speeches have been repeated as leveled by her against the British officers. It is said, also, that her information was extensive, so that few were qualified to enter the lists with her. In the case of General Charles Lee, however, she certainly did not acquit herself so well as usual; for she is said to have received with serious anger a letter intended merely as a jeu d’esprit. Garden’s book gives it entire; and as a piece of humor, he thinks it well worth preserving. His readers may entertain some doubt on this point. But it bears testimony to the fame of the lady’s acquirements. He calls her “a lady who has had every human and divine advantage, who has read (or might have read), in the originals, the New and Old Testament, (though I am afraid she too seldom looks even into the translations.”)

Rebecca Franks was the daughter and youngest child of David Franks , a Jewish merchant, who emigrated to this country about a century since. He married an English lady before he came to America, and had three sons and two daughters. The eldest daughter married Andrew Hamilton, brother to the well-known proprietor of “The Woodlands.” After the termination of the war,in the Travels of the Marquis de Chastelleux, mention is made of Major Franks , (the son of a Hebrew gentleman in Canada,) who had been aid-de-camp to Arnold. After the escape and treason of his general, he was tried and honorably acquitted by a council of war, demanded by himself. It is possible he may have been related to the lady who is the subject of this notice.