north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 

 
 
 

ID:

Marker Text:

Essay:
     James P. Cook, a key figure in the founding of the Stonewall Jackson Training School, was born in Mount Pleasant in 1863. He graduated from Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute in 1885. For four years he served as principal at southern Cabarrus County schools and then at the Boys’ High School in Concord. In 1890 he began publishing The Daily Standard in Concord. During the six years he operated the newspaper, he also served as Cabarrus County schools superintendent. After he sold the newspaper and resigned as superintendent in 1896 he was elected chairman of the Cabarrus County Board of Education. He served in the North Carolina State Senate for one term, in 1913.

     Cook is best known for his work in establishing the Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School. Throughout his time as a school administrator, editor, and legislator, one of his primary concerns was with the treatment of juveniles in the local court system. In 1907 the legislature authorized promotion of a state reform institution for boys. Cook served as chairman of the board appointed to oversee the school’s establishment. Under his leadership a site in Cabarrus County was acquired for the school. On January 12, 1909, the Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School opened and provided 120 boys a second chance through reform and educational opportunities. The school is still in operation today as the Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center.

     Cook was married to Margaret Jeannette Norfleet. The couple was involved with organizations such as the training school, Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute, and the St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church. James Cook died in Concord on March 22, 1928, and was buried in a local cemetery. (Note: Cook's house referred to in the marker text no longer stands. The marker will be replaced when funds permit.)


References:
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, I, 419—sketch by Sylvester Green
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north carolina highway historical marker program


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