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Early Plano settler honored with grave marker: War of 1812 veteran buried near Shops at Legacy
One of the earliest settlers in the area that is now Plano was recently honored with a bronze marker at the Baccus Cemetery.
Henry Cook, a veteran of the War of 1812, founded the cemetery, located near the Shops at Legacy at the corner of Bishop Road and Legacy Drive, in 1847. The marker was formally dedicated Saturday morning at Cook's grave by the General Society of the War of 1812.
"Some years ago, several of us in the society were trying to think of something to do for the war's bicentennial," said Cecil Coale, a Fairview resident and member of the society. "We decided that we should put a General Society bronze marker on the grave of every War of 1812 veteran that is buried in Collin County."
Coale said it took him about a year of research, but he has discovered 15 veterans buried in Collin County. Of those 15, the graves of 12 of the veterans have been located. To date, markers have been placed on six of the graves.
Cook served as a lieutenant in the Illinois militia during the war, fighting against the English in the Ohio Valley. Coale said Cook came to Texas shortly after it achieved statehood and settled in the area near the cemetery.
Brenda Kellow, whose Tracing our Roots genealogy column appears in the Plano Star Courier, has written extensively about the early days of Collin County. She said Texas was an attractive place for early settlers such as Cook.
"A lot of the early settlers came here as early as 1824 because the Mexican Impresarios were here and were giving out land," Kellow said. "Others came because of the free land given away by the Republic of Texas, and others were given thousands of free acres of land for having fought for Texas against Mexico. Others lost their land, or weren't entitled to land in the east, so they came here seeking new territory."
Joy Gough, who has authored a book with detailed information on Collin County cemeteries, as well as done extensive research on historical markers throughout the county, said the 150 of so cemeteries in the county are full of interesting stories such as those of the veterans of the War of 1812.
"Some of the cemeteries have only one grave, and some of them are very large," Gough said, adding that she became interested in working to preserve cemeteries in Collin County when developers were moving in and many old cemeteries were in danger of being lost forever. "When you plow under a cemetery, you lose all the history of what happened to those people and in that community and the county itself. Those people are who made the county what it is today."
Remembering early settlers is also important to Coale, who said a lot of newcomers to the area don't realize the rich history of Plano and Collin County.
"People see this area as a glitzy place which looks like Houston or Dallas," Coale said. "It wasn't too many years ago where Plano and Allen were little farm communities."
Coale asks that anyone with additional information about the final burial sites of War of 1812 veterans in Collin County contact him at email@example.com.
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