Cook Brothers of Harwinton did the unusual: they hand
carved a tall burial shaft of family tombstone of
native split rock to eventually mark their own graves.
This they accomplished years in advance of their demise
in the 1890's.
In 1904 the town’s people saw
to it that the stone monument was given its finishing
touches and transported from the Cook's old home to
their family plot in Harwinton's East Cemetery. There
it was erected over the grave of its creators upon
the stone base the brothers had prepared long before.
The bachelors, Wakeman G. and Stephen
B. Cook, were forth generation Harwintonians. Born
in 1808 and 1816, respectively, they were the youngest
and last survivors of their branch of the Cook family.
The brothers lived in the old family home they had
inherited from their father, Allen Cook. The house
stood on a 20 acre parcel of land along the north
side of the Farmington-Litchfield Turnpike (the Burlington
Road), nearly opposite today's Brick Kiln Road. Cook's
Dam eventually occupied a portion of this same property.
Waken and Stephen were stone masons
who built many of the house foundations and cellars
in and around Harwinton. It was they, who in 1840,
for a contract price of $600, built the foundation
and first story of the building in Harwinton's center
that served for 75 years as the Town Hall at it's
lower level, and an Episcopal Church on the upper
level. Their stone work survived the disastrous fire
in 1915 that destroyed the building of combined use.
It was very soon put back in service as the foundation
and first story of the Harwinton Community Hall. Now,
some 80 years later, the Cook brothers masonry work
appears at be "as good as new"!
Other examples of the masonry work
of the Cook brothers are the occasionally disturbed
split stone retaining walls of the ancient Center
Cemetery and those that run along South Road to the
Community Hall in front of the Parsonage.