Evil Obsession: The Annie Cook Story by Nellie Snyder Yoot
Sad but true story of greed, abuse and one woman’s fight for power. Annie Cook was born in July 1875. Her parents immigrated from Russia and moved to Denver, Colorado. Upon arriving in Denver, they opened a livery stable. The Cook's had a large family and everyone worked hard, even Annie and her sister Lizzie. Annie didn't mind the hard work. What DID bother her was the fact that since she was female and she didn't get paid for all the hard work. In 1893, an opportunity came along that was just what Annie needed to get away from her family and start making some money of her own. A man named Frank Cook from Hershey, NE, had come to Denver for supplies for his new 80-acre farm. After striking up a friendship with him, Annie found out that the farm was in fairly good shape. Annie knew a good thing when she saw it and immediately accepted Frank's offer of marriage. They arrived in Hershey in the late winter of 1893. Her childhood frustrations of being denied money (because she was female) fueled her desire to own land and make money. She demanded power and respect from everyone around her. After arriving at the farm, she quickly became dissatisfied with the land. So she devised a plot to make more money, so she could buy the land from her neighbors, thereby doubling the size of her farm and acreage. Once that was accomplished, she still wanted more-more land, more money, and more property. Annie was smart and realized that in order for her to be successful as successful as a man, she needed to grease the palms of corrupt government officials. Annie knew just how to exploit those around her for the own selfish gain. In 1896, Annie gave birth to a daughter, Clara. Annie's daughter was just another employee, as far as Annie was concerned. As soon as Clara was old enough, Annie put her to work in a prostitution house that Annie had acquired in many business dealings. Annie's husband Frank became fed up with the overbearing nature of his wife. Frank was not a confrontational man and when Annie accused Frank of sexually assaulting Clara, he was finally fed up with Annie. Frank moved to the barn and lived there until he died in 1936. Annie's life was driven by the almighty dollar and she didn't waste and time settling into a life of what became many, many years of selfish, greedy, domination and abuse of anyone who crossed her path. Many North Platte residents knew and feared Annie. Annie, Frank and Clara are all buried at the North Platte Cemetery.