Collection contains personal and business papers of John H. Hook. His 1906 diary is a record of his family and social life, business meetings, local baseball games, weather and Lancaster businesses, such as Long's Park, the Stevens Industrial School, Ann Street School and Federal Cigar Co. The billhead is an example of purchases made by his customers.
Copied from Biographical Annals of Lancaster County, Pa., 1903 by J. H. Beers & Co., page 746-747:
JOHN H. HOOK, who is a prominent citizen of Lancaster, Pa., and one who has long been identified with the material improvement and growth of the city, was born April 5, 1858, in Lancaster, a son of John and Catherine (Klaus) Hook, natives of Greiss, Gross-Gerau, Hessen Darmstadt, Germany, although they met and were married in Lancaster, Pa. John Hook emigrated to America in 1831, while the date of his wife's emigration was one year later. They have their pleasant home in Lancaster, where he is employed as a stone-mason and stonecutter. He was born in October, 1823, a son of Jacob and Christiana Hook, natives of Hessen Darmstadt, Germany, the former of whom was born on April 14, 1804, came to America in 1831, and died March 2, 1871. Mrs. Christiana Hook died in Germany, in 1850, aged fifty-six years, four months and twenty days. Mrs. Catherine (Klaus) Hook was a daughter of Ernest and Margaret Klaus, of Dreiburg, Hessen Darmstadt, Germany, who came to Lancaster county, in 1834, where he died, and was buried at Strasburg, Pa. John and Catherine (Klaus) Hook are members of the German Lutheran Church. In politics he is a supporter of the Democratic party. They had born to them these children: John H.; Elizabeth, who married Frank Witmer, of Lancaster; Henry, who resides at home, unmarried; Adam P., who died of yellow fever in Havana; Catherine, who married William Zercher, a tobacco merchant of Lancaster; Frederick, who is a barber; and William F., unmarried, who lives at home.
John H. Hook was reared in a home where he was early taught the value of industry. Until he was thirteen years of age, he attended school and then became water boy on the railroad, retaining his connection with railroad work, from 1871, when he made this humble beginning, until 1898, when he quit the road. From 1884 to 1889 he was master stone-mason for the Frederick Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. In October, 1889, he made his beginning in contracting with J. F. Kellar and until his health failed, in June, 1898, he continued at that work. During that time Mr. Hook was engaged in building and contracting on a large scale, in Lancaster City, and in 1898, in association with Dr. M. L. Davis, began the building of garbage crematories, and in 1898 built a 100-ton crematory for the United States Government at Havana. Cuba. It would be a task to name all the work which has been completed by Mr. Hook in the building line, but a few of the notable constructions are: No. 13 bridge over the Juniata River, near Altoona, Pa., containing 10,700 cubic yards of masonry, built at a cost of $107,000, on the Middle Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and for the same, a bridge over Stone Creek, at Huntingdon, Pa., containing 4,000 cubic yards of masonry; also a bridge for the same over Shaver's Creek, at Petersburg, Huntingdon Co., Pa., containing 3,500 yards of masonry. It was at this point that Mr. Hook was stricken with paralysis, the heavy demands made upon his physical strength being more that he could endure. His present business includes contracting and grading, and probably there is no more competent man in his line in Lancaster county.
In September, 1884, Mr. Hook was united in marriage with Mary E. Boud, who was born at Barren Hill, Montgomery Co., Pa., a daughter of James and Sarah ( Fisher) Boud, natives of that county. The former was a son of James and Elizabeth Boud, natives of New Jersey. Mrs. Hook's father was a contractor and builder, and he died in 1879, at the age of sixty-seven years. Her grandfather was a cooper. The maternal grandparents of Mrs. Hook were George and Elizabeth Fisher, farming people of Montgomery county. Mrs. Hook's mother was born in January, 1821, and now resides at Audubon, Pa. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Boud were: William H., who keeps a hotel at Audubon; Kate F., who married Clinton Caster, and lives at Audubon, where he is engaged in brick manufacturing; Mary E., who became Mrs. Hook; and Margaret, who died unmarried. The children born to Mr. Hook and wife were: Adam, deceased; Henry B.; Irene M.; Josephine; Mary F. L.; John F.; and Paul R.
Mr. Hook has led too busy a life to have taken a very active part in politics, although no citizen of this locality is better qualified. For six years he consented to be judge of elections, but finally resigned the office. Until the silver question agitated the Democratic party, he had always adhered to its principles, but since that time, has been identified with the Republican party. For the past twenty-three years he has been an Odd Fellow, and also be longs to the order of Seven Wise Men. Mr. Hook was reared in the Lutheran Church, and is a most liberal contributor to its support, his family being regular attendants on its services and active in its work.
Although somewhat hampered by ill-health, Mr. Hook has retained in a very remarkable degree his energy, and still is the active and intelligent head of his business. It is to Mr. Hook that the city is indebted for the very satisfactory electric plant, erected at Slack Water, which supplies Lancaster with its light. He is also president of the South Mountain Kaolin Co., capitalized at $250,000, and president of the Cline Stock Car Co., capitalized at $100,000. Mr. Hook is one of the reliable, energetic and progressive citizens, who leave worthy monuments behind them, when called from life, and who can be but illy spared. He enjoys the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens, and also has a large circle of personal friends.