The Story Of Mary Emma Cook And Her Husband William Henry Dalton


Submitted by Rodney G. Dalton


Birthdate: 1852
Birthplace: Indain Territory, Oklahoma, United States
Death: Died January 6, 1945 in Thurnham Hall, Lancashire, United Kingdom


The following is a reprint of a notice entitled 'The late Mrs. Mary Emma Dalton', which was privately printed on the occasion of the death of the said Mrs. Dalton. The reader is referred to page 37 of Volume 2 of the DGS Journal where her name is shown on the pedigree chart of the Daltons of Thurnham. This article can also be found here.


It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Mrs. Mary Emma Dalton on June 6th, 1945, at Thurnham Hall, Lancaster.  With her passes a personality of old world charm and interest. Mrs. Dalton was the widow of William Henry Dalton, Esq., Lord of the Manors of Thurnham, Bulk and Cockersand Abbey, in Lancashire. Despite her age - she was nearly 94 - she had been active and interested in affairs generally until her illness three months before her end.


Mrs. Dalton was the eldest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Cook, of Navasota, and was born at Cook's Fort, Rusk, Cherokee Country USA. Cook's Fort, three miles southeast of Rusk in Cherokee County, was built in late 1839 or early 1840 by a military company under the command of Capt. G. K. Black for protection of the settlers against hostile Indians. The fort, named in honor of Joseph Thomas Cook, who owned the land and had the primitive fort and stockade built, became a gathering place for new settlers in the area and gave them a sense of security while they scouted for a location of their own. There were no Indian attacks, and no soldiers were stationed nearby. The Cherokee Indians had been removed in 1839 to Indian Territory.


Emma had a very eventful and colorful life, her grandparent - and her parents as children - having been among the first settlers of Texas, and she w as proud of her pioneer background. Her father was, until the outbreak of the Civil war a wealthy Plantation Owner and had many slaves.


Mrs. Dalton was a near kinswoman of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, and of General Wade Hampton. Her family was also related to the Swansons and Lees, of Virginia, General Robert E. Lee being a distinguished member. Mrs. Dalton's Mother was formerly Miss Talutha Anne Mosley, a descendant of the Mosleys who were among the first settlers of Virginia in about 1630. 


The Mosley home was called Rolleston, in remembrance of their ancestral seat, Rolleston Hall, in Staffordshire, England. The two families, the Mosleys and the Cooks have left their mark in American History of pioneers in the Southern States. 


After the Civil war, which Mrs. Dalton remembered quite well, her family left Texas for Brazil. She met Mr. Dalton in Santos - So Paulo, Brazil, where they were married. Later they went to live in the Argentine.


Mr. Dalton was traveling the world, the son of William Hoghton Dalton. He was born in 1835 at Thurnham Hall, Lancashire, England. Mr. Dalton as a younger son did not at this time stand to inherited the Thurnham estates. They were in Argentine for about 20 years, and Mrs. Dalton had vivid recollections of her experiences of life on estancias (a large rural estate with similarities to the English term ranch), and also in Buenos Aires.


Mr. and Mrs. Dalton returned to England on Mr. Dalton's succession to his ancestral Estates after they had been willed out of the direct line for several generations, owing to religious scruples, the Daltons always having been staunch Roman Catholics. Mr. Dalton succeeded his cousin, Sir Gerald Richard Dalton-Fitzgerald, 10th Baronet, of Thurnham Hall, and Cast le Ishen, County Cork, Ireland.


It was a beautiful day as the cortege left the Ancient Manor House.


Thurnham Hall


Children from the Village School, in charge of their teachers, lined up, and with bowed heads and their little hands clasped, paid their last respects to the Lady of the Manor. Passing down the drive, through the gateway - shorn of its iron gates, which were taken to make guns against Hitler - the procession moved through a silent village, where every window-blind in every house and cottage was drawn.


There was a service in Christ Church, Glasson, where Mrs. Dalton worshiped in her earlier days. The hymns "Abaide with me" and "Nearer my God to Thee" were sung. The Rev. A. Warburton, Vicar of Glasson, officiated.




After the service, the procession turned towards Lancaster.  It had been a custom of the family for bearers to descend from their coaches and walk through Dalton Square, but on this occasion, owing to war-time traffic regulations still in force, the practice was not observed.


The grave was beautifully lined with marguerites and delphiniums as well as woodland flowers and ferns from Thurnham. Mrs. Dalton was laid to rest beside her eldest and youngest daughters.


The chief mourners were Mr. William A. Dalton (son), Miss Dalton, Miss E.F. Dalton and Miss A.E. Dalton (daughters). Mr. Sidney Charlton (nephew). There were many friends and neighbors, and tenants from the three estates. America was represented by Sergt. Joe Traughber, Corporal Robert Breem, and Corporal Ralph Wood, from the U.S.A. Camp, at Warrington, who had endeared themselves to Mrs. Dalton. The soldiers wearing, for the first time, the latest "Eisenhower" jackets, followed immediately behind the family.


The bearers were chosen from the estate workman. There were many beautiful floral tributes from the family friends. A cross of arum lilies, white roses and fern and which rested on the coffin was from Mrs. Dalton's four surviving children.


Mrs. Dalton was always of a cheerful and active disposition and she had a vast capacity for amusing herself. So it was not surprising that at the age of 80 she began to write her memoirs, which embraced her experiences from covered wagon days, with its many vicissitudes, to here quiet and peaceful life at here home, Thurnham Hall, near the purple mountains of Cumberland. She recalled that in about 1855, when still a child, her parents left Cook's Fort on a covered wagon trail as far as the Brazos, and later settled in Hillsboro, where she went to school. Mrs. Dalton said that Hillsboro at that time was a small country town near a beautiful spring, and that there was not a single pavement in the streets. The Court House was a wooden building, a part of which served as the school.


After a while she attended Dr. and Mrs. Church's Seminary for Young Ladies, in fashionable Waco.  It was a finishing school "of High and Moral Culture." She lived with Mrs. Gourley, who boarded some of the pupils. Col. Gourley was serving in the Confederate Army.


At the end of the devastating Civil War, Mrs. Dalton's people with many of her southerners left for Brazil, under the leadership of Mr. MacMullen. They embarked at Galveston, in a ship commanded by Capt. Costa.


Mrs. Dalton mentioned many of the families on board, including the Dyers, O'Dells, smiths, Nettles, Garners, Jesse Wrights. Others were William Tilley, Zeno Fielder, James Penn, the brothers Cortez, Mr. Quillan, Mr. Cobb, Mr. Barnsley and his gallant brother Capt. Barnsley, Mrs. Fatheree, a doctor's widow, and the two MacKnight families.The loss of their ship caused the brave band of adventurers to remain in Havana many weeks, but eventually they bade their kind protectors and friends a long fare-well, and they were taken to New York on the "Mariposa".


Again the party set sail for South America, and in her notes Mrs. Dalton gives a vivid description of their arrival at Rio de Janiero and how very soon after their landing Dom Pedro II., the wise and cultured Emperor of Brazil, came down personally to receive and to give a welcome to the new comers, who were to become his subjects.


A few of the Americans stayed in Rio permanently, but the majority decided to journey on as far as Iguape, where they settled on the banks of a river near there.


Eventually the Cook family alone journeyed over the mountains on foot to Santos, where they made their home. But after many years of trials and tribulations returned to their beloved Texas and lived in Corpus Christi. Mrs. Dalton, however, always recalled with pleasure and affection the friends she made in Brazil and of the many kindnesses shown to her family by t he tender-hearted Brazilians.


In after years Mrs. Dalton, traveling through Portugal, visited the tomb of Dom Pedro II., at Lisbon, and was much touched by remembrances, and she was enchanted by the magnificent wreaths on his grave made of tropical birds' feathers, as brilliant and colorful as precious stones. She thought of how she had spent her leisure moments herself making feathers into bouquets in far away Brazil.