TROY — Fifth graders from Cookson Elementary were able to pay their respects to former Troy superintendent, Charles W. Cookson, during a special field trip to his grave site on Thursday at Riverside Cemetery.
“Last year, Dr. Cookson’s great-grandson emailed me,” said Stephanie Johnson, principal of Cookson Elementary. “In my inbox was the name ‘Charles Cookson,’ which was bizarre. They were settling their estate, and they had some items that they sent to the school, and we couldn’t find anything that had Dr. Cookson’s birthday.
“We started researching it through the summer, and found his grave site. It gave an address for the site, and it was here at Riverside. We were surprised by that, because he wasn’t from Troy. Once we found it, we thought we’d like our fifth graders to come over here around Memorial Day and decorate the grave site.”
Various Cookson students recited facts about the origins of Memorial Day, as well as the life and times of Dr. Cookson, before adorning the grave with flower arrangements.
Cookson was born in Perry County, Ohio in 1861. He graduated from Ohio University in Athens in 1895 with a bachelor of arts degree in Pedagogy, the study of being a teacher and the various processes of teaching — including strategies and style of instruction. Ohio University later bestowed to him a master of arts and doctorate of Pedagogy.
Cookson worked as a teacher in various districts before being appointed Superintendent of Troy City Schools in 1906, holding the position for 13 years until 1919.
Eventually taking a superintendent position in Franklin County, Cookson moved his family out of Troy, where he was honored with a ceremony held at the First Presbyterian Church that allowed residents to express gratitude for Cookson’s leadership.
Dr. Cookson passed away in 1947, and was buried in Riverside Cemetery because of his love for the city of Troy and its people. His wife, Madge, was buried next to him in 1953, and in 1964, the Cookson Elementary building was erected in the Meadowlawn neighborhood.
“It was said that the 13 years he served as superintendent here in Troy were his best years ever,” Johnson said. “He felt like this was home. This was where he raised his kids, and so he wanted to be buried here.”
For more information, visit www.troy.k12.oh.us.