Cookman George Grimston
Cookman George Grimston, one of the most distinguished Methodist preachers, was born Oct. 21,1800, at Kingston-upon-Hull, England. His father, a man of wealth and position, was a Wesleyan local preacher, and gave his children a thorough religious training and a carefull academical education. In early youth Cookman gave promise of his powers in oratory by speeches at Sunday-school anniversaries, etc., which excited extraordinary interest. When about twenty-one years old he visited America on business for his father, and while at Schenectady, N. Y., he began his labors as a local preacher. In 1821 he returned to Hull, and entered into business with his father, exercising his talents meanwhile. zealously in the Wesleyan local ministry. He continued in his father's firm during four years, but with a restless spirit; and finally, deciding to enter the ministry in America, he took passage for Philadelphia in 1825. After laboring a few months in that city as a local preacher, he was received into the Philadelphia Conference in 1826. He continued in the itinerant ranks, without intermission, the remainder of his life, laboring with indomitable energy, and constantly increasing ability and success, in various parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
Mr. Cookman was slight, but sinewy in person, and capable of great endurance. His arms were long, which gave a striking peculiarity to his gestures. In the act of public speaking, every nerve and muscle of his lithe frame seemed instinct with the excitement of his subject. In 1838-39 he was chaplain to the American Congress, and the Hall of Representatives at Washington never echoed more eloquent tones than during his chaplaincy to Congress. Several of his distinguished hearers, both in Congress and the executive department of the government, were awakened to a personal interest in religion by his powerful appeals. Imagination was Mr. Cookman's dominant mental faculty. It can hardly be doubted that, had he devoted himself to the production of some work in this rare and difficult department of literature, he might have become a worthy disciple of the glorious old dreamer of Bedford Jail. On the 11th of March, 1841, he embarked in the ill-fated steamer President for a visit to England, and was never heard of more. Few of his sermons and speeches have been published. A small volume of Speeches (N. Y. 1841, 18mo) contains those referred to above and some others. Some account of him is given by Dr. H. B. Ridgawarr, in his Life of the Rev. Alfred Cookmnan, the son (N.Y. 1873). — National Magazine, Aug. 1855; Methodist Quart. Review, July, 1852; Sprague, Annals, 7:711.