Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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COOK, Valentine, clergyman, born in Pennsylvania in 1765; died in Logan county, Kentucky, in 1820. His father removed to western Virginia when Valentine was a child. He became a convert to Methodism at an early age, and immediately began preaching. His father sent him to Cokesbury College, but at the end of a year or two he returned home, and in 1788 began itinerant labors, and in 1794 became presiding elder. About 1796 he originated the custom of calling anxious sinners to the front to be prayed for, which afterward became universal in the Methodist denomination. In 1798 he moved to Kentucky, and there married a niece of Governor Slaughter. In 1799 he took charge of Bethel seminary, and was afterward for some time principal of Harrodsburg academy, finally settling in Logan county. In 1819 he made a preaching-tour to the east on horseback, visiting Lexington, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. He possessed rare power as a preacher, and instituted revivals wherever he went, but was erratic in his manner and negligent in his dress. He was well versed in German, and on one occasion stayed with a German fatally, who, ignorant of his knowledge, indulged in many uncomplimentary remarks about him. Before retiring for the night he asked permission to pray, began his invocation in English, and then changed to German. Consternation seized the members of the household when they recalled their remarks, and they fled, leaving him to care for himself.
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