JOSEPH W. ZOOK, Postmaster of Oak Grove, came to McLean County in 1849, with his parents, and spent his youth
and childhood on his father's farm. He has been a resident of this vicinity since that time, and one of its most
valued citizens. Mr. Z. was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, Feb. 7, 1837. His parents were David and Barbara (King)
Zook, natives of Pennsylvania, the father born Jan. 6, 1806, and the mother, Nov. 24, 1814. David Zook received
a common school education, and when a young man removed with his parents to Fairfield County, Ohio. He was married
in Wayne County, that State, in 1834, and they remained in Fairfield County until the fall of 1849. The family
then came to Illinois and located in McLean County, where the parents spent the remainder of their days, the father
dying in 1872, and the mother in 1880. David Zook in early life was a stanch adherent of the Whig party, but later
became a strong Republican. Both parents were members of the Omish Mennonite Church. Their family consisted of
four sons and four daughters, as follows: Nancy died in infancy; Joseph W, of our sketch was the second; Rebecca
became the wife of Christian Kenagy; Susan E. married Henry Gephart; John K. married Miss Mary King; Sarah A. became
the wife of Barton W. Stone; David A. married Miss Barbara Kinzinger; Levi W. married Miss Emma Reynolds; Rebecca
and Sarah are deceased.
The subject of this history resided with his parents until his majority, having received a common school education. He was studious and fond of his books, and engaged one term in teaching school. The state of his health prevented him from working upon the farm, and he started the first store of general merchandise in Oak Grove, in 1864. He afterward sold this and engaged in teaching writing and painting classes. At the age of thirty-three years he was married to Miss Leah E. Plank, of Danvers, Ill., who has been a true and devoted wife and helpmeet in all his prosperity and adversity. After marriage the young people removed to Ford County and located on a farm. Our subject taught penmanship, and after two years returned to Oak Grove, of which he was subsequently appointed Postmaster, which office he has now held for six years. He is also Justice of the Peace, Notary Public, Township Clerk and Collector, performing the duties of each with credit to himself and satisfaction to all concerned.
Notwithstanding he has been afflicted with rheumatism, and his health is otherwise impaired, Mr. Zook has lived a busy life, never content to be idle. He has been afflicted with the rheumatism since fourteen years of age, being compelled to use crutches for the last twenty-five years. He is Republican in politics, and both himself and wife are worthy members of the Mennonite Church. They became the parents of four daughters, two deceased: Lillian Olive was born July 21, 1871, and died Sept. 7, 1872; Katie Belle was born Sept. 8, 1873; Barbara May, born Jan 21, 1876, died Jan. 26, 1877, and Lydia Maude, born June 25, 1878.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 512. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.