Zebedee Cook Jr. (1786-1858)

Horticulturalist, Mount Auburn Trustee, & A Founder of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society

Although an insurance expert by profession, Zebedee Cook devoted most of his life to his true love of horticulture.

Cook was mainly interested in creating domesticated foreign plants and trees that could be grown commercially to supply America’s demand for fruits and vegetables.

He was one of the first people in the U.S. to experiment with growing foreign fruits like grapes, apricots, peaches and pears. In 1829 Cook was instrumental in organizing the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, serving as the vice-president and president in its early years.

He was an early advocate for Mount Auburn Cemetery. Cook’s botanical knowledge was useful in the development of Mount Auburn when he served as a trustee in 1832-33. 

When it came time to laying out the new Cemetery, Cook described how Mount Auburn would be created according to the principles of English landscape design:

“The skill and taste of the architect should be exerted in the construction of the requisite departments and avenues; and appropriate trees and plants should decorate its borders—the weeping willow, waving its graceful drapery over the monumental marble and the somber foliage of the cypress should shade it; and the undying daisy should mingle its bright and glowing tints with the native laurel of our forests.”

Zebedee Cook

Zebedee Cook Jr. is buried in his family's plot in lot 397 on Rose Path in Mount Auburn.