Mary Tapscott (Dailey) Crook was born May 7, 1842, the eldest daughter of John Dailey and Ann Rebecca (Turley) in Romney, Hampshire County, West Virginia. She grew up in Oakland, Maryland, and married General George Crook on August 21, 1865, in Allegany County, Maryland. A short wedding announcement was found in the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer newspaper dated July 25, 1865: “It is announced that within the next few days Maj. General Geo. Crook, lately in command of the Department of West Virginia, will marry Miss Mollie Dailey, of Oakland, Md.”
Mary accompanied her husband to Arizona when he was stationed at Fort Whipple, but before coming to Arizona, they lived in Oregon. A newspaper article published in the Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner, August 1, 1871 stated: “When he (General Crook) was in command in Oregon, his wife, who had taken the responsibility of following him, although herself gently reared, shared his quarters out in the wilderness. Crook did not have ten dollars worth of furniture in his quarters. Sometimes he would remark: ‘Well, I’m going off.’ And he would be gone a week, perhaps scouting and return when he liked, his wife saying nothing.”
While General Crook was stationed at Fort Whipple, Mary was the sponsor of the infant daughter of Captain and Mrs. Nickerson when she was christened on May 12, 1872, at their Headquarter’s Hill residence. A year later, Mary starred in a play entitled Trying It On. She also turned the sod when residents buried a time capsule beneath the telegraph line pole. The new telegraph made communications much faster.
Mary was a true and devoted helpmate during the trying days of frontier warfare. She made many friends in Prescott who noted her charming manner and gracious hospitality. The Crooks had no children, and according to Crook's autobiography, "their domestic life was seasonal."
Mary died September 24, 1895, and is buried in Arlington Cemetery in Virginia next to her husband, with burial rites from the Episcopal Church. Her sister, Mrs. Fannie Daily Reed, was the only relative present. An unofficial, but reliable source says she was the first woman buried there. Her newspaper obituary published in the Omaha World-Herald stated: “Mrs. Crook was herself a general in the social world. Her entertainments were hospitality itself, and her big heart took in many people of high and low degree. Her gray hair and smiling face were seen at every gathering of a social nature during their station here and always among the leading spirits.”
Donor: Daughters of the American Revolution - General George Crook Chapter
Photo Located: From U. S. Army Military History Institute
Updated: 10/10/2015; D. Sue Kissel