John Rooke, son of William and Sarah Rooke, natives of England, was born Oct. 28, 1814. His education was limited; was employed eight years in a flouring mill, in his native country; when 23 years of age he came to America, and worked one year in a flouring in Canada; in the spring of 1837 he came to Michigan and was employed four and a half years in a mill in Oakland County, and thirteen years in Grand Rapids. In the summer of 1855 he bought a grist-mill in Denver Township, this county, which he operated until the fall of 1882, and moved his family to Dayton Township, upon 100 acres of land, which he had bought in 1856, at $1.25 an acre. About 50 acres are improved.
Mr. Rooke was married in Ada, Kent Co., Mich., Oct, 23, 1854, to Jane M., daughter of Caleb and Maria Wilcox, natives of New York, where Mrs. R. was born, April 23, I 833. The following are the dates of birth and names of their children: Ella I., born Aug. 27, 1855; Mary Jessie, Nov. 4, 1856; William C., July 24, 1858; John I., Feb. 25, 1860; Daniel W. L., July 25, 1861; Maria J., Jan. 1, 1863; Sarah J., March 14, 1864; Clara M., Dec. 4, 1865; Ida M., Nov. 25, 1867; Arthur A., Sept. 4, 1869; Lizzie A., Dec. 6, 1870; Ralph C., June 30, 1872; Almy G., Feb. 27, 1874. All these thirteen children are now living.
Mr. R. was formerly an Odd Fellow, in Canada; has always been a hard-working man, being obliged
to work late at night. He commenced with no capital, but by his industry and economy he has gained
a competency. He crossed the Atlantic in a sailing vessel, being 43 days on the journey, and suffered
much from sea-sickness. In political matters Mr. R. is a Republican.