The History Maker Award is given to a person who has had a significant and positive influence on the life of Sullivan County or, more broadly, on the life of the nation or the world.
Sullivan County Historical Society History Maker Award 1997
John Raleigh Mott (1865~1955)
Nobel Peace Prize in 1946
Ambassador to China
The typical Sullivan County resident has probably never heard of John R. Mott who was born in Livingston Manor in 1865, but in his day he had an international reputation, was asked by President Wilson to be our ambassador to China, received seven honorary degrees from colleges and universities, was given awards by eight countries and was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946.
The National Enyclopedia of American Biography wrote: “(John Mott) is regarded as one of the most constructive religious geniuses since John Wesley. As a leading force in aggressive Christianity he has probably influenced more young men at home and abroad than any other evangelist of his time and as an executive he effected a unification and coordination of mission forces which resulted in saving large sums of money and elimination of overlapping and the minimizing of friction.
Sullivan County Historical Society History Maker Award 1996
Judge Robert C. Williams
Judge Robert Williams shared the simple upbringing of many young people who grew up in western Sullivan in the first half of this century. His family was poor, but since his life was so similar to that of his neighbors he was not conscious of it. His parents, Harry and Violet Scott Williams, had a small farm in West Bethel. To supplement Harry’s earnings as a highway equipment operator, the family raised chickens for eggs, kept a cow for milk and butter, fed a couple of pigs and in their garden grew potatoes and vegetables. During the summer the family of four (Bob had an older brother) moved into a chicken coop, about 15’ x 15’ and rented the house to guests escaping New York City’s summer heat. The guests may have enjoyed Sullivan’s cool air, but Bob has never forgotten how hot a chicken coop can be in July.
Sullivan County Historical Society History Maker Award 1994
Frederick Albert Cook (1865-1940)
Frederick Albert Cook was born in Hortonville, Sullivan County on June 10, 1865, the son of Theodore Cook, a German immigrant physician and Magdalene Long Cook. His father died when he was five and later Frederick became the breadwinner for his four brothers and sisters after the family had left the county. Despite family responsibilities, he graduated from the New York University College of Medicine in 1890. The death of his wife and infant son the same year prompted him to respond to an advertisement placed by a young naval civil engineer, Robert E. Peary, who needed a surgeon for his North Greenland Expedition in 1891. This exploration was the first of eight expeditions “Poleward” with which Cook was associated over the next twenty years.