Town of Eden
Eden Police Department
2795 East Church Street
Eden, New York 14057
(716) 992-9211
Patrick M. Howard, Chief of Police

Chief Cleveland Eldred Shook (1890 - 1987)

Chief Cleveland Eldred Shook

Chief "Ted" Shook

Cleveland Eldred "Ted" Shook is the third son and the youngest of the six children of Eldred Sylster Shook and Martha Jane Corwin.

He was born on the 20th of February in 1890 on the family farm near Tekamah, Burt County, Nebraska. Ted's father died when Ted was three years old, which placed the family in the position where his mother and the older children had to work to make ends meet. The family moved to the town of Homer, Nebraska, where the family had lived prior to purchasing the farm near Tekamah.

The school in Homer, Nebraska went up to the 10th grade only; this was therefore, the extent of Ted's formal education. Typical of the Shooks, Ted was 6'2" tall, big boned and of medium build. He was active and athletic, playing catcher's postion on the town baseball team, and participating in football and basketball.

The main preoccupation for the young men in Homer, Nebraska was to sit around the barber shop or the pool hall and talk. He and his brothers were good humored, but typical of the time, their jokes were often a little on the rough side, and a good scrap was not unusual. The Shook boys had many a fight among themselves, but woe be on to the outsider who picked on any one of them.

Ted and his step-father, Robert Smith, ran a freight line in Homer with 2 teams of horses for 10 years. Ted later ran the line alone for 3 years and raised corn on 100 acres of rented land near town. They hauled freight in the town and to the Winnebago and Omaha Indian Reservation under government contract. He married Linnie Fay Rockwell, the daughter of John H. Rockwell and Malinda Barnhart, on the 12th of August, 1913 in Sioux City, Nebraska.

Land in the east was cheaper then that in Nebraska, and in 1916, Linnie's father purchased a farm at Collins Station, New York. John Rockwell asked Ted to manage the farm for him, and the families prepared to move. On the 26th of February, 1916, Ted went ahead of the others in an "emigrant car" with 2 mules, 1 horse, and the family belongings. He arrived on the 3rd of March in 4 feet of snow at what is now the filter plant on Jennings Road in the Town of Collins, Erie County, New York.

He ran his father-in-law's farms of 200 acres for several years. He later moved to Eden, New York, where he owned his own farm on New Jeruselem Road. There he raised truck garden crops and ran a riding stable.

Ted was the last of the old time town constables, elected by the Town of Eden in 1927. He served in this capacity for many years and was a deputy Sheriff of Erie County for three years. In August of 1949 he became the Chief of Police for the Town of Eden, and served in this capacity until his retirement on 31 December 1958. He is highly respected in the town as honest, hard working, and as a police officer possessed the quality of sound judgment and common sense. Even during his last years as a police officer, when in his late 60's, he was still a powerful man, and more then a match for any pugnacious drunk.

Among the hunters in Eden, Ted was rated one of the best, and many a deer fell to his skill and straight shooting. After these hunting trips, whiskey was enjoyed in good quantity but he was never remembered to be drunk or rowdy. Ted and Linnie always enjoyed a good time and loved to dance.

Ted's early love of horses stayed with him all his life, and he was widely respected for his knowledge and ability to train and handle all types of horses.

Ted retired to Lakeland, Florida where they spent many hours fishing. In 1973, Ted and Linnie moved to Tempe and, later, Mesa, Arizona. Linnie died February 10, 1980 in Mesa Lutheran Hospital.

Ted lived by himself for several years, but deteriorating physical condition forced him to move to a nursing home.

Until the very end when he was totally bedridden he was mentally alert and could recall events that happened at the turn of the century.

He died of pneumonia on 4 October 1987 at the age of 96 after 2 days illness. He was cremated and his ashes, like Linnie's, were scattered by air over the woods and lakes of the Arizona Mountains.

Click here to view article from December 1959 of Chief Cleveland E. Shook recalling the "Old Days"

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