Flower | Hymn | Peppermint Cane


Flower: ALLEGIANCE (Cook 1958)
Standards violet-ultramarine; falls Roslyn blue, beards medium blue tipped yellow.

American Iris Society: Cook-Douglas Medal-SDB
History: History item written by Clarence Mahan
This medal is restricted to standard dwarf bearded (SDB) irises. It is named in honor of Paul Cook (1891-1963) and Geddes Douglas (1902-1993).
Paul Cook was born in Indiana in 1891, and began hybridizing small fruits and sweet peas when he was a teenager. He soon was attracted to iris hybridizing, but his work was interrupted by Army service in France in WW I. Cook was a highly literate man, unpretentious but brilliant. He worked as rural mail carrier, an occupation that allowed him to have his afternoons free to work in the garden. He collected as many iris species as he could obtain and made extensive crosses to learn about iris genetics. His first tall bearded iris introduction, `E. B. Williamson,’ won the Roman Gold Medal from the Concorso Intemazionale in Rome in 1938.
Because of the popularity of tall bearded irises, Paul Cook is probably best known for his revolutionary breeding, of that class of irises, and particularly for his `Progenitor’ line that is behind all of our modern dominant amoena irises and the ‘Emma Cook’ pattern. Three of his irises won the Dykes Memorial Medal: `Sable Night’ (1955), `Whole Cloth’ (1962) and `Allegiance’ (1964).

Hybridizer Paul Cook –(1891-1963) Paul Cook, one of the great hybridizers of the iris world, died suddenly in Indiana in November, 1963. His work on irises, planned with care and vision, achieved remarkable success in his lifetime, but the full benefit of that work will probably not be felt for some years to come. He experimented, he ventured, at times he failed; but in the end he was able to open up fresh fields in which his friends and successors can, in their turn, strive for still further improvement of the genus iris.
….Although he worked with various sections of the iris family, Paul Cook will perhaps be best remembered for his work in three directions-amongst the dwarfs, in black tall beardeds, and in the group of tall bearded amoenas made famous by WHOLE CLOTH. In an appreciation which must of necessity be brief, it is not possible to list and describe all his introductions, but mention must be made of a few of the leading ones.
….Growers of dwarfs will remember such beauties as FAIRY FLAX, the azure blue, and GREEN SPOT which has been so widely used as a parent and has produced such a wonderful range of seedlings. Among the so-called black irises Paul Cook gave us SABLE, SABLE NIGHT and others of equal merit in their day. But his most dramatic piece of work was when he raised PROGENITOR, a poor looking seedling which many of us would have destroyed at first sight but which he had the genius to realise would have great possibilities in breeding. From that indifferent seedling he eventually raised MELODRAMA, WHOLE CLOTH, MISS INDIANA and others of immense worth; but then he left that avenue and started on another in the hope of raising irises with yellow standards and blue falls. I once asked him why he had not continued with the WHOLE CLOTH series, to which he replied, with a twinkle in his eye, that as they had been widely distributed the competition would be far too hot for him. Certain it is, that variations of and improvements on MELODRAMA and WHOLE CLOTH are now appearing in different countries and the possibility of further experiment and improvement is immense.
….The Dykes Medal has been awarded three times to irises raised by Paul Cook-to SABLE NIGHT in 1955, to WHOLE CLOTH in 1962 and to ALLEGIANCE in 1964. ln a letter written to me shortly before his death he expressed the view that ALLEGIANCE was probably the finest iris he ever raised, and in that view I ventured to concur.
….As a man Paul Cook was modest, friendly and generous, widely read, with a keen sense of humour and a profound knowledge of genetics. Had he lived in a great city, with opportunities for entering big business, he might easily have risen to a position of wealth and power; and then he might never have grown irises. But he lived in a rural community and was far more interested in his home and his books, his garden and his irises than in the acquisition of money. He had a wide circle of friends in different countries, including Britain, and he loved to correspond with them and to see them, particularly in iris time, so that he could discuss their achievements and his own. ln conversation with him in his home and through letters I found him a delightful personality, and I am glad to pay this tribute to him on behalf of iris growers in Britain. ………………..H.J.R.

Ivan Lancaster notes: When the Sturgeon and Allied Families Association voted on the IRIS, the Late Jewel Taylor Goatly, a member of several IRIS Societies was charged with selection the one we would adopt.  Adopted 11 August 1984.

As you can see Allegiance is now an “OLD” bearded iris. Still available in a few places.

Thanks to Ivan D. Lancaster for providing material on the Sturgeon flower.



 This hymn was composed by the Rev. John Hume Sturgeon in 1830.  He was the brother of my father, Thomas Sturgeon, Jr., and was ordained a Baptist minister at Long Run Baptist Church on the 4th day of December, 1829.  The church is situate on Long Run Creek, near the little village of Boston, in Jefferson County, Kentucky.  My mother resided on a farm about three miles from the church, and rode on horseback to the church to see my Uncle John ordained, and to hear him preach his first sermon.  His father and mother and many other relatives are buried in the hallowed grounds surrounding the church.  My mother died on the 13th day of July, 1833, and the night after her death, I, with my brothers, Edward T. and Thomas L. Sturgeon, staid all night at Uncle John’s house.  There were no other children.  My father, Thomas Sturgeon, Jr. had died the 5th of September, 1822, and my mother never remarried.  My dear Uncle John gave this hymn to my mother in 1830, and I have preserved it, and now, in June, 1897, have thought proper to try to perpetuate it and his memory by having it printed and sending it to his descendants and other relatives, and to the church in which he was ordained and consecrated a minister of the Baptist Church.

Isaac H. Sturgeon,
1410 E. Grand Avenue
St. Louis, MO

Sturgeon hymn music modified 2

Thank you to Todd Arnold at First Baptist Church for playing and recording the hymn music. Right-click this link and click “Save Link As” to download a copy.


My Christian friends in bonds of love,
Whose hearts the sweetest union prove,
Your friendship’s like a drawing hand,
But we must take the parting hand.

Your company sweet, your union dear,
Your words delightful to my ear;
But since I find that we must part,
It draws like cords around my heart.

How sweet the hours have passed away
Since we have met to sing and pray;
How loth we are to leave the place,
Where Jesus shows his lovely face.

Oh!  could I stay with friends so kind,
How would it cheer my wandering mind;
But God has made each one to know
That we can not stay here below.

How oft I’ve seen your flowing tears
And heard you tell your hopes and fears;
Your hearts with love did seem to glow,
Which makes me hope we’ll meet once more.

Poor mourner, in your sad surprise,
Jesus remembers all your cries;
O, trust the Lord!  and in His home
You will never seek again to roam.

But since it is God’s holy will
We must be parted for awhile,
In sweet subjection all like one,
Our Heavenly Father’s will be done.

O fellow youth in Christian ties,
Who seek for mansions in the skies,
Fight on–you’ll gain the happy shore
Where parent parting is no more.

My Christian friends, both old and young,
I hope in Christ you’ll all go on,
And if on earth we meet no more,
I hope we’ll meet on Canaan’s shore.

If I no more your faces see,
I hope you will all remember me;
An interest in your prayers I crave,
That we may meet beyond the grave.

O glorious day!  O blessed hope!
My soul rejoices at the thought–
There, in that glorious land of rest,
The Saints of God will all be blessed.

There, with our great, victorious Lord,
We will sing and shout with one accord;
There, with our blessed Jesus we will dwell,
So, dear loving Christians all, farewell.

Adopted 20 August 1983.  Gilbert E. Sturgeon, Association President.

Thanks to Ivan D. Lancaster and Jack Sturgeon for providing material on the Sturgeon hymn.



Tradition:  Began over 165 years ago

“Louise has also frequently spoken of her first visit to Kentucky.  This was in 1848, and she rode all the way in a wagon with her grandmother, Jennie (Jane) Sturgeon Forsyth, who wanted to visit her sisters and attend an association at Long Run Baptist Church in Shelby County (Jefferson County).  Thomas Sturgeon, her great-grandfather, was at this meeting.  She remembers that he gave her a peppermint candy cane, and that she ate so much of it that she has never cared for peppermint since.  Sixty-six years later, in October 1914, she again visited old Long Run in company with Paul Jeffries and others.  In memory of her first visit, Paul gave her another peppermint candy cane.”

From: “History of the Forsyth Family” by Jennie Forsyth Jeffries, 1920.

Louise (or Louisa) was born near Trafalgar, Johnson County, Indiana and was the granddaughter of Jane Sturgeon Forsyth, the daughter of Thomas Sturgeon II.  In 1857, Louisa married her cousin, Robert Slaughter Sturgeon, a grandson of Simpson Sturgeon, a brother of Thomas II.

To memorialize Louise’s first and second visits and in memory of the late Viola E. Hollandbeck Lancaster (1911-1984), who furnished and distributed the peppermint sticks at the Sturgeon and Allied Families Association for so many years, Ivan D. Lancaster and family wish to continue this tradition.