Josephine Florence Buckingham Cable


Josephine Florence Buckingham Cable
Josephine ca 1930

Defying Convention

Josephine was married and divorced multiple times in an era when divorce carried a heavy stigma. She was 19 when she married her first husband, T. Gresham Crosby, in New Rochelle, New York, in September 1898.[1] He was a tall, blue eyed, blond[2] 18 year old who worked as a bookkeeper.

Eleven months later, their daughter Zelie was born at home at 123 West 128th Street, Harlem in New York City.[3] At that time Harlem was a white neighborhood. The following year, they were living in a rented house in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx with Gresham's parents, two of his brothers and his one of his sisters.[4] Josephine and Gresham's marriage didn't last long.

In 1908 in Washington DC, Josephine married David Porter, a traveling furs salesman.[5] At 5' 9" he was considered tall. He had hazel eyes, brown hair and a stout build. Later in life he somehow looses the middle fingers on his right hand.[6]

Like her first husband, David was a year younger than Josephine. This marriage lasted longer, on paper—it was 16 years before they divorced.[7] But by 1915, David was no longer living with Josephine and Zelie.[8]

None the less, David seems to have been a father-figure for his step-daughter, Zelie. She adopts his surname and, when she marries, lists him as her father on her marriage certificate. Even after Josephine and David become officially divorced in 1926, David and Zelie keep in touch. Zelie's two children recall visits with him.[9]

Perhaps the reason Josephine and David legally divorced was so that Josephine could marry Egbert Cook, an aviator in the US Army. In 1930, they were living at East Cantonment, US Army Post, Presidio of San Francisco, California. He was seventeen years her junior.[10] This marriage also does not last long.

In her later years, Josephine worked with the Hopi Indian tribe who made her an honorary member.[11]

She lived the last years of her life in the rural area of Riverside County, California.[12]

Father: Harry Lander Cable (1856-1932)
Mother: Ella Moseley Husson (1852-1911)

Spouse 1: Thomas Gresham Crosby (1880-1932)


Spouse 2: David Burroughs Griswold Porter (1881-1977)

(no children)

Spouse 3: Egbert Colburn Cook (1896-1969) 

(no children)


  • 1879

    July 15 - Born in New York City. The only child of Harry and Ella (nee Husson) Cable. 

  • 1898

    September 14 - Marries Thomas Gresham Crosby in New Rochelle, New York.

  • 1899

    August 2 - Daughter Zelia born in New York City.

  • 1908

    July 9 - Marries David Porter in Washington DC.

  • 1926

    April 30 - Divorces David Porter in Jackson, Michigan.

  • ~1926

    Marries Egbert Cook, an aviator in the US Army and who is 17 years her junior. They divorce sometime before 1940.

  • 1942

    January 3 - Dies in Riverside County, California, aged 62 years, due to hypertensive heart disease. 

Josephine (center) with her grandson, Hiram, and daughter, Zelie.

Egbert Colburn Cook, Josephine's third husband
He was 6', slender, blue eyed, with light brown hair.

Footnotes & Sources 

  1. [1] New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2017. 1898, certificate number 15762. 
  2. [2] World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls. 
  3. [3] Birth Certificate for Zelie Bancroft Crosby, 2 Aug 1899, #28967, State of New York, County of New York, City of New York. Informant J. Husson, MD. The report was made 8 Aug 1899.
  4. [4] 1900 U.S. Census, Bronx, New York, NY, National Archives Microfilm T623, roll 1127, page 2A, Enumeration District 1052. Viewed on 
  5. [5] District of Columbia, Compiled Marriage Index, 1830-1921 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc, 2014. 
  6. [6] U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line] and World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. 
  7. [7] Michigan, U.S., Divorce Records, 1897-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. State file number 38 603; docket number 8-215. Date of Filing Divorce Petition: 23 Dec 1924, Jackson, Michigan. Libellant was David Porter. Cause for which divorced: Desertion. No children. Date of Decree or Judgment: 30 Apr 1926. 
  8. [8], 1915 New York State Census. Original source: New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 18; Assembly District: 19; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 38. “Josephine FB Porter” is listed as head of household and her daughter “Zelie Porter” is the only other one listed in the household. 
  9. [9] Josephine's granddaughter, Hope (Ely) Cochran, who remembers visiting him at his home on Long Island, NY, as told to Hope Stewart, Apr 2003. Also Josephine's grandson, Hiram B. Ely, Jr, as told to Hope Stewart.
  10. [10] 1930 U.S. Census, San Francisco County, Ohio; National Archives Microfilm T626, roll 206. Presidio of San Francisco, E.D. 309, p. 35A, lines 26 & 27. Enumerated 7 Apr 1930.
  11. [11] Hope (Ely) Cochran as told to Hope Stewart.
  12. [12] 1940 US Census; Murrieta, Riverside, California; Roll: m-t0627-00277; Page: 61A; Enumeration District: 33-21. And Certificate of Death for Josephine P. Cook, 3 Jan 1942, County of Riverside, Riverside, California. Informant of all the non-medical information was her daughter, Mrs. Zelie D.L. Ely. Informant of the Medical Certificate was Raymond L. Johnson, M.D., of Corona, California, dated 5 Jan 1942. Certificate of Death dated 5 Jan 1942 by the Registrar. 

Last updated: 16 July 2023

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