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Francis & John Cooke

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John Cooke was baptized at Leyden, Holland between January and March 1607/8 and was, thus, about thirteen years old on arrival at Plymouth with his father, Francis Cooke in 1620 on the Mayflower. He married in Plymouth on March 28, 1634, Sarah Warren, daughter of Pilgrim Richard and Elizabeth Warren of the Mayflower.

John became a deacon of the Plymouth Church in the 1630's, but he was excommunicated from the church ca. 1757. Probably around the time he was excommunicated, he became a Baptist. He was a Baptist preacher and about 1680 established a Baptist church in what is now Tiverton, near Adamsville. This was the beginning of the society which has included members of the Wilcox and allied families since its founding and which has worshipped in the Old Stone Church since it was built in 1841.

John Cooke Memorial

Photo © 1995, Sam Behling
He served on juries and on various special assignments, and was a long-time Plymouth deputy. In 1664 he was granted 15 acres of land near Dartmouth and he had other significant land dealings in the area, owning 3/34 of the original grant. Sometime between 1653 and 1660, he moved to that part of Dartmouth now known as Oxford Village, Fairhaven. In 1672, the town of Dartmouth gave him Ram (now Pope's) Island in recompense for former services.

In 1666 he was a deputy for Dartmouth. John was one of the advisers for the defense of Dartmouth against the Indians. He became a magistrate for Dartmouth authorized to marry, to administer oaths, and to issue warrants for cour trials at Plymouth. He served the town several years as a selectman and was ten times a representative to the General Court. He was one of the owners of the first vessels built in Plymouth. He was a constant trader in lands at Plymouth and Dartmouth and owned lands at Puncatest.

Prior to the Indian uprising (King Phillip's War) in 1675 he converted his home into a garrison house. This was the haven of safety of the inhabitants in the early spring of 1676. His home was later burned by the savages.

John Cooke was the last surviving male passenger of the Mayflower. John died 23 Nov 1695, having lived through the entire life of the Plymouth Colony. The will of John Cooke of Dartmouth, County of Bristol dated November 9, 1694, proved April 16, 1696, mentions wife Sarah; son-in-law Arthur Hathaway and his wife Sarah his daughter; son-in-law Stephen West and his wife Mercy his daughter.; Jonathan Delano; grandson Thomas Taber; and granddaughter Hester Perry. On December 7, 1696 widow Sarah Cooke presented the inventory.

In Fairhaven a short distance north of the New Bedford-Fairhaven bridge, near the river, is a large boulder to which is attached a bronze table, on which, below a representation of the Mayflower is an inscription. A picture of this appears on this page. The exact location of the grave of John Cooke is, however, a matter of doubt. Somewhere in Fairhaven is about as definite as it can now be determined. The boulder with its inscription was placed 200 years after his death. That he as the "first white settler of this town" applies to Fairhaven, rather than old Dartmouth.

Will and Inventory of John Cooke

The Last will and Testament of John Cook of the town of Dartmouth in the County of Bristoll: I being weake of Body but of sound and Perfect memory, have Disposed of my Estate which God hath been pleased to bestow: upon me in manner following that is to say In the first place I give to my Son in-law Arthur Hathaway & his wife Sarah my Daughter all my land in the point at or Near the Burying place in Dartmouth the which I bought of John Russell to them their heires and Assignes for Ever: And also I give unto my Son in-law Stephen west and his wife Merey my Daughter one full Third part of a whole Share of lands in the Township of Dartmouth with all my houseing and Orchards thereunto belonging: with all the priviledgs & appur=ces belonging to the same to them their heires & Assigns for ever They to possess the same after the Decease of my wife Sarah Allso I give unto Jonathan Delano one Third part of a share of meadow Caled the ffreemens Meadow Lyeing within the Township of Rochester to him his heires & assignes for Ever: Allso I give to my Grandson Thomas Taber my little Island Caled & Known by the Name of Ram Island Lying in Cushnat River in Dartmouth with one third part of my Share of Meadow Called the ffreemens Meadow Lyeing in the Townshiping of Rochester to him his heires & assignes for Ever and I give to my said Grand son my Gun & sword Allso I give to my Grand Daughter Hester Perry One feather Bed & Bolster, All the Rest & Residue of Estate Goods & Chattles of what Sort or Kind so ever I Give & bequeath uto my Loveing wife Sarah to use & Dispose of the same as she shall see good And I make my said wife Sole Executrix of this my Last will & Testament: In Witness whereof I the said John Cooke have hereunto sett my hand & seale this Ninth Day of November 1694 in the presence of

Aaron Savory ["0" his mark]
Thomas Taber
John Cooke (seal)

memorandum that on the 16th of Aprill 1696 Then appeared Aaron Savory & Thomas Taber both of Dartmouth, Before John Saffin Esqr Judge of Probate of wills &ca and made Oath that they were present & did see John Cooke late of Dartmouth Decd Signe seale & publish this Instrument to be his last will & testiment and yt he was of a Disposeing mind when he so did to the best of their apprehensions

John Cary Registr.Jno Saffin

Thus Entered & Engrosed may the : 8th By Jno Cary Registr.

December the 7th 1696 [This is plainly a mistake of the Register for 1695]

A true Inventory of the Estate Goods & Chattels of John Cooke late of Dartmouth Deceased:

£ s d
Imprs all his Houseing and land at200 00 00
his Cattle of all sorts020 00 00
In Sivir money025 04 00
his wearing apparrel at007 10 00
two Beds & Beding at019 10 00
for Several Remnants of New Cloath002 05 00
for Pueter & Tin vessels001 05 00
one warming Pann000 12 00
two Bibles & Six other Books002 00 00
two Iron pots one Iron Kettle & two old Skillets002 00 00
five Bushels of Corn000 15 00
for linnen yarn & flax teere001 06 00
half a Dozen of Spoons000 02 00
two Chains & Plow-Irons with Several other old Iron tools at001 10 00
Due in Debts008 00 00
One Gun a Sword & Powder & Bullets001 10 00
one pare of Andjrons two trammils001 10 00
two Chests one Table & a Settle002 00 00
for lumber of all sorts at003 00 00
299 19 00

Taken by us the Day & year first above written

Aarther Hathaway
Thomas Tabar

April 10th 1696 the widdow Sarah Cooke made oath to ye above written Inventory

Before me, Seth Pope Justice of peace.

The above Named Sarah Cooke being a very Antient woman and unable to travile far, it was Necessary that her Deposition should be Taken as above said to the truth of this Inventory the which I do alow and Approve and Doe hereby order it to be Recorded in the Registers Office this 16th Day of Aprill 1696.

Jno Cary Registr Registr.Jno Saffin Probar

Thus Entered & Engrossed May the 19th 1696 By Jno Cary Registr. Bond of Executrix

Know all men by these presents that we Sarah Cooke of Dartmouth in the County of Bristill in the Province of the Masachusett Bay in New England widow & Relect of John Cooke late of said Dartmouth Decd and Thomas Taber & Jonathan Delono Both of said Dartmouth Yeomen Do stand & are firmely bound and oliged unto John Saffin Esqr Judge of Probat of wills &ca within sd County, in the Sum of five Hundred Ninety four pounds To be payd unto the sd John Saffin or his Successor in sd office To the which payment well and truely to be Made we Bind orselves & Either of us by himself joyntly & Severally for & in the whole Our & Every &Either of our heires Executors & Administrs firmely by these presents sealed with our seales Dated in Dartmouth the fifteenth Day of July 1696 in the Eighth Year of his Majesties Reign.

The Condition of this present obligation is such that whereas the above Bound Sarah Cooke is made Executrix of the Last will & Testament of John Cook of Dartmouth aforesd Dece(asd) Bearing Date the Ninth Day of Novembr 1694 & hath Ne(ver) Legally proved the same, Iff therefore the sd Executrix s(hall) with all Conveinient Speed bring into the Registrs Office for th(e) County of Bristoll afforesd A true & perfect Inventory of (the) Estate of the said Decd And shall well & tru(ly) Administr upon & Duely Dispose of all & Singular the Good(s) Chattels,l Credits & Estate left by the said Decd accordi(ng) to the Tennor & true meaneing of his sd will & as the Law (di)rec(ts) Also shall render a true & plaine account of her Administcon and Doings therein to the said office at or before the Sixteen(th) Day of Aprill 1697 without ffraud or farther Delay then this Obligation to be voyde & of None Effect or Els to stand abide and Remaine in full force strenght & Vertue.

Signed sealed & Delivered
in the presence of
Thomas Delano
Hannah ("+" her mark) Savery
Sarah ("S" her mark) Cook
Thomas Taber
Jonathan Delano

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Francis Cooke was a 1620 Mayflower passenger originally from Blythe, Yorkshire, England and later of Kent County. The records in Holland describe him as a woolcomber and he appeared there before the arrival of the Clyfton/Robinson Separatists.

The date of his marriage to Hester Mahieu in Leyden, Holland has often been printed incorrectly (e.g., 30 June 1603). However, an article in Mayflower Descendant 27:145-55 (New Light on Francis Cooke and His Wife Hester Mahieu and Their Son John) goes to great pains to give an estimated date and states the the previous published date was incorrect. Marriage intentions were entered July 4, 1603 and Luly 5, 1603 which means the three banns were proclaimed July 6, July 13 and July 20 (three successive Sundays); therefore, the marriage took place on or after July 20, 1603. Hester Mahieu, the daugther of Jennie le Mahieu of Canterbury, England died. after June 8, 1666 in Plymouth.

Francis Cooke appears frequently in Plymouth records on grand and trial juries, as a surveyor of the highways, on various ad hoc committees, and in a number of land transactions. He came to Plymouth with son John, and his wife and their daughter, Jane and son, Jacob arrived on the ship Anne in 1623. Two more children, Hester and Mary, were born at Plymouth. Francis died April 7, 1663 "above 80" years of age.

William Bradford's 1651 account says, "Francis Cooke is still living, a very olde man, and hath seene his children's children have children; after his wife came over (with other of this children) he hath 3 still livng by her, all maried and have 5 children so their increase is 8. And his sone John which came over with him, is maried and hath 4 children living."

The will of Francis Cooke of Plymouth, dated 7th 10th mo. 1659, exhibited 5 June 1663, names wife Hester and son John. His inventory is dated May 1, 1663. An agreement made June 8, 1666 between John Cooke, Jacob Cooke, Hester Wright the wife of Richard Wright and Mary Tomson the wife of John Tompson disposed of the land of Francis Cooke. The agreement mentions Hester Cookie is still living. On the same date John Cooke confirmed to Richard Wright and Thomas Mitchell, in equal shares, sixty acres of upland, near Jones River Meadow formerly given them by Francis Cooke. On July 5, 1670 a court record mentions that land called "old Cookes Holes," lying at Jones River was given by Francis Cooke to Richard Wright and Thomas Mitchell and since his (Francis) decease confirmed unto Richard Wright and Thomas Mitchell by John Cooke. On 1 Aug. 1672 Thomas Mitchell of Duxbury sold to Richard Wright of Plymouth his share in the above grant and states it was given to him by his grandfather, Francis Cooke.

Will of Francis Cooke

The last Will and Testament of ffrancis Cooke of Plymouth late Deceased, exhibited before the Court held att Plymouth aforsaid the fifth day of June 1663 on the oathes of mr John Aldin and mr John howland;

The Last Will and Testament of ffrancis Cooke made this seaventh of the tenth month 1659.

I being att prsent weake and Infeirme in body yett in prfect memory throw mercy Doe comitt my soule unto god that gave it and my body to the earthe; which my will is should bee Intered in a Decent and comly manner; As for such goods and lands as I stand posessed of I Doe will and bequeath as followeth;

My will is that hester my Dear and loveing wife shall have all my moveable goods and all my Cattle of all kinds; viz: neat Cattle horsekind sheep and swine to be att her Dispose.

My will is that hester my wife shall have and Injoy my lands both upland and meddow lands which att prsent I posesse During her life.

I Doe ordaine and appoint my Deare wife and my son John Cooke Joynt exequitors of this my said will.

Witnes
John Aldin
ffrancis Cooke
John howland

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Further Suggested Reading

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See lineage of Francis Cooke.

My other Mayflower ancestor Richard Warren

See the Mayflower Web Site for more information.

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