John Cooke

John Cooke was a Mayflower passenger in his own right. He was baptized in the Walloon Church at Leyden, Holland sometime between January 1 and March 31, 1606/7 and would've been approximately fourteen years old on arrival at Plymouth with his father, Francis Cooke in 1620. On March 28, 1634/5, John married Sarah Warren, daughter of the Mayflower passenger, Richard Warren who arrived at Plymouth on the ship Anne in 1623.

There was another John Cooke who emigrated to Plymouth in 1633. It appears that most if not all references to John Cooke Senior or elder refer to this John Cooke, not our John Cooke son of Francis, who was often referred to as junior or the younger.

John Cooke was on the Plymouth tax list of 27 Mar 1634 assessed 9s.

On July 5, 1636 Samuel Eaton was apprenticed to John Cooke the younger.

On the list of "The Names of all the Males that are able to beare Armes from xvj. Yeares old to 60 Yeares, wthin the seurall Towneshipps" will be found John Cooke, Sen as well as "John Cooke, Jur."

John Cooke, Junior or the younger was on several committees and held several offices as follows: jury, June 7, 1636 and October 4-5, 1636; Grand Inquest or Grand Jury, March 7, 1636/7 and June 5, 1638; committee to be added to Governor and Counsell to make laws May 16, 1639; appointed deputy August 1, 1654.

There are four references for John Cooke being a freeman but no indication whether these refer to John Cooke Senior or Junior, viz: 1633 list of Freemen in Plymouth; admitted Freeman January 1, 1633/4; list of Freeman March 7, 1636/7 and list of Plymouth Freemen 1658.

Less clear, however, are references to a John Cooke, without designation of senior or junior, who was a church deacon in the Plymouth church in 1634, who became involved in the Anabaptist movement and excommunicated from the Plymouth Church and who in 1669 wrote a recollection of the entire affair. The main reason for believing that the Anabaptist John Cooke is the son of Francis is that this John Cooke was still living in 1669 (he did not die until 1695) while the other John Cooke, the immigrant of 1633, was last known to have been alive on August 2, 1653. If the John Cooke of 1669 is actually the 1633 immigrant (rather than John son of Francis), then he presumably lived from 1653 until at least 1669 without generating any further records whatsoever other than the 1659 court permission below. However, John Cooke son of Francis was only a 27 year-old newlywed in 1634, slightly green behind the ears to have become a deacon of the church, while the John Cooke immigrant of 1633 was almost certainly somewhat older. The record below concerns this deacon John Cooke.

In 1634, John Cooke was a deacon in the Plymouth church. Some time after [1657], " of the Church of Plymouth whoe was formerly a deacon thereof; fell into the error of Anabaptistry..." and was cast out of the church. "...This John Cooke although a Shallow man became a Cause of trouble and decension in our Church and Gaue Just accation of theire Casting of him out..." John's recollection of this affair and its effects upon his attitudes are described in a letter to Nathaniel Morton, written in 1669. Though called "a shallow man" he appeared to be a populist-type leader who was also able to command the respect of the authorities.

In 1659, the Plymouth Court ordered that "...Whereas some have desired and others thinke it meet to pmitt some psons to frequest the Quaker meetings to endeavor to reduce them from the error of theire wayes the Court...doe pmitt John Smith of Barnstable Isacke Robinson John Chipman and John Cooke of Plymouth or any two of them to attend the said meetings for the ends aforesaid...."

John Cooke 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. His home was on North Street in Plymouth from 1646 to 1653. Sometime between 1653 and 1660, he moved to that part of Dartmouth now known as Oxford Village, Fairhaven.

John Cooke, called junior and younger, bought and sold different parcels of land between 1639 and 1650. On February 17, 1637 Mrs. Elizabeth Warren granted 18 acres to John Cooke the younger who had married Sarah her daughter. On October 3, 1650 John Cooke Jr. of Plymouth, yeoman, sold to Thomas Tilden one half of a tract of upland and meadow granted to Francis Cook and John Cook October 5, 1640. His wife Sarah gave her consent.

In 1664 John Cooke was granted 15 acres of land near Dartmouth and became the foremost settler of the town of Dartmouth and its largest landed proprietor. It has been said that he was the only one of the thirty-six original purchasers who became a resident of the town, but perhaps there were two others. He owned 3/34 of the original grant of Dartmouth and was for many years its leading citizen. He served the town several years as a selectman and was ten times a representative to the General Court. In 1666 he was a deputy for Dartmouth. He 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 court trials at Plymouth Colony.

On March 2, 1668/9, John Smith and others "complaine against John Cooke of Dartmouth, in an action of the case, to the damage of one hundred pounds, for that the said Cooke hath vnjustly molested them, in causing them by summons twise to attend the Court as delinquents, but proued nothing as just cause of complaint against them, therby defaming them in theire names, and occationing theire great expence and trouble." The jury found for the plantiffs fifty shillings damange and cost of suit. According to the verdict judgment was granted.

In 1672, the town of Dartmouth gave him Ram (now Pope's) Island in recompense for former services. The Court "att the former session, takeing notice of the longe continued difference between John Cooke, of Dartmouth, and many of the inhabitants and purchasers of that place..did then direct an order to the said towne and purchasers, to appeer att the adjournment in July attend a finall issue of the abouesaid controuersyes." The determination was that "John Cooke shall haue and foreuer injoy a little iland called Ram Iland [mentioned in his will], by the said towne disposed to him for former seruice...the said towne and purchasers doe pay or cause to be payed vnto John Cooke his debt of eleuen pounds...and three pounds for his damage and trouble...att or before the middle of October next, or otherwise to his content...And lastly, wee determine that, John Cooke being payed what wee haue aboue awarded, hee shall deliuer vp the deeds and acquittances concerning those lands vnto whom shalbe appointed to receiue and keep it for the towne and urchasers therein interested...full, absolute, and finall conclusion of the abouesaid controuersyes."

On July 4 or 14, 1672, John Cooke of Dartmouth conveyed to his brother Jacob Cooke, Sr. of Plymouth, "All that my two Shares of upland and two shares of salt marsh meddow; ...that I have in Rockey nooke in the Towne of Plymouth aforsaid; which is two fift prtes of the upland and salt marsh meddow belonging unto my father ffrancis Cooke Deceased; in the said nooke and by him given to mee att his Decease." Jacob in turn conveyed back to John "All that my quarter prte or one fourth prte of one whole share of upland and meddow that is Devided, or is not Devided, lying and being in the aforsaid Towne of Dartmouth which was Given unto mee by my father ffrancis Cooke Deceased, whoe as a purchaser or old Comer had an equall propriety of those lands."

A deed, dated May 21, 1672, by John Cooke, yeoman, of Dartmouth, conveyed " consideration of the Love and affection I bear...Loving Son in Law Thomas Tabor..." of Dartmouth, mason, land in Dartmouth. On 17 July 1673 John Cooke, yeoman of Dartmouth deeded land in Dartmouth to "Daniel Wilcocks, yeoman of Dartmouth and Elizabeth my daughter now wife to said Daneil Wilcockes". On July 17, 1673 John Cooke, yeoman of Dartmouth, deeded land in Dartmouth unto my son in law Philip Tabor, mason of Dartmouth, and "Mary my daughter, now wife to the said Philip Tabor". On June 26, 1674 John Cooke of Dartmouth deed land in Dartmouth to "Sarah Hatheway my daughter and Arthur Hatheway her husband." On June 4, 1686 John Cooke, yeoman of Dartmouth, deeded land in Dartmouth to Arthur Haddaway of Dartmouth.

Prior to King Phillip's War in 1675, John Cooke 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 warring Native Americans.

John Cooke reportedly helped establish a Baptist church in what is now Tiverton (RI) near Adamsville about 1680. 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. This old church is known for miles around for its famous clambakes, which have been an annual event since 1864 and which are made the occasion of many happy reunions of old Tiverton families.

John Cooke died November 23, 1695 in Dartmouth, having lived through the entire life of the Plymouth Colony. He was the last surviving male passenger of the Mayflower. 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 this inscription:


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.

The will of John Cooke of Dartmouth, County of Bristol dated November 9, 1694, was proved April 16, 1696.

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

John Cooke (seal)

in the presence of Aaron Savory ["0" his mark]
Thomas Taber

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

December the 7th 1696 (This is clearly an error by the clerk and should be "1695" as the inventory was sworn to by widow Sarah Cooke on 10 Apr 1696.)

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

- s- d
Imprs all his Houseing and land at
his Cattle of all sorts
In Silvir money
his wearing apparrel at
two Beds & Beding at
for Several Remnants of New Cloath
for Pueter & Tin vessels
one warming Pann
two Bibles & Six other Books
two Iron pots one Iron Kettle & two old Skillets
five Bushels of Corn
for linnen yarn & flax teere
half a Dozen of Spoons
two Chains & Plow-Irons with Several other old Iron tools at
Due in Debts
One Gun a Sword & Powder & Bullets
one pare of Andjrons two trammils
two Chests one Table & a Settle
for lumber of all sorts at


Taken by us the Day & year first above written, Arther 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 Saffin Probar

Jno Cary Registr

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, 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
Sarah ("S" her mark) Cook
in the presence of
Thomas Taber
Thomas Delano
Hannah ("+" her mark) Savery
Jonathan Delano

The exact death date Sarah (Warren) Cooke is not known, but it was obviously sometime after July 15, 1696 when she posted the bond shown above.


I'd be happy to exchange family information.
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See lineage of Cooke Family

Read the Biography of Francis Cooke

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