John COOKE

Male Bef 1612 - 1695  (> 83 years)


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  • Name John COOKE  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Birth 01 Jan 1607  Leyden, Zuid Holland, Netherlands Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Born Bef 1612  Holland Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Gender Male 
    Baptism Between 01 Jan and 31 Mar 1607  Leyden, Holland Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 4, 5
    Will 09 Nov 1694  Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Death 23 Nov 1694  Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Died 23 Nov 1695  Dartmouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Will Proved 16 Apr 1696  [4
    Notes 
    • In 1620, John and his father, Francis, embarked on the Mayflower.

      Excerpt from "Certain Comeoverers": John Cooke became the foremost settler of the town of Dartmouth and its largest landed proprietor. The date of his birth in Leyden is unknown, about 1610, perhaps, since he was not much over ten years of age when he sailed with his father, Francis, on "ye dauntless ship," and came to Plymouth in 1620. He was the last male survivor of the Mayflower passengers, dying at his home in what is now Fairhaven, 1695.
      As a youth he probably devoted himself somewhat to study, and possibly intended to fit himself for the ministry. If so, it would seem probable that his independence of thought precluded him from being accepted as a true disciple of the "old lights." Indeed he went so far astray from orthodoxy that he was subsequently called an "anabaptist" and as a lay preacher spread doctrines not acceptable to the "standards." That he never quite disassociated himself from allegiance to the true faith which the Pilgrims brought across the ocean to form the corner-stone of their commonwealth seems probable, but that he fell into errors and shisms and finally became an "anabaptist preacher" would seem to be clear from the traditions which have come down to us. His earnest, straight-forward, forceful nature seems to have compelled his friends and neighbors the convictions concerning religious matters which he had, himself, formed. It was not in any established church, however, either orthodox or Baptist, that he preached in Dartmouth. It was probably among his neighbors at their homes, and on occasions when they met together in social intercourse.
      With his father he entered into several business ventures and in 1634, when he was about twenty-four years old, he was taxed equally with his father. It was in this year that on March 28 he married Sarah Warren, the oldest of the daughters of Richard Warren, who had come over on the Ann with John's sisters. Mistress Warren, the mother of Sarah, and the widow of Richard Warren, in consideration of the marriage conveyed to John Cooke "of Rocky Nook" certain land at Eel River, which in 1637 he exchanged for other land with his brother in law, Richard Bartlett.
      Three years after his marriage he volunteered in captain Prince's company for service in the Pequot War "if provision could be made for his family." Doubtless the provision was arranged and he went on the campaign. In 1643 he was serving in the military company of Plymouth, giving points, probably, to his young brother in law, Nathaniel Warren, who joined the company at the same time.
      From 1638, when he served his first of many terms as Deputy for Plymouth to the General Court, until he moved to Dartmouth some twenty years or so later, he was prominently connected with the management of Plymouth affairs. Nearly every year he acted as "rater," generally serving with Manasses Kempton or Nathaniel Warren. He was repeatedly put on special committees at the town meetings to dispose of the town's lands, provide for the town's poor, etc. In October, 1643, he was appointed by the General Court one of a committee "for the Court and psons to be the Counsel of Warr." In 1649 the town appointed its first standing committee of "seven men" of whom John Cooke was one. A few years later this committee was reduced in number and called the "select men" and John Cooke was chosen a Selectman and served as such during several years.
      It was between 1653 and 1660 that John Cooke settled in Dartmouth. He took up holdings in the northerly part of Fairhaven in the district now known as Oxford. It was about this time when, owing to his unorthodox religious ideas he was presented to the Court at Plymouth for breaking the Sabbath by unnecessary travelling thereon and fined ten shillings. It is probable that his "unnecessary" travelling was actually for the purpose of preaching what he considered to be God's word, but which his orthodox brethren evidently considered neither a work of charity nor necessity. He was certainly settled in Dartmouth prior to 1660. In 1667, he was authorized by the Court at Plymouth "to make contracts of marriage, administer oaths, issue out warrants in His Majestie's name, bind over persons to appear at Him Majestie's Courts, issue subpoenies, warn witnesses, "etc., etc. Also in 1668 he was appointed by the Court to take the testimony of all parties and establish the boundaries of the town in reference to a dispute with the Indians. In 1672 the town of Dartmouth gave John Cooke Ram Island, now known as Popes Island, in recompense for his former services to the town "and also eleven pounds for his services and three Pounds for his damages and trouble with said fourteen pounds shall be paid to him in good merchantable port, beef and corn in equal proportions." Notwithstanding his anabaptist faith he was chosen by the inhabitants of Dartmouth, who were mostly Quakers, to represent them at the General Court on many occasions. (1666-1668-1673-1675-1679-1686). John Cooke also served his fellow citizens of Dartmouth as Selectman in the years 1670, 1672, 1673, 1675, 1679 and 1683. There was, indeed, no public service and no public undertaking in which John Cooke was not a participator, and it would seem that in those earliest days he well deserves the designation of "our most prominent citizen."
      In 1675 a crushing blow came to the infant settlement of Dartmouth, dealt by the infuriated Philip, whose savage hordes devastated the town with torch and tomahawk. Nearly all the dwellings of the settlers, with their crops and live stock were destroyed and several men and women murdered. John Cooke, foreseeing the necessity, had converted his homestead into a "garrison house." The main structure stood north of that is now the Riverside Cemetery about six hundred feet west of Main Street. It was a building of sufficient size to shelter a considerable number of persons, and was surrounded by a stockade. To this haven of safety the inhabitants of that part of Dartmouth hastened on the first alarm of the Indian uprising in the early spring of 1676. At least four were tomahawked on their way, but most of them reached Cooke's Garrison House and there defended themselves against the attacks of the savages. Whether it was the garrison house itself, or a separate dwelling of John Cooke's, which was burned and sacked at this time is not clear. Captain Ben Church in July, 1676, made a rendezvous at the "ruins of John Cooke's home."
      That the people could again take heart to rebuild their homes and commence anew their occupations must have been due to the indomitable leadership of such men as John Cooke. It was he, perhaps, who obtained the orders from the Plymouth Court which gave relief by exemption of taxes and military aid, etc. The Court, however, could not refrain from hinting in its order that the indifference of the people of Dartmouth to listen to the word of God as proclaimed by his ministers "had been a provocation of God thus to chastise their contempt of his gospell, which we earnestly desire the people of that place may seriously consider off, lay to hart, and be humbled for, with a solicitous endeavor after a reformation thereof by a vigorous putting forth to obtain an able faithful dispenser of the word of God amongst them."
      The people of Dartmouth may have been grateful for the Court's clemency, but they certainly did not follow its advice about a minister, continuing even more stubbornly than before to assert their religious independence; and John Cooke, whom the Court certainly would not have certified as "an able faithful dispenser of the word of God," continued for many years to preach an unorthodox faith. He died at the age of about eight-five years, on November 23, 1695.
      At Poverty Point, Fairhaven, there is now a large boulder with a bronze inscription which reads as follows:
      Sacred to the Memory of John Cooke who was buried here in 1695.
      The last surviving male Pilgrim of those who came over on the Mayflower. First white settler of this town. The pioneer in its religious, moral and business life. A man of character and integrity, and the trusted agent for this part of the Commonwealth of the Old Colonial Civil Government of Plymouth.

      Excerpt from "Mayflower Families in Progress - Francis Cooke": The will of John Cooke of Dartmouth, County of Bristol, dated 9 November 1694, proved 16 April 1696, mentions wife Sarah; "my son-in-law Arthur Hathaway & his wife Sarah my daughter": "my son-in-law Stephen West and his wife Mercey my Daughter": Jonathan Delano; grandson Thomas Taber; and grand-daughter Hester Perry.
      On 15 July 1696 Sarah Cooke of Dartmouth, widow and Relict of John Cooke, Thomas Taber & Jonathan Delano, both of Dartmouth, yeomen, posted bond. On 7 Dec. 1696 widow sarah Cooke presented the inventory.
    Person ID I12958  Main Tree
    Last Modified 4 Oct 2018 

    Father Francis COOKE,   b. Aft Aug 1583, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 07 Apr 1663, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 79 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Hester MAHIEU,   d. Between 08 Jun 1666 and 18 Dec 1675, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Relationship Birth 
    Marriage Contract 04 Jul 1603  Leyden, Holland Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Married Abt 20 Jul 1603  [1
    Family ID F07507  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Sarah WARREN,   b. Abt 1614, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 15 Jul 1696  (Age ~ 82 years) 
    Married 28 Mar 1634  Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Children 
     1. Sarah COOKE,   b. Abt 1635, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Feb 1712/13, Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 78 years)  [Birth]
     2. Elizabeth COOKE,   b. Bef 1644, Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 06 Dec 1715, Tiverton, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 71 years)  [Birth]
     3. Hester COOKE,   b. 16 Aug 1650, Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between 17 Apr 1671 and 1672, Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 20 years)  [Birth]
     4. Mary COOKE,   b. 12 Jan 1651, Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between 26 Apr 1708 and 25 Jan 1714  (Age 57 years)  [Birth]
     5. Mercy COOKE,   b. 25 Jul 1654, Plymouth, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Nov 1733, Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years)  [Birth]
    Last Modified 4 Oct 2018 
    Family ID F07508  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 01 Jan 1607 - Leyden, Zuid Holland, Netherlands Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBorn - Bef 1612 - Holland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBaptism - Between 01 Jan and 31 Mar 1607 - Leyden, Holland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsWill - 09 Nov 1694 - Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 23 Nov 1695 - Dartmouth, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Sources 
    1. [S02658] Mayflower Increasings 2nd Edition by Susan E. Roser.

    2. [S01952] Certain Comeoverers by Henry Howland Crapo.

    3. [S02018] Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines Volume II by Mary Walton Ferris.

    4. [S02650] Mayflower Families in Progress: Francis Cooke of the Mayflower and his Descendants of Four Generations, Robert S. Wakefield, FASG and Ralph Van Wood, Jr., (Name: Name: General Society of Mayflower Descendants 2000;;).

    5. [S10145] Mayflower Families Through 5 Generations Vol. 18 Richard Warren Part 1.

    6. [S03133] RootsWeb: World Connect - Hartman-Spooner Family Tree by Alicia.