Francis Cooke

Franics COOKE (c.1583 -1663) (Wikipedia) was one of the 102 passengers on the Mayflower. This early settler is one of the twenty-six male Pilgrims known to have descendants. He was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather; one of 2,048 in this generation of the Miller line.

Francis Cooke was born in 1583 probably in England.  He is described in Leiden Walloon church marriage records dating from 1603 as a “woolcomber out of England”. However, his origins are unknown. He could have been a refugee from religious persecution elsewhere in continental Europe.  He married Hester le MAHIEU in Leiden, Holland with marriage intentions published 20 Jul 1603 . While in Leiden, Francis and Hester were members of the Walloon church. In 1606, they left Leiden briefly for Norwich, England, where they joined another Walloon church, returning to Leiden in 1607, possibly for religious reasons. Between 1611 and 1618, the Cookes were members of the Pilgrim Separatist congregation in Leiden.  The Pilgrim church was not established in Leiden until 1609, so Francis was living there long before their arrival and must have met up with and joined them afterwards.

Francis Cooke – Portrait

In 1620, Francis, his son John, and nephew Philippe de Lannoy boarded Speedwell at Delftshaven. Francis left Hester and their younger children behind to follow when the colony was established. The Leiden Separatists bought the ship in Holland. They then sailed it to Southampton, England to meet the Mayflower, which had been chartered by the merchant investors. In Southampton they joined with other Separatists and the additional colonists hired by the investors.

The two ships began the voyage on 5 Aug 1620, but the Speedwell leaked badly and had to return to Dartmouth to be refitted at great expense and time. On the second attempt, the two ships sailed about 100 leagues beyond Land’s End in Cornwall, but the Speedwell was again found to be leaky. Both vessels returned to Plymouth where the Speedwell was sold. It would later be revealed that there was in fact nothing wrong with the ship. The crew had sabotaged it in order to escape the year long commitment of their contract.

Eleven people from the Speedwell (including Francis and John Cooke) boarded the Mayflower, leaving 20 people (including our ancestor Robert CUSHMAN and Philippe de Lannoy) to return to London while a combined company of 103 continued the voyage. For a third time, the Mayflower headed for the New World. She left Plymouth on September 6, 1620 and entered Cape Cod Harbor on 11 Nov 1620.

Arriving at what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts, on November 11 (November 21, new-style calendar), forty-one of the passengers, among them Francis Cooke, signed the Mayflower Compact as the boat lay at anchor.  Francis died on 7 Apr 1663 in Plymouth, Mass.

Francis Cooke – Mayflower Compact

Hester le Mahieu was born about 1585 in Canterbury, Kent, England.  Her parents were Jaques le MAHIEU and Jeanne [__?__].  They  Protestant refugees from the Walloon Flanders area. The Mahieus, from Lille, had resided in Canterbury, then London, since the 1570s before moving to Leiden in 1590.  Hester Mahieu’s name also appears in records in Leiden in 1603 as having been accepted as a member of the French Reformed Church (known as the Walloon Church) of Leyden. Her name in this list reads “Esther de Mahieu.” The baptism of John Cooke, Francis and Hester Mahieu Cooke’s firstborn son, is also in the Walloon Church records.

 Hester and their daughters Jane and Elizabeth and son Jacob arrived on the Anne in 1623. Two more children, Hester and Mary  were born at Plymouth. Hester died after 8 Jun 1666.

Children of Francis and Hester:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Jane Cooke c. 1604-1609
Leyden, Zuid Holland, Netherlands
Experience Mitchell
aft 22 May 1627
bef. 1640
Bridgewater, Plymouth, Mass.
2. John Cooke bapt. Jan-Mar 1607
Leiden, Netherlands
Sarah Warren
28 Mar 1634
23 Nov 1695 (last Mayflower male survivor)
Dartmouth, Mass.
3. Child Cooke bef. 20 May 1608
Leiden, Holland
bur. 20 May 1608
Leiden, Holland
4. Josiah Cooke?? (See discussion below) 1610
Elizabeth Ring (daughter of William RING)
16 Sep 1635 in Plymouth, Mass
17 Oct 1673
Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.
5. Elizabeth Cooke bapt.
26 Dec 1611
Aft 1623 and
bef. 22 May 1627
Cattle Division
Plymouth, Mass
6. Jacob Cooke c. 1618
Damaris Hopkins (daughter of Stephen HOPKINS)
10 Jun 1646
Elizabeth Lettice
18 Nov 1669
7 Jul 1676
7. Hester Cooke aft. after May 1624 (9 months after the family reunited) and before Jun 1625 (to clear the stage for Mary) Richard Wright
c. 1644
21 May 1669
8. Mary COOKE bef. 22 May 1627
Plymouth, Mass.
26 Dec 1645 Plymouth, Mass.
21 Mar 1714 Middleboro, Mass.

Francis  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.

Francis Cooke was the 17th signer of the Mayflower Compact.

Our ancestors or their close relatives had almost half the lots in early Plymouth – (George Soule was the grandfather of John TOMSON’s son-in-law, not close enough to get a #)

Plimoth Plantation  Recreation of 1627 Village

Plimoth Plantation Recreation of 1627 Village

After the common house had been completed, houses for the families were built. Since the winter had seen so many deaths, the Pilgrims were reduced to 19 families and each of these 19 received a parcel of land about fifty feet deep. Frontage was proportional to the number in the family, about eight feet per person. Lots were cast to decide each family’s position in the “two rows of houses” which were to be built “for more safety.” This allotment was for their use for only the year, to build houses and plant gardens, and they could not pass the land down to their heirs. Francis Cooke appears on a diagram of “meersteads & garden plots of [those] which came first laid out 1620” with his plot being on the south side of the street, with Isaac Allerton and Edward Winslow on his east and west.

Hester le Mahieu’s sister was Marie le Mahieu, wife of Jan Lano, another Protestant refugee in Canterbury and then Leiden, whose son, Philippe de Lannoy (anglicized to ‘Delano’) migrated on the Fortune to join his uncle Francis Cooke and his cousin Robert at Plymouth colony in 1621, having been left behind with twenty others when the Mayflower’s sailing mate, the Speedwell, foundered and returned to port in England leaving the Mayflower to sail alone. Philippe is the progenitor of the branch of the Delano family from which Franklin Delano Roosevelt descends.

On Friday, February 16, 1621, while Capt. Myles Standish and Francis Cooke were at work in the woods they were recalled by an alarm at the approach of Indians. “Écoming home left their tools behind them; but before they returned, their tools were taken away by the savages. This coming of the savages gave us occasion to keep more strict watch, and to make our pieces and furniture ready, which by moisture and rain were out of temper.” The Indians returned the tools a month later.

In the late 1623 Plymouth Land Division, he received two acres as a passenger on the Mayflower with his son John, plus four acres for the rest of his family which came on the Anne in August 1623. Some of this land was apparently sold to William Bradford by 1639.

In 1627, when personal ownership of land became a fact, Francis received 20 acres for each share held in the Plymouth Company, that is, for each member of his family.

The Division of Cattle made at Plymouth on May 22, 1627 assigned the first lot “Éto ffrancis Cooke & his Companie Joyned to him his wife Hester Cooke (3) John Cooke (4) Jacob Cooke (5) Jane Cooke (6) Hester Cooke (7) Mary Cooke (8) Moses Simonson (9) Phillip Delanoy (10) Experience Michaell (11) John ffance (12) Joshua Pratt (13) Phinihas Pratt. To his lot fell the least of the 4 black heyfers Came in the Jacob, and two shee goats.” This is the earliest Plymouth Colony records found which names the wife and children of Francis. Not surprisingly, the six unmarried men associated with the family included friends and relations. Philip Delano, then 23, was probably Hester’s nephew. Experience Mitchell was to marry Francis’s daughter Jane shortly after this.

Francis Cooke's home in the recreated 1627 Plimoth Plantation burned in 2011

Francis Cooke’s home in the recreated 1627 Plimoth Plantation burned in 2011

Cooke House, RE-constructed: Part 1  – And to be as faithful to the period as we can reasonably hope to be, this house will be a timber-framed-cottage-using-historic-methods-of-scribed-joinery-and-dozens-of-green-oak-trees-which-will-be-processed-using-only-hand-tools-appropriate-to-the-17th-century-and-after-research-might-have-been-of-a-style-plausibly-built-circa-1621-by-the-first-wave-of-English-colonists-at-Plimoth-using-aproximately-700-individually-hand-wrought-nails-300-hand-riven-clapboards-numerous-pieces-of-lathe-for-roof-and-walls-and-even-more-sticks-to-make-a-framework-of-wattle-and-mortar-for-the-walls-and-chimney-made-by-stomping-barefoot-in-a-clay-filled-pit-and-about-3600 square feet-or-so-of-hand-cut-cattail-and-reed-meticulously-dried-for-the-thatched-roof-and-several-trips-to-local-woods-to-harvest-small-trees-for-studs-and-rafters-and-this-house-will-be-constructed-in-front-of–our-museum-guests-as-we-interpret-our-historic-milieu-while-arrayed-in-our-canvas-and-wool-suits-and-our-regional-dialects-to-boot–

The fire gave volunteers an opportunity to practice their 17th Century building skills - Seeing plumb while hewing flat

The fire to Francis Cooke’s home gave volunteers an opportunity to practice their 17th Century building skills – Seeing plumb while hewing flat

The Pilgrims had a contract with the Company stating all land and profits would accrue to the Company for 7 years at which time the assets would be divided among the shareholders. Most of the Pilgrims held some stock. Francis Cooke was one of the “Purchasers” who in 1627 bought all the rights of the London “Undertakers.” One month after the Division of Cattle he signed a more favorable contract between the “Purchasers” and the “Undertakers” by which the latter were to have, for six years, the control of the entire trade of the plantation with the outside world.

In 1651, fellow Pilgrim William Bradford wrote of him:

“Francis Cooke is still living, a very old man, and hath seen his children’s children have children. After his wife came over with other of his children; he hath three still living by her, all married and have five children, so their increase is eight. And his son John which came over with him is married, and hath four children living.

1 Oct 1634 : ”Apoynted for laying out of highwayes :

For Duxbery side, Capt Miles Standish, Mr William Colier, Jonathan Brewster, William Palmer, Steuen Trace.

For Plimouth, John Jeney, Francis COOKE, [George KEMPTON’s son ], Manaseh Kempton, Edward BANGS, Nicholas SNOW, John Winsloe, James Hurst.
The high wayes to be layd out before the 15 of Nouember next.”

Francis Cooke was on the 1633 Plymouth list of freemen ahead of those admitted Jan 1 1632/33 and also on the Mar 7 1636/37 and 1639 lists of Plymouth freemen. He was also in the Plymouth section of the list of freemen of 1658.

In the tax list drawn up by order of the General Court held Jan 2 1632/33, he was taxed eighteen shillings to be paid in corn at six shillings per bushel. One year later, January 2, 1633/4, his tax was nine shillings and his son John was taxed nine shillings.

7 Jan 1632/33 – Robert Hicks and Francis Cooke were appointed arbitrators to settle a difference between Dr. Samuel Fuller and Peter Brown.

James Hurst, Francis Cooke and John Doane took the inventory of Martha Harding’s estate which was presented to the court October 28, 1633. James Hurst, Francis Cooke and Phineas Pratt took the inventory of Francis Eaton’s estate on November 8, 1633.

1 Oct 1634 – John Jenney, Francis Cooke and five others were appointed to lay out highways for Plymouth.

15 Nov 1636 – A law was passed requiring every man to register his cattle marks. Francis Cooke’s are recorded as follows: “ffrancis Cooke a hole in the left eare and a slit in he (*) right eare downe the middest of the eare.”

24 Dec 1636 – John Harmon, son of Edmond of London, contracted to became the apprentice of Francis Cooke for seven years “from the first of Octbr, 1636, to the exiraon of the said terme, and then to be dowble apprelled” and to received twelve bushels of corn from him.

7 Mar 1636 – Francis Cooke sued Mr. John Browne, the elder and Thomas Willet, together with several other men working for them: Thomas Lettis, James Walter, John Browne the younger and Thomas Teley. The charge was that on November 9, 1636 they had caused £10 in damages by abuse and injury to some of his cattle, viz: “vnreasonably abuse the cattle of the said Francis Cooke, insomuch that therevpon one cowe cast her calf, & hath lost her milk, & is in danger to be lost herself.” The jury found in Francis Cooke’s favor against John Browne the elder “3£ damnage, & 13s. 6d. charges of the suite.” On June 7, 1637 Francis Cooke was granted an execution against John Browne.

2 Jan 1637/38 – “Franc Cooke” served on several trial juries: Michaell Turner against John Davis for damage to a boat; Edward Dotey against John Holmes in a case of transpass; and John and Elisabeth Willis against William Bradford, Edward Winslow and Thomas Prince (as executors of a will) in a dispute about land.

7 Mar  1636/37  – “Frauncis Cooke complains against Thomas Lettis, James Walter, John Browne the yeonger, & Thomas Teley, and against Mr John Browne the elder & Thomas Willet, vpon an action of the case, to the damnag of x [shillings], for that they, the said Thomas Lettis, James Walter, John Browne the yeonger, & Thomas Teley, in the service of the said John Browne thelder, & Thomas Willet, did, about the ix’th day of November last, vnreasonably abuse the cattle of the said Francis Cooke, insomuch that therevpon one cowe cast her calf, & hath lost her milk, & is in danger to be lost herself. The jury found for the pltiff against John Browne thelder, and doe assesse him three pounds damnage, and the cost of the suite.

2 Mar 1640/41 – Under an agreement the Purchasers and Old Comers received grants of land in three areas near present-day Yarmouth, Dartmouth and Rehoboth, “the purchasers, or old comers, witnes two in especiall, thone beareing dated the third of March, 1639, thother in Decembr ye first, 1640…”

Francis Cooke’s name appears in two lists of the townsmen of Plymouth. The first is dated December 10, 1646. The second is undated, but was probably made between 1648 and 1659. Francis Cooke’s team is mentioned in a list of teams, with men assigned to each, for drawing wood; but part of the leaf is missing and the purpose is unclear. There is no date, but it was probably made between 1648 and 1652.

1 Aug 1648 [Francis Cooke was on an investigative panel for a murder case of the four-year old daughter of Richard and Allis Bishop] “These sheweth, that on July the 22cond, 1648, wee, whose names are vnderwritten, were sworne by Mr Bradford, Gouerner, to make inquiry of the death of the child of Allis Bishop, the wife of Richard Bishope.
“Wee declare, yt coming into the house of the said Richard Bishope, we saw at the foot of a ladder wh leadeth into an vpper chamber, much blood; and going vp all of us into the chamber, wee found a woman child, of about foure yeares of age, lying in her shifte vppon her left cheeke, with her throat cut … and the said Allis hath confessed to fiue of vs att one time, yt shee murdered the child with the said knife.
John HOWLAND, James Hurst, Robert Lee, John Shawe, Francis COOKE, John Cooke, James Cole, Gyells Rickard, Richard SPARROW, Thomas Pope, Francis Billington, William Nelson.
Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 2, p. 132.

Francis’ will was made  10 Jul 1659. He makes his wife Hester and son John executors. It is witnessed by Howland and Alden. Inventory was taken 1663 by Eph. Tuckham and Wm Crowe.

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:
1 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
2 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
3 I doe ordaine and appoint my Deare wife and my son John Cooke Joynt exequitors of this my said will
ffrancis Cooke
John Alden

An inventory was taken of his possessions by Ephraim Tinkham and William Crow on May 1, 1663. His total net worth at that time was 86 pounds, 11 shillings, and 1 pence.

£- s- d
Imprs 2 Iron potts & 1 Iron skillett
Item 2 paire of pott hookes
Item 7 pewter Dishes & 2 basons
Item 3 pewter potts
Item 1 pewter bason 2 porringers & 1 salt seller
Item 1 pewter Candlesticke
Item 2 Alcemy spoones
Item 1 lanthorn 1 gallypot
Item halfe a Dozen of trenchers and one stone bottle
Item 3 olde ladles
Item 1 woodden tray 6 trenchers
Item 1 morter and pestell
Item 4 wooden Dishes
Item 1 earthen pan and 2 earthen potts
Item 1 great brasse kettls
Item 2 smaller kettles
Item 3 wooden pailes
Item 1 pewter Chamber pott
Item 1 warming pan 1 frying pan
Item 1 thwart saw 1 hand saw
Item 1 paire of pincers 1 hammar
Item 1 Drawing Knife
Item 1 water Tubb
Item 1 axe
Item 1 great Chaire
Item 3 smale Chaires
Item 1 gridiron 1 fiershovell 1 paire of tonggs
Item 2 paire of pothangers
Item 2 old musketts
Item 1 paire of sheers 1 paire of sissers
Item 1 great bible & 4 old bookes
Item 1 brush
Item 1 file and 1 paire of pincers
Item 1 Table & forme
Item 1 old bucking Tubb
Item 1 tubb & 2 kimnells
Item 1 Chist
Item 1 pair of Cards and one baskett
Item 4 earthen potts 1 Cupp 2 wooden trayes
Item 1 Chern 1 old Cask & four bottles
Item 1 old trough & a forme
Item 1 woolen wheele & scales
Item 1 Iron Driping pan
Item 1 sifting trough and one old trough
Item 1 tray 1 tubb 1 box
Item 2 seives
Item 3 paire of sheep sheers
Item 3 paire of old Cards
Item 1 Cheespresse 1 Cheesfatt
Item 2 old ferkins & som sope
Item 2 old basketts & yarne
Item 1 feather bed & bolster
Item 1 paire of sheets
Item 1 Coverlid & blankett
Item 1 pound of Candles
Item 2 hoes
Item 1 Cushien
Item 2 Chistes & 3 boxes
Item 1 feather bed 1 bolster 1 pillow
Item 1 paire of sheets 10s. 1 blankett 1 coverlid 15
Item 2 old Curtaines & vallence
Item 2 paire of sheets
Item 3 halfe sheets
Item 2 hatts
Item 1 long coate 25s 2 short coates 30s
Item 1 old coate & 1 Jerkin
Item 2 paire of briches 1 paire of Drawers
Item old clothes stockens gloves shooes
Item 4 shirts & smale linnine
Item 1 bed & beding in the loft
Item 20 lb of woole & 2 paire of old stockens
Item 8 paire of stockens
Item some other old lumber about the house
Item 2 mares & one yearling mare
Item 2 Cowes & one Calfe
Item 1 2 yeare old and 1 yearling heiffers
Item 16 sheep
Item 5 lambes
Item 4 smale swine
The sume apprised is
Debtes Due to the estate from severall about
Due from the estate of severall about
summs totalis

Besides the housing and land; the goods and Chattels amount to eighty six pounds eleven shillings and a peney; apprised by us, Ephraim Tinkham his E T , William Crow

An agreement made June 8, 1666 between John Cooke, Jacob Cooke, Hester Wright the wife of Richard Wright and Mary Tompson the wife of John Tompson disposed of the land of Francis Cooke. The agreement mentions Hester Cooke 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.


1. Jane Cooke

Jane’s husband Experience Mitchell was born 1609 in Leyden, Holland. His parents were Thomas Mitchell and Margaret Williams. After Jane died, he married Mary before 1641 in Plymouth, MA?.. Experience died 4 Sep 1689 in Bridgewater, Plymouth, Mass.

Experience Mitchell arrived in Plymouth in 1623 on the Anne, and Banks writes that he was from Duke’s Place, London. Underhill (Small Descendants, 1:510), based in part on Dexter (p. 625), thought Experience was the son of Thomas Mitchell of Cambridge, England, who was a member of Francis Johnson’s church at Amsterdam, and that Experience was born in Leiden in 1611.

There is much controversy over the children of the two marriages of Experience Mitchell: “MFIP (Mayflower Families In Progress) , Cook:3 states Elizabeth Mitchell was b. 1628 and Thomas Mitchell c 1631. These two have been accepted by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants as Jane Cooke’s. Since Thomas was the only Mitchell child known to have received land from grandfather Francis Cook, doubt is cast on the remaining Mitchell children who were born later than Thomas.”

Ralph Wood takes exception, however, in his MF5G:12 volume, 1996, and includes Mary “presumed, quite safely, as a daughter of Jane, based on Mary’s approximate date of birth.”. Mary is born about 1632, presuming Jane married about 20. There is then a near 10-year span before the rest of Experience’s children are born, presumably, by his second wife, Mary,.

Another observation is that if Jane died very early in their marriage, Experience was left with near infant children–quite a hardship in any event, and especially so in those days. Many such men would hasten to find a new wife and mother for such small children, and female companionship for themselves, however, Experience doesn’t remarry until 1640/41.

2. John Cooke  

John’s wife Sarah Warren was born 1614 in England.   Her parents were Richard Warren and Elizabeth Walker.  She arrived with her mother on the Anne in 1623.  Sarah died  25 Jul 1686 in Dartmouth, Mass.

Richard Warren (c. 1580–1628) was a passenger on the Mayflower  in 1620. He settled in Plymouth Colony and was among ten passengers of the Mayflower landing party with Myles Standish at Cape Cod on Nov 11, 1620.  Warren co-signed the Mayflower Compact  and was one of nineteen (of forty-one) signers who survived the first winter.

His wife’s maiden name was Elizabeth Walker, the daughter of Augustine Walker of Great Amwell, Hertford; she was baptised 1583 in Baldock,Hertfordshire, England, died October 2, 1673.  She and his first five children, all daughters, came to America in the ship Anne in 1623. Once in America, they then had two sons before Richard’s death in 1628.

Although the details are limited, Richard Warren and wife, Elizabeth, and children were mentioned in official records or books of the time period.  All seven of their children survived and had families, with thousands of descendants, including: President Ulysses S. Grant, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin,  astronaut Alan Shepard, author Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie series), actor Richard GereLavinia Warren, also known as Mrs. Tom Thumb, educator and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and the Wright brothers.

Warren is among the less documented of the Mayflower pioneers. Clearly a man of rank, Warren was accorded by Governor William Bradford the prefix “Mr.,” pronounced Master, used in those times to distinguish someone because of birth or achievement. From his widow’s subsequent land transactions, we can assume that he was among the wealthier of the original Plymouth settlers. And yet, Bradford did not mention him in his History of the Plimouth Plantation except in the List of Passengers.

In Mourt’s Relation, published in 1622, we learn that Warren was chosen, when the Mayflower stopped at Cape Cod before reaching Plymouth, to be a member of the exploring party among 10 passengers (and 8 crew), and he was described as being “of London” among 3 men. Charles Edward Banks, in Ancestry and Homes of the Pilgrim Fatherswrites: “Richard Warren came from London and was called a merchand of that city (by Mourt) Extensive research in every available source of information — registers, chancery, and probate, in the London courts, proved fruitless in an attempt to identify him.”

He was not of the Leiden Pilgrims, but joined them in Southampton, England to sail on the Mayflower.

Richard Warren received his acres in the Division of Land in 1623. In the 1627 Division of Lands and Cattle, in May 1627, “RICHARD WARREN of the Mayflower” was given “one of the black heifers, 2 she-goats, and a grant of 400 acres  of land”  at the Eel River (Plymouth, Massachusetts). The Warren house built in that year (1627) stood at the same location as the present house; it was re-built about 1700, at the head of Clifford Road, with its back to the sea, and later owned by Charles Strickland (in 1976).[2]

Warren died a year after the division, in 1628, the only record of his death being found as a brief note in Nathaniel Morton’s 1669 book New England’s Memorial, in which Morton writes:

“This year [1628] died Mr. Richard Warren, who hath been mentioned before in this book, and was a useful instrument; and during his life bore a deep share in the difficulties and troubles of the first settlement of the plantation of New Plimouth.”

John was the last male survivor of the Mayflower passengers. John’s daughter Esther was the first wife of our ancestor Thomas TABER.  John was a part time Baptist minister at Dartmouth. There is a memorial plaque to his memory on Pilgrim Street, Fairhaven, MA. In 1637, he volunteered in Capt. Prince’s company, for the Pequot War. In 1639, was elected one of the governor’s assistants.  When the schism arose in the church at Plymouth (of which he was at the time an elder), in regard to baptism, he took sides with the opposition, afterwards known as Baptist, and was excommunicated. 1654, as one of the deputies of Plymouth, he made the report of the Committee on the Affairs between the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies. In 1662, he removed to Dartmouth, and was appointed by the Court the first magistrate of the town, an office which he held for many years; and was deputy from that town to the General Court for a long succession of years. Previously, he had held the office of deputy from Plymouth for a number of years,–from 1640 until his removal.

On the breaking-out of Philip’s War, the town of Dartmouth was one of the first to feel its effects, and the house of John Cook was the first to suffer; being burned to the ground. On the division of Capt. Church’s force in this neighborhood, when in pursuit of the Indians, soon after, one party was ordered to “rendezvous at the ruins of John Cook’s house.” As a prominent person in colonial affairs and in the new settlement, it is very probable that he had increased the hostility of the Indians, having had much to do with them in the purchase of lands, &c.; as in 1665  he was appointed by the Court, with the Treasurer, to treat with King Philip about the sale of some lands in behalf of the colony. In the same year, he purchased for other parties the Island of “Nakatay;” and the Court ordered, that, unless they pay him for his trouble and expense in the same, he was to have it for his own use.

In 1668, he was ordered by the Court to establish and maintain a ferry between Dartmouth and Rhode Island; and in the same year he took the testimony of parties, and established the boundaries of the town, which had long been in dispute with the Indians. 1668, he was ordered to appear at court, and answer for trespass upon the lands of Samuel Fuller. I mention this case as something to the credit of the family, as, in a long course of years, this appears to be the only instance of any one of this name being engaged as defendant, for any cause whatever, in any of the courts. In 1672, he seems to be in a controversy with some of the settlers of the town. I transcribe from the records:–

“July 1, 1672 at this court, in the controversay between John Cook and several of the purchasers of Dartmouth, the court appointed Samuel Hicks, John Smith, and Pelig Trip, to settle the differences. They ordered that John Cook should have Ram Island, before given him by the town for former services, also 11 pounds for his services and disbursments, and 3 pounds for his damages and trouble, which 14 pounds shal be paid to him or his order in good merchantable Pork, Beef and corn, in equal proportions, at or before the middle of Oct. next, or otherwise to his content, and in return he should deliver up the deeds of the lands to whoever the Town should appoint to receive them.”

That he was not at variance with his neighbors, in the following year, 1673, he was again elected one of the two selectmen of the town, and deputy to the General Court at Plymouth. 1674, he settled the estate of Mrs. Elizabeth Warren, his mother-in-law. Same year, he had liberty of the Court, with Capt. Bradford and shal be paid to him or his order in good merchantable Pork, Beef and corn, in equal proportions, at or before the middle of Oct. next, or otherwise to his content, and in return he should deliver up the deeds of the lands to whoever the Town should appoint to receive them.”

Dartmouth was  almost totally destroyed at the breaking-out of Philip’s War.  On 5 Oct 1675 “John Cook, as magistrate of the town of Dartmouth, is ordered by the Court to communicate to the inhabitants their orders in regard to rebuilding and settling the town again.” 1677, he was appointed by the town to receive their portion of the funds raised for the relief of the Colony by “divers Christians” in Ireland (occasioned by the wars). In the controversy of the town with Dr. Cooper of Newport, R.I., for his attendance and services on William Dio, a pauper, John Cook, as magistrate, is ordered by the Court, March 5, 1678, to call a town-meeting of the inhabitants, for the purpose of receiving money to pay the bill, some time before October. His daughter Sarah married Arthur Hathaway, Nov. 20, 1652. He died, according to Dartmouth Records, Nov, 23, 1695.

Click here for John Cooke’s last will and testament

4. Josiah Cooke

Josiah’s wife Elizabeth Ring was born 23 Feb 1603 in Ufford, Suffolk, England. Her parents were our ancestors William RING and Mary DURRANT. Elizabeth died 28 Dec 1687 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass.

Robert Charles Anderson, in his 1995  The Great Migration Begins cited George Ernest Bowman’s comments of 1901 as still being definitive. In a footnote in volume 3 of  Mayflower Descendant Bowman presented a simple and convincing argument. Not only had he (and he must have been the premier student of the Mayflower in his time if not of all time) never found “a single record which even remotely indicates the existence of any kinship,” but he had found several records which prove “conclusively that they were not father and son.” Of these Bowman cites three. There is a court case in which Francis was the plaintiff and in which Josias sat on the jury and Bowman points out that the court would not allow a son to sit on a jury judging the father. Bowman cites an agreement which the court would have required to be signed by all of Francis’s living children which Josias, who was alive, did not sign, and a deed which states that it is made by all the children and which does not include Josias. (MD 3:97)

However there are old books, some made newly available on CD and online which make the claim that Josias is a son of Francis. One such is  Signers of the Mayflower Compact  by Annie Arnoux Haxtun, which was first published in 1897-1899 and was reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company. “The argument now [that Josias is not the son of Francis] is founded not upon what was said, but what was not.  Some say certainty is self-evident and requires no assertion, but I’m including because the question comes up quite often.

5. Elizabeth Cooke

Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, p. 25-27, has a discussion regarding Elizabeth and Hester. There were only three children with their mother on the Anne in 1623. Jacob and Jane are known, and the third was either Elizabeth (and then Hester was born in Plymouth) or it was Hester (and then Elizabeth had died before leaving Holland). Elizabeth was not listed in the Cattle Division so definitely she died by 22 May 1627. Since Hester later successfully filed suit to share in grants to children born in Plymouth, it is probable she was born in Plymouth after 1623. That would mean Elizabeth was was the third child on the Anne, hence alive in 1623.

6. Jacob Cooke

Jacob’s first wife Damaris Hopkins was born 1627 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass. Her parents were Stephen HOPKINS  (Wiki) and Elizabeth Fisher. Damaris died 18 Nov 1669 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass

Jacob’s second wife Elizabeth Lettice was born 1636 in Lincolnshire, England.  Her parents were Thomas Lettice and Anna [__?__].  Elizabeth died 31 Oct 1693 in Swansea, Bristol, Mass

7. Hester Cooke

Hester Cook Reenactor

Hester’s husband Richard Wright was born 1608 in Norfolk, England. His parents were Richard Wright and Margaret [__?__]. Richard died 9 Jun 1691 in Plymouth, Mass.

Ralph Wood, in Mayflower Families Through Five Generations suggests that Francis’ daughter Elizabeth made the trip to New England before dying. (John came with Francis in 1620, 3 children with Francis’ wife Hester on the Anne in 1623: Jane, Jacob and either Elizabeth or Hester.) Birth dates of 1620 for Hester must postulate that Elizabeth died before coming to New England, so Hester was born before Francis came. However, Richard and Hester Wright appear to have shared in a grant of land to children born in Plymouth (and were sued by Family:John Tomson and Mary Cooke (1) to share in it-PCR 4:54), suggesting she was born after coming to New England, and consequently that Elizabeth was one of the 3 children on the Anne. Next child, Mary, based on age at death, born Mar 1626 to Mar 1627. So Hester born after May 1624 (9 months after the family reunited) and before Jun 1625 (to clear the stage for Mary). Hester married in 1644, and since legal age for women is 18, she was born by 1626, which is easily satisfied either way.

Francis Cooke, in Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995).

One of the three children for which Francis received an acre land in 1623, and therefore conceived before Francis left on the Mayflower in 1620.

This source does not explicitly allocate this land to Hester, as is implied by this abstract, only to the part of the family that came on the Anne. It cites PCR 12:4-5, which only notes that the grants are made to Francis Cooke, 2 acres from being on the Mayflower, 4 acres for those who came on the Anne. However, this source does show a birth of Mary in “say 1620”, but with no source cited, so it is not clear what this estimate is based on. The qualifier “say” usually indicates situations where a child is inserted in a likely gap between other siblings. Elizabeth is shown being born but no death or any further information. In sum, this site does not seem to have any real evidence to show whether Elizabeth or Hester was the third child on the Anne.

8. Mary COOKE (See John TOMSON‘s page)


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25 Responses to Francis Cooke

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  16. Kim Harper says:

    My research has led me back to Elizabeth Cooke: daughter of Francis Cooke & wife Hester Mahieu. Are you absolutely certain that Elizabeth died in Plymouth? . . . Before 1627? This conflicts with our family information. I have her married to my ancestor Alexander Lillington (an early deputy governor & judge in the Carolinas). Please let me know where Elizabeth Cooke is supposedly buried. If she is not my ancestor, I would like to know for certain.

    Any assistance or information you can provide regarding this daughter Elizabeth will be greatly appreciated.

    Kim Harper

    • markeminer says:

      Hi Kim,

      Wikipedia says Elizabeth was baptized in Leiden on December 26, 1611. There is no further record.

      Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, p. 25-27, has a discussion regarding Elizabeth and Hester. There were only three children with their mother on the Anne in 1623. Jacob and Jane are known, and the third was either Elizabeth (and then Hester was born in Plymouth) or it was Hester (and then Elizabeth had died before leaving Holland). Elizabeth was not listed in the Cattle Division so definitely she died by 22 May 1627. Since Hester later successfully filed suit to share in grants to children born in Plymouth, it is probable she was born in Plymouth after 1623. That would mean Elizabeth was was the third child on the Anne, hence alive in 1623.

      I added a discussion of Elizabeth and Hester from

      Cheers, Mark

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  24. RandyC says:

    You have well done articles here, I hit your site regularly doing research.

    Just a question on this page, do you know where that “portrait” of Francis Cooke comes from?

    Thanks again for your work

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