John Cooke, "Mayflower" Passenger

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John Cooke

Also Known As: "Junior - the younger of the town"
Birthplace: Leiden, Rhynland, Holland, Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden
Death: November 23, 1695 (88)
Dartmouth, Bristol County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, Colonial America
Place of Burial: Fairhaven, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Francis Cooke, "Mayflower" Passenger and Hester Cooke
Husband of Sarah Cooke
Father of Sarah Hathaway; Elizabeth Wilcox; Esther Taber; Mary Taber and Mercy West
Brother of Child Cooke; Jane Mitchell; Elizabeth Cooke; Jacob Cooke; Hester Wright and 1 other

Occupation: Magistrate, Minister, Yeoman, Reverend, Preacher
Immigration: With his father on the Mayflower, 1620/1
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Cooke, "Mayflower" Passenger

John Cooke, oldest child of Francis Cooke and Hester Mahieu, was born ca 1607 in Leiden, South Holland and baptized there between Jan and 31 Mar 1607. He died at Dartmouth, MA on 23 Nov 1695. John’s will was dated 9 Nov 1694, probated 16 Apr 1696. It mentions his wife Sarah; son-in-law Stehpen West & wife Mercey my daughter; Jonathan Delano; grandson Thomas Taber; granddaughter Hester Perry.

In Fairhaven, North of the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge, there is a large boulder on which is affixed a bronze table with this inscription: "First White Settler of this town."

Who was John Cooke?

John Cooke, 14, came to America in 1620 aboard the Mayflower. In 1652, Cooke was among the 36 Plymouth colonists who purchased Dartmouth Township from Wampanoag leader Massasoit. Cooke had five daughters whose families — Hathaway, Taber, West and Wilcox — were among the most prominent in SouthCoast. At the time of Cooke’s death in 1695, he was the last surviving male passenger of the Mayflower. Taber family tradition says Cooke was buried at what is now Cooke Memorial Park in Fairhaven. Some evidence suggests Cooke was more likely to have been buried on Hathaway property in what is now Acushnet. His actual burial place is unknown. - Source: Fairhaven Office of Tourism


John Cooke was the son of Francis Cooke (1584-1663) and Hester Mahieu (1585-1666).

“ John Cooke, the heir unto the said Francis Cooke”, bp. Leiden Walloon Church January-March 1607 [NS] [MD 27:153 (note that Bowman goes slightly astray in his comments on this baptism)]; in the Plymouth tax list of 27 March 1634 assessed 9s. [PCR 1:28]; m. Plymouth 28 March 1634 Sarah Warren [PCR 1:29], daughter of RICHARD WARREN [PM 477; MD 45:54].

In his will, dated 7 December 1659 and proved 5 June 1663, Francis Cooke bequeathed to "my dear and loving wife" all moveables and cattle and to "Hester my wife . . . my lands both upland and meadow lands which at present I possess during her life"; "my dear wife and my son John Cooke" to be joint executors [MD 2:24-25, citing PCPR 2:2: 1].

Sarah Warren married John Cooke on March 28, 1634 in Plymouth.

John Cooke and his wife, Sarah Warren, had 5 daughters, and no sons:

  1. Sarah (b. abt. 1635, d. 1713). She married on November 20/1652, Arthur Hathaway, born 1631, died 1712 at Marshfield, Mass. 6 children,
  2. Elizabeth (b. abt. 1635, d. 6 December 1715). She married on November 28/1661, Daniel Wilcox, who died July 2/1702, son of Edward Wilcox, and they had ten children. She was a direct ancestor of Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of England.
  3. Hester (Esther) (b. 16 August 1650, d. 1672). She married in 1667, Thomas Taber, born February 1645, died November 11/1730, son of Philip and Lydia (Masters) Taber, see subject 336. She was a direct ancestor of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  4. Mary (b. abt 1652, d. between 26 April 1708 and 25 January 1714/15): She married in 1667-8, Philip Taber, born 1644, died 1693, brother of her sister Hester's husband.
  5. Mercy (b. 25 July 1654, d. 21 November 1733). She married in 1682, Stephen West, born 1654, died 1748, son of Bartholomew and Catherine (Almy) West.


Biographical summary

John Cooke was born in late 1606 or early 1607, and was baptized at the French Walloon church in Leiden, Holland between January and March, 1607.

John spent his early years in Leiden, Holland, and came with his father on the Mayflower in 1620 at the age of about 13 or 14. John was then raised in Plymouth; his mother and sisters came over on the ship Anne in 1623, along with his future wife Sarah Warren. He would marry Sarah, the daughter of Mayflower passenger Richard Warren, in 1634 at Plymouth. They would go on to have five children all born in Plymouth over the next twenty years. John would become a deacon in the Plymouth Church, and in 1636, Samuel Eaton (who was still breast-feeding when he came on the Mayflower) was apprenticed to him.

At some point, during the late 1640s, John Cooke "fell into the error of Anabaptistry", and was cast out of the Church. The Plymouth Church records state that "This John Cooke although a shallow man became a cause of trouble and dissention in our Church and gave just occasion of their casting him out; so that Solomon's words proved true in him that one sinner destroyeth much good."

John Cooke removed from Plymouth and took up residence in Dartmouth, where he died in 1695. His wife Sarah was still alive in 1696, called "a very ancient woman"; her exact death date was not recorded but it probably was not long after.


  • John Cooke was born in 1607 in Leyden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands.
  • He was christened on 1 Jan 1607 in Leyden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands.
  • He died on 9 Nov 1694 in Plymouth, Plymouth, MA.
  • He was buried on 18 Dec 1694.
  • 1620- Mayflower passenger ""Led ashore by his father's hand." John came over on the Mayflower with his father Francis Cooke. He was a young teen and was raised in Plymouth.
  • He was called "Junior" to distinguish him from an older John Cooke, who came later.
  • 1634 - Marriage in Plymouth, MA., USA to: Sarah Warren-3/28/1634daughter of: Richard Warren and Elizabeth, also passengers of the Mayflower
  • 1637- Served in the Pequot War.
  • 1657- Excommunicated and became an Anabaptist. Espoused the religious principals of Obadiah Holmes and Roger Williams..
  • Became Deacon of Plymouth Church (Puritan) Abt. 1630- excommunicated Abt. 1757. Became Baptist. Was a Baptist Preacher Abt. 1680- established a Baptist Church circ. 1841, in what is now known as,Tiverton, near Adamsville.
  • Served on juries and was a long time Plymouth Deputy.
  • 1664, was granted 15 acres of land near Dartmouth and held significant other land deeds.
  • Between 1653 and 1660, he moves to a portion of Dartmouth now known as, Oxford Village, Fairhaven.
  • In 1672, he was granted ownership of Ram, now known as Popes Island.
  • Abt. 1666, John becomes a Magistrate.
  • Served several years as a "Selectman". Was a Representative to General Court ten times.
  • Abt. 1675, he converted his home into a Garrison, prior to King Phillips War.
  • He was the last surviving male passenger that had arrived on the Mayflower, death II/23/1695.
  • Will dated: 11/23/1695, was proved on 4/16/1696. .


John’s will was dated 9 Nov 1694, probated 16 Apr 1696. It mentions his wife Sarah; son-in-law Stehpen West & wife Mercey my daughter; Jonathan Delano; grandson Thomas Taber; granddaughter Hester Perry.

Re: Elizabeth Cooke Wilcox: a deed, dated 17 July 1673, by John Cooke, yeoman, of Dartmouth to Daniel Wilcocks '...and Elizabeth my Daughter now wife to the said Daniell Wilcockes...".

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 Mercey my Daughter one full Third part of a whole Share of lands in the Township of Dartmouth with all my houseing and Orchards "hereunto belonging: with all the priviledges & appurces belonging to the same to them their heires & Assignes 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 & assigne 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 Township of Rochester. to him his heires & assignee 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 O his mark
John Cooke (seal) Thomas Taber

memorandum that on the 16th of Aprill 1696

Then appeared Aaron Savory & Thomas Taber both of Dartmouth, Before John Saffin Esqr Judge of Probate ot 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

Jno Saffin John Cary Registr
Thus Entered & Engrosed may the: 8 th 1696 By Jno Cary Registr December the 7 th 1696 A true Inventory of the Estate Goods & Chattels of John Cooke late of Dartmouth Deceased



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.

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John Cooke, "Mayflower" Passenger's Timeline

January 1, 1607
Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands
January 1, 1607
Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands
January 1, 1607
Leyden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
January 1607
Leiden, Rhynland, Holland, Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden
January 1607
Walloon Church, Leiden, Rhynland, Holland, Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden (present The Netherlands)
Age 3
Leyden, South Holland, Netherlands
Age 3
Leyden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands