FRANCIS COOKE (1583-1650)
(Mayflower Passenger) IN 17TH CENTURY RECORDS
Francis Cook was born in 1583 in Blyth, Nottinghamshire, two miles southest of the parish of Scrooby, one of the cradles of nonconformist thinking, and a few miles from Sherwood Forest. His father died the year Francis was born.
In 1586, Richard Clyfton, a very prominent "forward thinking" intellectual became rector at Badworth parish about eight miles east of Blyth. There is no doubt that he bacame a prominent influence in the surrounding area for introducing puritan ideas. Three years later in 1589, William Brewster, another "forward thinker," returned to Scrooby. He had spent nine years away from the little village where his father was postmaster living at Scrooby manor. William had been at Cambridge from 1580 to 1583 but never graduated. He went to London to serve Secretary of State William Davison for two years, then with Davison to Holland on assignment for a year, and finally back to London from 1587 to 1589 aiding Davison, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London as a scapegoat for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots in 1587. During these early years Francis Cooke must have been influenced by Clyfton and Brewster.
The forward thinking ideas were based on sermons by men such as Dr. Laurence Chaderton, an English poet-scholar. He said of the English church that it was "a huge masse of old and stinkinge workes, of conjuring, witchcraft, corsery, charming, blaspheming the holy name of God, swearing and forswearing, profaning of the Lord's Sabbothe, disobediance to superiours, contempt of inferiours; murther, Manslaghter, robberies, adulterye, Fornication, covenant-breaking, false witness-bearing, lieing..."
Queen Elizabeth ruled England at this time and was relatively disinterested in the abstractions of religion. She was generally not very pious and loathed solemn moralists. She loved pomp and show, wit and gaiety, and the high spirit of a lusty age where she greatly encouraged the arts. She had one lover after another, enjoyed "strong waters" and beer, swore like a trooper on occassion, and delighted in telling bawdy stories. She demanded absolute uniformity of belief and no one could preach without a license. No unlicensed printing was allowed and the Church and State were one. It was during her reign, in 1595 that a group of nonconformists fled London for the freedom of Holland setting in Amsterdam.
Sometime prior to the summer of 1603, Francis left the rural country of Nottinghamshire and went to Holland to join with the other separatists. This may have been at the prompting of his neighbor, William Brewster, who had been there before and wanted Francis to go in advance to lead the way and test the water. while the bulk of the separatists were living in Amsterdam, there must have been a small group in Leyden, a college town twenty-five miles to the southwest by road.
In 1603 Queen Elizabeth died in her seventieth year and was succeeded by James VI of Scotland, the first-born son of Mary Queen of Scots, who became James I. On his way to assume the trown James passed through Scrooby and the whole countryside turned out to see the new monarch. In the case of the people of Scrooby there was much anticipation that james would right the wrongs of the past monarchy concerning religion. A Millenary Petition with eight hundren reformist ministers signatures begged James I to correct abuses that had crept into the church such as the continued use of papist vestments, want of weekly sermons by competent preachers, use of the ring in the marriage ceremony, inclusion of the Apocrypha in the Holy Book, and the generally lax and "profane" observance of the Sabbath.
Early in 1604, prompted by the petition of King called the Hampton Court Conference where the majority of the traditional church leadership were successful in locking out most of the reformers. The end result was that James I responded to the puritans with, "I will make them conform, or I will harry them out of the land." The only successful thing that came out of the conference was a commitment to authorize a new translation of the Bible which eventually, seven years later, became the King James Version.
In 1607 the Sheriff of Nottingham became active in persecuting the Scrooby congregation and those in the vicinity. Several were thrown into jail and there residences were watched. the climate became so unbearable that the group decided to leave England and settle in Holland that had more liberal laws about religion. so late in the year Clyfton and most of his disciples quietly disposed of their property and made preparations to leave. They contracted with a Captain to transport them from the English port of Boston, but when they arrived were betrayed and spend many days in detention. Brewster, Clyfton, and five others were bound over to stand trial, but were never indicted and eventually released.
The next year, 1608, the group tried again by going north to Hull where they had contracted with a Dutch Captain. The women and children were floated down a channel on a barge and the men hiked overland. The barge ran aground short of the harbor, but the Captain said that the men might as well board the ship and wait for the tide to rise, freeing the barge so the women and children could come to the ship. About half of the men were on the ship when a mob suddenly appeared that dispersed some of the men, attacked the barges, and sent the ship packing. It was a dreadful experience, but by the summer all those choosing exxile had made their excape to Holland.
Perhaps from the start the Scrooby group had intended to relocate to Leyden to join Francis but some doctrinal disputes between the separatists already in Amsterdam referred to as the "Ancient Brethren" and Brewsters bunch resulted in another move. In February of 1609, John Robinson, the pastor of the Scrooby group visited Leyden and asked the burgonmasters for permission to settle in the city. By May of 1609 the Scrooby group had settled in Leyden with the exception of Clyfton, who decided to stay with the Ancient Brethren.
Francis and the prigrims in Leyden worked at whatever they could but were never successful in establishing a very successful economic foothold. During these years they lived "in a comfortable condition, injoying much sweete & delightfull societie & spirituall comforte togeather in ye ways of God, under ye able ministrie and prudente govermente of Mr. John Robinson & Mr. William Brewster...So as they grew in knowledge & other gifts & graces of ye spirit of God, lived togeather in peace, & love, and holiness." Robinson preached three times a week, twice on Sundays, and Thursday evenings. His disciples held him "in precious estimation, as his worth & wisdom did deserve." In addition to his "singuler abilities in divine things" he had a level head in business affairs and other worldly matters. he guided the flock past many pitfalls and was a "commone father unto them." Brewster was likewise esteembed as a leader and guide.
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. Information taken from : Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 27, 145-153.
Hester Mahieu Cooke's name appears in 1646 in a description of the relationship among the various Protestant churches of Europe : "And for the French churches, that we held and do hold communion with them, take notice of our practice at Leyden, viz. that one Samuel Terry was received from the French church there into communion with us. Also the wife of Francis Cooke, being a Walloon, holds communion with the church at Plymouth, as she came from the French, to this day, by virtue of communion of churches." Edward Winslow's Brief Narration (1646) as printed in : Alexander Young, Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers (Boston : Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1841), p. 393.
"On New Year's Day, 1608, among those admitted to communion by letter of transfer from another Walloon congregation were `Francois Cooke et Esther sa femme, de Norwich' ... This entry informs us that before 1608, the Cooke-Mahieu couple had lived in Norwich among the Walloons there. They evidently left for Norwich on 8 August 1606, as a note in the Walloon Library of Leiden mentions their departure on that date with letters of transfer ... Both the departure with attestation and the return to communion in Leiden with a similar letter indicate that Francois Cooke, as well as Hester his wife, was a member of the Leiden Walloon congregation. The Cookes evidently returned briefly to Leiden, between the quarterly dates of communion, which they missed, in order to have their son Jean baptized within the Leiden Walloon congregation with family as godparents to raise him in case he became orphaned. "Scholars at the Leiden Municipal Archives discovered two other children of Francois and Hester besides their son Jean : Elizabeth, baptized on 26 December 1611, and a child, whose name is not given, buried in the Pieterskerk on 20 May 1608 ... The burial record imparts the further information that at that time Franchoys Couck lived on the Levendaal, a canal on the southeast side of Leiden. The Cookes' other children, Jane, Hester, Jacob, and Mary, were presumably baptized in the Separatist congregaton of Leiden, for which no records are preserved, although it is possible that one or two might have been born in Norwich, or some may have been born in the colony of New Plymouth ... Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs. "The Pilgrims and other English in Leiden records : some new Pilgrim documents." The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, July 1989, p. 195-214. [Dr. Bangs' article also discusses possible family connections between the Mahieus and other Pilgrim families, including the Delanos.]
Many of the group became Leyden citizens in order to join the guilds which controlled all skilled employment and independent trade in the city. Because of the freedoms of expression around them there were many ideas that came into conflict with the saints. Even though the separatists enjoyed the company of any and all other sects, Robinson was continually called upon to defend the groups forward thinking ideas. in England freedom of the press was strictly denied but in 1616 Brewster and others felt the need to set up a publishing house. The Pilgrim Press published many texts but the one that caused the greatest difficulty for the saints was the "Perth Assembly." It was exported to England in various undercover ways and was "written with much scorn and reproach" of His Majesty and the bishops. King James determined that William Brewster was behind the publication and put pressure on the Dutch government to suppress the group and find Brewster, who went into hiding.
By the year 1617, the Leyden group began to feel the strain of living in a foreign country. They were not getting ahead economically and some of the group were falling away because of hardship. Also, as they were beginning to be assimilated into the Dutch culture, at least their children were and loosing their identity. The group began to discuss the idea of finding a place where they might live more comfortably and still enjoy freedom of religion. There was talk in England royal circles about wanting to establish colonies in the new World of America. Some in the group favored such an idea but cother found the concept totally impossible. some said that the dangers were great "but not desperate; the difficulties were many, but not invincible." They agreed that such a step should not be taken "rashly or lightly, as many have done, for suriosite or hope of gaine." This group was different that most of the rest; "Their ends were good and honourable; their calling, lawfull & urgente; and there fore they might expecte ye blessing of God in their proceding. Yea, though they should lose their lives in this action, yet might they have comforte in the same...All great & honourable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be both enterprized and overcome with answerable courage."
"The names of those which came over first, in the year 1620, and were by the blessing of God the first beginners and in a sort the foundation of all the Plantations and Colonies in New England; and their families ... "Francis Cooke and his son John; but his wife and other children came afterwards." William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647, ed. Samuel Eliot Morison (New York : Knopf, 1991), p. 441-3.
Hester Mahieu Cooke and her children arrived in Plymouth in 1623 on the Anne.
Francis Cooke : Signer of the Mayflower Compact
"I shall ... begin with a combination made by them before they came ashore ; being the first foundation of their government in this place. Occasioned partly by the discontented and mutinous speeches that some of the strangers amongst them had let fall from them in the ship: That when they came ashore they would use their own liberty, for none had power to command them, the patent they had being for Virginia and not for New England ... And partly that such an act by them done, this their condition considered, might be as firm as any patent, and in some respects more sure. "The form was as followeth : IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620." William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647, ed. Samuel Eliot Morison (New York : Knopf, 1991), p. 75-6.
Francis Cooke & the early years of Plymouth Colony
"Friday, the 16th [February 16, 1621], was a fair day; but the northly wind continued, which continued the frost. This day, after noon, one of our people being a fowling, and having taken a stand by a creek side in the reeds, about a mile and a half from our plantation, there by him twelve Indians, marching towards our plantation, and in the woods he heard the noise of many more. He lay close till they passed, and then with what speed he could he went home and gave the alarm. So the people abroad in the woods returned and armed themselves, but saw none of them; only, toward the evening, they made a great fire about the place where they were first discovered. Captain Miles Standish and Francis Cooke being at work in the woods, coming 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." Mourt's Relation, ed. Jordan D. Fiore (Plymouth, Mass. : Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1985), p. 44.
Francis Cooke and the 1623 Division of Land
The 1623 Division of Land marked the end of the Pilgrims' earliest system of land held in common by all. Governor Bradford explains it in this way "And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression." William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647, ed. Samuel Eliot Morison (New York : Knopf, 1991), p. 75-6.
Plymouth Colony Records, Deeds, &c., Vol. I 1627-1651 is the oldest record book of the Plymouth settlement. It begins with the 1623 Division of Land, recorded in the handwriting of Governor William Bradford. The lands of Francis Cooke were among those designated as "their grounds which came first over in the May Floure, according as thier lotes were case" and described in this way "these lye on the South side of the brooke to the baywards." The name of Francis Cooke also appears in the list of "their grounds which came ouer in the shipe called the Anne," which was the ship on which his wife and children arrived. Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 12, p. 5
3 January 1627 : "it was agreed in a full Court; about deuision of lands as foloweth. "That the first deuision of the Acers should stand, and continue firme, according to the former deuision made ... [This is followed by several paragraphs detailing how lands should be laid out and distributed.] "Lastly, that euery man of ye surueighers haue a peck of corne for euery share of land laid out by them; to be payed by the owner therof when the same is layd out. "The names of the layers-out were these. William Bradford, Edward Winslow, John Howland, Francis Cook, Josua Pratt, Edward Bangs." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 12, p. 13-14.
Francis Cooke & the 1627 Division of Cattle
Plymouth Colony Records, Deeds, &c., Vol I 1627-1651 also tells of the 1627 Division of Cattle: "At a publique court held the 22th of May it was concluded by the whole Companie, that the cattell wch were the Companies, to wit, the Cowes & the Goates should be equally devided to all the psonts of the same company ... & so the lotts fell as followeth, thirteene psonts being pportioned to one lot ... "The first lot fell to 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."
Francis Cooke : a 1626 Purchaser
"In 1621, King James I authorized the Council for New England to plant and govern land in this area. This Council granted the Peirce Patent, confirming the Pilgrims' settlement and governance of Plymouth. Peirce and his associates, the merchant adventurers, were allotted 100 acres for each settler the Company transported. 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. The Pilgrims negotiated a more favorable contract with the Company in 1626. In 1627, 53 Plymouth freemen, known as "The Purchasers," agreed to buy out the Company over a period of years. In turn, 12 "Undertakers" (8 from Plymouth and 4 from London) agreed to pay off Plymouth's debts in return for trade benefits.
The list we have of the 1626 Purchasers includes the name "Francis Cooke."
Francis Cooke and the Plymouth Colony Records
7 January 1632-3 : "Whereas there were divers accounts between Samuell Fuller, the elder, & Peter Browne, wherein they differ, the said Samuell being plaintiffe, upon thexamining of things, they agreed to refer their cause to Robt Heeks & Francis Cooke, & to haue the hearing of their recconings, and according as they shall thinke meete & just to make even & sett streight the same at or before the last of this prnt moneth ..." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, p. 8.
25 March 1633 : "According to an order in Court held the 2d of January, in the seaventh yeare of the raigne of o'r soveraigne lord, Charles, by the grace of God King of Engl., Scotl., France, & Irel., defendor of the faith, &c, the psons heere under menconed were rated for publike use by the Gov'r, Mr Will Bradford ...to be brought in by each pson as they are heere under written, rated in corne at vi s[hillings] p bushell, at or before the last of November next ensuing... Francis Cooke ... 00 : 18 [shillings] : 00." In March of 1634, Francis Cooke was "rated" only 9 shillings. Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, p. 9-10, 27-28.
28 October 1633 : "A true Inventory of the goods & Chattels of Martha Harding deceased as they were prised by James Hurst ffr Cooke & John Coke & presented upon Oath at a Court..." and on 25 November 1633 : "An Inventory of the goods & Chattels of ffr Eaton Carpenter of Plymouth as it was taken by James Hurst, ffranc Cooke & Phineas Prat..." Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 1, p. 82, 197-198.
23 July 1634 : "Apoynted for laying out of highwayes : ... For Plimouth, John Jeney, Fra: Cooke, Manaseh Kempton, Ed. Bangs, Nicolas Snow, John Winsloe, James Hurst." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, p. 31.
24 December 1636 : "Joh. Harmon, the son of Edm. Harmon, of London, tayler, acknowledged himselfe to be the apprentise of Francis Cooke, of New Plymouth, for seaven yeares, viz, from the first of Octob'r, 1636, to the expiracon of the said terme, and then to be dowble apprelled by the said Francis, who is also to giue him twelue bushels of corne." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, p. 46.
["A law was passed by the Colony Court, November 15, 1636, `That every mans marke of his Cattle be brought to the towne book where he lives ...'] "ffrancis Cooke a hole in the left eare and a slit in the right eare downe the middest of the eare." Records of the Town of Plymouth, Vol. 1, p. 1-2.
7 March 1636-7 : "The Names of the Freeman ... Francis Cooke." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, p. 52. The name of Francis Cooke also appears on the August 1643 list of "The names of all the Males that are able to beare Armes from xvj Yeares old to 60 Yeares, w'thin the seu'rall Towneshipps" (PCR 8:187) and on a list of the names of Freeman which was taken about the year 1658 (PCR 8:197).
7 March 1636-7 : "Frauncis Cooke complains against Thomas Lettis, James Walter, John Browne the yeonger, & Thomas Teley, and against Mr John Browne thelder & 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." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 7, p. 5.
2 May 1637 : "It was ordered by this Court, that a jury should be empanelled to set forth the heigh wayes about Plymouth, Ducksborrow, and the Eele River... The Names of the Jury ... Francis Cooke, [et al.]" Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, p. 58.
7 June 1637 : "Execuson is graunted against Mr John Browne, at the suite of Frauncis Cooke, vpon the verdict recoued against him." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, p. 60.
2 January 1637-8 : "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. (PCR 7:7 and 1:74) Francis Cooke also served on juries and grand inquests on 5 June 1638 (PCR 1:87) on 3 September 1639 (PCR 7:13), 3 December 1639 (PCR 7:14), 3 March 1639-40 (PCR 7:16), 2 June 1640 (PCR 1:155), 7 June 1642 (PCR 7:31), 7 September 1642 (PCR 7:32) and 7 March 1642-3 (PCR 7:34).
3 December 1638 : "A pcell or tongue of land about an acre & a half broad at Smilt Riuer, lying betwixt the riuer & the lands of Mr Thomas Prince, is graunted vnto Mr Thomas Prince. It was graunted before to Francis Cooke." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, p. 103.
4 February 1638-9 : "A parcell of vpland lying at thend of Goodman Shawes land at Smilt Riuer is graunted to Francis Cooke, puided it doe not pjudice the graunts formly made to Mr Thomas Prince, Mrs Fuller, and others, w'ch lands are to be viewed and layd forth for him." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, p. 112.
1639 : [description of a land sale] "twenty acrees of lands lying on that side towards ffrancis Cooks land w'ch came by his wyfe ..." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 12, p. 44.
1 February 1640-1 : "A jury was impannelled and sworne to lay forth certaine heigh wayes now in differrence, and to set forth the bounds and land markes betwixt John Shawe, Kenelme Winslowe, and Mr John Atwood, at Playne Dealeinge, and the heigh wayes from the towne of Plymouth to Wellingsley, and through Georg Bowers ground, and a heigh way for John Dunhame and Willam Pontus, from their meddows at the waterside, and a heighway for Nothaniell Sowther, from his field to the towne. "The names of the Jury ... ... Francis Cooke, sworn." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 2, p. 7.
5 May 1640 : "Mr John Jenney, Mr John Atwood, Francis Cooke, John Barnes, Richard Sparrow, John Cooke, & Josuah Pratt, are appoynted to view the meddows about Edward Doteys, & to computate the number of acrees, & make report thereof to the next Court." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, p. 152.
5 October 1640 : "The Court doth graunt vnto Francis Cooke & John Cooke, Jun'r, the pcell of vpland lying betwixt Leiftennant Holmes lands at the North Riuer, and the lands graunted to John Rogers, Constant Southwood, &c, puided it doe not exceede two hundred acres of vplands, and the meddow before yt, or so much as shalbe thought competent when the same is viewed & layd forth by Capt Standish & Mr John Alden. There is a pcell of vpland moore there found, containing about 10 or 12 acrees, be it moore or lesse, w'ch the court hath likewise graunted vnto then, the sd Francis & John ... "The Court doth order, that Mr John Howland, Francis Cooke, Josuah Pratt, and Thom Cushman shall range the bounds of the lands betwixt Mr Thom Prence & Clement Briggs at Joanes Riuer, and to set them forth according to the auncient bounds & markes formly made betwixt them. "The foresaid graunt of two hundred acrees of vpland were layd forth by Captaine Standish and Mr Alden, according to the order of the Court, to the said Francis Cooke & John Cooke, in manner following, viz, all that pcell of vpland lying betwixt the lands of Willm Holmes and the lands of John Rogers containeing 212 acres, be it more or lesse, w'th the meddow lying before the said vpland, w'th the one half of the meddow lying before, or any way bounding vpon the vpland of John Rogers ; and whereas Willm Holmes hath pt of his meddow lands lying before part of the said vpland so graunted to Francis & John, we haue also layd vnto them, the said Francis & John, the meddow or marsh lying betweene the said Willm Holmes his meddow or marsh ground and the said North River." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, p. 163.
7 June 1642 : "Surveyors ... Frances Cooke." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 2, p. 40. Francis Cooke was also appointed as one of the "Surveyors of the Heighwayes" for Plymouth in 1645 (PCR 2:84).
17 October 1642 : "These seuall psons following are graunted these seuall pporcons of meddow at the North Meddow by Joanes Riuer, of that w'ch remaynes : - ... Francis Cooke, [et al.] to eich of them six acrees a peece, if it be there to be had ... Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 2, p. 49.
25 May 1644 : "A true inventory of all the goods chattells and cattells w'ch were mr John Jenneys lately Deceased ... Debts oweing by the Testator ... It To ffrancis Cooke 01 [pounds] 10 [shillings] ..." Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 6, p. 171-4.
22 June 1644 : "In case of alarume in tyme of warr or danger these division of the Towneship are to be observed and these companys to repaire together. "At Joanes River - Mr Bradford famyly one, Mr Prences one, Mr Hanbury one, Mr Howland one, ffrancis Cooke one, Phineas Pratt, Gregory Armestrong, John Winslow, Mr Lee." Records of the Town of Plymouth, Vol. 1, p. 17
10 June 1646 : "This 10th of June 1646 the condicions of the marriage between Jacob Cooke and Damarise hopkins "Know all men by these presents that upon a conclusion of a marriage between Jacob Cooke of Plymouth and Damarise hopkins of the same It is promised by ffrancis Cooke of Plym : aforsaid and father of the said Jacob Cooke upon the conclusion of the said marriage That hee Doth give unto the said Jacob his sonne one hundred acres of land with meddow or therabouts bee It more or lesse Lying att the north River ; "2condly The said ffrancis giveth to his said sonne Jacob halfe the Land that att any time shall fall to him the said ffrancis by any Devision of the Purchase Land or Due to the first commers "3dly The said ffrancis given upon the conclusion aforsaid to his said sonne Jacob one oxe one cow and one calfe and the next fole that the said ffrancis his mare bringeth "4ly It is promised by the sd ffrancis that att any time that the said Jacob shall see most conducable to his condicon that the said Jacob at his said fathers appointment in such place as shalbee considered convenient by the said ffrancis and Jacob build an house upon the Land wherof the said ffrancis is now possessed of att Rockynooke and if the said Jacob shall think it convenient att any time in the time of his fathers life or after his Decease to Remove himselfe or shalbee enforced to Remove ; that then the said ffrancis Doth promise that the said Jacob Removeing or being Removed the said Jacob shall at the Judgment of honest and Judiciall men shall have satisfaction for any building or buildings fence or fences which otherwise might prove Damage to the said Jacob ; "5ly It is mutually promised by the said ffrancis Cooke and Hester Cook his wife ; the parents of the aforsaid Jacob Cooke that att the Decease of the Longer surviver of the said ffrancis and hester that then and att such time the said Jacob or his heires shall have the teame with all the furniture belonging therunto "And to concluding of all these prmises aforsaid wee the said ffrancis and hester Doe by these prsents bind ourselves our heires adminestrators or assignes "Witnesse our hands the Day and yeare above written ; In prsence of these Witnesses ffrancis Cooke the marke of hester Cooke Miles Standish James Hurst John Howland" Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 2, p. 27-28.
1 August 1648 : [Francis Cooke was on an investigative panel for a murder case] "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.
11 July 1649 : [in a description of a land sale, the property is described as] "lying in Rocky noocke near Plymouth aforsaid being bounded with the lands of Mr John Combe on the one syde and of ffrancis Cooke on the other side abuting vpon the bay ..." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 12, p. 175.
9 April 1650 : "That on the 9th of aprell i650 ffrancis Cooke did com before the Goue'r and acknowlidge yt hee hath freely given & made ouer vnto his sonne Jacob Cook all his Right title and Enterest of & into a Certaine Tract of vpland & meadow being estemated att an hundred acars bee it more or lesse; lying att the North River accordingly as it was graunted vnto him the said ffrancis Cooke as appeers by the Record of the said graunt bearing date the fift of October i640 the said Tract of vpland & meadow with all & singulare the apurtenances & privilidges therunto belonging to haue & to hold to him the said Jacob Cooke his heaires & assignes for euer vnto the only proper vse & behoofe of him the said Jacob Cooke his heaires and assignes for euer." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 12, p. 185.
10 June 1650 : "According to our order, wee haue found out and marked a new way from Joaneses Riuer to the Massachusetts Path through John Rogers his ground, and are all agreed the said way by vs marked out to bee most convenient and least preiuditiall. "Wittnes our hands heere vnder written. John Howland, Francis Cooke, Joshua Pratt, John Wood, Samuell Sturtivant, Henery Howland, Tho: Heward, Seni, John Washburne, Seni, Henery Sampson, Gorg: Partridge, Tho: Lettis, Willam Paybody. All Sworne." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 2, p. 160.
2 October 1650 : "Ordered, that wheras Captaine Miles Standish and Mr John Alden were somtimes ordered by the Court to lay out sertaine lands and meddows att North Riuer vnto Francis Cook, and John Cook, and John Rogers, the Court doth therfore order the said Captaine Standish and Mr Alden to manifest what were theire intents about the bounds of the said lands and meddows when they formerly layed them forth, and to sett and establish the bounds of the said lands and meddowes soe as to continew for the futuer." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 2, p. 164.
March 1651 : "The Names of those that have Interest and proprieties in the Townes land att Punckateesett over against Road Iland ... ffrancis Cooke." Records of the Town of Plymouth, Vol. 1, p. 47.
25 December 1655 : "Wee graunt to frances Cooke 3 holes of meddow lying at the Hither end of the Greate meddow Caled Jons River." Records of the Town of Plymouth, Vol. 1, p. 208.
2 August 1659 : "Wheras there is a controuersy depending betwixt Thomas Pope and Willam Shirtlife, conserning the bounds of the lands of the said ptyes lying att Strawbery Hill, or the Reed Pond, in the township of Plymouth, the Court haueing heard what can bee said on both sides, and finding an issue can not bee put to it att this psent Court, doe order and request Mr John Howland, Francis Cooke, and John Dunham, Seni'r, to take a convenient time as soon as may bee to repaire to the said lands, and alsoe such of the ancient inhabitants as giue any testimony or light towards the clearing of the case, and that they, the said John Howland, Francis Cooke, and John Dunham, shall measure the said lands and sett the bound therof vnto the said pties according to the true and ancient bounds, as neare as may bee, and soe a finall end to bee put therby vnto the said controuersy ..." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 3, p. 169.
15 September 1659 : "Wee whose Names are underwritten being Deputed by the Court have Ranged the grounds betwixt Willam Shirtliffe and henery Wood and Thomas Pope and have layed out the bounds of Willam Whirtlifs land begining att a Rocke which lyeth att the Corner of his outside ffence by the highway northward above and soe to a smale green oake that is marked by the hieghway in breadth above a path which is alsoe marked by a stone set up in the Range by the path a little northward of the hedgh or ffence now upon the land of Tho: Pope ; and soe trending Downeward towards the swamp to a stake sett up by a smale green walnutt tree... "John Howland John Dunham ffrancis Cooke." Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 14, p. 17.
1660 re the Purchasers of Dartmouth : "Att a generall meeting of the Purchasers att Plymouth the seaventh of march 1652 It was ordered and fully agreed unto and Concluded by the whole that all that Tract and tracts of lands lying from the Purchassers bounds on the west side of Acoughcusse to a river called Accusshaneck and three miles to the Eastwards of the same ; with all Ilands meddows woods waters rivers creekes and all appurtenances therunto belonging Should bee given to those whose names are heerunder written Containing thirty four shares and was then given alloted Assigned and sett over to them by the whole to have and to hold to them and their heires and Assignes for ever ; to Devide and Dispose of the same as they should see good ; and they are to Satisfy the Indians for the Purchase therof and to beare all other Due Charges that shall any way arise about the same According to their severall proportions ... ffrancis Cooke [et al.] "Wheras these Purchasers whoe by agreement of the whole had theire proportions of Purchase land falling unto them in the places above mencioned whoe by agreement had theire severall names entered into a list (together with some other old Comers) under the hand of the honored Gov'r : late Deceased they Did Desire that the list of theire Names might bee recorded ; but the above written originall list of Names and the agreement Could not bee found in some yeares ; soe that it was Judged lost These purchasers notwithstanding still Desiring that what was theire right might bee recorded ; wherupon order was given by the aforsaid Gov'r that it might bee Done ... "The names of those whoe by order of the Purchasers mett att Plymouth the seaventh Day of march 1652 whoe by Joynt consent and agreement of the said purchasers are to have theire prtes shares or proportions att the place or places commonly called and knowne by the names of Acushena alias acquessent which entereth in att the westeren end of Neckatay and to Coaksett alias acoakius and places adjacent ; the bounds of which Tract fully to extend ... The said Tract or tract[s] of Land soe bounded as abovesaid which is purchased of the Indians which were the right propriators therof ; as appeers by a Deed under theire hands with all the mershes meddows rivers waters woods Timbers ; and all other profitts privilidges emunities comodities and appurtenances belonging to the said Tract or Tracts above expressed or any prte or prcell therof to belonge unto the prties whose names are underwritten (whoe are in number thirty four whole prtes or shares and noe more) to them and their heires and assignes for ever ... ffrancis Cooke one whole share." Mayflower Descendant, Vol. 4, p. 165-188.
3 June 1662 : "In reference to a petition prefered to the Court by sundry of the freemen, and in reference vnto a graunt made to some to looke out accomodations of land, as being the first borne children of this goument, and for the disposing of two seuerall tracts of land lately purchased, the one by Major Winslow and the other by Captaine Southworth, the Court, haueing viewed the seuerall lists of the names of those that desired to bee accomodated therin, haue settled it vpon those whose names follow : - ... Francis Cooke ..." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 4, p. 18-19.
22 March 1663 : "The owners names ... The severall lotes on Puncateesett Necke are as followeth ...Francis Cooke, John Cooke, [No.] 18, lott is on the north side of the 17th lott and att the east end is bounded with a blacke flatt stump by the water side and a great white-wood tree and att the west end with a walnutt stake and a Rid oake stake." Records of the Town of Plymouth, Vol. 1, p. 62-66.
1 March 1663-4 : "This Court, takeing notice of such euidence as hath bin produced for the clearing of a controuersey between John Tompson, plaintiffe, and Richard Wright ... that the said pties shall haue equall share of the land allotted to Francis Cooke at Namaskett aforsaid, prouided that they bee equall in bearing the charge about the said land." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 4, p. 54.
5 July 1670 : "Wheras it us euident to the Court, that a certaine tract or psell of land, called Old Cookes Holes, lying att Jonses Riuer meddow, was formerly graunted vnto Francis Cooke, of Plymouth, deceased, in the liew of some land which is supposed would haue fallen within his line att the Smelt Brooke, but is not fully settled on the said Cooke and his heires and assignes, this Court doth by these psent fully and absolutely settle, rattify, assure, and confeirme the said graunt of land or tract of land, being threescore acrees, be it more or lesse, lying att Joneses Riuer meddow, vnto the said Francis Cooke, his heires and assignes foreuer ; which said land was giuen by the said Francis Cooke vnto Richard Wright and Thomas Michell, comonly called Old Cookes Holes, and since his decease rattifyed and confeirmed vnto the said Richard Wright and Thomas Michell by John Cooke, the heire vnto the said Francis Cooke, as appeers by a writing vnder his hand and seale. Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 5, p. 44.
Francis Cooke : 1650
"And seeing it hath pleased Him to give me [William Bradford] to see thirty years completed since these beginnings, and that the great works of His providence are to be observed, I have thought it not unworthy my pains to take a view of the decreasings and increasings of these persons and such changes as hath passed over them and theirs in this thirty years ... "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." William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647, ed. Samuel Eliot Morison (New York : Knopf, 1991), p. 75-6.
Francis Cooke's Death "Francis Cooke died the seauenth of Aprill, 1663." Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 8, p. 23.
Francis Cooke's burial site is unknown.