ORIGIN: Leiden, Hollan

MIGRATION: 1620 in Mayflower


CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: In his attempt to justify the structure and practice of the Plymouth church to an English audience, Edward Winslow included among his examples "the wife of Francis Cooke being a Walloon, [who] holds communion with the Church at Plymouth, as she came from the French, to this day, by virtue of communion of churches" [MD 27:64, from Hypocrisie Unmasked]. (For further information on the membership of Francis Cooke and his wife in the Walloon churches at Norwich and at Leiden, see Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, "The Pilgrims and other English in Leiden Records: Some New Pilgrim Documents" [NEHGR 143:195-98].)

FREEMAN: In 1633 Plymouth list of freemen ahead of those admitted on 1 January 1632/3 [PCR 1:3]; in 7 March 1636/7 and 1639 lists of Plymouth freemen [PCR 1:52, 8:173]. In Plymouth section of list of freemen of 1658 [PCR 8: 197].

EDUCATION: The inventory included "1 great Bible & 4 old books" valued at 10s.

OFFICES: Plymouth Colony committee to lay out the twenty-acre grants, 3 January 1627[/8] [PCR 12:14]. Committee to lay out land, 5 May 1640, 5 October 1640 [PCR 1:152, 163]. Committee to lay out highways, 1 October 1634, 2 May 1637, 1 February 1640/1, 10 June 1650 [PCR 1:31, 58, 2:7, 160]. Arbitrator in land dispute between Thomas Pope and William Shurtleff, 2 August 1659 [PCR 3:169].

Plymouth petit jury, 2 January 1637/8, 3 September 1639, 3 December 1639, 3 March 1639/40, 2 June 1640, 7 June 1642, 7 September 1642, 7 March 1642/3 [PCR 1:74, 7:7, 13, 14, 16, 31, 32, 34]. Grand jury, 5 June 1638, 2 June 1640, 7 March 1642/3, 6 June 1643 [PCR 1:87, 155, 2:53, 56]. Coroner's jury, 22 July 1648 [PCR 2:132].

Surveyor of highways 1 March 1641/2, 7 June 1642, 4 June 1645 [PCR 2:34, 40, 84].

In Plymouth section of 1643 Plymouth list of men able to bear arms [PCR 8:187]. His inventory included "2 old muskets" valued at 12s.

ESTATE: Appears on diagram of "meersteads & garden plots of [those] which came first laid out 1620," between Isaac Allerton and Edward Winslow [PCR 12:3]. In 1623 Plymouth land division received two acres as passenger on Mayflower, plus four acres for the rest of his family who came on the Anne in 1623 [PCR 12:4, 5]; some of this land had apparently been sold to William Bradford by 1639 [PCR 12:51]. In the 1627 Plymouth cattle division Francis Cooke, his wife Hester Cooke, John Cooke, Jacob Cooke, Jane Cooke, Hester Cooke and Mary Cooke were the first seven persons in the first company [PCR 12:9].

Assessed 18s. in the Plymouth tax list of 25 March 1633 and 9s. in the list of 27 March 1634 [PCR 1: 10, 28].

On 3 December 1638, a small parcel of land that had been previously granted to Francis Cooke was instead granted to Thomas Prence [PCR 1:103]. On 4 February 1638/9, "a parcel of upland lying at the end of Goodman Shawe's land at Smilt River is granted to Francis Cooke" [PCR 1:112].

On 5 October 1640, Francis Cooke and John Cooke Jr. were granted a parcel of upland "provided it do not exceed two hundred acres of upland, and the meadow before it," along with a parcel of upland "containing about 10 or 12 acres" [PCR 1:163, 2:149, 164]. On 9 April 1650, Francis Cooke gave "his son Jacob Cook" all his right in one hundred acres at North River granted him 5 October 1640 [PCR 12:185]. On 17 October 1642, Francis Cooke was one of those who received six acres apiece "if it be there to be had" at North Meadow by Joanes River [PCR 2:49]. He is on the list of Purchasers [PCR 2: 177].

On 3 June 1662, Francis Cooke was included in the list of those who might "look out some accommodations of land, as being the first born children of this government" [PCR 4: 19].

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].

The inventory of the estate of Francis Cooke, taken 1 May 1663, totalled £86 lls. ld. "besides the housing and land," which was not included [MD 2:26-27, citing PCPR 2:2:1-2].

On 1 March 1663/4, the court "taking notice of such evidence as hath been produced for the clearing of a controversy between John Tompson, plaintiff, and Richard Wright, in reference to a parcel of land at Namassakett, do allow an agreement between the said parties, which was ordered here to be entered, as followeth, viz: that the said parties shall have equal share of the land allotted to Francis Cooke at Namaskett aforesaid, provided that they be equal in bearing the charge about the said land" [PCR 4:54].

On 8 June 1666, John Cooke, Jacob Cooke, Hester Wright the wife of Richard Wright and Mary Tompson the wife of John Tompson, to prevent dispute over the intent of their father Francis Cooke in his will with regard to the land at Rocky Nook, agreed to divide it into five shares, with John Cooke, the eldest son, getting two shares [PCLR 3:73].

On 5 July 1670, "[w]hereas it is evident to the Court, that a certain tract or parcel of land, called Old Cooke's Holes, lying at Jonses River meadow, was formerly granted unto Francis Cooke, of Plymouth, deceased, in the lieu of some land which is supposed would have fallen within his line at the Smelt Brooke, but is not fully settled on the said Cooke and his heirs and assigns, this Court doth by these presents fully and absolutely settle, ratify, assure and confirm the said grant of land or tract of land, being threescore acres ... unto the said Francis Cooke, his heirs and assigns forever, which said land was given by the said Francis Cooke unto Richard Wright and Thomas Michell, commonly called Old Cooke's Holes, and since his decease ratified and confirmed unto the said Richard Wright and Thomas Michell by John Cooke, the heir unto the said Francis Cooke" [PCR 5:44].

BIRTH: In or shortly after 1583 [MD 3:95-96, 8:49].

DEATH: Plymouth 7 April 1663 [PCR 8:23; MD 17:183; PVR 663].

MARRIAGE: Leiden 20 Jul 1603 [NS] or shortly thereafter Hester Mahieu [MD 27:145-55 (incorporating and correcting MD 8:48-50, 22:13-14)];she died after 8 June 1666 [PCLR 3:73].


  1. JANE COOKE, b. say 1605; m. Plymouth in 1627 or soon after EXPERIENCE MITCHELL [NEHGR 127:94-95; TAG 59:28-31; PM 324].
  2. JOHN 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].
  3. Child COOKE, bur. Leiden 20 May 1608 [NS] [NEHGR 143:197].
  4. ELIZABETH COOKE, bp. Leiden 26 December 1611 [NS] [NEHGR 143:197]; no further record.
  5. JACOB COOKE, b. about 1618 (deposed 14 July 1674 "aged fifty-six years or thereabout" [MD 2:45-46, citing PLR 1:81]); m. (1) Plymouth shortly after 10 June 1646 (marriage contract) Damaris Hopkins [PCR 2:27; MD 2:27-28, citing PCLR 2:1:35], daughter of STEPHEN HOPKINS [MF 6:13-14; PM 271]; m. (2) Plymouth 18 November 1669 Elizabeth {Lettice) Shurtleff [PVR 666], daughter of Thomas Lettice and widow of William Shurtleff [MF 6: 13].
  6. HESTER COOKE, b. say 1624; m. Plymouth in 1644 RICHARD WRIGHT {1636, Plymouth} [PCR 2:79; see also TAG 59:165-70].
  7. MARY COOKE, b. Plymouth say 1626; m. Plymouth 26 December 1645 John Tompson [PCR 12:94].

COMMENTS: In his accounting of the passengers on the Mayflower, Bradford includes "Francis Cooke and his son John; but his wife and other children came afterwards" [Bradford 442]. In the summary of these families as of 1651, Bradford tells us that "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" [Bradford 446]. Francis Cooke signed the Mayflower Compact.

On 24 December 1636, John Harmon contracted to become the apprentice of Francis Cooke for seven years [PCR 1:46].

On 7 March 1636/7, Francis Cooke sued John Browne the elder and several others, and, on 7 June 1637, Francis Cooke, having sued Mr. John Browne, was granted an execution against him [PCR 1:60, 7:5].

"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 Walloone, holds communion with the Church at Plymouth, as she came from the French, to this day, by virtue of communion of churches" [Winslow's Hypocrisie Unmasked in MD 27:64].

BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: In 1901 George E. Bowman prepared a genealogy of the family of Francis Cooke, in which he abstracted every record he could find for the immigrant, his wife and children [MD 3:95-105]. Lora A.W. Underhill, in her pursuit of the ancestry of Edward Small, published in 1934 an even more detailed study of the family [Small Gen 601-45]. Mary Walton Ferris also compiled a brief account of the family of Francis Cooke [Dawes-Gates 2:238-44]. In 1989 Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs published a number of records relating to Francis Cooke and his family in Leiden [NEHGR 143:195-98].

The Five Generations Project of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in 1996 published its account of the descendants of Francis Cooke as Volume Twelve in the series, compiled by Ralph Van Wood Jr.

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