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Francis Cooke and Hester Mahieu

Francis COOKE. [Familytree].
Born (in 1577-S?)(25 APR 1582)(after AUG 1583), source #2 quotes one source as saying (in Blythe, Nottinghamshire, England-S2)(in Yorkshire, England-S2)(in Holland (Leyden, Zuid, Holland)-S2).

If he was born in Blythe, Nottinghamshire, England, it is a small hamlet near Scrooby, the home of the Saints, or Pilgrims as they are now called. However, there is nothing to indicate that he had any connection with them while in England.

Though the name of his father is not certain, it is said that he was the grandson of Sir Anthony COOKE [F30600] .
As a grandson of Sir Anthony, he is variously said to the the son of :
* (William?) COOKE.
* Richard Cooke.
* Edward Cooke.

History places Francis Cooke as about 40 years of age when he reached Plymouth, so his birth close to 1580 should be accurate.

It is said, There is a natural indication that the ancestors of Francis Cooke were Romanists. Romanists were supporters or followers of the Roman Catholic Church. This source does not clarify what it means by natural indication.

It is also said that his family (father and grandfather) were silk merchants.

He married Hester Mahieu in 1603, about 20 July, at Leyden, Holland.

The marriage of Francis Cooke in 1603 at Leyden is recorded in the Kerkelijke Houwelijke, Liber E, Folio 69, but the date is not given as a part of the marriage record. It was thought by some (see S4) to have occurred on 30 JUN, but subsequent research showed this to be more likely a date when Banns were published. The betrothal [engagement?] is given as on 9 June 1603, between Franchous Couck, Wolcammer [wolcomber] joungman of Eyeland and Hester Mahieu van Cantelberch [Canterbury] in Eyelant.

Francis was 21 years or over. He was attended by two friends who were Walloons, Philip De Veau and Raphael Roelandt. Hester was attended by her mother, Jenne (Jennie) Mahieu, and by her sister Jenne Mahieu.

Of this marriage it was said, “As the terms `Jongman’ and `Jonge Dochter’ were applied only to those who had never before married, it is clear that this was the first, and subsequent records show that it was the only marriage of either of the contracting parties. The fact that the bride, Hester Mahieu, was from Canterbury, England, while seemingly in conflict with Governor Edward Winslow’s statement --`also the wife of Francis Cooke being a Walloone, holds communion with the Church at Plymouth, as she came from the French, really confirms it, as there was at the time of this marriage a large Walloon church at Canterbury, and the records of this church, as printed in the fifth volume of the Publications of the Huguenot Society of London, show a large number of baptisms, marriages and deaths of persons by the name of Mahieu....”

Thus he was in Leyden at least five years prior to the immigration of the Saints to Holland in 1608, and it is thought, was probably not of their number until after their removal from Amsterdam to Leyden in 1609.

He lived at the large house of Pastor Robinson, which was used also as a place of worship under the restrictions of the Dutch Government, which required new and unusual sects to worship in private houses, which were as large as churches.

Though he was known as a carpenter in New England, he seems to have had no part in the building of the Leyden houses, since is is said In all I can find they are attributed wholly to Wm Jessop, who built the small houses in Bell Lane, adjoining Pastor Robinson.

After his marriage to Hester, they were of those who kept house in the twenty-one houses built in the large garden which ran back 125 feet, though the width not being given.....

It is said Everything points to the belief that all of Francis Cooke's family were to come over in the Speedwell, but misfortune [not identified] separated them, and left Hester Cook in' charge of many younge children' to follow when the time was auspicious. Only John was to go with his father as some compensation for the severed family ties, he, one writer says, was young enough to be led ashore by the Pilgrims hand. No wonder his after association with John was so near and dear, though all of the records, the only one spoken of as 'his son' from titme to time in connection with his father.

Francis Cooke and his son John embarked on the ship Speedwell at Delfshaven in JUL 1620, leaving behind Hester and the other children. The Pilgrims set sail form England with two ships, the "Mayflower" and the "Speedwell." They found shortly that the "Speedwell" leaked so badly that they had to turn back for repairs. Eventually they decided to leave the "Speedwell" behind and go on with just the "Mayflower." At Southampton or Plymouth, England, Francis and John were transfered to the Mayflower, which set sail from Plymouth, England on Wednesday, 6/16 SEP 1620. Bradford related it so:

So, after they had tooke out such provisions as ye other ship could well stow, and concluded both what number and what persons to send back, they made another sad parting, ye one ship going back to London, and ye others was to proceede on hier viage. Those that went bak were for the most parte such as were willing so to doe, either out of some discontent or feare they conceived of ye ill success of ye viage, seeing so crosses efale, and the yaere time so far spente; but others in regarde to their own weakness, and charge of many yonge children were thought least usefull, and most unfite to bear ye brunte of this hard adventure, unto which worke of God, and judgement of their brethern they were contented to submit.

According to the words of Captain Jones, the voyage continued thusly:
The vessel was so overcrowded with passengers and supplies (which must be made to serve them until a crop could be raised) that the greatest discomfort prevailed, and the delay in their departure brought upon them the fury of the equinoctial storms. `...Many fierce stormes' shook the ship `and her upper works (were) made very leakie; and one of the main beames in the middships was bowed and craked' but its buckling was overcome by the use of `a great iron scrue (which) the passengers brought out of Holland' by which they raised `the beame into his place.' So they commited them selves to the will of God, and resolved to proseede. In sundrie of these stormes the winds were so feirce, and the seas so high as they could not beare a knote of saile, but were force to hull [lying at hull meant striking all sails and allowing the ship to be tossed to and fro by the waves until the wind moderated], for diverce days together. During one such experience, when John HOWLAND `a lustie yonge man,' came on deck, he was washed overboard as the vessel pitched, but `he caughte hould of the top saile halliards, which hung overboard, and though he was sundrie fadomes under water ... he was hald up by the same rope to the brime of the water, and then with a boathooke and other means got into the shipe againe...'

He was the 17th signer of the Mayflower Compact. The agreement was signed before the Pilgrims went ashore, and became the first expression of government in the new frontier.

After many trying experiences during the sixty-five day voyage, they reached land on 11 November 1620. They sent out several exploratory expeditions along Cape Cod to determine the best place to make a settlement. Soon after deciding to settle at Plymouth, the company divided into ninteen groups, or "families," in order to reduce the number of houses needed to shelter them for the winter. Then they cast lots for locations, and a plot on the south side of the street fell to Francis. Isaac Allerton's lot was on the east and Edward Winslow's lot was on the west.

In February 1621 Francis and Captain Standish were at work in the woods when they heard the alarm warning of Indians. They dropped their tools and hurried home. The natives carried off the tools but they were returned about a month later.

He was made a Freeman in 1622.

At the first temporary division of land, in 1623, Francis received for garden purposes an a acre of land apiece for himself and for his son John. During late July or early August his wife Hester and their younger children, Jane, Jacob, and Hester arrived at Plymouth aboard the ship Ann. Upon their arrival, Francis recieved an additional four acres.

In 1623 he was endowed in settlement of various affairs between members of the colony.

He lived for a time on Leyden Street, adjoining the residence of Edward Winslow and Isaac Allerton. He later moved from Leyden Street to Rocky Nook, on Jones River, a place within the limits of Kingston.

In 1627 community ownership ceased. Francis Cooke was one of the Purchasers who bought all the rights of the “Adventurers.” The cattle were divided into lots and assigned to certain groups. The first lot, made on Tuesday 22 MAY/1 JUN 1627, fell to Francis COOKE and his group of thirteen, which included his wife, five unmarried children (John, Jacob, Jane, Hester, and Mary), and six unmarried men (Moses Simonsen, Philip Delano, Experience Mitchell, John Faunce, Joshua Pratt, and Phineas Pratt), who were perhaps boarding with the family. One of them, Experience Mitchell, later married into the family.

This first lot consisted of "the least of the 4 black Heyfers (that) Came in the "Jacob," and two shee goats." He also received twenty acres for each share held in the Plymouth Colony, one share for each member of his family. This division of land was made by six "layers-out," one of whom was Frances COOKE himself.

In 1636 he reeived an apprentice, John Harmon, son of Edward Harmon, of London, tailor, for the indenture period of seven years.

Francis occupied himself with farming. He was also known as a carpenter. He participated greatly in the Colony by serving in a variety of positions. He was a Surveyor of Highways, meadows, land grants and disputed boundaries for the years 1627-1628, 1634, 1637, 1640-1642, 1645, 1650, 1659, and 1662. He was on trial juries repeatedly during all of the years 1637 to 1643.

In October 1640, two hundred acres at North River were granted to Francis and his son John. In AUG 1643 Plymouth Clony authorities made a list of all the men in the Colony between the ages of sixteen and sixty who were able to bear arms. Francis Cooke appears on this list, and it is from this date that his birht date is calculated.

He was on the jury on 7 September 1642 in three trespass cases and one action for debt.

He was granted 6 acres on 17 October 1642 at the North Meadow by James River.

He was a member of a grand jury on 7 March 1643.

He was a member of a grand jury on 6 June 1643.

He was on a list of males that are able to bear arms from xvi yeares old to 60 yeares in August 1643.

On 22 June 1644 he was assigned to send a member of his family to gather with a company at Joanes River in case of alarm in time of war of danger.

He was elected on 4 June 1645 as one of the surveyors of highways for Plymouth.

In December 1646 he was on a list of townsmen of Plymouth.

He was on a Coroner's Jury in a murder case on 22 July 1648.

He was on a list of townsmen of Plymouth. This list was undated, but was from between 1648 and 1659.

He conveyed land at North River on 10 June 1646 by deed of gift to his son Jacob, conditioned on his marriage to Damaris Hopkins, and agreed to give him half of any future divisions of Purchase Lands.

On 9 April 1650 he deeded to his son Jacob all his rights in the land at North River, which was granted to him by the court in 1640.

On 10 June 1650 he was appointed the second member of a jury to lay out a new way from Jones River to Massachusetts Path.

In March of 1651 he is listed with his son John as among the proprietors of the Plymouth lands at Punckateesett, now Little Compton, Rhode Island.

William Bradford wrote in his history in 1651 that, “Francis Cooke is still living, a very old man, and hath seene his children’s children have children.”

Francis acquired additional property holdings in 1652 at what became Dartmouth, being on of the first purchasers there.

On 7 March 1653 he and his son John were among purchasers of what was later named Dartmouth.

On 25 December 1655 he recieved the following grant: Wee Graunt to frances Cooke 3 holes of meddow lying at the Hither end of the Greate meddow Caled Jons River.

About 1658 he was on a list of the freemen of the town of Plymouth.

On 2 August 1659 he was directed by the Court, with John Howland and John Dunham Sr., to settle a controversy between Thomas Pope and William Shurtleff concerning bounds of lands at Strawberry Hill in Plymouth.

On 15 September 1659 he performed the duty directed by the Court on 2 August 1659.

His will was dated Wednesday, 7 December 1659, and reads as follows:

In 1662 he, with his son John and others, was allowed to settle upon a tract of land purchased for a new settlement. This comprised the old town of Dartmouth (now New Bedford). There is no record of his making it his home. He only seems to have held proprietorship, and his son John reigned in his stead.

The last will and testament of Ffrancis COOKE made this seventh of the tenth month, 1659; recorded in the Plymouth Colony Wills and Inventories, Vol III., Part II, folies 1 and 2.

I being att ye present weake and Infeirm in body, yett in p'fect memory thro' mercy doe mom't my Soul unto God that gave it, and my body to the earth which my will is should be intered in a decent and comely manner.

As for such goods and lands as I stand possessed of I doe will and bequeath as followeth:
1. My will is that Hester my dear and loving wife shall have all my moveable goods and all my Cattle of all kinds, viz: neat cattle, horse kind shiip and swine to be at her dispose.

2. My will is that Hester my wife shall have and occupy my lands, both upland and meddow lands which at present I possess during her life.

3. I doe ordain and appoint my dear wife and my son John Cooke joynt executors of this my said will.

Ffrancis Cooke.
Witness --- John Aldin, John Howland.

In 1662 he acquired land at what became Middleborough, being one of the first purchasers there.
He was granted the 4th lot of the land near Namassaket (now Middleborough) which Major Josiah Winslow had lately purchased from the Indians. Later records show that he was also granted, probably at a separate time, a part of the 5th lot.

As late as June 1662 he drew land in the right of his daughter Mary for and early law providing a grant for the first child born in to each family in New England.

On 1 March 1663 he turned over his rights in the Namassakett property to John Tompson and Richard Wright, his sons-in-law.

On 22 March 1663 he is listed as owner, with his son John, of the 18th lot of the Plymouth lands at Punckateesett, now Little Compton, Rhode Island.

The last will and testament of Ffrancis COOKE, of Plymouth, late deceased, exhibited before the court held at Plymouth aforesaid, the first day of June, 1663, on the oath of Mr. John Aldin and Mr. John Howland.

In the margin of Bradford’s record, in an unknown hand is printed the note that Francis Cooke “dyed 7 of Aprill 1663 above 80.” However, this marginal note is by the same hand that added the notes concerning the deaths of Bradford and Standish, both of which are incorrect. Francis Cooke’s death was at Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachsuetts.

On 1 May 1663 an inventory of his estate was taken, valued at 86 pounds, 11 shillings, and 1 pence. There is a footnote given which states: There is an error in the original record. The correct footing is 85 pounds, 11 shillings, and 1 pence.

On Friday, 5 June 1663 his will was probated and Hester took oath to the correctness of the inventory.

Hester MAHIEU. (Mayhew). [Familytree].
Born in (1579)(1585) in Canterbury, England; daughter of Jean le MAHIEU and Jennie. She (probably her parents) is said to be of Coulon by Calais, France. She was a Walloon. The term Walloon was originally applied to inhabitants of southern Belgium. During the wars of reformation many persons were persecuted in the Inquisition, which drove many of these inhabitants to the Netherlands and to England. The Pilgrims practiced hospitality with the Walloons and accepted them for their own members.

Hester married in Francis Cooke in 1603, about 20 July. At the time she was said to be "a spinster [meaning single] from Canterbury in England."

She remained behind in Holland while her husband Francis and her eldest son, John, sailed for America on the Mayflower. She followed in 1623 in the Ann (Anne), though the ship is also stated. She arrived in late July or early August with the younger children, Jane, Jacob, and Hester.

Hester died 18 June 1666 in Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

CHILDREN of Francis COOKE and Hester MAHIEU:
  1. John COOKE. Born about 1612 (between 1604 and 1609-S3m) at Leyden, Holland. He came to New England with his father on the Mayflower. He was married 28 March (6 July-S5)1634 at Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts to Sarah WARREN, dau. of Richard WARREN (the Mayflower passenger) and Elizabeth. They had 6 children. He was 10 times a Deputy from Plymouth. He was a deacon. He was one of the first purchasers at Dartmouth, where he resided. He was a representative from Dartmouth in 1673. He was a minister at Dartmouth in 1676. He died 23 November 1695 at Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
  2. Jane COOKE. Born about 1614 (before 1612-S3m) in Leyden, Holland. She came to New England with her mother in 1623. She married Experience MITCHELL in (1627-S5) 1628. They had 8 children. They resided at Duxbury, Massachusetts and at Bridgewater, Massachusetts. She died before 8 June 1666.
  3. Jacob COOKE. Born about 1616 (about 1618-S3m, S5f) at Leyden, Holland. He was a volunteer in the Indian War in June 1637. He married Damaris HOPKINS, daughter of Stephen HOPKINS (the Pilgrim), on (1)(10) June 1640 (1646-S5f) (1647-S3m). He married (2) Elizabeth LETTICE, daughter of Thomas LETTICE and widow of William SHURTLEFF, on 18 November 1669. He moved to Eastham, Massachusetts, where he died 11 or 21 (between 11 & 18-S3m) December 1675 or 7 July 1676 at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  4. Hester Cooke. [PC T4-20]. [Ancestors]. Born in 1618 at Leyden, Holland. She married Richard WRIGHT, son of William WRIGHT and Priscilla CARPENTER, on 21 November 1644 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. They had 5 children. She died after 8 June 1666.
  5. Mary Cooke. [PC T4-25]. [Ancestors]. Born probably in New England. She married John Tomson on 26 December 1643. She died on 21 March 1714.


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