Francis Cooke

Francis Cooke was born in England, around 1583. By profession, he was a woolcomber. He was in Leiden as early as 1603 when he married Hester Mayhieu. They were members of the Leiden Walloon Church, a congregation of French-speaking Belgian people whose beliefs were very similar to those of the English Separatists.

Francis arrived in Plymouth in 1620 on the Mayflower with his teenage son John. He was one of the 102 passengers. Hester Mayhieu Cooke and the couples two other children, Jane and Jacob, arrived on the Anne in 1623. Two more daughters, Hester and Mary, were born to Francis and Hester Cooke in Plymouth.

Francis Cooke was also listed on the original list of freemen for Plymouth and was found on this list again in 1633, 1637 and 1658. As a freemen he had several duties which were thrust upon him. He served twice on the Grand Inquest, once in 1638 and a second time in 1640. Cooke also served on numerous juries from the years 1638-48. His most notable case was that of Allis Bishop. She admitted to murdering her four year old daughter by slashing her throat and windpipe with a knife. His major service to the community, however, seemed to come in the highway realm. In 1637 he was appointed to the committee to lay out highways. He followed this appointment with the job of surveyor of the highways for Plymouth in 1641, 1642 and again in 1645. He even served on a committee to find the best route for a new road.

Francis Cooke died the seauenth of Aprill, 1663.