Friday, March 19, 2010

Friend of Friends Friday -- Cooke and Related Families

I searched through all the notes and sources that I had on my ancestors and found no indication of slave owners. Of course there are those ancestors that don't have any sources or notes associated with them.

Well that all changed when I started reading the book THOMAS COOKE OF RHODE ISLAND, by Jane Fletcher Fiske that I was finally able to get a hold of through the Interlibrary Loan. Not only did I find information that I didn't have on my Cooke ancestors, there are oodles of slave references within w
ills and court records relating not only to my line, but to collateral lines as well as second and third spouses and their parents(and I haven't even made it half way through the book yet).

I have done internet searches to see if any of these wills were already online somewhere. So far I have only found one full will and references to a few others, but they neglect to mention the slaves.

I feel that it is my responsibility while I have this book to post everything I can mentioning slaves. I only have the book until March 31, but I have a feeling that I am going to have to renew it because there are two volumes with over 400 pages!

I am going to put a "*" next to my direct ancestors. I will also note the page number from where the information came. I will post the whole will when I can, but to save time I will only post the pertinent information on others. I do want to mention that some of the slaves mentioned are Native American.

* John Cooke alias Butcher (1630-1691) p. 36-37.

John Cooke signed his mark to his will 15 May 1691, less than five months after the death of his wife, Mary. He stated that although he was of sound memory and understanding,“yet being aged and calling to mind the brevity and uncertainty of this life not Knowing how soon the Lord may call me from hence Especially considering the sore visitation of the smallpox wherewith many are now visited and many have been taken away.”

To his son John Cook he left his land at Puncatest Neck, it being about 150 acres, together with the housing thereon, 4 acres of saltmarsh meadow at Sapowet in Little Compton,together with one-half of the upland he had there, 8 head of neat cattle, the feather bed and bedding in the house John, Jr. now lived in at Puncatest, and 20 sheep. From this bequest was reserved for Joseph Cook the right during his lifetime to keep 15 head of cattle at Puncatest and to harvest hay there for the wintering of those cattle.

His son Joseph Cook received the housing were John now lived in Portsmouth, together with all the land and outbuildings, 4 acres of saltmarsh meadow at Sapowet and one-half of the upland there. If Joseph should die without male heirs this property was to pass to son Thomas and his male heirs.

Joseph, within half a year after his father’s decease, was to pay to his sister Mary, wife of William Manchester, £10 and to deliver to her 10 sheep. To his sister, Elizabeth, wife of William Briggs, Sara, wife of Thomas Wait, Hannah, wife of Daniel Wilcox, and Martha, Wife of William Cory, Joseph was to pay £10 apiece. Sister Deborah, wife of William Almy, was to have only one shilling. Sister Amy, wife of David Clayton, was to be paid £10 in money, “and to each of his other sisters being six of them he shall deliver to each of them a cow.” Elizabeth Briggs also received a feather bed, bedding and furniture.

To Joseph he left his Negro man call Jack “who is of service for time of his Life” and his Indian woman Maria to be his servant for ten years and then to be freed, and his Indian boy Goan Francisco to serve with him until he be twenty-four years old, at which time Joseph was to put him in good apparel and give him corn and a horse. Joseph also received a feather bed and bedding.

To son Thomas Cook he left the 16th lot in Pocasset Purchase, divided or undivided, and 4 acres of salt marsh.

To son Samuel Cook he left the 19th lot in Pocasset Purchase, but Samuel was not to have the disposal of this without the advice and consent of the executor and overseers of the will.

John further bequeathed to his son John his Negro woman Betty and to his son Thomas 20 sheep, 3 cows and a mare. He named son Joseph whole and sole executor of the will and “Request and Intreat my Loving friends and neighbors George Sisson and Isaac Lawton to by my overseers to do their utmost that all Things may be managed aright according as I do hereby dispose. Moreover I will and bequeath to my Granddaughter Sarah Manchester a cow to be delivered her at the day of her marriage....”

George Sisson, Margaret Hall and John Yelthro witnessed the will; Yelthro was a schoolmaster and probably the scribe who wrote it. All three testified to it authenticity when it was proved 25 May 1691 (Portsmouth TC [Town Records] 2:266). A copy of this will is included in Court Files, Suffolk, 42579, where it was entered into evidence over fifty years later by John’s great-grandson William Cook when he was seeking to recover his inheritance.

Steven Cook (1656-1712) p. 55

Steven Cook of Shrewsbury, yeoman, very weak in body, made his will 7 March 1711: my well beloved son Silas Cook after the death of my wife,the sd farm which I now live on with ye meadow therunto belonging unto him his heirs & assigns for Ever. Likewise I give & bequeath to son Silas my Negro boy Will (after ye decease of my wife).

Steven signed by mark, in presence of witnesses William West, Thomas Cook, and Samuel Dennis Jr. The will was proved 3 may 1712 (NJA 23:106; original will, N.J. State Library).

Jonathan Marsh ( -1704) p.57
Jonathan Marsh in his will dated 9 June 1704 and proved 3 July 1704, named his wife *Phebe, his sons William and Jonathan, Negroes Robin and Cuffe, his cousin Hester Palmer, daughter of sister Sarah Palmer,, son-in-law (i.e. stepson) Oliver Arnold, six daughters-in-law including Freelove Arnold, and his wife's kinswoman Abigail Remington, to whom he left a cow.

Captain Benjamin Sheffield ( - 1764)p. 59
An inventory of the estate of Capt. Benjamin Sheffield, dated 5 Jan 1764 included a Negro woman called Hagar, a Negor man, Moses, another Negro man Ezekiel, and Negro girl, Patience and on 30 June was added, from the estate of the widow *Damaris, an old Indian woman, Phillis, valued at 4d.

William Briggs (1650-1716) p.62
In his will dated 3 April 1716, William Briggs of Little compton in the County of Bristoll in New England, yeoman, left the dwelling house he lived in to his son Job, along with all the household stuff therein and all the farm. will farther is that my two Mullato girls, Hope and Mercy be with my wife or daughters Woodman and Head till they arrive at the years of twenty five, and then to be Immediately free and att theyr owne dispositien, and to be allowed forthwith by theyr Masters or Mistresses each of them a good new suit of cloathes from top to toe and twenty shillings in money apiece....
(Is it possible that William could be the father of Hope and Mercy?)

Joseph Cook (1661-1746) p. 70-71
An undated Portsmouth Town Council record relates that a Negro man named Jack Cook was warned out of Tiverton and sent to Joseph Cook of Portsmouth. Joseph declared he had sold him to Joseph Wodell, a Negro man of Tiverton, referring to a deed of 13 December 1709 and that Wodell did manumit Jack on 23 March 1709/10. Jack was therefore ordered back to Tiverton (Portsmouth TC 3:278).

Joseph Cook of Portsmouth, yeoman, "being under infirmities respectin my bodily health ... for the prevention [of] future troubles in my family" signed his will 25 April 1742, witnessed by George Sisson, Richard Sisson Jr. and William Sanford (Portsmouth TC 4:251). It reads in part, my son Thomas Cook all my neat Cattle and sheep and Husbandry utensils which are now in his poseesion, whith my new fratherbed & bolster, one pair of sheets, three good blankets and a Coverlet (beside the bed & furniture he hath already received) together with ye Negro man Abraham so called and the Chest commonly called my Chest, two sets of plate buttons one for a Coat & ye other for breeches.

Elizabeth [Little] Cook (1683-1764) p. 84
Elizabeth Cook, widow of John, left a will but it is badly torn. Sick and weak in body, but of sound and well disposed mind, she named her son-in-law [i.e. stepson] Silas Cook and her granddaughter Susanna Brenton, and appointed Samuel Brenton executor. Among items bequeathed to Silas were a silver tankard and shoe buckles that had belonged to his father, John Cook, deceased. The residue of the estate was left to grandaughter Susanna Brenton. Elizabeth directed that a Negro man, Cesar, and a Negro woman [torn] be freed after her decease.

On 5 June, 1764, Ceazer Cook, "late servant of John cook," was admitted to the fellowship of the Second Congregational Church, Newport.

John Pearce (1686-1754)p.84
John's will was dated 25 October 1754 and proved 13 February 1755. He named his [second]wife Mary who was "mother-in-law" to his son John.
....To his grandson George Cook he left a silver tankard, 6 silver spoons, gold buttons and buckles, and a Negro man named London.

Silas Cook (1686-1725)page 91-92
Silas Cook of the town of Shrewsbury, yeoman, signed by mark his will dated 1 June 1725 and proved 1 March 1725/6.
...He specified, "my will is that my Negro man Will at the end of seven years after date hereof shall have his freedom ... if at any time after he shall misbehave himself so that my wife, my heirs or executors shall come to any Damage then he shall lose his freedom and become their slave as if he had not been mentioned herein." Among his inventory were a loom and tackling and sheep's wool, a Bible, smith's tools a Negro girl, and seven years' service of a Negro Man (Stillwell,HGM 6:105-106, 151;NJA 23:106; Monmouth Co. will at N.J. State Library).

I will post more next Friday.

1 comment:

  1. I think that it's great that you're doing this. Hopefully there will be an explosion of this type of data on the internet over the next few years.
    Evelyn in Montreal



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