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Cooke Park (Memorials)

FAIRHAVEN MEMORIALS                                     

JOHN COOKE MEMORIAL
Location:  COOK MEMORIAL PARK, Pilgrim Avenue, Oxford Village, (area sometimes known later as Poverty Point), Fairhaven, MA

AD 1620
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF
JOHN COOKE
THE LAST SURVIVING MALE PILGRIM
OF THOSE WHO CAME OVER IN THE
MAYFLOWER
THE FIRST WHITE SETTLER OF THIS TOWN
AND THE PIONEER IN ITS RELIGIOUS
MORAL AND BUSINESS LIFE
A MAN
OF CHARACTER AND INTEGRITY
AND THE TRUSTED AGENT FOR THIS
PART OF THE COMMONWEALTH
OF THE OLD COLONIAL
CIVIL GOVERNMENT
OF PLYMOUTH

Cooke’s Memorial. – John Cooke, an adventurer before he reached his teens, under the custodianship of his father, Francis, an inhabitant of Plymouth until 1659, owner of the land at Oxford and a resident here, the first white settler, a Representative to the General Court and a Baptist minister, is depicted as a genuine pioneer in the establishment of this section. He died about 1695, and is purported to be buried at Burial Hill, willed by William Wood in the Revolutionary period, in a codicil under the date of May 14, 1778, (the will being dated 1773) in these words:
“And whereas the bodies of some persons that were persons of good account in their day, were buried on the little hammock on island in the meadow at the foot of my homestead, commonly called the ‘Burying Hill,’ and I not being willing that their graves should be any way defaced, do therefore in this my will hereby give the said hammock on island to and for a burying place forever, and for no other use to be made of it, for all persons to bury their dead, that have a mind to, that my two above named sons, Zeruiali Wood and  John Wood, they and their heirs, shall think suitable to be buried there-to whom I leave the care thereof.”
In September, 1895, 200 years, after the death of Cooke, the work of grading the John Cooke Burial hill began.  His surmised resting place is marked by a bolder taken from the bed of the Acushnet River.
Source: “Old-time Fairhaven” (I), by Charles A. Harris, Reynolds Printing, New Bedford, MA 1947, Pg. 222