I have researched a line in the family that others have declared to be a line to Francis Cooke, a passenger on the Mayflower’s first voyage, a pilgrim who signed the compact, a man of stature who, with his son and others, braved the Atlantic to a new world in order to escape religious persecution. I have pages of typewritten script detailing lineage and Revolutionary War records, and family stories of Valley Forge and settling the American wilderness. I take the stories at face value but alas,
…..we are not descended from Francis Cooke, a Mayflower passenger. And I don’t care. In fact, in my rebellious Baby-Boomer American pride, I am proud to say I do not aspire to the snobbery of the Mayflower club. And I’m just as American as they think they are. One of our lines landed in Virginia before the Mayflower which headed for Virginia, got lost and landed in Mass…. Masses….. Plymouth.
Francis Cooke had a brother named Phillip. He’s our ancestor. Apparently, he and his line stuck around England during said persecution before emigrating around 1700 for whatever specific reason. As for the rest of the Mayflower passengers, I have that list and can look up their lines to see if we are indeed descended from the Plymouth landing … but if we don’t, pfffft.
During the investigation of that line, I did find out that we are cousins to Lord Bacon, Thomas Cromwell, and his great grand-nephew, Oliver Cromwell. Neither is this a thing to be shouted pridefully from the housetops except to say we, in our decency as common and good, rose above their reputations.
As for Francis and Hester Cooke, bravo for their courage and bravery. If one stops to think of it, eveyone else who boarded a rickety wooden ship to cross the Atlantic under those conditions, are also brave and courageous, not the first, not the last, not less than either. However, the Mayflower should be singled out as one of the few that was headed for the soft climate of Virginia and got lost instead.