Originally, two ships were hired to bring the Pilgrims and their families to the new world, the Mayflower and the Speedwell. The Cookes, father Francis and son John, were passengers on the smaller ship the Speedwell.
The Speedwell was taking on water and proved unfit to make the journey across the sea. Some of those who were to prepared to take the voyage saw this as an omen and decided not to go. The rest combined with the Mayflower passengers and traveled to the new world.
The Mayflower carried 102 people plus supplies across the ocean. These colonists founded the first European settlement in New England, Plymouth. The difference between the Jamestown colony and Plymouth is, these colonists came to the new world seeking religious freedom. They were considered separatists.
On November 11, 1620 (according to the signage at Plimouth Plantation)in the cabin of the Mayflower 41 male passengers including the servants signed the Mayflower Compact, an agreement that kept the group together as a unit. Frances Cooke was the 17th signer on November 21, 1670, according to A. Hamilton, researcher and family descendant. Two different dates but th same basic information I add our family history that was documented over 100 years ago. I will add this documented history at the end of the blog.
Plimouth Plantation is a living museum with characters that portray the original inhabitants. You can speak with each on these people about life back in the 17th Century.
The woman that most held our interest was Hester Cooke wife of Francis Cooke. Her husband was not at home. She came to Plymouth three years later with the rest of her children. She sat on the bench next to her home and spoke with us about life in the Cooke family for over 20 minutes while she tended to the herbs in her garden. She spoke of her emotions when she was reunited with her husband and son after three years. She was excited to see them and anxious to know if they would be anxious to see them. The first thing she did was cry in relief.
Inside the homes were personal belongings brought over on the ships. They lived a simply life. I don't know where the furniture came from if or if not it was from the time period but it seems plausible to me and you really don't think about it when you look into the homes, only that it was a simpler time. Here is a sample of the articles inside the colonist homes including the all important heat source and cooking hearth.
Also at Plimouth Plantation you can walk through an area designed with people to tell you about the Indian style of life during the 17th Century. Hester had told me that they did get along with the neighboring Indians. Something new I have learned from the recent PBS special including Saints and Savages is about Squanto. He really seemed to be the one who paved the path for the white man to learn to get along with the natives of this new world.
Notes of Adeline Hamilton Davis descendant Francis and John Cooke