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Cook Family Genealogy

Descendants of Elias Cook
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This is the online version of the information and genealogical research I compiled on the descendants of Elias Cook, For the most part, I have enjoyed researching the Cook family, although there were times when I was ready to give up in frustration, especially when wading through overgrown cemeteries and inhaling mosquitoes, or burning my eyes out over poor microfilm records. The thrill of connecting the various pieces of the Cook family puzzle, when they fit together, kept me going and made me hungry for more.

I was very surprised to learn through the research, that with very few exceptions, all the Cooks in the County of Guysborough, N.S. are related. Most of the older family names of the Guysborough area will also have Cook family connections.

Many of the Cookes with roots in the Isaac's Harbour area spell the name with the added "e". Sometimes, on very old documents in the U.S., the name was also spelled with the added "e", however, the name is most commonly found spelled Cook.

One problem that I encountered often was the discrepancies in dates from one source to another. Sometimes the dates inscribed on cemetery headstones will differ from the church birth or death record. I also found a great difference in the census records from one ten year period to another. I have used whatever date I felt to be most logical in those cases.

Please update and add to this work where you can. Any errors are unintentional on my part, but I am sure there must be some. If mistakes are found, please let me know, so that I can correct the information for future editions.

Patricia Lumsden
E-mail me


Genealogical Numbering System

An explanation of the numbering system of the genealogy charts is as in the following examples:

1.418411) Wayne Cooke, who is
            1) The first child of
          1) Hugh Cooke, who was the first child of
        4) Leander Cooke, who was the fourth child of
      8) Charles Cook, who was the eighth child of
    1) Edmund Cook, who was the first child of
  4) Wintrop Cook , who was the fourth child of
1.) Elias Cook, who was a son of Elias Cook, who was our earliest known Cook ancestor to come to Nova Scotia.

Each person's descendants are followed as far as is reasonable, before proceeding with the next sibling.

Where there are ten or more children in the family, the tenth and subsequent children are so designated by underlining , as in: 1.4199110) Ileen Cooke, the tenth child in the family of Edison and Bertha Cooke.

The Early Years

Early legal documents from Massachusetts place our Cook forefathers around the Salem, Marblehead, Gloucester and Beverly areas. It is probable that our Cook lineage stems from England. Many hundreds of Cooks migrated from various parts of England to the colonies of North America. Our earliest known ancestor was Elias Cook, and he lived in the Massachusetts area of New England in the late 1600's.

Elias Cook (1st) was born around the year 1675. His marriage to Joanna Pederick on March 27/1698 took place at Marblehead, Mass. Joanna was the daughter of John and Miriam Pederick. The name is sometimes found spelled Petherick. In the book New England Marriages Prior to 1700, it is written that Joannah Pederick married Caleb Cook, on March 27, 1698. This is most assuredly an error in transcribing from the original records. A search done by the New England Historic Genealogical Society has determined through checking the original records that it was Elias Cook, not Caleb, who married Joanna Pederick at Marblehead, on March 27, 1698. There are records of the births of three children (and there were probably more). Their first son was Elias Cook (2nd), born April 30/1699. Miriam Cook, born 1701 and Elizabeth Cook, born 1703, are the two other children recorded as born to Elias and Joanna. Miriam married William Tucker on June 4/1722, and Elizabeth married Richard Blanch.

Elias Cook (2nd) married Sarah Haynes on Feb. 24/1726, at Marblehead, Mass. Their oldest and three youngest sons were born at Marblehead. The five middle children were born at Gloucester, Mass. In 1738, Elias (2nd) lived in Sandy Bay, near Gloucester. He died at Marblehead in 1753. There are records available of the lives of some of the children, who mostly all probably stayed in the Massachusetts area. The son Elias (3rd) was the progenitor who brought our line of Cooks to Nova Scotia.

Elias Cook (3rd) was the first child born to Elias (2nd) and Sarah Cook, on June 11/1726. At the age of 21, he married Lydia Searle, a daughter of John Searle, Jr., and Abigail (Dod) Searle.

That many of our Cook ancestors followed the sea is undoubtable. Many New England fishermen worked the Nova Scotian fishing grounds on a seasonal basis, catching, curing or drying their fish there, and returning with their goods ready for sale, to their New England homes for the winter months. By the terms of the Treaty of Paris, U.S. fishermen were permitted to dry their catch on "any of the unsettled bays, harbors and creeks of N.S., Magdalen Islands and Labrador." No doubt Elias (3rd) was familiar with the rich fishing grounds offered by the Chedabucto Bay area, which, in the early years, was as fine and as productive as any in the world. From the trade base at Canso, fresh and dried fish were shipped to New England and European ports.

In a document registered at Halifax on April 20/1761, approval was given for "Elias Cooke, John Heines, Isiah Nicklesons and Francis Grant", fishermen, for a grant of Tangier Island (off present Halifax County on the Eastern Shore), consisting of 40 acres. "They proposed immediately to settle a fishery. The Council did advise, that the said Island should be given to them upon conditions that they should constantly improve the same in the fishery and that they should not carry on any Trade with the Indians".

There is evidence that Elias (3rd) spent some time at Halifax. The baptism of Benjamin Cook is recorded at St. Paul's Church, Halifax, on March 6/1766. (From the record of Benjamin's birth, his parents were listed as Elias and Sarah Cook. Perhaps this is an error in the mother's name, for Lydia was still living in the early 1800's. Also, The 1817 census shows Benjamin as having been born in the U.S.) In February, 1770, a Sherrif's Deed was executed against Elias Cook, fisherman, to settle an account of John Kerby, merchant. The deed was for a "lott of land with all the Buildings and Improvements thereon situate in the north part of the Town of Halifax in Argyle Street near the Court House". Elias had probably moved out of Halifax by this time.

By 1768, Elias (3rd) and his family had migrated to lands at the head of Chedabucto Bay, where, with a handful of other settlers, a small community was started and thrived. For at least fifteen years prior to the influx of persons arriving at the end of the Revolutionary War as Loyalists, the small settlement around "Chedabuctou" contained the only English site of habitation all along the shores of Chedabucto Bay from Canso to Louisbourg.

Elias (3rd) chose for himself and his family a homestead site that is surely one of the most picturesque in Nova Scotia. On the hillside overlooking the cove, and beyond the waters of Chedabucto Bay, the view today, as it was back then, is unsurpassed. The land is presently owned by Murray Cook, who is the sixth generation of Cooks (Murray/ Albert/ John Henry/ William Cameron/ Benjamin/ Elias) to be raised on the original homestead lot. Although there is no house there today, there were two houses built on the property over the years.

View of Cook's Cove
Taken from the site of the first house built by Elias Cook

View a picture of Cook's Cove long ago.

The original house was 28' x 24', built nearly at the top of the hillside. In recent years, Murray moved a cabin on the site, right on top of the old cellar hole. According to family tradition, the first house caught fire one night. There were three black brothers who lived nearby, and saw the brightness in the sky. They quickly ran across the hill and put the fire out with some buckets of pig slop that were outside the house. The family, asleep inside, were saved by the fast action of the black brothers.

The reason the second house was built was because the public road shifted from the top of the hill, to down nearer the water, where a wharf was built. The second house was built by William Cameron Cook in 1846, using some of the boards from the old house. Over time, a large barn (which is still standing) and several smaller outbuildings were built. That house lasted 147 years, and was demolished in 1993. (While helping tear apart the interior of the house, Chris Cook saw the singed boards that had come from the old house, and saved several of them.)

When the Revolutionary War ended, hundreds of Loyalists were transported to Chedabucto in 1783, and grants of land given to them. The old settlers also applied for legal title to the lands they claimed as their own. In a memorial dated 1787, of Elias Cook and others, it states, "Had been settled - most of them since 1768 - on land formerly granted to Rev. Mr. Byron at Chedabucto, by leave and desire of Mr. Jonathan Binney.* They had built houses and made considerable improvements on the same. They ask for grants......The land has been assigned to the 60th Regiment, but these people should be provided for: Charles Morris, surveyor." (*Jonathan Binney was the Superintendant of the Fishery at Canso from 1764 until his house and property were destroyed by New England privateers in 1772. He was granted 1000 acres at the head of Chedabucto Bay, and settled fishermen and their families on some of it.)

A total of 1807 acres at the head of Chedabucto Bay was surveyed and laid off for the old settlers, with Elias (3rd) receiving 200 acres and his son John, who was married with children by this time, receiving 300 acres.

The others named in the same grant included John Ingersol (150 acres), Godfrey Peart (250 acres), Diana Callahan (150 acres), the heirs of John Godfrey (150 acres), Robert Callahan (200 acres), Nathaniel Tobin (Tobey), (200 acres), and Josiah (Isaiah) Horton (207 acres).

As would be expected, in such an isolated setting, the Cooks married into the families of the other few settlers in the area, forming intricate genealogical connections, some of which are impossible to decipher.

Within three years after the date of the grant, for every 50 acres of plantable land, the settlers had to clear and work 3 acres at least, or else clear and drain 3 acres of swampy or sunken ground. Three neat cattle were to be kept on every 50 acres. One good dwelling house was to be erected, to be at least 20 feet in length and 16 feet in breadth. No doubt all the old settlers had already fulfilled the requirements of the grants prior to them being issued.

In a few very early deeds, the settlement was referred to as Herring Cove, then as Cook's Cove. In other later deeds, it is sometimes called just "The Cove".

Along with the grants of land, the Cook men bought other lands as opportunity arose, for use as woodlots, and to eventually divide and share with grown children.

Along with the benefits of a new township and the large increase in population, there arose the necessity of taxation. The first assessment rolls were made in 1791. Elias Cook (3rd) was assessed 9 pounds 5 shillings 6 pence; Benjamin Cook 9 pounds 1 shilling 6 pence; John Cook, shopkeeper, 9 pounds 10 shillings 6 pence. An appeal by Elias Cook on the grounds that "he had not so many as six head of neat cattle" reduced his tax amount by 4 shillings.

By 1793, the next assessment year, there were listed 6 adult Cook men who were heads of households: Elias Cook, Senior, (3rd), Elias Cook, Junior, (4th), Elias Cook 3rd, (5th), James Cook, John Cook and Benjamin Cook.

John Cook was a shopkeeper, and kept a store at Cook's Cove. He was appointed "Culler and Surveyor of Fish" in 1785. He brought action against persons caught stealing from his store to the Court of General Sessions of the Peace, on several occasions. One case, in 1791, involved the theft of "Sundry Bushels of Potatoes, the value of 14 shillings". Another, in the same year, was for the theft of "moose meat and tobacco - value of 9 shillings". In both cases the guilty parties were whipped, receiving "39 stripes on the naked back at the Public Whipping Post in Manchester" (Guysborough town), and made to either make restitution plus costs to John Cook, or, if unable to pay, be bound out for the payment of them. Justice was harsh in those days.

In his book, Guysborough Sketches and Essays, Dr. A.C. Jost has confused this John Cook with his nephew, John, son of his brother Elias. On legal documents, his nephew is referred to as John Jr., even though he was not a son of John Cook. Both John Cooks married women with the name of Elizabeth: John Cook, Sr.'s wife was Elizabeth Tobey, who was still living in 1824, when she and John sold land that she had inherited from her father Nathaniel Tobey. They lived in the Cook's Cove area, whereas John Cook, Jr., lived in the Bantry/Salmon River area. John, Jr. married Elizabeth Callahan in 1801, and he was a bachelor, not a widower, at the time of their marriage. Their six children married and settled in the communities from Salmon River Lakes through to Roachvale.

Another early court case involved Elias Cook. He was ordered to appear before the General Sessions of the Peace to answer the charge of "speaking disrespectfully of the Magistrates of the County in the Execution of their Duty", taken July 7/1786. Elias appeared on Oct. 22/1786, and "acknowledged that he believed he had said some disrespectful words, when in Liquor, that he had no ill meaning, begged the pardon of the Court and promised not to do the like again. He was dismissed."

There were at least twelve children of Elias and Lydia Cook, and could have been more. In a deed made in 1805, Benjamin Cook gave land in the Bantry/Salmon river area to his nephew Daniel Gerry, however, I have not yet determined who his mother was. (Daniel Gerry married in 1805, had had children with the names of Benjamin, Catherine, Sarah, and Lydia.)

Elias (3rd) died on March 16, 1809, and is buried in the Anglican Cemetery in Guysborough. His son, Elias (4th) died before him, in 1797.

Elias Cook (4th) returned to live for at least a time in the U.S., for he married at Beverly, Mass., in 1769. The information given on the grant of land applied for by his children states, "Petitioners came to this province in 1789 from the U.S.A., where they were born, are all residents of Sydney County (now Guysborough County), and have received no lands. They request them on Salmon River, in the same county. Voted 1350 acres in 1808": Elias Cook (5th) with a wife and 6 children was granted 400 acres. Stephen Cook with a wife and 1 child was granted 150 acres. Ambrose Cook with a wife and 3 children was granted 250 acres. John Cook with a wife and 3 children was granted 250 acres. Edmund Cook with a wife only was granted 100 acres.Winthrop Cook with a wife and 2 children was granted 200 acres. The area where they settled came to be known as Bantry, a community also settled by many Irish immigrants, near Erinville. The names of some of the other settlers who received grants in that area, and who had connections with the Cook family include: Matthew Hutcheson, Daniel Gerry, John Collier, John Bigsby, John Walsh, James O'Gorman, William McAllister. By 1865, Bantry was no more, its former residents moving out and settling in more populated areas.

Benjamin Cook married twice, fathering a total of thirteen children from the two marriages. In 1826, he had children, as well as grandchildren attending school at Cook's Cove. Of the 44 children registered to attend school that year, 20 of them had the last name of Cook. In 1828, Moses and Elias Cook (Benjamin's sons) and Charles Horton were school trustees.

The land for the Wesleyan chapel that was built in 1862 was given by Elias and his wife Anna.

The Cooks were connected through marriage to most of the other nine pre-loyalist settlers, most particularly with the Horton family, who settled around the part of Cook's Cove that became known as Horton's Cove.

Through the years, especially in the mid to late 1800's, there was a tendency for Nova Scotians to migrate to the United States, or to other parts of Canada, in search of better working opportunities. Many family lines are missing continuity because of this. Today, Cook descendants can be found living in every province of Canada, many of the United States, and in other countries of the world.

Cook Family Genealogy

Elias and Joanna's Children:

Elias Cook (2nd) b: Apr. 30/1699 d: May 14/1753 Marblehead
Miriam Cook b: Sept. 22/1701
Elizabeth Cook b: Aug. 22/1703
Of the above children, Miriam Cook married William Tucker on June 4/1722, Elizabeth Cook married Richard Blanch (date unknown), and Elias Cook married Sarah Haynes (b: May 14, 1710), daughter of Francis and Elizabeth (Hooper) Haynes of Marblehead, Mass., on Feb. 24/1725, at Marblehead.

Elias and Sarah Cook's Children:
Elias Cook (3rd)b: June 11/1721d: Mar. 16/1809
Sarah Cook b: June 7/1731
Francis Cook b: Aug. 10/1734
Benjamin Cook b: Jan. 17/1736 d: Jan. 30/1736
Samuel Cook b: July 22/1739
William Cook b: Apr. 18/1742
Anna Cook b: June 10/1744
Ebenezer Cook b: Feb. 8/1747
John Cook bap. June25/1749

Of the above children, Sarah, Francis, Benjamin and Samuel were born at Gloucester, Mass. Anna , Ebenezer, John and Elias (3rd) were born at Marblehead, Mass. The remainder of this genealogy deals solely with the descendants of Elias (3rd).

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