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When a boy of 14 to 16 years, with a considerable number of other children, John accepted an invitation to enjoy a day of festivity on board a ship anchored in the Thames river , near London. Part of the entertainment was to be a trip down the river to Liverpool and return late that afternoon. Among these young people , who were from 10 to 16 years old, was Nellie, who lived in Scotland , but was visiting in London. This day was the 4th Sunday in May, 1766 or 67. Instead of sailing back up the river, the ship continued out to sea to Virginia. None of the children ever returned home. Those who survived the trip were sold as indentured servants to planters, who by a not-so-strange coincidence, met the ship prepared to pay for their passage. John and Nellie were bought by the same planter. John completed his term and worked for a while to pay for Nellie's term. They then married and settled in the Shenandoah Valley.

To read more about John Cooke and Nellie Pemberton, see the Cook(e) Genealogy Report