Petition of John Cook to Governor William Phips and Council

To His Excellency, Sir Wiliam Phips and the Honored Council for Their Majesties' Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England

The humble petition of John Cook of Dartmouth in the County of Bristol in the Province aforesaid humbly sheweth that your petitioner, one of the ancientest inhabitants in this Province who arrived from England in the County of Plymouth in the Year of Our Lord 1620 with his father,[1] who was one of the first purchasers and Old Comers who laid out and expended a considerable estate in settling the first plantation, and your petitioner, being much conversant with the sachems Papamo, Machacom, Achawanamett, who had a considerable tract of land situate between Dartmouth and Sandwich,[2] the chief of them being Papamo was indebted to your petitioner, and by reason of the obligation he had to and kindness he had for your petitioner, did often, in his lifetime, by word and deed and before his death, will the said land to your petitioner and Mr. William Bradford and entrust them. requiring and desiring our care of his children, but the said land is kept away from your petitioner and the said Papamo's children have had no benefit thereof, although they were very serviceable in the late Indian war against our enemies under the command of Major Church[3] and have received the Christian faith, and notwithstanding there was a reserve of exception of the said land when the rest about it was surrendered as being Indian or Englishmen's rights, which hath administered occasion of offense to the Indians, some reflecting on your petitioner as not being faithful to his trust, which is ground of trouble to your aged petitioner and, if not remedied, desires that he may be satisfactorily discharged of his trust, and he will then desist, though grieved that he cannot do as he ought for them.           

And further may it please Your Excellency and the Honorable Council, your petitioner did by petition obtain of the General Court of Plymouth a grant that if your petitioner could find out any land undisposed of and not granted to others, he should be accommodated with the same, as by reference to the said grant bearing date July 1683 being had doth fully appear.  Now so it is your petitioner doth hereby certify that there is a little island called Little Island[4] of two or three acres of land which lies near Dartmouth and the said Indians' land, which if with some part of the same may be conferred on your petitioner for the good of your petitioner and his children.

Your petitioner as in duty bound shall pray, etc.


Read in Council, April 6, 1693                                             


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[1] Francis Cook
[2] On October 3, 1673, three sachems, Papamo, Machacom, and Achawanamett, in order to preserve their lands for the benefit of their children recorded a deed to the plantation of Mattapoisett in the land records of Plymouth Colony.  The extent of the land recorded ran from the "easteren bounds of Dartmouth att the watersyde to a place called Wassapacoasett: and soe into the woods to the southeast end of a pond called Masquanspust which is about six or seauen myle; and along the south  syde of the pond to a great spruce tree marked, on four sydes, which is the head bound, on the east syde of our land, and from thence to a swamp which lyeth south from the Marked tree.  The swamp is called quanumpacke: and from thence to the two Rockes lying by the Pathsyde; which goeth from Dartmouth to Sandwich; Eastern syde of Dartmouth bounds is the Westersde of our bounds; and Sandwich path is our head bounds, on the west syde of our land from Dartmouth bounds, to them two Rockes before Named, our Tract of land is called by the name of Mattapoisett." RPC 12: 225-225​
[3] Benjamin Church was a nephew of Cook's wife.  Henry Howland Crapo, Certain Comeoverers, Vol. 1 (New Bedford, MA: E. Anthony & Sons, 1812), 120.
[4] Ram Island.  Cook received Ram Island in 1672 from the Town of Dartmouth as recompense for his services.  Through his last will and testament, Cook passed his right to the island to his grandson, Thomas Tabor.  Henry Howland Crapo, Certain Comeoverers, Vol. 1 (New Bedford, MA: E. Anthony & Sons, 1812), 118.  Last Will & Testament of John Cook, 1694, The Plymouth Colony Archive Project.