Sources for John Cook & Margaret Berry
A letter of Guardianship written 24th November 1767 by James Fulton in Londonderry Township refers to two minor-aged boys. That was the year that the elder boy—assumed to be John Cook—was bound to James Fulton of the township. A closer examination of those two boys and their parentage is found in The Cook Boys and Sidney Holmes. Read more
In the 1791 Poll Tax for the province, three Cooks are listed in Londonderry. One is John Cook, taxed £0-5-0 for the year. It’s the same rate as James Sr. and Ralph—uncle and cousin of John’s—indicating John to be well established at the age of 38.
There were numerous land transfers in and around Portaupique to which John Cook was party. Originals may be seen at the Land Registration Office, Truro, NS.
A headstone in the Portaupique Cemetery is dated April 28th 1794. It refers to “the wife of John Cook”. In the 1970s relatives claimed that the name “Berry” was visible on this stone though it subsequently disappeared. Those relatives, though curious, never pressed their questions further about “Margaret Berry”.
A more reliable reference is an article under “Londonderry Letter”, a regular column written by Lloyd K. Smith for the Truro Weekly News dated December 22nd 1956. It’s about the Giddens family and there’s a reference to John Cook and Margaret Berry’s daughter Mary Cook marrying Capt. John Giddens. Lloyd Smith credits his source as Mrs. J.S. Creelman (Bertha Fulton). Her paternal grandmother was Martha Giddens (1823-1862) the first wife of James Campell Fulton of Portaupique, NS. (This Martha was a daughter of Mary Cook and Capt. John Giddens and distinct from the Martha McLellan Savage Giddens who was an earlier Martha married to William Giddens, father of Captain John.)
The daughter of John and Margaret Berry Cook, Mary Cook Giddens, and her husband Capt. John Giddens are also buried in the Beach Road Cemetery in Portaupique, NS.
In her book, Planters and Pioneers by Esther Clark Wright, is included the name Robert Berry. He and his family came to Amherst Nova Scotia in 1765. He died 8 Sep 1781. It lists his children as: Thomas, Jenny, Margaret, Elizabeth, Nancy, Ketley, Robert, William and Andrew. His Last Will and Testament is included in the Cumberland County CD Will Book A, 1770-1830.
In 2012, a new flat marker was added to Margaret’s grave in Portaupique. The wording from the original was copied with the addition of the name “Berry” to indicate her family name. The original stone, while stained and worn, had held up for 218 years.
There may have been additional children to John and Margaret’s marriage; very likely John remarried after Margaret’s death in 1794 but the records are so partial as to make conjecture risky. In 2013, a Cook DNA candidate matched 66/67 markers to another man in this family history who was a descendant of William Cook 1st and this John.
There’s a death notice for John Cook of Londonderry who died June 17th 1833. The July 22nd 1833 issue of the Halifax Journal says only, “At Londonderry on the 17th ult. Mr. John Cook, leaving a numerous family to lament his loss”. Also see Nova Scotia Vital Statistics from Newspapers 1829-1834, item #2500, by Jean M. Holder & G.L. Hubley, Genealogical Association of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, 1982. Where John was buried remains unknown.
DNA evidence reveals that Robert Allen Cook Sr. of Nevada traces his paternal ancestry back to the John Cook (1753-1833) who came to Nova Scotia as a 14 year old with his father William Cook in 1761. Courtesy Bob Cook.