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James and Martha Cook Ralph & Jane Cook James Cook Jr & Agnes Mahon James & Martha Cook

Sources for James & Martha Cook

the want adsIn 1761 James and Martha Cook and four of their children sailed from Ulster, Northern Ireland to Nova Scotia on the Hopewell, having responded to an ad for settlers in the Belfast News-Letter.

Since no passenger list survives the voyage of the Hopewell, the first accounting of the Cook family is the 1770 Census for Poll Taxes in Londonderry Township. James Cook is there with a household of 2 men, 1 boy, 2 women, 3 girls, for a total of eight. They are all Protestant in religion, 6 of them Irish-born and 2 American-born, and residents of Portaupique where James owns two rights of land or 1000 acres. The total population of the township was estimated to be 254 that year. See Edith L. Fletcher, Scotia Heritage (1984) p.152. 

See also Esther Clark Wright, Planters and Pioneers, Nova Scotia 1749-1775, rev. ed. 2007, p.12.

Nova Scotia

Thirty years into their Nova Scotia tenure, three Cook men are listed in Londonderry Township: Present is James Cook Sr., Ralph Cook and John Cook. Each pays £0-5-0 in taxes. Subsequent records will reveal that Ralph is son of James Sr. and John is a nephew. A son-in-law of James Sr., Robert Dough (Doo), pays £0-1-0 tax that year. See Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management, RG 1 vol. 444, mfm no. 13580 or www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm

In a study of early immigrants to North Atlantic colonies, Terrence M. Punch includes families known to have settled in Cobequid. Among those who went to Londonderry were James and Martha Cook and four of their children: James, Ralph, Jenny and Margaret. See p.134, North America's Maritime Funnel: The Ships that Brought the Irish 1749-1852, published 2012 by Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, MD 21211-1953.

The children attributed to this marriage are listed as they appeared in their father's Last Will and Testament. Evidence suggests that Ralph was probably among the older children in the family; certainly older than James Jr.


The death of James Cook Sr. is on record at the Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management, NSARM, RG48 Reel 358(W), also recorded in Allan E. Marble's  Deaths, Burials & Probate of Nova Scotians 1749-1799 from Primary Sources, Vol.1 (A-K) #14, Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia, 1990.

Notice of Martha Cook's death comes from the Estate Papers, Wills & Petitions filmed by the Latter Day Saints at Truro, NS. It was simple documentation dated August 20th 1809 with her son James Cook, yeoman, appointed sole Administrator. Family History Collection, LDS mfm #0573579 #40 covering the years 1800 to 1835.

According to A. E. Marble, the death date for Martha Cook is 24 May 1807. His citation lists her name, death date, place as Londonderry, no age or kin given; RG48 Reel 19, 178(A). Deaths, Burials & Probate of Nova Scotians 1800-1850 from Primary Sources, Vol.1, (A-E), #22, Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia, 1999.


Last Will & Testament of James Cook Senr, Yeoman,
Portapique, 23rd June 1794: In the Name of God Amen} I James Cook Segr of Portapique Yeoman in the Town Ship of London Derry, And in the Province of Nova Scotia being in Perfect Mind and. . . Read more