Cooke Memorial Park(1903)
Pilgrim Avenue, Fairhaven, MA
John Cooke arrived in America at the age of 14 in the year 1620 with his father Francis aboard the Mayflower. In 1652 Cooke was among the 36 Plymouth colonists who purchased Dartmouth Township from Wampanoag leader Massasoit and his son Wamsutta. Cooke was the only one of the original Pilgrims to actually move to the town, building a home and a garrison near Howland Road.
A Baptist preacher, Cooke represented the area at Plymouth Court for six years and performed a number of legal duties, making him an important figure of his day. He was one of the town’s Selectmen in 1675 when Massasoit’s son King Philip attacked and burned much of old Dartmouth.
Cooke had five daughters whose families—Hathaway, Taber, West and Wilcox—were among the most prominent in the region. At the time of Cooke’s death in 1695, he was the last surviving male passenger of the Mayflower.
Taber family tradition once said Cooke was buried here. A boulder with a bronze plaque was installed in the park by the Fairhaven Improvement Association in 1903. While this park had been referred to as a burial ground in the 1760s, no records indicate who was buried there. The first suggestion this may have been Cooke’s final resting place was made in 1888, almost two centuries after the Pilgrim’s death. There is some evidence that suggests Cooke was more likely have been buried on Hathaway property in what is now Acushnet. His actual burial place is unknown.