Nicholas Cooke

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Nicholas Cooke

Birthdate: (66)
Birthplace: Providence, Providence Plantations County, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Death: September 14, 1782 (66)
Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States
Place of Burial: Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Daniel Cooke and Mary Cooke
Husband of Hannah Cooke
Father of Hannah Cushing and Sarah Olney

Managed by: Dale Henry Rochon
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Nicholas Cooke

Rhode Island Governor. Nicholas was born to Daniel Cooke and his wife Mary Power. Early in his life he became a very prominent and prosperous sea captain and later a successful merchant. On September 23, 1740 he married Mary Sabin and would have 12 children. After two terms as Deputy Governor of Rhode Island, in 1768 and 1775, he was unanimously elected to be Governor and served as the first Governor after independence was declared. He served until 1778 when he declined another term. He is recognized by the Gaspee Days Committee as being a co-conspirator for providing materials used in the burning of the British Revenue Schooner HMS Gaspee in 1772. He was originally buried in a plot on his land in Providence. However, in 1844 his remains, and that of his family, were removed to their present resting place. (bio by: Matthew Fatale)

Nicholas Cooke (February 3, 1717 – September 14, 1782) was the first Governor of Rhode Island after it became a state of the United States of America, holding that office from November 1775 to May 1778.

Cooke had been a sea captain and operated a distillery and a ropemaking business. He was a member of Beneficent Congregational Church from 1747 to his death. In 1768 and 1775, he was elected Deputy Governor of Rhode Island; he became Governor in the latter year when Tory sympathizer Joseph Wanton left office.

Cooke served two terms as Governor of Rhode Island and later denied the unanimous invitation for a third term. He served through May 1778, then declined another term.

           Cooke married Hannah Sabin in 1740 (d. 1792), and had 12 children.

Rhode Island Historical Society Manuscripts Division has a collection consisting of letters received by Gov. Cooke, and drafts of letters sent.

The bulk of this collection probably comprises the gift of papers made by Caroline Cooke, widow of one of Gov. Cooke's sons, in 1865. Other early gifts may have been included; Rufus Babcock donated one letter in 1859 that found its way into this collection. On the other hand, many early Cooke letters donated before 1890 were not placed here; they were interfiled in the miscellaneous Rhode Island Historical Society Manuscripts collection.
           After the collection was disbound in 1982, some items were added, including some Babcock letters. Those who are interested in pursuing this matter further can easily determine which items were in the collection in 1890, by comparing the current list with the list made at that time. Also, items removed from the 1890 scrapbook still bear signs of a distinctive off-white paper glued to the reverse.


1764/06/25 Letter from John Turner & Son, at Amsterdam.

1768/07/24 Letter from Phineas Potter, at St. Johns, Three Rivers. Canadian fisheries.

1768/12/24 Warrant for arrest of James Dunwen.

1771/09/18 Deed of Negro man named Prince from Josias Lyndon.

1772/05/05 Power of attorney, Cooke et al to James Rogers.

1772/11/14 Letter from Cooke? to John Chambersley of London.

1773/04/14 Receipt from Joseph Tillinghast for cargo to Joseph Swasey.

1773/04/14 Letter from Joseph Swasey, at Granada.

1773/05/03 Receipt from Joseph and William Russell for linen and one Bible.

1775/04/05 Letter from John Pownell, at Whitehall.

1775/06/26 Draft to Provisional Congress of Massachusetts.

1775/07/01 Draft to Gov. Trumbull.

1775/07/01 Draft to "The Sachems, Warriours and females Governesses of Oneida".

1775/07/07 Draft to Committee of Safety.

1775/07/08 Draft to Genl. Greene.

1775/07/26 Copy of letter from George Washington.

1775/08/06 Letter from John Potter, at South Kingstown.

1775/08/09 Copy of letter on behalf of Geo. Washington to Col. Leffingwell and William Hubbard.

1775/08/30 Draft to George Washington

1775/08/31 Draft to Stephen Hopkins and Samuel Ward.

1775/09/01 Letter from John Potter, at South Kingstown.

1775/09/01 Letter from Joseph Stanton Jr., at Charlestown.

1775/09/02 Draft to Genl. Washington.

1775/09/06 Letter from [James Rhodes?] at New Shoreham.

1775/09/08 Draft to James Rhodes.

1775/09/11 Letter from John Potter, at South Kingstown.

1775/09/11 Letter from John Potter to Samuel Segar and George Potter, at South Kingstown.

1775/09/13 Letter from James Rhodes at New Shoreham.

1775/09/14 Draft to James Rhodes.

1775/09/15 Letter from James Rhodes, at New Shoreham.

1775/09/19 Letter to R.I. General Assembly from Samuel Whitmarsh, et al, at Port Petre, Guadaloupe.

1775/09/23 Letter from James Rhodes, at Westerly.

1775/09/29 Draft to Ethan Clarke.

1775/09/29 Draft to Genl. Bradford.

1775/09/29 Draft to Genl. Washington.

1775/10/06 Draft to John Hancock.

1775/10/08 Letter from B.? Peckham, at South Kingstown, foe Committee of Correspondence

1775/10/10 Draft to onathan Trumbull.

1775/10/10 Draft to Stephen Hopkins and Samuel Ward.

1775/10/10 Letter from John Waterman, at Warwick.

1775/10/11 Tracing of letter, Cooke to Col. Waterman.

1775/10/11 Letter from Ethan Clarke, at New Shoreham.

1775/10/12 Town council minute, Newport - proposed agreement with Capt. Wallace.

1775/10/19 Letter from Ambrose Page, at Providence.

1775/10/20 Order to William Wilbour.

1775/10/21 Draft to Esek Hopkins.

1775/10/25 Draft to Genl. Washington.

1775/10/26 Copy of act of Congress.

1775/11/12 Draft to Capt. Whipple. Glued to 10/25 letter.

1775/11/21 Order to Abraham Whipple.

1775/11/22 Letter from Metcalf Bowler, at Middletown.

1775/11/25 Draft to William Bradford.

1775/11/27 Draft to Stephen Hopkins and Samuel Ward.

1775/11/27 Letter from William Richmond, at Camp Rhode Island.

1775/12/02 Letter from Nathaniel Mumford et al, at Philadelphia.

1775/12/11 Draft to Genl. Washington.

1775/12/16 Memoranda taken at Chelsea and Dorchester of ship movements.

1775/12/17 Draft to Stephen Hopkins and Samuel Ward.

1775/12/22 Letter from William Richmond, at "Headquarters."

1776/01/07 Letter from Samuel Ward, at Philadelphia.

1776/01/30 Letter from Walter Burke, at Antigua.

1776/01/30 Letter from Peter Begorrat, "Devoted Friend of America", at St. Pierre, France.

1776/03/19 Letter from Moses Brown, at Providence.

1776/03/18 Draft to Genl. Washington.

1776/03/26 Letter from William Greene, at Warwick.

1776/04/?? Letter from Henry Babcock.

1776/04/01 Letter from John Babcock, at Westerly.

1776/04/03 Letter from John Trumbull, at Lebanon.

1776/04/04 Letter from Cromwell Child, at Warren.

1776/04/04 Draft to Genl. Washington. Glued to 3/18 letter.

1776/04/06 Letter from Henry Babcock, at R.I. headquarters.

1776/04/09 Order to John Grimes. Glued to 3/18 letter.

1776/04/11 Letter from William Richmond, Christopher Lippitt and Caleb Gardner, at Middletown, R.I.

1776/04/11 Letter from William Richmond and Caleb Gardner, at Headquarters.

1776/04/13 Letter from Henry Babcock, at R.I. Headquarters.

1776/04/18 Letter from Joshua Babcock, at Westerly

1776/04/19 Letter from Joshua Babcock, at Westerly.

1776/04/23 Draft to Gov. Hopkins.

1776/04/25 Letter from Joshua Babcock, at Westerly.

1776/04/29 Copy of unsigned letter, at New York, marked "probably from Gen. Washington."

1776/05/06 Letter from Pierre Long, at Portsmouth, N.E.

1776/05/14 Letter from John Trumbull, at Hartford. Glued to 4/3 letter.

1776/06/24 Draft to Gov. Trumbull.

1776/07/22 Letter from John Grimes, at Newport.

1776/07/24 Draft, to [unknown?].

1776/07/26 Letter from Nicholas Biddle, aboard the Andrew Doria.

1776/08/13 Draft to Stephen Hopkins and William Ellery.

1776/08/17 Draft to Gov. Trumbull.

1776/08/27 Draft to Stephen Hopkins and William Ellery.

1776/08/30 Copy, letter of Col. Livingston to Gov. Trumbull, at Sag Harbor.

1776/08/30 Copy of letter, Samuel Buell to Gov. Trumbull, at Sag Harbor.

                       Glued to 8/30 letter.

1776/08/31 Copy of letter from Robert Hempstead, [to Gov. Trumbull?] at Southhold, L.I.

1776/09/01 Letter from Joseph Trumbull to his father, at New York.

1776/09/03 Draft to Gov. Trumbull.

1776/09/05 Copy of letter from [Trumbull?] to Cooke, at Lebanon.

1776/10/05 Draft to Trumbull.

1776/11/20 Letter from officers of Col. Richmond's regiment to R.I. assembly.

1776/11/?? Letter from William Bull, at Newport.

1777/01/01 Copy of testimony of William West.

1777/03/14 Letter from Josias Lyndon, at Warren.

1777/05/08 Letter from William Ellery, at Philadelphia.

                       Also attached enclosure: extract in Ellery's hand from letter by Arthur Lee dated                         2/20/1777.

1777/05/08 Letter from John Gibson, at Philadelphia.

1777/05/12 Letter from William Greene, at Warwick

1777/05/17 Letter from Jer. Powell, for the Massachusetts Council.

1777/05/20 Letter from Genl. Spencer, at Providence.

1777/05/20 Letter from Joseph Noyes, at Westerly.

1777/05/21 Letter from William Bradford, at South Kingstown.

1777/07/20 Letter from Genl. Varnum, at Peekskill.

1777/07/23 Letter from Massachusetts Council.

1778/11/28 Letter from Henry Marchant, at South Kingstown.

Undated J. Swasey, account of sales of cargo aboard sloop Ranger. Ca. 1773?

Undated C. Lippitt, memorandum on contents of chest rec'd from Mr. Champlin.

Undated Eight envelopes with no apparent matching letters.

The collection also includes typescripts of 13 letters from George Washington to Cooke, dated 1775-1777, available in photostat form from the R.I. State Archives.

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Babcock, Henry

Ellery, William (1727-1820)

Trumbull, Jonathan (1710-1785)

Rhode Island - Politics and government - Revolution, 1775-1783

United States - History - Revolution, 1775-1783

Washington, George (1732-1799)

Most of the items in this collection are indexed through the card catalog at the repository.

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Nicholas Cooke's Timeline

February 3, 1716
Providence, Providence Plantations County, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
March 16, 1749
Age 33
Age 34
September 14, 1782
Age 66
Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States
Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, United States