Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Monday, March 22, 2010

John Thompson and Mary Cooke, Our Pilgram Ancestors

Early Plymouth

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Our virtual family reunion tonight takes us to some of the first pilgrims to set foot on American soil. From an earlier post we know that Francis Cook (our 10th Great Grandfather) arrived at Plymouth on the Mayflower. Tonight's story resumes the Cooke story with Mary, our 9th Great Grandmother and the daughter of Francis Cooke. This is through Luella's side of our family.
The actual line is below:

John Thompson - Mary Cooke (9th Great Grandparents)
Elizabeth Thompson
Ebenezer Swift
Ebenezer Swift Jr.
Juda Swift
Phinas Swift
Almira Swift
Isabel Deanora McCrilles
Vesta Althea Dennis
Violet Pierce (Grandma Mattson)
Mom (Luella)

Mary married John Thompson on December 26,1645. John Thompson was born in northern Wales in 1616. He, like so many others, didn’t have a formal education. If there was something to learn he learned it himself or asked his parents. It is said that John Thompson arrived in Plymouth when he was six years old on the ship “Fortune” commanded by Robert Cushman.

He took up carpentry as a trade. He and his friend Richard Church built the first meeting house in Plymouth in 1637. He took up farming and felt he could do well if he moved further into the interior. He bought 6000 acres from the Indians 13 miles west of Bridgeford. He built a log house for his family. The Indians eventually burned it to the ground. There were many troubles with the Indians until open hostilities broke out around 1675.

There is a story told of a time when an Indian arrived at the log cabin and “behaved rudely” with our great grandmother Mary. It seems one of them pulled a fish out of her boiling pot. She reprimanded him and he pulled out a knife. Mary promptly produced a broom and chased him out of the house.

Soon after this incident the family moved to fort near Four Corners Middleborough. John buried his money in the swamp nearby and packed their belongings. John knew the native language, customs and mannerisms. Knowing them as well as he did he was able to escape ambush on several occasions. It is said his gun was 7 ft 4 1/2 inches long, the barrel being 6 feet 1 1/2 inches long: the bullets were 12 to the pound, and it is now displayed in Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth.

In spite of their willingness to defend their land the white settlers were driven back to Plymouth by the Indians. At the end of the war in 1677 they were able to return to their lands.

John rebuilt his burned house and lived there until he died. John and Mary were very religious. They walked the 13 miles to Plymouth every Sunday for church. Mary once had to carry her six month old child Elizabeth; a 26 mile round trip every Sunday! That is dedication. John lived to be 80. Mary died at 88. They are buried the cemetery of Middleborough.

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