Letter published in the Fairhaven Star, November 22, 1902
Newport, Nov. 18, 1903
To the Editor of the Star:
Your paper says: "One of them, thought to be the
remains of John Cooke." It seems by this that his remains have not been
William Blackstone, the first settler of the state of Rhode
Island, died May 30, 1675, and was burled on "Study Hill," which was
leveled and now occupied (1902) by Ann and Hope Mill. When this mill was
erected, about 1886, his remains were removed about opposite to where they were
originally burled. Only his dust was found after about two centuries in the
Roger Williams died in the spring of 1683 and was buried on
his home lot, North Main St, Providence, R. I. His remains were taken up under
the eye of a large committee appointed for that purpose. He had been buried
about two centuries and nothing but dust, which was put in an urn, remained.
Governor Henry Bull of this place, last surviving of the nine
founders of Newport died in 1693, honored, by a granite monument. His grave was
opened by entering at the side. His form was entire, but in a moment it had
passed into shapeless dust.
John Cooke died Nov. 23, 1695. He was the original settler
of your fair town, his remains, if dug up, have not been properly identified.
The "copper nails” seem to point to a much later period. And the
larger bones not perished would point to a more recent date for the burial of
the two skeletons found.
John Cooke has been buried about 207 years and only the dust
remains in his original grave which I think has not been disturbed.
His beautiful town on the banks of the fair
"Acushena" has been his monument through the centuries, and now the
progressive citizens of that town are adding new honors to the memory of John
Cooke by placing a memorial bowlder "near where" he silently waits.
GEO. H. RICHARDSON.
No. 8 Whitfield Court, Newport, R. I.