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Manuscript Collections


Collection 15

Reverand Samuel Cooke (1723-1795)

Sermons, 1748-1794

Processed by

Doris K. Handzo

Edited by

Gregory J. Plunges

Monmouth County Historical Association
70 Court Street
Freehold, New Jersey

November 1980


The Rev. Samuel Cooke (1723 - 1795) was born in England. He graduated from Caius College, Cambridge and served as a clergyman in Beccles Parish and several others in England.

He was sent to America as a missionary by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. He arrived in Shrewsbury, NJ in the fall of 1751, and also served at Christ Church in Middletown and St. Peters in Freehold.

Sometime just prior to November, 1756, Cooke married Graham Kearny, daughter of Sarah Morris Kearny (1696 - 1736 May 29) and Michael Kearney (1669? - 1741 May 7). Graham Kearny Cooke was born at Morrisania, NY 1736 May 21. Her mother was the daughter of Gov. Lewis Morris and her father was an Irish immigrant who lived in Perth Amboy, NJ and owned a large estate in Monmouth County. The marriage to Graham Kearny gave Rev. Cooke connections with members of the Kearny, Morris, and Leonard families, many of whom served on the Vestry of Christ Church, Shrewsbury, NJ. Mrs. Cooke died in Shrewsbury, NJ on September 23, 1771. The couple had seven children.

During the American Revolution, Rev. Coooke aided the Loyalist cause in Shrewsbury and had differences of opinion, sometimes quite heated, with Josiah Holmes, a patriot and a member of his congregation in Christ Church, Shrewsbury, NJ. Rev. Cooke had planned a trip to England since 1761, but family and church business intervened and he did not go until 1775, traveling with the Rev. Myles Cooper and the Rev. Thomas B. Chandler. Contemporary writers say he was "virtually driven out" because of his Loyalist sentiments and in his Farewell Sermon (1775 May 14) he hints that it has become unsafe for him to stay. He left his children behind in the care of family and friends.

In 1776 he found that the only way he could return to America was as a chaplain to the British garrison in New York. In 1779 Josiah Holmes seized the parish glebe (farm) and Cooke's own farm was sold at public auction by court order in 1779. All of his property -- farm equipment, books, furniture and livestock -- was auctioned off. With the help of friends, his daughter managed to bid on, and keep the farm.

Rev. Cooke continued to preach in and around New York, but his finances were at a low ebb. His pay from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel had stopped and for a time he received no chaplain's pay. A small award came from the Compensation Claims Commission in 1785. After thirty years of devoted service, he was treated with indifference by the Church of England. Instead of the retirement pension he had a right to expect, he was sent as a missionary to American refugees in New Brunswick, Canada.

On August 18, 1785, Rev. Cooke landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and traveled from there to Saint John, New Brunswick, where he was instrumental in building a house of worship. In November of 1785, Rev. Cooke made a journey, under difficult traveling conditions, to Campobello, St. Andrews and Digdeguash where he preached and baptized. In August, 1786, he moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick when the seat of government was changed. The church there was very small and the people poor. In 1790 he was elected Ecclesiastical Commissionary to the Bishop of Nova Scotia.

Rev. Samuel Cooke drowned on Saturday May 23, 1795 in the St. John River when he was returning by bark canoe from Fredericton to his home on the other side of the river. His son Michael who was with him and attempted to rescue him, also drowned.

A memorial tablet was erected to them at St. Ann's (Christ) Church in Frederictown.


The Rev. Samuel Cooke papers consist of fourteen sermons written between 1748 and 1794. All of the sermons were delivered more than once, most of them first in Beccles, England and last in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The sermons are all hand written and each of them has the times and places in which they were delivered listed at the end. They are arranged chronologically.

The sermons give an excellent understanding of the type of moral questions which were considered important at the time and the views on these questions held by a clergyman of the established Church of England. The sermons in general are an attempt to uphold the best religious behavior and to educate and elevate the congregation.

There is also a copy of a letter dated New York, July 30, 1781 which as been placed with this collection. The letter is from Rev. Cooke to Rev. Dr. Beach, New Brunswick, NJ concerning changes in liturgy. A covering letter (also in the collection), dated San Francisco, Jan 22 1858, is from William Ingraham Kip to Rev. Prof. Passmore, College of St. James, Hagerstown, Maryland.

PROVENANCE: Two sermons acquired 1935 May 10, a gift from Margart Riker Haskell in memory of J.A. Haskell. Eleven sermons acquired 1940 April 30, a gift of Mrs. A.F. Rogers of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in memory of her father, Joseph Clarkson Passmore. One sermon acquired 1947 October 16, a gift of the Rev. Robert Smith, Shrewsbury, NJ.





1 / 1 / Sermons, 1748 - 1794


Cooke, Samuel Rev. The Duty of Mutual Love Enforced from our Lord's Example Edited by Frederic J. Parris. s.l.: s.n., 1972

Jones, W. Northey, MA. The History of St. Peter's Church in Perth Amboy, NJ s.l.: The Author, 1924

Lee, G. Herbert, AM. A Historical Sketch of the First Fifty Years of the Church of England in the Province of New Brunswick (1783 - 1833) Saint John, New Brunswick: Sun Publishing Co., 1880

Parris, Frederic J. "The Case of the Rev. Samuel Cooke, Loyalist". Monmouth County Historical Association Newsletter 3 (May 1975): 1+.

Steen, James. History of Christ Church Shrewsbury, NJ from 1702 - 1903. Shrewsbury, NJ: Christ Church, 1972



What Christ truly is, And is properly call'd Our Saviour. 1748 (Stockton, England) - 1793 (Fredericton, New Brunswick). Preached on Christmas Day.

But above all things, my Brethren, Swear not. 1749 April 9 (Beccles, England) - 1790 July 18 (Fredericton, NB)

The moral and Natural Evils of Drunkenness. 1749 (Beccles, England) - 1790 July 14 (Fredericton, NB)

The Absurdity and Impiety of Atheism proved. 1749 June 10 (Beccles, England) - 1794 Jan 19 (Fredericton, NB). There is a written dedication on the front cover, "For Heber's children Fanny and Charlotte Passmore", not in Rev. Cooke's handwriting.

Temptations not Irresistible. 1749 Oct 8 (Beccles, England) - 1790 June 24 (Fredericton, NB)

The Easiness of Christ's Religion; How incumbent it is upon us to obey his precepts. 1749 (England) - 1792 (St. John, NB). This sermon was given to Arthur L. Gill by S.M. Passmore, Milwaukee, Wis., a great-great grandson on Samuel Cooke, on Easter Sunday, 1884 April 13.

The Duty of Mutual Love Enforced from our Lord's Example. 1751 May 6 (Beccles, England) - 1775 May 14 (Shrewsbury, NJ). This was Rev. Cooke's sermon of farewell to his congregation in England and also to the congregation of Christ Church, Shrewsbury, NJ when he returned to England in 1775. He alludes in an addition to the sermon to the difficulties his Loyalsit position places him in and hopes to return when it is safe. On page 14, there is a notation, "Fredericton January 29, 1792."

The Sin & Folly of purusing Divers and Strange Doctrines. 1759 May 20 (Freehold, NJ) - 1794 October 27 (Fredericton, NB)

The Sin & Folly of pursuing Divers and Strange Doctrines. Second sermon. 1759 May 20 (Freehold, NJ) - 1793 Nov 10 (Fredericton, NB)

A Thanksgiving Sermon. 1760 March 2 (Perth Amboy, NJ) - 1760 April 13 (Shrewsbury, NJ). This was the Thanksgiving for the victory of the English fleet over the French in November, 1759, undoubtedly the Battle of Quiberon Bay, off the coast of France.

The inexcusableness of obstinate impenitency. 1764 July 1 (Shrewsbury, NJ) - 1792 April 15 (Fredericton, NB)

The Different Conditions of the Wicked and the Righteous considered in some particulars. 1765 June 30 (Shrewsbury, NJ) - 1794 Feb. 9 (Fredericton, NB)

The apparent Intention of Divine Wisdom in the constitution of the World & of human nature. 1773 August 15 (Middletown, NJ) - 1791 July 31 (Fredericton, NB)

The different conditions of the Wicket & the Righteous considered. 1774 November 15 (Hempstead, NY) - 1787 Jan 14 (Fredericton, NB)

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This page last updated 4 August 2008.

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