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It seems probable that he was a younger son of some respectable
Puritan family who came to the New World to seek his fortune.
John Cooke was one of the 34 proprietors in the original purchase of the township called Dartmouth from the Indians, which now includes Fairhaven, Acushnet, New Bedford, and Dartmouth. He and his relatives held between ninety and a hundred thousand acres on both sides of the Acushnet River in what is now Fairhaven, Acushnet, and New Bedford.
Arthur Hathaway was a considerable purchaser in his own right in the Dartmouth purchase. He took somewhat of a leading position in Dartmouth affairs as selectman and magistrate. His son Thomas, 1667-1748, married Hepzibah Starbuck of Nantucket, daughter of Nathaniel Starbuck, Sr. and of his wife, Mary, seventh child of Tristram Coffin, Sr.
Thomas Hathaway and his wife had a family of five sons and four daughters. Their youngest child, Jethro, 1720-1805, married his second cousin, Hannah West, whose grandmother was Mercy Cooke, daughter of John Cooke and sister of Arthur Hathaway's wife Sarah. The oldest of their two sons, Stephen, 1744-1825, married in 1764, Abigail, daughter of Humphrey and Mary Wilcox Smith, of Smith's Neck, Dartmouth.
From Stephen Hathaway, Sr. descend the "Milton and New Bedford Cousins." Stephen Hathaway, Jr., 1775-1822, married Lydia Swain of New Bedford. Their twin daughters, Mary and Sarah, married respectively Robert S. Watson and John M. Forbes and from them are descended all the numerous Watson and Forbes connection.
From Stephen Senior's son Humphrey are descended the Hathaways, Swifts, Stones, and Morgans: from his daughter Hannah, who married Thomas Nye, the Nyes, Tabers, Danas, and Cliffords: from his daughter Abigail, who married Weston Howland, the Weston Howland families.
While Stephen Hathaway, Sr., who lived on the family property in Fairhaven, was chiefly interested in land-owning and farming, he had ventures in the merchant shipping and carrying trade to the West Indies and Europe as well as along the coast of America. His son Stephen Jr. was a man of business, living in New Bedford, interested in the new enterprises of banking and marine insurance as well as in shipping. The family interest lay always more in merchant shipping than in whaling--first in the coastwise, West Indies and European, then in the great China trade."