The Family Tree of Captain James Cook (1728-1779)

Created and updated by Rod Fleck

Notes for James COOK

Left Poole in an open boat to sail to Portsmouth, his
body was found the next day on the beach, Isle of Wight.
in the Main Aisle with his Mother.
James was the first born child of Captain James Cook and Elizabeth (nee Batts), he was born at St. Pauls, Shadwell, Middlesex, Thursday the 13th of October 1763; and like his father he joined the Royal Navy.

On 24th of January, 1794at the age of 32 years he was promoted Commander by Captain Yeo, Commanding Officer of the Station, his Letters and Orders to take command without delay of His Majesty's Sloop 'SPITFIRE', Portsmouth.

In spite of weather working up to a hard blow he embarked immediately in an open boat manned by sailors returning from leave to sail from Poole to Portsmouth.
It was in the afternoon his boat was rather crowded, there was a strong ebb tide and a fresh wind; it was growing dark.

He never reached his Ship, his body with a wound on the head and stripped of all his money and valuables, was found on the beach at the back of the Isle of Wight; the boat was also found broken up, but no trace of any of the Crew was discovered.

His body was brought over to Portsmouth and taken to Cambridge, and laid in the same grave with the remains of his brother, Hugh.

(Extract from"The Streets of Whitby and their Associations" by Hugh P. Kendall, 1962)shows:

Following the death of his Mother, Elizabeth Cook, wife of the celebrated Circumnavigator a Monument was placed in Great St. Andrew's Church, Cambridge, in memory of Captain James Cook and his Family: James' epitaph reads:-

In Memory

Of James Cook, Esq. Commander in the Royal Navy,

who lost his Life on the 25th of January, 1794, in
going from Pool to the Spitfire, Sloop -of-War, which
he commanded; in the 31st year of his Age

He was unmarried and died without leaving a Will, his effects being administered by his Mother.

The official entry, within the Naval Records, being as follows:

"James Cook 1794. On the 20 of May administered to the goods and chattels of the late James Cook, commander of his Majesty's ship Spitfire, bachelor, deceased, was granted to his
natural mother."

With the death of Commander Cook, the Family name (as of John Cook and Jean Cook, nee Duncan, his Grandparents) ceased, and with it the possibility of there being any descendants of Captain James Cook, R.N. F.R.S.

Extract from the Mariner's Mirror, Nov 1962
Mitchell Library, Sydney - N387-06/2

(It is a well known fact that during the Eighteenth Century some Officers used to enter their children on their Ship's Books in order that the youngsters might have time on record when they may desire to pass the examination for Lieutenant, thus being able to obtain an early promotion.
It is now obvious that Cook also made provision for his sons in this way)

James was entered in the Muster Book of the 'ENDEAVOUR' as Second Lieutenant's Servant on 7th April, 1769, replacing William Harvey who was rated A.B. - the Ship was on that date six days sail short of Tahiti so no one could possibly have joined her.

When Lieutenant Zachary Hicks died on the 25th May, 1771, James was discharged in accordance with custom.
Next day Charles Clerke, Masters Mate, was promoted to Third Lieutenant, and James re-entered as Servant.
James was still in the Endeavour, on paper, when she returned to Deptford on Saturday the 13th July, 1771, at 3 p.m.

In the same way Cook waited until the 'RESOLUTION', on his second voyage to enter James as a A.B. on the 1st of August, 1773, and discharged when the Ship was at the Cape of Good Hope on the 30th day of April, 1775.

Perhaps Cook had had a friendly warning when returning from the first voyage that it was wiser not to have names shown on the Muster Book for men who could not be produced when the ship's company was mustered by the Clerk of the Checque.


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