m. Bef 1677
Facts and Events
Note: This is (Deacon) John Rickard Senior (b. 1652) and his wife Mary ---. This is not John Rickard Junior (b. 1657) and his wife Mary Cooke.
In Mayflower Descendant, p. 13:64, under "Notes", George Bowman writes, "The Editor has proved that Mary Cooke married John Rickard (John, Giles) of Plymouth and had seven children. The proof of this marriage will be printed in an early issue of this magazine." This would be John Rickard Jr. However, to quote Eugene A. Stratton, in "Which John Rickard married Mary Cooke?", Source:Mayflower Quarterly (General Society of Mayflower Descendants), p. 49:122, "Unfortunately, he never did print the proof, and in his files in Boston, maintained by the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, there is an unfinished article which purports to prove the same, but stops before it comes to anything significant..."
In volume 6 of Source:Mayflower Descendant (p. 6:77), the will of John Doty is printed where John Doty calls John Rickard his brother[-in-law]. John Doty married Elizabeth Cooke, which suggests that this is the John Rickard who married Mary Cooke. On MD p. 33:115, discussing the guardianships of the children of John Doty, it says that "John Rickard, of Plymouth" gave bond as guardian for son Josiah in 1701. In birth records, John Rickard are clearly identified as Jr. or Sr., so the use of "of Plymouth" suggests there was no longer ambiguity. In 1697, John Rickard, Sr., was dismissed to form a new church, but Plympton technically remained a precinct of Plymouth until 1707. So while it looks like this refers to John Rickard, Jr., it remains a little too ambiguous to draw a conclusion.
In Source:Kingman, Bradford. Epitaphs from Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts, from 1657 to 1892, John Rickard of Plymouth d. 1712, aged 55. This matched John Jr. born in 1657. He also lists a Mary Rickard d. 1712 aged 35. No age is given in the death record for Mary in the Plymouth VRs. Since an age of 35 is inconsistent with children born by 1681, this looks like John's daughter Mary, except that most people use the 1712 death date for the mother. Could the age at death be reported wrong? This hypothesis is confirmed by the transcription in Source:Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States. Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts which gives the age on the gravestone as 55. Therefore, this Mary was born 1657, which matches Mary Cooke. One would expect a husband and wife would be buried in the same spot, so this suggests Mary Cooke married John Rickard, Jr., but as we don't know when John Rickard Sr.'s wife was born or died, so it is not conclusive.
In the Mayflower Quarterly article cited above, Eugene Stratton [Historian General of General Society of Mayflower Descendants] compares the John Rickard signature of three documents: the guardian bond for Josiah Doty mentioned above, i.e., probably the husband of Mary Cooke [thought to be 1701, the date is obscured by a hole in the document]; the 1711 will of John Rickard Jr.; and the 1714 administrator's bond of John Rickard Sr. pertaining to the estate of his sister Mercy. Stratton believes the signatures of the first two are the same, within acceptable limits, showing that John Rickard Jr. was the one who married Mary Cooke. [My comment is that he is probably right, but it is not clear beyond all doubt, partly because the signature of the will in 1711 is an infirm man with a shaky signature (images of the signatures were printed in the article). --Jrich 23:44, 29 March 2011 (EDT)]
So given that it appears that John Rickard Jr. married Mary Cooke, that leaves the identity of John Rickard Sr.'s wife a mystery. Some sources identify her as Mary Snow, d/o William Snow and Rebecca Brown. However, to quote Eugene Stratton: "Robert S. Wakefield, the Peter Brown 5-G Prime Researcher, writes that he has no knowledge of it, and will not be giving this marriage in the Brown 5-G book. This line has been rejected [by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants]." Sure enough, Source:General Society of Mayflower Descendants. Mayflower Families through Five Generations, Vol. 7, p. 8, says no proof has been found.