Mary Eleanor Hughes Holland (1833-1906), the eighth of ten children of Thomas Holland, a yeoman farmer, and his wife, Ann, was born at Naunton, Gloucestershire, in 1833. She was baptised at Winchcombe on 5th April 1833.
The family was living on the farm at Naunton at the time of the 1841 census but, by 1851, had moved to Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire.
On 22nd September 1853, Mary married John Cook, a baker. The newly-married couple settled in Badsey where John’s mother lived and ran a grocery business at what is now The Wheatsheaf Inn. John’s father, a baker and grocer, had died in 1851, so it is probable that John had gone to help his mother out with the bakery side of the business. Mary’s mother-in-law, Esther, was herself newly-married to Joseph Knight and had four young step-children. Whilst living in Badsey, John and Mary had two children: Mary (1854-1908) and Edward (1856-1924).
In 1858, John and Mary and their two young children emigrated to Canada. John’s mother, Esther Knight, and her husband and step-children emigrated too. Whether the Cook and Knight families all went out together, or whether one family went first and the other followed, is not known.
John and Mary had six further children in Canada, all born at Mersea, Essex County, Ontario: Annie (c1859), Richard (c1861), William (c1863), Fanny (c1866), Corbett (c1868) and Esther Emmett (1870-1944). At the time of the 1861 census, John was a farmer. The census returns record that John and the children were Methodist whilst Mary was Church of England.
Mary died at Mersea in 1906 and was buried at Olinda United Cemetery, Essex County. John died five years later.