NICHOLAS COOKE was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He was a shipmaster and manufacturer and acquired landholdings in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Cooke won election six times between 1752 and 1759 as Assistant to the Rhode Island General Assembly, and served as Lieutenant Governor in 1768-69. He took office as Governor prior to adoption of the Declaration of Independence, accepting the position after Governor Joseph Wanton was deposed by the General Assembly. He led an escort for then-General George Washington during the General’s visit to Providence in April, 1776. Cooke declined reelection in 1778. He served as a Trustee of Brown University from 1766 until his death in 1782.