1754 - 1809 (55 years)
Has 2 ancestors and 5 descendants in this family tree.
||William Cooper |
||02 Dec 1754
||22 Dec 1809
||21 Jul 2010 |
- William Cooper was born in a log house in Smithfield just outside Philadelphia. He appears to have worked as a wheelwright in and around Byberry. There is no record of his attending school. On December 12, 1774, in Burlington, New Jersey, he was married by civil magistrate to Elizabeth Fenimore, daughter of Richard Fenimore, a Quaker of Rancocas, New Jersey. When Fenimore asked how his daughter was to be supported at William's young age, William answered that he was poor and "she must shift for herself."
During the early 1780s Cooper became a storekeeper in Burlington, New Jersey, and by the end of the decade he was a successful land speculator and wealthy frontier developer in what is now Otsego County, New York. Soon after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, he acquired a tract of land several thousand acres in extent within the borders of New York state and lying along the head waters of the Susquehanna River. He founded Cooperstown at the foot of Otsego Lake in 1786, and moved his family there, arriving on 10 November 1790. After 1791, when Otsego County was split off from Montgomery County, Cooper became county judge and later served two terms in Congress, elected as a Federalist to the 4th (March 4, 1795 ? March 3, 1797) and the 6th United States Congresses (March 4, 1799 ? March 3, 1801).
In 1796, Cooper determined to make his home permanently in the town he had founded, which by that time promised to become a thriving settlement. He began the construction of a mansion, completed in 1799, which he named Otsego Hall, and which was for many years the manor house of his own possessions, and by far the most spacious and stately private residence in central New York.
Cooper family tradition has it that Judge Cooper was killed by a blow to the head sustained during an argument with a political opponent after a public meeting in Albany, New York on December 22, 1809, but no evidence of this can be found. The story can not be traced back to before 1897, when it was first published by a great-grandson of the judge, and is implausible. It is now believed that Judge Cooper died of natural causes.
Cooper was buried at the Episcopal Christ Churchyard in Cooperstown where his son was buried many years later.
Cooper's great-great-grandson was the writer, Paul Fenimore Cooper, whose most notable novel was the children's adventure, Tal: His Marvelous Adventures with Noom-Zor-Noom. His great-grandson, Paul F. Clark, was a Nebraska State Representative.