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COOPER, William

1754–1809

Biography

COOPER, William, a Representative from New York; born in Philadelphia, Pa., December 2, 1754; lived in Burlington, N.J., until moving in 1789 to Otsego County, N.Y., where he established the town of Cooperstown; appointed first judge of the court of common pleas for Otsego County on February 17, 1791; elected as a Federalist to the Fourth Congress (March 4, 1795-March 3, 1797); again elected to the Sixth Congress (March 4, 1799-March 3, 1801); father of James Fenimore Cooper; died in Albany, N.Y., December 22, 1809; interment in Christ Churchyard, Cooperstown, N.Y.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Hartwick College
Archives

Oneonta, NY
Microfilm: 1712-1900, 16 cubic feet. This collection is divided into six series: 1) William Cooper Business Papers, 1712-1892; 2) William Cooper Correspondence, 1786-1809; 3) Maps and Land Surveys, 1755-1829; 4) Isaac, William and Richard Cooper Business Papers, 1810-1830; 5) Richard and Isaac Cooper Correspondence, 1810-1817; 6) Cooper Family Papers, 1800's. The collection clearly documents the land transactions for the area south of the Mohawk River near Otsego Lake in New York State beginning in 1769 with the land grant from the King of England to George Croghan, the numerous land deals during the next 16 years, William Cooper and Andrew Craig's purchase of a portion of that land in 1786, the settlement of Cooperstown, and William Cooper's powerful role as land agent for over twenty large patents in upstate New York in the 1790's and early 1800's. In addition, the collection sheds light on politics in upstate New York in the 1790's. It elucidates the hard fought Congressional elections, the respect and allegiance Cooper enjoyed from Otsego County, and the eventual demise of his political power.
Papers: In the Robert G. Day Papers, 1741-1829, 70 items. Persons represented include William Cooper.
Papers: In the Hartwick Seminary Records, ca. 1739-1947, 30 cubic feet. Subjects include William Cooper.

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: 1790-1809. 14 items.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Cooper, James Fenimore. Reminiscences of Mid-Victorian Cooperstown and a Sketch of William Cooper. Cooperstown, N.Y.: [The Society], 1936.

Cooper, William. A guide in the wilderness; or, The history of the first settlements in the western counties of New York with useful instructions to future settlers. In a series of letters addressed by Judge William Cooper, of Cooperstown, to William Sampson, barrister, of New York. [Rochester, N.Y.: G. P. Humphrey, 1879]. Reprint, Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, [1970].

Taylor, Alan. William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.

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