Select Cooper Miscellany

Here are some Cooper stories and accounts over the years:

The Cowpers of Cornhill in London

These Cowpers, pronounced Cooper, may possibly trace their ancestry back to Simon Cowper, Sheriff of London in the year 1310.  A clearer line comes from John Cowper who married Joan Stanbridge, the heiress of Strood near Slinfold in Sussex, in 1467.  John seems to have died young and Joan married again, her children by the second marriage adopting the Cowper name.  One line of these Cowpers remained at Strood.  
The line from William Cowper established itself in London.  Alderman John Cowper of St. Michaels, Cornhill was Sheriff of London in 1551.  His son Sir William acquired Ratling Court at Nonington in Kent in 1628 and, for his Royalist support, was later made a baronet.  After the Royalist defeat in the Civil War, Sir William and his son John were imprisoned for a time at Ely House.  John died during his confinement.  But Sir William lived to see the Restoration.

Coopers of Hingham

The Coopers have been recorded at Hingham in mid-Norfolk since the 1360ís.  Peter Cooper died in 1469 and left behind two legacies, one for gilding a statue of St. Peter and another for contributing to the construction of the Virginís Chapel.  Joan Cooper married Robert Lincoln (a forebear of Abraham Lincoln) in 1524.

There were two Cooper families who left Hingham, Norfolk for Hingham, Massachusetts in the 1630ís.

Anthony Cooper arrived in Massachusetts in 1635 with his wife, four sons, four daughters, and four servants.  The family was granted a house lot in Hingham. The names of only five children are known - John, Anthony, Jeremy, Deborah and Sarah. They were all born in England, but only the first four were baptized in Hingham, Norfolk. 

Deacon Thomas Cooper came in 1638 on the Diligent with his wife and daughters Rachel and Elizabeth.  This family too was granted land in Hingham.  They moved to Rehoboth in 1643.

The Coopers and the Ashley-Coopers

Richard Cupper or Cooper from London had acquired the Pawlett manor in Somerset in 1531.  His grandson Sir John Cooper married a daughter of Sir Anthony Ashley and thereby inherited their family estate at Wimborne St. Giles in Dorset.  That was where they lived and that was where their son Anthony Ashley-Cooper, later the 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, was born.

Austin Cooper in Wicklow

Austin Cooper had brought his family from England in 1661 to Butterhill in county Wicklow to start a new life as yeoman farmers there.  He was quite a character if the following quote about him is true: 

ďAustin Cooper was famed for his feats of strength, such as taking two men, one in each hand, slapping them together and throwing them on a dunghill!  If he held on to a cart, the horse could not go.  And he might be taking a man in one hand, pulling down his breeches with the other then butting his backside in the river Weye.Ē

He might have earned this reputation when he was laying out the garden at Blessington for his neighbor the Archbishop of Dublin.  Austin Cooper was the first of more than twenty Austin Coopers of his family in Wicklow.

The Ancestry of James Fenimore Cooper

In 1879 William Wager Cooper compiled a Cooper genealogy going back to immigrant James Cooper and including the family of Judge William Cooper, the founder of Cooperstown, New York.  The New York State Historical Association published the genealogy in its annual proceedings of 1917. 

Judge Cooper had died in Albany in 1809 as a result of a blow from behind given by a political opponent.  He and his wife Elizabeth (nee Fenimore) were buried in Christ church cemetery in Cooperstown. 

The writer James Fenimore Cooper was born James Cooper in 1789 (he added the Fenimore later after his fatherís death), the eighth and last of their surviving children.  He gained fame as an author of fiction about the American frontier.  Like his parents, he was buried in Christ church cemetery in Cooperstown.

Peter Cook's Legacies in New York

Peter Cook had for many years held an interest in public education and decided to establish his own free institute, the Cooper Union, for adult education in Manhattan.  He completed his building in 1859 at a cost of $600,000.  Cooper Union offered open-admission night classes for men and women alike.  

The new institution soon became an important part of the community and has remained so.   Today Cooper Union is recognized as one of the leading American colleges in the fields of architecture, engineering, and art.  Carrying on Peter Cooper's belief that college education should be free, the Cooper Union continued to award all its students full scholarships until 2014.

Aside from Cooper Union, Peter Cook is also remembered by Cooper Square, the Peter Cooper Station post office and the Peter Cook Village apartment complex in Manhattan and by the Peter Cooper Elementary School in Ringwood, New Jersey.

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