William Cooper (1754-1809)

William Cooper (1754-1809)
William Cooper was born in Smithfield (now Somerton) near Philadelphia. As the successful developer of the Croghan grant in Otsego county, Cooper became judge of the Otsego Court of Common Pleas and was elected to Congress as a Federalist for two terms, 1795-97 and 1799-1801. It was in Philadelphia during his first term that Cooper commissioned his portrait from Stuart, the most celebrated portraitist in America. In 1795 and 1796 Stuart had completed his three famous life portraits of Washington in Philadelphia, then the national capital and seat of Congress. Cooper is one of numerous Congressmen who purchased portraits. He is depicted in Stuart's loosely brushed style, a sturdy man with a ruddy complexion and grey wig. In his hand is a partially rolled street plan of Cooperstown. Cooper was descended from English Quakers who had come to western New Jersey around 1680 and prospered. In 1775 he married Elizabeth Fenimore, an heiress also of English descent. During the Revolution and shortly thereafter he bought the Groghan grant. He opened the sale of land in 1786, selling outright instead of leasing. He settled his family in Cooperstown in 1790 from Burlington, New Jersey. At that time he had 7 children, the youngest was James Fenimore Cooper who was under 2 years old.
Physical dimensions: 
height 42.5 in ; width 34.25 in